Last week I had a blast big dreaming on Hay Street in Fayetteville, NC. I was loving local, eating local and shopping small. I started my week off attending a Small Business Orientation at the Women’s Business Center of Fayetteville at CEED. The WBCFAY is a non profit organization that has been around since 1999. They offer a wide variety of services to the community, which includes providing local support to female entrepreneurs who are looking to start and expand their businesses. Their office is located at 230 Hay Street in the heart of downtown Fayetteville.
This was my first time on Hay Street and I discovered that Hay Street is a beautiful haven for small businesses. Once I found parking I wasn’t exactly sure where the WBCFAY building was located, so I asked the first smiling face I saw. To my surprise, the first smiling face I saw was also great motivation for me. Her name was Johna, the Owner of J & M Vapor Shop. Both Johna and her husband own the shop and it is located at 318 Hay St. On her website she explains why they started the business.
Once I arrived at the WBCFAY building I stood outside for a while before going inside. I really liked the location and the building itself. The inside did not disappoint either. I spent a little over an hour in the Business Orientation class with other aspiring entrepreneurs from various industries.
The orientation was led by the jovial and charismatic Lexi Hasapis, the Center Director. Outside of WBCFAY Lexi juggles a couple of different businesses and ventures, which includes being in the restaurant business with her family. True to her word and true to her mission, throughout the orientation her slogans were; “love local, eat local and shop small. That’s exactly what I did after the orientation!
I was so amazed walking down Hay street. I saw nothing but small businesses operating with people supporting them. During my stroll I noticed some entrepreneurs looking in the window of an empty storefront. They were taking pictures and talking about buying the space and what they would do with the floors.
I stopped at City Center Gallery & Books to browse and ended up leaving with two new books. The gallery is located at 112 Hay Street. What I enjoyed most about the bookstore was the diversity in books. I also felt very welcome because of the amazing customer service I received.
As I walked further down Hay Street I reached a roundabout and kept going. I ended up on Person Street and I decided to stop in Taste of West Africa, located at 107 Person Street. As soon as I walked in, I smelled the aroma of food that was being cooked from the soul!
I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted so the waiter went over the menu with me. I ended up having oxtail, long grain rice, plantains with mango juice on the side. It was so delicious. What I enjoyed most was finding out that Taste of Africa gives back to their roots. You can learn more about it on their website or you can donate while in the restaurant.
The next day I met with one of the entrepreneurs from the business orientation class. We spent a few hours going over my services and how they can help her upcoming business ventures. By the end of the week I registered my business as an LLC. As I continue to build out my business structure i’ve had a few “one off” projects, in addition to a long term client. I’m looking to grow even more and add additional services.
For me Hay Street was an amazing haven for big dreams. Whenever i’m confused, frustrated or sad i’ll take the drive, park my car and walk down Hay Street. At which point, I will do 3 important things; love local, eat local and shop small.
#lovelocal #eatlocal #shopsmall