Taking care of your Loved One Is What We Do BEST!

It's no secret, most of us would like to stay in our own home as we age. Yet, sometimes our loved ones just need a little extra help to remain comfortable at home. That's where Always Best Care can help....we are dedicated to exceeding expectations....always

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Home Care In Saxapahaw, NC

Home Care Saxapahaw, NC

They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that's how it should be - a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.

Unfortunately, many older Americans aren't able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today's world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live far away from long-term, institutionalized facilities and closer to the place where they feel most comfortable - their home. Home care in Saxapahaw, NC is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

 In-Home Care Saxapahaw, NC

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The Always Best Care Difference

Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they get older. We are proud to have helped more than 25,000 seniors maintain higher levels of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of in-home care available so that they may live happily and independently.

Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients' lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a "one size fits all" approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs. That way, they may provide care accordingly without compromising their wellbeing.

The Always Best Care difference lies in life's little moments - where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can't quite keep up with life's daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home services, Always Best Care is here to help.


“ABC has been helpful on most occasions I have been in assistance. Once or twice substitute caregivers have not been at all satisfactory but for most part they have. Our regular caregiver, Parecia Boynton, is superb but unfortunately has had serious health problems which have kept her from working. Our current substitute, Comswell Williams, is very good and we like her a lot. She would be a very acceptable regular if Parecia Boynton is not able to return.”

Samuel M.

“ABC is a great company that cares about their employees. The pay is good and everyone in the office is extremely helpful. It’s easy to get time off, (just let them know 2 weeks ahead of time). We have monthly in-service & education is offered in person or via zoom. We are given the tools we need to succeed.”

Laraine T.

“Hi my name Amiya and I have been working for ABC for almost 4 months now. I really love this job because it’s very flexible especially since I’m a full time college student. It’s really hard to find jobs like this and if you need days they don’t mind as long your attendance isn’t bad. They are also very understanding. It’s really a great job and I love helping people.”


“I love working for Always Best Care! They're understanding, have a wonderful team in the office that helps make our jobs easier as caregivers! Easy to talk to and communicate. A great atmosphere, fun activities and different things throughout different times that make the work days a little more light and fun!”

Katie B.

“Great place to work!....Smart and Hard Working group of individuals!”


“Always best care is a great company. Staff and residents are always taken care of. If anything is needed there willing to help.”

Hannah S.

“Every time I call the office the staff are very friendly. I love what I do and I really enjoy it.”

Tinisia C.

“I been with this company for Abt a year and I love working for them . They work with you,they care about ur personal life/ problems, really good at matching you with good clients.. i love that you can pick up more hours anytime they are available and we get a text letting us know what town ,time & whats needed done when they have open hours and clients”

Jamie T.

“Always best care is the best senior care company to work for. The schedulers and other staff members are always helping when times need to changed or a shift needs to be changed. You can always count on ABC to get the job done.”

Sierra J.

“I've had great success with abc”

Shanenna S.

“Thank you to Ted for helping us make the adjustment to in-home care! We appreciate your willingness to put up with some negative reactions to your companionship for Bill while I am away from home.”

Susan L.

“Cindy is the perfect fit for my needs and is always kind and respectful toward my husband. I could not have hand picked a better person.”

Pam S.

“Stacy Blackwell is my current caregiver. She is the best ever and I am 95 years old - a lot of “givers” for appraisal . Stacy is naturally effective and efficient . She regularly achieves a level of strengthening and health that evokes a confidence and optimism that I have not earlier experienced. I am now in significant part due to her professional care optimistic about my future life. I wish to continue indefinitely my care from her - please. It”

James T.

“Aliyah fits perfectly with my life style,desires and needs. Ready and able to assist me in any way that I need. I am content and satisfied with our relationship,daily tasks,chores and communication.”

Pearline D.

“Since she first helped bring my husband home from the hospital after a months’ long stay, Talayna Turner has been helping me care for him. Talayna is an excellent listener, efficient worker, and responsible helper. She has helped witpersonal care, computer problems, grocery shopping, and his laundry. I don’t know what I would do without her cheerful presence. Thanks ABC for providing a wonderful caregiver resource in Talayna!”

Joan S.

“Sam is one of the kindest most sincere owners I've met. She truly cares about her clients and staff. Everyone in the office is so helpful.”

Dana N.

“Happy to Service this area!”

Jason L.

“Great caregivers working for a great agency. Everyone wins, especially my Mom. Sometimes the caregivers are taking care of me too; I always learn a new method or better way of finishing personal chores to keep Mom safe and comfortable. Best choice to use this agency over efforts to hire private caregivers. Trust and training make it a blessing to have the assistance from ABC”

Barbara R.

“Incredibly responsive, caring, and professional! They treat your loved one as a unique person for whom they also care! We have had many experiences with home care agencies and this one is exceptional!”

Kristin B.

“I can not tell you how great this company is. I called on a Tuesday at 4 pm because the live in care giver for my father was a "no show". Channing was amazing, caring and so supportive. By Wednesday morning she had people lined up to assist in covering my father's care. Channing also went above and beyond by contacting facilities and homes to help me look into care for my father. Let me explain that she didn't give me a number-she called them on my behalf. Channing could tell I was overwhelmed and did anything she could to help. This is a amazing team of care givers that really cares. I have loved the women they sent out to care for my father. Can't say enough!!!!! J. Wilkins.”

Jo A.

“Always Best Care has provided great care for my dad. I'm grateful that they're available (sometimes on short notice) and that they're so compassionate and easy to work with.”

Jenny E.

“Excellent Service!!”

Abu Y.

What is Non-Medical Senior Care in Saxapahaw, NC?


Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it is especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age.


When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.


The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.


At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one gets older, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

 Senior Care Saxapahaw, NC

Types of Elderly Care in Saxapahaw, NC

To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:

Personal Care

Personal Care Services

If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Mobility Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming

Respite Care Saxapahaw, NC
Home Helper

Home Helper Services

Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.

Common home helper care services include assistance with:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Pet Care
  • Prescription Refills
  • Morning Wake-Up
  • Walking
  • Reading
 Caregivers Saxapahaw, NC
Companionship Services

Companionship Services

Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors.

Common companionship services include:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Nutritional Assistance
  • Conversation
  • Planning Outings
  • Completing Errands
  • Transportation to Community
  • Events and Social Outings
Home Care Saxapahaw, NC
Respite Care

Respite Care Services

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy nearby activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress reduces the risk of caregiver burnout. Doing so is great for both you and your loved one.

At the end of the day, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior's daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible.

If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.

 In-Home Care Saxapahaw, NC

Benefits of Home Care in Saxapahaw, NC

Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for patients at all levels of health. With our trusted elderly care services, your loved one will receive the level of care necessary for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

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Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit - something that is unavailable to many older people today.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a strange nursing home, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:

How much does a senior's home truly mean to them?

A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, then, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old.

With the help of elderly care in Saxapahaw, NC, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors.

Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.

For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like a nursing home. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier and more affordable to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, seniors who age in the comfort of their homes can save thousands of dollars per month.

In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, are often less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

 Elderly Care Saxapahaw, NC

Affordable Care

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

If your loved one qualifies, Medicaid may help reduce in-home care costs. Review your NC's Medicaid program laws and benefits, and make sure your senior's financial and medical needs meet Medicaid eligibility requirements.
Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.
Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.
Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.
Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.
 Senior Care Saxapahaw, NC

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers.

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Saxapahaw, NC understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

Assisted Living Referral Services

While it's true that many seniors prefer to age at home, sometimes in-home care isn't the best fit. For those seniors and their families, choosing an assisted living facility makes more sense. Unfortunately, finding the optimal care facility is easier said than done in today's day and age. That's when Always Best Care's assisted living referral services begin to make a lot of sense.

Assisted living is a form of housing intended for seniors who require varying degrees of medical and personal attention. Accommodations may include single rooms, apartments, or shared living arrangements. Assisted living communities are typically designed to resemble a home-like environment and are physically constructed to encourage the independence of residents.

Respite Care Saxapahaw, NC

At assisted living communities, seniors receive help with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They may also benefit from coordination of services with outside healthcare providers, and monitoring of resident activities to ensure their health, safety, and well-being. Caregivers who work at assisted living communities can also provide medication administration and personal care services for older adults.

Other services offered within assisted living communities can include some or all of the following:

  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Recreational Activities
  • Social Outings
  • Emergency Medical Response
  • Medication Monitoring
  • Family Visitation
  • Personal Care
 Caregivers Saxapahaw, NC

At Always Best Care, our representatives can match your senior's emotional, physical, and financial needs with viable assisted living communities nearby. Results are based on comparative data, so you can select the best choice for you or your loved one.

Always Best Care works closely with local senior living communities to gain valuable knowledge that we then use to help seniors and their loved ones make informed decisions. This information can include basic care and rent, resident availability, and services provided. Because Always Best Care is compensated by these communities, we provide senior living referral services at no extra cost to you.

Home Care Saxapahaw, NC

For many seniors, moving into a senior living community revolves around how and when they want to make a transition to more involved care. Some seniors are more proactive about transitioning to independent living. Others choose to remain home until their care needs or other requirements are satisfied. Remember - our staff is here to help. Contact our office today to learn more about assisted living communities and how we can find a facility that exceeds your expectations.

 In-Home Care Saxapahaw, NC

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Always Best Care Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

A discussion of your needs and how our trained caregivers can offer assistance in the most effective way


A draft of your care plan, which includes highly detailed notes and a framework for the care that you or your senior will receive


Discuss payment options and help coordinate billing with your insurance provider


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

At the end of the day, we only hire the best of the best at Always Best Care. Whether you need home care in Saxapahaw, NC 24-hours a day or only need a respite for a couple of hours, we are here to serve you.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

 Elderly Care Saxapahaw, NC

Latest News in Saxapahaw, NC

Saxapahaw, N.C., Middle of Somewhere, Becomes a Draw

I WAS polishing off a steaming bowl of coconut curry soup when a server appeared bearing a plate of plump pan-seared diver scallops atop creamy applewood-bacon succotash and braised asparagus. The food was befitting a candlelit restaurant, but I had a view of gas pumps outside and, a few steps from my table, fluorescent-lighted aisles packed with workaday necessities — toilet paper, motor oil, sauerkraut juice (aids digestion, according to the label).This jarring contrast of farm-fresh food and service-station atmosphere is part...

I WAS polishing off a steaming bowl of coconut curry soup when a server appeared bearing a plate of plump pan-seared diver scallops atop creamy applewood-bacon succotash and braised asparagus. The food was befitting a candlelit restaurant, but I had a view of gas pumps outside and, a few steps from my table, fluorescent-lighted aisles packed with workaday necessities — toilet paper, motor oil, sauerkraut juice (aids digestion, according to the label).

This jarring contrast of farm-fresh food and service-station atmosphere is part of the appeal of the place where I was dining: the Saxapahaw General Store (1735 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Road; 336-376-5332;, a no-frills convenience store and restaurant that has sparked a revival in the former mill town of Saxapahaw in central North Carolina.

When its cotton mill closed in 1994, the town of Saxapahaw — a name that begs to be pronounced (sax-ah-puh-HAW) with an exaggerated Southern drawl — began to fade as well. After all, this tiny rural town on the banks of the Haw River is barely a blip on the map (and as far as my confused GPS was concerned, as easy to locate as Faulkner’s fictional Yoknapatawpha County).

“When we first came, people thought we were kind of nuts, because it seems like it’s in the middle of nowhere,” said Jeff Barney, the cook (and a former butcher) who, together with his partner, Cameron Ratliff, took over the general store in 2008. Working with nearby farmers, the pair stocked the shelves with local products and started serving freshly prepared meals.

As word spread about the unusual setting of Mr. Barney’s ambitious seasonal cuisine, Saxapahaw began attracting curious foodies from surrounding cities like Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Greensboro and Winston-Salem.

Times travel reporters. When our writers review a destination, they do not accept free or discounted services or, in most cases, reveal that they work for The Times. We want their experience to be what you can expect.

And now, the Saxapahaw General Store is no longer the sole attraction in town.

Last May, the Haw River Ballroom (1711 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Road; 336-675-2440; opened in the former dye room of the historic mill. Now a soaring, three-story music venue, the Ballroom also hosts a variety of interesting events and has a first-floor cafe called Cup 22, which serves pastries and locally roasted coffee.

Across the street is Saxapahaw Artists (1610 Jordan Drive; 336-525-2394;, a two-story art gallery showcasing works from 50 regional artists. And nearby is the site of the town’s popular summertime farmers’ market.

“It was probably about 50 people a weekend the first year,” recalled Heather LaGarde, an owner of the Haw River Ballroom and a founder of Saxapahaw’s farmers’ market, which began in 2005. “Now it’s about 1,000 to 2,000 people that come out to that,” she said.

But the busiest place in town is now the Eddy Pub (1715 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Road; 336-525-2010; Building on the success of the Saxapahaw General Store, Mr. Barney and Ms. Ratliff partnered with another couple to open this gastropub — not a description often used around here — in a second-floor space in the former mill in December 2010.

It’s a step that has been well received.

On a bitterly cold weekday evening in November, the cozy, wood-beamed pub was packed. As bartenders poured pints of North Carolina-brewed beers (the only type on tap), servers bustled among tables carrying cheese plates, juicy bratwursts and platters of fish and chips — traditional pub grub tweaked to emphasize local fare. By 6 p.m., a small crowd had formed in the doorway, waiting for tables.

“It was sort of a sleepy town, not much going on,” Mr. Barney said. “Now we’ve turned into a bit of a destination.”

Professor showcases entrepreneurial success of Saxapahaw for international audience

Associate Professor Elena Kennedy, Elon’s Doherty Emerging Professor of Entrepreneurship, shared how specific strategies developed by residents and business owners have created “civic wealth” for a popular Alamance County community only a short drive from campus.An Elon University professor who researches social entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial community formation recounted the history and successful economic growth of a North Carolina mill town when she traveled to Puerto Rico in March for an annual conference f...

Associate Professor Elena Kennedy, Elon’s Doherty Emerging Professor of Entrepreneurship, shared how specific strategies developed by residents and business owners have created “civic wealth” for a popular Alamance County community only a short drive from campus.

An Elon University professor who researches social entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial community formation recounted the history and successful economic growth of a North Carolina mill town when she traveled to Puerto Rico in March for an annual conference featuring several of the world’s leading entrepreneurship scholars.

Associate Professor Elena Kennedy, Elon’s Doherty Emerging Professor of Entrepreneurship, joined with colleagues from four other universities for the keynote opening panel of the 2023 Sustainability Ethics and Entrepreneurship Conference held March 2-5 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The developmental conference provides an annual forum for what is described as a worldwide network of scholars dedicated to advancing the scholarship and practice about sustainability, ethics & entrepreneurship.

The opening panel – Researching Civic Wealth Creation: Insights from Qualitative and Quantitative Studies across Contexts – explored what occurs “when communities, entrepreneurs, and supporters of local initiatives coalesce to improve their well-being and vitality through cooperation, kinship, and commerce.”

Kennedy explored the entrepreneurial community of Saxapahaw, which grew out of a mill redevelopment project in a rural village in southern Alamance County, approximately 20 minutes away from Elon University’s main campus. She explained how early movers in the entrepreneurial community engaged in specific strategies to attract a broad range of stakeholders to mobilize resources to create both civic wealth and opportunities for new entrepreneurs within the village.

Since its formation, the community has established a farmer’s market, a food pantry, and a summer concert series that regularly draws large crowds from across the region. Kennedy discussed how Saxapahaw has also established support structure to meet the needs of village residents during the COVID-19.

Joining Kennedy on the panel were research colleagues from the University of Tennessee, Indiana University, the University of Oklahoma, and Technical University Munich.

Kennedy joined the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business in 2016 after earning a doctorate in organizations and social change from the University of Massachusetts-Boston. Her research focuses on strategic decision making in social enterprises, entrepreneurial community formation, and entrepreneurship education, and has been published in the Journal of Business Venturing, Public Management Review, Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, and Entrepreneurship Education & Pedagogy.

Faculty & Staff

Love School of Business Management & Entrepreneurship

Mushroom farmers get chance to compete for $10,000

SAXAPAHAW, N.C. — A North Carolina couple started their business Haw River Mushrooms over 10 years ago, and hope to expand into the value added and alternative protein industry.Ches Stewart says he used to grow over 80 different kinds of vegetables, but now he and his wife Laura specialize in fungi.What You Need To Know “There's a ton of people who are growing lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, that sort of thing. So ...

SAXAPAHAW, N.C. — A North Carolina couple started their business Haw River Mushrooms over 10 years ago, and hope to expand into the value added and alternative protein industry.

Ches Stewart says he used to grow over 80 different kinds of vegetables, but now he and his wife Laura specialize in fungi.

What You Need To Know

“There's a ton of people who are growing lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, that sort of thing. So we were looking for a niche product that we could grow on a small scale. So that's what led us to mushrooms,” Ches Stewart said.

After taking a class on mushrooms, he was hooked.

“We grow 10 to 12 different varieties of mushrooms throughout the year, all on supplement and hardwood sawdust,” said Ches Stewart.

They grow lion's mane, shiitake, pink, gold and blue oyster, black pearl, cinnamon cap, and reishi mushrooms.

“We grow about 800 to 1,000 pounds a week,” Ches Stewart said.

The farm also makes products from their mushrooms such as mushroom coffee, mushroom jerky, lion's mane crab cakes, tinctures and umami salt.

“Lion's mane is really cool because it's, we're using all of this and a lot of our value added products, which is what we're really scaling up,” Ches Stewart.

To help the business side of mushrooms, his wife Laura participated in the 2023 Velocity Demo Day in Winston-Salem.

“Through Velocity, there's actually a cohort of mentors and we've done a lot of kind of almost like mentorship speed dating, where we'll get to do roundtables and ask them different questions,” Laura Stewart said.

This is the eighth year of the Center for Creative Economy’s Velocity program, where 10 entrepreneurs compete for a $10,000 prizes to further their company.

“I feel like it helps you evolve as a founder, you know, to really kind of understand yourself and the strengths you're bringing to it and to kind of get get rid of any ego behind the things that you need to learn to get to the next stage,” Laura said.

The business owners work with mentors over 10 weeks to finalize their pitch, getting expert advice in marketing, finance, business, strategy and operations, sponsored by Wells Fargo, the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and many more.

The mentors are “all volunteers and they very, very generously volunteer their time to help growing businesses, learn, learn the ropes and figure out what they need to do to grow their company,” Laura Stewart said.

Officials from the program said 80 businesses across 10 states and five countries entered for a chance to be in this year's program. With an additional $10,000 prize being added to the stakes for a woman owned business, and officials stated 70% of this years entrepreneurs are women and 70% are founded by people of color.

“We've been growing mushrooms for 12 years, so we've been a farm business for a really long time. But now that we're making these prepared foods a mushroom jerky, we wanted to get into the consumer packaged goods space and we realized there's a learning curve associated with that. We needed new connections, new vocabularies and new ways of thinking about our business,” Laura Stewart said.

Laura gave her pitch to further their business in the value added and alternative protein industry - specifically their mushroom jerky, which has already won numerous awards, including two Sofi awards, from the Specialty Food Association.

They're asking for $10,000 to purchase a combi oven, which would speed up the time to make the jerky from 72 hours to five, along with the ability to make it on their farm instead of using communal equipment at another facility.

The Stewarts did not receive the top prize, but were awarded the Velocity Technology Award and the Velocity Marketing Services Award for $7,500. It will help in consulting services to build an app to address organic certification tracking and improve their marketing presence.

“Honestly, everybody who participated in this program is a winner. So the bigger prize really is the mentorship and the networking,” Laura Stewart said.

Ches says he looks forward to continue to grow their business with the help of his wife and their twins Sarah and Ella, as it’s more than just mushrooms.

“To build something for our family and for the girls. But we also want to build something in this community and lower Alamance County. So ultimately, so it's bigger than itself,” said Ches Stewart.

Officials for the program say since 2016, CCE’s creative accelerator has launched 90 companies, with 80% still in business making $14,000,000 in revenue and $21,000,000 in investments. To learn more about how to apply for ongoing programs visit the CCE website.

Haw River Mushrooms also has tours and agrotourism classes on their property.

Proposed 'Whirligig Woods' theme park brings whirlwind of controversy to Saxapahaw

Saxapahaw residents are hoping they can stop plans to build a theme park in their small Alamance County town.Theme park designer Bob Baranick, who has worked on projects including Disney parks around the world, bought 21 acres of land along N.C. Highway 87 with plans to build Whirligig Woods- a theme park that would include thrill rides, a haunted land and a tree house resort.Residents are concerned about the impact the theme park would have on the Haw River and worry about an increase in traffic and noise."I often ...

Saxapahaw residents are hoping they can stop plans to build a theme park in their small Alamance County town.

Theme park designer Bob Baranick, who has worked on projects including Disney parks around the world, bought 21 acres of land along N.C. Highway 87 with plans to build Whirligig Woods- a theme park that would include thrill rides, a haunted land and a tree house resort.

Residents are concerned about the impact the theme park would have on the Haw River and worry about an increase in traffic and noise.

"I often joke with people that as soon as a stoplight comes to Saxapahaw, I'm out of here. Well, that would bring stoplights," said Joe Jacob, who owns Haw River Canoe and Kayak. "I see it as something that will change the local character of this community."

Emily Sutton of the Haw River Assembly, a river advocacy group, fears the park would not be conducive to the community.

“I think that, as it stands right now, it doesn’t fit into the community but Saxapahaw has such a cool history and, I mean, it’s a river town and I think that there is an opportunity for that to be reflected in the Whirligig park,” Sutton said.

Baranick said Whirligig Woods would celebrate the natural landscape and cater to families with younger children. He said he is taking the concerns of local residents to heart, saying “they have a lot of good points.”

"It would have been wise to touch base with the community before he decided to do what he decided to do," Jacob said.

Baranick emphasized that the theme park would be small, not the size of parks like Carowinds or Busch Gardens.

Jim Fletcher, who lives near the proposed site for the theme park said he thinks it will bring more business to the area.

"If anything, it's going to make it better. It's going to bring more children here, more chances for education," Fletcher said.

The project has yet to break ground and Baranick said it will likely be at least 18 months before construction begins, if ever. The project needs more investors and more buy-in from the community before it goes forward.

Baranick said he chose the location because it is scenic and in close proximity to the Triangle and Triad.


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