Photo by Jebb Graff | jebbgraff.com
Production stills and some food photography from the filming of a Flavor, NC episode featuring Chef Joseph Fasy of Hook and Cleaver Market on Broad. Location: Fuquay Mineral Spring Inn and Garden
Build community. Support local. That’s our mission as a non-profit in downtown. We have the pleasure of working with hundreds of talented professionals. Thankfully, they share their talents with us and other groups they are called to help. We couldn’t do what we do without their help and support.
Most importantly, they share those talents with each other to help one another grow and support each other’s goals. After all, that’s a big part of what support local means. When you support them as well, it means even more. Build community. Support local. You never know how far your simple act or contribution will reach.
Miss Eleanor…she’s spending her last Saturday in the shop today after 29 years at David Anthony’s.
Over the last few weeks, we had a few opportunities to spend time visiting with her and listen to stories she and her customers had to tell. We heard about the generations of families that had been registered there as they started their lives as newlyweds. The care that Eleanor took to set up a registry table and work with the bride and groom. The detail that went in to wrapping a gift and having it ready for someone attending a shower or going to the wedding. Some say she was the one who married the people in Fuquay. Then she helped with baby gifts!
We asked how many couples she had worked with…she laughed that she had no idea, but there were binders full of them. During another visit, she found one and shared it with us. She’d attended some of the weddings, remembered the china patterns of others.
For any occasion, she would help you find just what you needed. Some shoppers joked there might have been a few purchases that husbands didn’t know about. They all wished her the best in retirement. Eleanor has worked hard for all of us and deserves a little time to relax, that’s for sure. And though the store is just about empty, the air is thick with memories.
For all you’ve done for all of us and this place we call Downtown…Thank you
If a picture is worth a thousand words, we could never say enough about what happened at Nil’s Cafe today. They posted that they will be taking their traditional summer break for the month of July (They are open Sat, July 1st until 3 then enjoying some down time for a few weeks). People rushed in to get their favorites and have a visit with business owners that have become their friends.
You can imagine how deep the connections are when you look at the card and photo collection of customers on the wall, but what hits the most is looking over to see friends having a genuine moment. Knowing the vases filled by the florist down the street will be empty for a while makes you realize just how connected we are in “our quaint little downtown.”
We don’t always think about the fact that our small business owners don’t take standard vacation days or get the minimum “two weeks.” Sometimes for them to get away, it means they have to close. And when they do, we miss them (and their chicken salad!)
Here’s to what makes our Downtown great…the business owners and employees that learn our names, that become our friends and part of our daily lives – the people that keep the places we love running from day to day. And here’s hoping they all enjoy some time off to celebrate this country and those who call it home.?
Dani Almeyda and Tim Anderson – Owners, Original Strength Institute
For seven years Original Strength Institute (previously known as OPT) has been thriving in Fuquay-Varina. Owners, Dani Almeyda and Tim Anderson, have been taking growth in strides- moving locations, rebranding, and building up a huge following within our community along the way. Today I sat down with Dani to learn more about Original Strength Institute.
Dani always knew she was going to be in the health and fitness industry, attending school for Sports Management and Exercise Science. It was natural for Dani to move into an entrepreneurial role, she grew up in a family full of entrepreneurs. Dani shares with me some of her favorite parts of being a small business owner and beams when she shares of her passion for “forming relationships” with her clients and watching them reach their goals. Dani also enjoys working hard, but having the flexibility to spend time with her two young children.
Trainers hear everyone’s deep dark confessions! Dani’s laughs when I asked her some of the funny confession stories she has heard over the years, “A client came in the other day and broke down to me “I had birthday cake for breakfast”! Dani laughs and tells me there is no need to apologize to your trainer if you eat cake, or skipped a workout, but says she could “write a book about the funny things” people have told her.
It may come to a surprise to you that our community’s prized gym is also the sister company and headquarter location for an internationally known company, Original Strength. Original Strength educates other gyms, coaches, healthcare professionals, and physical therapists how to teach their clients/patients press reset and live their lives better! These programs are distributed and taught worldwide, Original Strength is a big deal! Tim has written several books and teaches movement to be able to live lives to the fullest extent – even into our 90’s! “Much like resetting an electronic device after its not working well, we can press reset on our bodies to help us feel better and move better” Dani tells me. Being able to spread the message that movement can heal and to help people lead healthy lives is important to Dani and Tim.
OSI has been operating out of Downtown for years now, being a part of the Downtown family means the world to Dani and OSI “we love being a part of the community and getting others involved” she explains. Working with many Downtown businesses and supporting other businesses in Downtown is something OSI is energized about. When Original Strength hosts conferences in town you will often see Dani and Tim leading groups of people in and out of our Downtown businesses, showing off what makes our Downtown unique and charming.
It is clear when you walk inside that Original Strength Institute is not your average gym. OSI hosts specialized ninja classes for kids, training classes for our towns 5k, self-defense classes, mommy and me classes, and much more- there is something for everyone! Dani tells me the plan is to expand their educational programing even more and expand the gym into other towns. We will be on the watch to see this great Downtown business and what they have in store for us next!
Dani let me ask her some rapid fire questions as we finished our lunch! She ate WHAT?!
Cleaning golf balls!
Favorite sport? Favorite team?
Volleyball. The Bears (NFL)
Best 90’s song?
Meat Loaf “I Would Do Anything for Love”
Best place to escape in Downtown?
Grossest food you’ve ever eaten?
I ate a worm, I thought it was fake.
I like to rock out in the mornings, check out my daily flow on Facebook or Instagram
Favorite subject in school?
Best day of the week?
Favorite place to vacation?
Bermuda or Beech Mountain
I loved hanging with Dani!
Interested in learning more? Check out Original Strength Institute online and on Facebook!
If you live in Fuquay-Varina, or have ever visited our charming town, you have probably heard the whispers about a delightful little bakery called “Stick Boy Bread Company”. This cult classic took Downtown by storm in 2008 and hasn’t looked back since. Today I spoke with Katie Dies, Owner of Stick Boy Bread Company, to learn more about this sweet treat that has been serving Downtown for years.
With 28 smiling staff members, Stick Boy currently offers over 30 breads on a rotational schedule. If bread isn’t your favorite item on their menu, sticky buns, cheesecake, or smoothies might be- Stick Boy really has it all! Katie talks excitedly about what makes Stick Boy work, and reveals that she felt the biggest moment of success came on the stores first anniversary, about the same time wholesale accounts started contacting her to feature Stick Boy products in their stores. Katie tells me about some of the challenges Stick Boy has faced as well. “We opened in 2008, right when the economy tanked. The cost of flour tripled- we really weren’t anticipating that”. They had to figure it out- they use a lot of flour! The Dies worked through that challenging time with help from their loyal customers, of which they have many today.
Josh, a former Engineering Draftsman, and Katie, a former Real Estate Agent, knew they wanted to open a space in their community where friends could gather, enjoy a cup of coffee and a pastry. Katie had worked for Stick Boy Bread Company in Boone, North Carolina during her college years and loved “everything about it”. Josh and Katie studied the business and decided to open their doors in 2008 after 7 long months of construction, much of which they did themselves. They process was “scary and long”, Katie even served at the projects General Contractor!
Katie and Josh Dies have become fast friends of mine. Their love for their community, friends, and family, while owning two businesses, serving on many committees, volunteering, and caring for two small (and very sweet) young boys is an inspiration to me. “We love what we do, we love our customers, we are very thankful” Katie remarks. I asked Katie how they make time, not surprisingly Katie laughs, and tells me “lots of coffee”! Katie and Josh have an entrepreneurial spirit, Katie has “a tough time passing by an old building without daydreaming” but reveals they have “no plans to open another business anytime soon”.
Katie and I finished our chat with a brief Q&A
“Magic…no, Chocolate Chip…no…yes… okay definitely Chocolate Chip”
Where were you born?
Dies Family Pets?
“Boone, our 12 year old sweet Hound dog”
Current TV show you’re watching?
“Homeland, I love Claire Danes”
Favorite type of Pizza:?
“How specific can I be? Okay- Giordano’s Deep Dish Sausage and Mushroom pizza, from Chicago. FYI, they’ll ship a pizza in the mail”.
How do you take your coffee?
“Black, iced coffee only…Iced Black Americano”
Favorite type of beer?
“IPA’s- Booneshine IPA to be specific”
Least favorite animal?
“I’m going to make some enemies here…cat’s. But only because I’m super allergic”!
What is your dream vacation?
“Venice, Italy. Although I would like to go on a European Tour and do some ‘market research’”.
That was a fun cup of coffee with Katie Dies! Be sure to stop by Stick Boy Bread Company on Main Street in Downtown and say Hello!