Small Business

2810[high]5: Ways to Simplify Your Life

Did you know that the first week of August is National Simplify your Life week? Here are a few ways you can simplify things in your home, at work, and in your mind. 

Declutter - Did you know that there are more reasons to declutter your home than the obvious (less clutter)? According to Psychology Today, it has several psychological benefits as well. It forces you to use decision making and problem solving skills as you prioritize the stuff you have and come up with solutions on how to store it. It can also reduce anxiety, because we lack of order sometimes causes stress. Humans may have evolved to respond this way, because a lack of order in was most likely disadvantageous for early humans. Finally, decluttering might give your mind an opportunity to wander and take a break from your usual thinking.

Prep for Tomorrow - How many times a day do we feel rushed because we are doing something at the last minute? This week, make yourself a list of things you can do to get yourself ready for the next day, even if it’s just one or two activities. Pack your lunch the night before. Before you leave the office, jot down a quick list of what you want to get done tomorrow, Pick out your clothes, pack your work and gym bag, and prep your breakfast. You’ll be surprised how much more smoothly your morning goes the next day.

Embrace "No" - Sometimes, its okay to say no. Many of us are people pleasers (myself included) and we often find ourselves taking on projects or activities that are not beneficial to ours or others lives. If you’re constantly overextending yourself and it’s affecting your mental well-being, use this week as an excuse to practice saying “no” and see if it doesn’t help your outlook.

Prioritize your time - Embracing “no” leads me to the next tip, prioritize time. Now that you’ve gotten some time back by politely declining activities, be mindful of how you spend that time. How much time do you spend mindlessly checking your phone, your email, your twitter feed? Check out from your screens during set hours each day, or only allow yourself to check your phone at the top of every hour. 

Give Yourself a Break - Treat yourself to a destressing activity that you enjoy. Go for a hike. Read a book. Get a massage. Do nothing.

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2810[high]5: Free Dates in Matthews

On a budget for the summer? Here are 5 FREE dates you can and your plus one can do right here in Matthews. Bonus points if you take a selfie and tag @matthewsbeacon with the #MatthewsDateNight!


PDA in front of PDA - Did you know that the giant heart sculpture outside of Stumptown Park is called “Public Display of Affection”? (If you read this Beacon article from 2018 you do!) What better excuse to demonstrate your affection than to do so in front of iconic Matthews public art piece. (This writer strongly encourages you to keep your PDA rated G).

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Checkers at Country Place Park- You and your better half can enjoy the sunshine and decide once and for all who is the board champion. Country Place Park, near Matthews United Methodist church has 3 tables with checkerboard tops for public use, as well as a pollinator garden and bee themed art. Feel like it’s not a free date because you have to go buy your own checkers pieces? Save yourselves some bottle caps from your not-free-dates and make yourself some bottle cap checkers.

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Walking Tour - Did you know the Matthews has its own FREE self-guided walking tour you can follow? Print out the tour, put on your walking shoes, and take turns narrating the history and culture as you travel around town.

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Lecture at the Library - The library has more to offer than just free books (though that’s still pretty awesome). They also offer opportunities to hear talks on subjects like earth friendly way to greenifying your lawn, how to relax through mindfulness and meditation, or a chance to read, write, and discuss poetry

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Volunteer - One of the best ways to strengthen the bonds of an existing relationship is to commit to a shared activity-like volunteering. Matthews has over 55 nonprofits just registered with the Chamber of Commerce, many of which would eagerly appreciate four extra hands. Help HAWK maintain their garden at Squirrel Lake Park, sort donations at the Matthews Help Center food pantry or help build a home with Greater Matthews Habitat for Humanity

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2810 [high] 5: Homes Away from Home for Your Guests to Stay (That Aren’t Your House)

Summer is the perfect time for vacations. Time for your sister to load up the car with all her kids for a gathering of the cousins, time for your old college roommates to finally make that road trip to come and see you, or time for in-laws to watch the kids for a week or two while they’re out of school. While everyone loves a good reunion, we all need our space sometimes. Perhaps your home is too small for all your guests, or you can only survive a week with your mother-in-law if you have your own space. Either way, these 5 Matthews options will allow your guests to feel right at home while they’re here, even if it’s not in yours.

The Lemmond House Bed & Breakfast: Offer your guests a little sliver of historical Matthews during their stay in the 28105! The Lemmond House Bed & Breakfast is located right on Trade Street, in the heart of downtown Matthews. You may have driven or walked by it many times without ever even knowing it was there (I did!). The Lemmond Family first built the home in the early 1900s and their family remained there through the 1980s. Today it is owned, operated, and continuously renovated by Bill and Connie Clayton. The Bed & Breakfast offers two second-floor guest rooms, each with a private bath equipped with jacuzzi tub and walk-in showers. Breakfast options include french toast, bacon, eggs with cheese, fruit salad, coffee, and juice. Each of the two rooms can be rented for $149 a night and allows for children over the age of 12 (with adult supervision), but no pets. (Images via Owner’s website)

Matthews Manor Charlotte Bed and Breakfast: Beautiful Matthews Manor is located less than half a mile from Squirrel Lake Park and has four lovely rooms available to rent, with prices ranging from $150-$220 a night. The 7,000 square foot home was originally built in 1973 and used to be part of a 52-acre farm. Your out-of-town guests will be able to rent mountain bikes from the Manor for use on the greenway, have access to a kitchen exclusively for guests, a game room with purple-felted pool table, and swimming pool.(Images via Owner’s website)

The BOHOPad Airbnbnb: If your guests are looking for a unique place at a reasonable price, then the BOHOPad is the place for them. Complete with vaulted ceilings, intricate tile work, and brightly colored walls and decor, the BOHOPad is a hidden bohemian gem in Matthews. The home can accommodate up to 6 guests, with one queen bed, two single beds, a sleeper sofa, and two baths for only $84 a night. Guests will have access to the entire home, and if they need something, the Airbnb hosts are only 15 minutes away. Since you are renting the whole hoouse, children are welcome, but your furry friends will have to stay at home. (Images via Owner’s AirBnB)

Gorgeous Guest Home Airbnb: If you only have one or two guests needing a place to stay, this Gorgeous Guest Home may just what is needed. This new Scandinavian-style apartment has one queen bed and is only $85 a night. Kids are more than welcome, and the hosts even offer to provide a pack and play or toys if needed. The apartment is located next to their home, where they reside with their black lab puppy, so they do have a no pet policy. (Images via Owner’s AirBnB)

Three Bedroom House Airbnb: If you have a large group of guests coming to visit (no wonder you don’t want them staying at your place), or they have a pet, this last Airbnb is the choice for them. With three queen-sized bed and 2.5 baths,  this place is a steal for only $65 a night. Plus, the backyard is screened in, so your traveling animal companions will have a place to stretch their legs. (Images via Owner’s AirBnB)

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Jack Marble Junior's Precious Restorations

Photo by Charles Lybrand

Photo by Charles Lybrand

I love to bring things back to life, to beautify things. To take something that’s like a piece of rubble… and bring it back to form.
— Jack Marble Jr.
Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Standing outside the blue-painted, cedar-planked Precious Restorations shop on John Street, a place that looks like an Old West saloon, is a building filled with history and nostalgia. When moving the shop from South End to Matthews, Jack Marble Jr. and his father, Jack Marble Sr., found the building offered a large interior space, ample parking and an excellent location on a heavily-trafficked main street. The mid-century building built in 1947, is on-brand for the vintage wares sold inside.

Looking through the large front windows, an old stop light and a strand of glass fishing buoys just inside give a feel like it’s an off-the-wall shop in Plaza Midwood, not Matthews. Walk through the front door of Precious Restorations (315 W. John St.) though, and you’re greeted with a deep voice from a corner, “How are you?” It’s the neighborly, down-to-earth vibe of Matthews.

There’s nothing stuffy about the shop, just a faint odor of old papers, the recognizable smell of vinyl records, and epoxy.

Jack’s voice is the one coming from a desk to the right. He looks up and smiles, chats, but continues working on the restoration of the day. On this day it’s a teapot with a broken handle. Jack gets to a stopping point, comes over and shakes my hand. His firm handshake a sharp contrast to the delicate teapot he’s carefully piecing back together.

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

On this slow morning, Jack has some time to talk, noting the few antiques dotting the floor, reminiscent of his antique dealer father’s legacy. Of the very few true antiques for sale are a vintage victrola and some other brown, well-aged pieces of furniture. Lining the walls are the crates and crates of well-organized records and CDs. In the center of the room are a vast collection of comics, the usual Marvel and DC. The more valuable ones are on display in glass cabinets alongside Star Wars collectibles and estate jewelry.

Ask Jack about himself and it’s apparent: he’s far less comfortable taking center stage, a clue to how deeply entwined he is with his work. In a shop full of treasures, he has little attachment to the cool toys and pottery all around. He’s more interested in sharing the stories: how things ended up with him, and, for more unique pieces, he’ll explain the original use. He knows the provenance of the antique display cabinets which may look familiar to those who have been in Matthews for a while. The large wood and glass boxes came from Holiday Haus, a since-closed antique shop that was once on Trade St in downtown Matthews.

Visit long enough and Jack will use his uncanny ability to get you to share your story, keeping the focus off himself. He’s trained in music and loves to listen to all sorts, but can’t peg a genre that’s a favorite. Though not a fan of gangster rap, there’s something of a twinkle in his eyes that hints he just hasn’t heard the right album yet.

Get him started on restoration work and his face lights up. He’s got a wall lined with paintings to bring back to their vibrant, original state, and it’s evident that’s where his heart is. “I love to bring things back to life, to beautify things,” he said. “To take something that’s like a piece of rubble… and bring it back to form.” He gets up to 10 repairs a week - everything from porcelain and furniture, to lamp repairs and fine art. Basically what he is given, he learns how to fix.

The man knows his work and through that, he’s getting to know the people of Matthews. He knows the customers who come in, like Jim who shops for Grateful Dead albums, and Aana Lisa, who uses Jack for all of her restorations. He knows about her home (the one that was recently moved across Fullwood) and her history in town. He laughs, clearly proud of the connections he’s made, “See? I’m learning!” It’s that ability to find friendships in the community that makes Jack Marble Jr.'s Precious Restorations so very Matthews.

Photo by Charles Lybrand

Setting the Stage for Selling Your Home

Home staging by    Stage It!

Home staging by Stage It!

When Realtor Karen B. Mendenhall entered the real estate business in 1993, she envisioned working alongside her husband in the field forever.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) surveys show 77% of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.

However, by 2005, she saw an opportunity to capitalize on both her love of furnishings and her love of real estate by entering the field of home staging. Around since the 70s, home staging has gained popularity in recent decades thanks to the proliferation of real estate reality TV shows. The goal of staging is to make the home appealing for a faster sale and, theoretically, for more money. In home staging, a variety of techniques are used, ranging from adding furniture and accessories to painting and renovations. The end goal is to give potential buyers a more attractive impression of the property. “It is a fallacy that only high-end houses need or deserve this 'facelift' in order to get top dollar,” Karen said, adding that, “all houses deserve it.” Within one year of starting her business, she secured another employee, and by 2008 she decided to quit real estate altogether and go all in with home staging. She has never looked back. 

Home staging by    Stage It!

Home staging by Stage It!

According to the NAR, staging the living room for buyers was found to be most important, followed by the master bedroom, then the kitchen.

Today, her company, Stage It!, in Matthews, is one of at least 30 Charlotte-area home staging companies.

Tina Whitley, a local realtor with Allen Tate, agrees with Karen. Whether through a professional stager or simply taking advice from a realtor, every home needs a thorough decluttering. Tina elaborated, “Every home should be "staged" to some degree before putting it on the market. I tell my sellers that they are moving, so pack up what extras are in the house, make it look like a magazine and get ready to move!” That well-appointed, pared down interior helps buyers see their own furnishings in place, creating a more dynamic connection.

According to several sources, 2019 is trending toward creamy whites with pops of mid-tone blues, natural materials such as rattan on furniture, brushed gold light fixtures and hardware on cabinets, wood flooring, and quartz or marble counters.

Though trends may change, Karen doesn’t see staging “going by the wayside. The way you live at home, and the way you sell a home and the way you market [it] are two different things. I think we’re almost a relief in allowing us to do this work for them.”

I.T.S. Athletic Training: The Extra Mile is Built on Character

In 2014 Felando Clark was at a crossroads in his life. His pastor asked him a few questions: 1) What do you dream of doing? 2) What do you feel when someone else does something really poorly? (And, in what field would this be?) 3) What would you do even if you could do it for free? The answer was simple. Within days he quit his job and became a personal trainer. He opened I.T.S. (Impact Training Systems) Athletic Training.

Today, at 50, the Mint Hill resident has numerous successes under his belt – all won through I.T.S.

Last year, one of his clients was a first-round draft for the NFL; this year, three of his clients/kids are entering the NFL draft. Another client was just signed to play professional arena football.

In 2014, he started an eighth-grade football training program designed to help athletes prepare for high school football. Of the 13 kids enrolled in that program, eight of them went on to play football in college.

During football season (July – October), he helps train kids who come from all over the country to attend the nearby Jireh Prep School, hoping to shore up their sports or academic skills necessary to transfer to a Division I team.

His current success? A female middle school student who is one of the top middle school soccer players in North Carolina, playing on a state team which travels to and competes with other state-teams. Felando believes she’s so good that she might end up qualifying for the USA soccer team, in a future Olympics.

Although Felando clearly has a fire in his belly to win (as do many of his kids), he places as much emphasis on the character and leadership qualities he has helped instill in them. He says he knows that talent, alone, will not take them very far (or give them longevity) in the professional leagues – it is the innate qualities which will also help make sports stars. And, in many cases, both he and they are aiming for the top.

But, Felando does not just measure success by his client’s professional achievements, he also helps senior citizens, and dozens of other adults get fit, find confidence and become healthier. He takes innate pleasure in assisting them to reach their own goals and seeing them push through to conquer their personal challenges.

Retelling his four-year journey, Felando marvels at his fork-in-the-path story, his subsequent life-choice, and his well-deserved happiness with its successful outcome.

What are Felando’s favorite quotes? “Go the extra mile – the lines are shorter,” and “I can’t’ is not an option!”

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

I.T.S. Athletic Training
640-E Matthews Mint Hill Road/Matthews Executive Park
Facebook: @ITSCoachClark

RAW to Reclaimed Woodworking

I do love the smell of wood. All wood does something: it reacts differently, cuts differently, smells differently.
— Ryan Watkins
Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

To Matthews resident, Ryan Watkins, owner of “RAW (his initials) to Reclaimed Woodworking,” each piece of lumber, each piece of wood has a story to tell. “You can [often] feel the history of the wood,” he says as he looks around his new 2000 square foot warehouse (4002 Matthews Indian Trail Road) with wonderment and pride. On this day, he’s looking at pieces of ash, maple, walnut, oak, and antique pine.

As he’s working with these pieces, he says, he imagines the pilots standing around smoking cigars – a recycling of history and of raw materials, now used in another place and time.

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

He’s most proud of the 1840s pine planks resting in his shop, which came from Minnesota after being torn down from a barn originally used for WWII glider pilot training. As he’s working with these pieces, he says, he imagines the pilots standing around smoking cigars – a recycling of history and of raw materials, now used in another place and time.

“I do love the smell of wood. All wood does something: it reacts differently, cuts differently, smells differently,” he said. For Ryan, utilizing all his senses when creating something out of wood gives him both fulfillment and purpose. It is now also his undeniable passion.

In 2017, Ryan hung up his Matthew’s Fire Department captain’s uniform and fireman’s gear for the last time. With 17 years on the force, he was tired, injured and in need of a Plan B. He had a wife and two children; their well-being was foremost on his mind.

Although Ryan had always tinkered with his hands and with materials like wood, about one year earlier, a designer-friend asked him for his help with some small custom projects. This would be a weekend and night’s project.

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Later that same year, he was offered the opportunity to make 24 table tops with oak veneer plywood, for a South Carolina group opening a restaurant. He was game, but only had his 250 s.f. of work space in his garage. A scramble to find an appropriate location landed him in his new warehouse and his new life-path was soon carved out. Joined by his wife, the office manager, this became a team effort.

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

To Ryan, using both new and reclaimed wood, recycling has become a metaphor for starting over.

“Taking a pile of lumber and turning it into something, that’s where the satisfaction is,” he said. “A lot of it is to put it on the workbench and see what you can do with it.”

He is working hard and diligently to chase his dream. “I’m nowhere near the peak where I want to be,” Ryan said, adding that he watches other long-time woodworkers who are successful and is following their lead. “We’re going to grow; we’re going to reach for the stars. Watch out IKEA!” he said with a laugh.

We’re watching.


RAW to Reclaimed Woodworking

Artisen Gelato: Love by the Spoonful

The first concept of gelato was developed by indigenous people during the Inca civilization in Ecuador. These people used to walk to the Imbabura volcano bringing packs of ice which were carefully placed between grassy vegetation (“paramo straw” or “frailejon”). They would also use rock salt to prevent the ice from melting. After they settled everything, they poured fruit juice, or sometimes milk, into a big, bronze pot (“paila”); the liquid was stirred quickly until frozen and in just a matter of minutes, they got a fresh, handmade gelato.
Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, many local businesses are offering their own special touches. At Artisen Gelato (301 West John Street), patrons can choose from the new holiday flavors of Red Velvet, Lemon Crème and Pomegranate - all great additions to the 24 other possible flavors rotated throughout the year.

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Owned by Ramon Riofrio and Marcia Monsalve, Artisen Gelato sorbet is vegan-certified and does not contain trans fats, gluten, nuts and derivatives, soy, eggs, artificial coloring, or artificial flavors. Seven of the rotating flavors are made from 100% natural fruit pulp; the remainder are made from coconut milk. The store is a natural outgrowth of Ramon’s early Ecuadorian childhood upbringing – creating gelato with his grandfather.

This Valentine’s Day, Marcia hopes to see more of what she’s witnessed in past years – “couples sharing gelato.” (Two years ago, a teenager came in with two cups – each decorated with his and hers photos, and asked to fill them for his sweetheart.) “It’s fun to watch people here,” she said, “engaging or falling in love!” Add-in witnessing the “happiness of the kids” with severe allergies who are being treated to something which they love. “We are blessed to be here,” she said,” and blessed to help people.”

An original family run business, the couple has just opened its first franchise in Boca Raton, Florida, and hopes to add another handful of stores in the next year or so.

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Artisen Gelato
301 West John Street

Mon-Sat: Noon – 9 p.m.
Sun: Noon – 8 p.m.

Providence Florist: Connecting the community through flowers

Working with generations to help give messages which touch their heart. We are the one to give them a message for life.
— Sara Kathrotia
Photo by Renee Garner

Photo by Renee Garner

This year, on Valentine’s Day, Providence Florist (118 E. Charles St.) owner Sara Kathrotia will sell at least 1,000 roses (red, orange, yellow and hot pink), not to mention more than 125 other types of bouquets including tropical flowers from Hawaii, orchids, gingers, protea, combined with anthurium  (shape of a heart) and assorted bouquets with stargazer lilies and roses – which she says creates a “really romantic, beautiful smell.” 

Photo by Renee Garner

Photo by Renee Garner

This year, as in previous years, it will be all hands on deck – they’ll hire temp delivery drivers to help them with the overflow. It will be the boyfriend of the store’s manager, some friends, a previous employee, possibly Sara’s son, and her husband.

While most orders will be for one dozen roses; many men will order two to three dozen. (Sara says it’s usually men doing the ordering – each year, she only receives a few orders from women sending them to men).  The record rose- ordering amount was five dozen white roses – which came from a man proposing to his lady.

Now in her 20th year of business, she, together with her husband, Rajesh, are well-established in the Charlotte-area florist community. Originally located in the Arboretum, and now two years after her move to Matthews, she says it was borne of loving the town center’s uniqueness and finding a reasonable location. Her “good customer base” did not hesitate to follow, she said.

Her love of flowers, owning their own business, and the birth of her first son 21 years ago (wanting to be near home or have him be with her) created the perfect symbiosis to enter floristry.

“It’s an interesting business,” she said. “Working with generations to help give messages which touch their heart. We are the one to give them a message for life,” she added, referencing those children who send flowers to the elderly or even critically ill relatives who live in the area.

“We feel good that we’re there for people. Making a connection and giving a good message from family to others,” Sara said.

Photo by Renee Garner

Photo by Renee Garner

A cyclical business, the year of a florist typically begins on Valentine’s Day and moves on to proms, Mother’s Day, Teacher’s Appreciation week, graduations, back to school/fall, Thanksgiving and the December holidays. Interspersed are wedding requests.

However, Valentine’s Day remains their biggest and busiest holiday. “We do everything in two days,” she said. “It’s all about love and expressing that to others – including a girlfriend and wife. Kids send them to mothers; fathers send flowers to daughters and to wives. All to show them how much they appreciate how much they do for them,” she adds.

“When we deliver for Valentine’s Day, husbands like to impress their wives at work,” she said, chuckling, that they get to hear the “ooohs and ahhhhs” from the office staff gathering around.

On Valentine’s, more than most other occasions, she finds that “people call at last minute.” A few years ago, a man who had just returned from a trip walked in just as they were closing. He said that he had forgotten the holiday and that he couldn’t show up home without flowers. That was before he realized he’d forgotten his wallet, too.  

Sara recalls, “He said, ‘I can’t call my wife to get my credit card number!’ We felt his pain and said, 'we’d make whatever you’d like.’ ” With two dozen roses in hand, he left happy and called back the next day with his credit card info. She adds, “He said, ‘you made my day and my year! I would have had a terrible week, for sure, if I hadn’t given [flowers] to my wife!’ ”

Providence Florist
118 East Charles Street, Matthews

Monday - Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sunday: closed

Photo by Renee Garner

Photo by Renee Garner

Stacks Kitchen: Matthews' Modern Diner

I want people to feel comfortable here. That everyone is smiling and they don’t feel out of place.
— George Gagis
Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

When George Gagis’ brother-in-law moved from New Jersey to North Carolina 10 years ago to open a breakfast place, George decided to follow. With a lifetime of hospitality experience with his family in restaurants and catering, it stood to reason that the family would enter another business venture together. This one was called Stacks Kitchen, and it was in Waxhaw.

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Seeking other opportunities, his father and brother-in-law drove the surrounding areas looking for a second, larger, more visible location. Eight years ago, Stacks Kitchen in Matthews (11100 Monroe Road) was born. To hear George, 50, tell it, this would be his modern-day diner. Together with his wife, his relatives, and often his teenage sons and nephew, it would be another home away from home filled with good food, a homey atmosphere and full of heart. The menu would reflect that of a diner, with a smattering of specialty items, including those from his childhood - Greek favorites (moussaka and some desserts, for example).

Today, Stacks is one of the most popular breakfast/lunch restaurants in Matthews. On this weekday brunch hour, the restaurant was nearly filled, with many regulars and almost one dozen staff (he has 30 employees) diligently doing their jobs. He says his turnover rate is very low. “I love it here,” said waitress, Ashley Peters, 19, of Matthews. “The people are great, and they care about you.”

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

At the heart of it all is George, who, together with his wife feel this as their pride and joy – an extension of their lifeblood and an opportunity to make all who enter feel more than welcome.

To continue with this sense of connectedness, George has intentionally kept the restaurant hours to a minimum – no dinner, drinks, or late-night meals - the restaurant is open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. so that he can stay home with his family. “It is a diner,” he said, “but does not have the hours of a diner.”

However, he works seven days a week, nearly 365 days a year, patiently and meticulously overseeing all facets of the organization, circling the room, making sure that diners are happy, content and well-fed. “I want people to feel comfortable here,” he said. “That everyone is smiling and they don’t feel out of place.”

It is a sentiment echoed by many of those interviewed in the restaurant. “This is good food and good people,” said Michael Keith, of SouthPark. A regular customer who has been going to Stacks six days a week for the past five years, Michael referenced that his 18-mile daily roundtrip commute is always well worth it. He echoed George’s sentiments entirely, too: “It’s a great place to be at. It’s more like a real diner.”

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Stacks Kitchen
11100 Monroe Rd, Matthews
Open 7 Days a week: 6 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Pappy's Cuts, Downtown Matthews

A step into Pappy’s Cuts is a step back in time.

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

A step into Pappy’s Cuts (208 West Matthews Street) is a step back in time. Old-fashioned toys on shelves, older photos on walls; sports memorabilia proudly displayed around the room. A sparsely decorated waiting room, an inner room with two hairdressing chairs (only one is still used) and original wood paneling make it all feel like yesteryear.

Add in the spirit of the beloved original owner, David Large, Sr. (who passed in 2017), but remains in the hearts and minds of many clients (now in their 70s, 80s, 90s and even over 100), and you get the feeling that time has truly stood still – what remains is the ever-steady presence of David’s son, David Large Jr., 49, of Mint Hill, who chose, more than one dozen years ago, to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

The only noticeable differences: the original $5 haircuts are now a fixed $10; a 2018 shop name change from Barber Shop to Pappy’s Cuts – was done in memory of and in tribute to David Jr.’s dad.

In truth, very little else has changed since the Large’s originally took ownership of the building in 1996, itself already frozen in time with much of the original 1950s décor. (His mother originally used a significant portion of the house for her finance business; only small two rooms encompass the barbershop).  

A dry-wit abounds here – a gentle, but constant ribbing of and by the owner, as his many long-time clients revolve in and out of the front door. David’s title on his business card: “Cranium Sculpting Engineer;” a specialty price, $7 for “Follically Challenged” patrons (balding or sparsely-haired) all attest to a place where stories are shared and camaraderie appreciated and encouraged.
Many older clients come through just to sit in the waiting room and/or the shop to banter about stories; as long as paying clients aren’t in the seat, David obliges.

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

David is more than a barber – a therapist, friend, buddy, and confidant. If only the walls could speak…

The end result for David, like his father before him, is the “tons of best friends…and golfing buddies” he’s gained, many of whom share his love of sports (he was also a marathon runner).  He says that to many repeat clients, he’s more than a barber – a therapist, friend, buddy, and confidant. If only the walls could speak…

Choosing to remain silent on many stories, one of his most memorable moments was shaving off the hair of eight buddies (two with long braided hair), who wanted to support a good friend struggling with the after-effects of cancer treatment.

The father of a 14-year-old daughter, David says that her Saturday presence - to mop and sweep floors - gives him the inkling that she may choose to go to hairdressing school and potentially follow in his footsteps. If not, it remains an all-in-the-family operation with his wife also in and out of the shop. (His early end-hours reflect his need to get his daughter from school and spend quality time with his family).

On this day, an 85-year-old long-time client and his 80-year-brother were getting their hair cut. “I just want to get a good haircut!” ribbed the older brother as he finally got his turn in the chair. Speaking loudly, David asked him to take out his hearing aids so they wouldn’t get cut. It was another fine day at the local barbershop.

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We provide men’s haircuts with great skill at good prices. No up-charges, no bull. And we throw in some laughs, a lot of sports talk (ok, maybe there’s some bull going on here), and random conversation.

At the shop, we “do” simple. No online appointments, no answering machine. If we answer the phone, we’re here.
— @pappyscutsmatthewsnc

Pappy’s Cuts

Mondays from 8 a.m. – noon
Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m
Saturday from 7:30 a.m. – noon


2810[top]5: Hot Coffee Spots

If our morning newsletter references didn’t give it away, I’m going to share a big secret today: We are a coffee powered organization here at the Beacon. Today we’re here to share five spots that keep the Beacon fueled.

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Good Cup Coffee Co., 105 N. Trade Street (at the Farmer’s Market and pop-ups elsewhere). The Chopas family makes delicously unique coffee drinks you won’t find anywhere else in the area. It counts as a meeting to follow Norah around while she does her weekly shopping, right?

Photo via Good Cup

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Dilworth Coffee,

3016 Weddington Rd #600. We’ve had more than one meeting here. The vibe is cozy and the staff is friendly, and the coffee isn’t pretentious.

Photo via Dilworth Coffee


Your Mom’s Donuts, 11025 Monroe Rd, Ste F. Another spot where we often meet, lots of room, not too loud, and the coffee is great. Plus: donuts.

Photo via Your Mom’s Donuts

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Magnolia Coffee. Their tasting room is in Matthews but isn’t open to the public yet, so head on over to Baked Well (10915 Monroe Rd ste D) to try a cup. It’s a good excuse to have a cookie for breakfast with your coffee.

Photo via Magnolia Coffee

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Brakeman’s Coffee, 225 N. Trade Street. Who doesn’t love Brakeman’s? It’s tough to find a table sometimes, so we get the coffee to go and find another spot in Matthews to catch up on all things Beacon.

Photo via Brakeman’s

Bethany Salisbury: Capturing Pets in Paints

Photo of Bethany Salisbury courtesy the artist

Photo of Bethany Salisbury courtesy the artist

I’m lucky to be able to do [this work]. It’s been my passion since I was a kid. I love animals and I love to paint.

Bethany Salisbury, 31, of Matthews, knows a thing or two about pets and pet portraits. That would be nearly 900 things to be exact – the number of pet portraits painted by Bethany in the last handful of years.

A commercial artist, illustrator, and designer, Bethany has had much success with her pet portraiture, illustration and traditional paintings. And, while it is “80% dogs,” it’s also cats, rabbits, horses, birds, elephants, goats, a few ferrets, and sometimes people.

The series "Beer Dogs" will soon be on display at Temple Mojo in downtown Matthews.  Photo by Cyma Shapiro

The series "Beer Dogs" will soon be on display at Temple Mojo in downtown Matthews. Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Since her mainstay is on social media, and with online orders, her clients come from all over the world (Australia, Africa, Hong Kong, to name a few places) and throughout the country. “I get a lot of repeat customers,” she said. “Many buy these for gifts.”

A childhood spent at art camp and in private art lessons, with minimal TV watching and maximum encouragement to create, combined with a love of animals led her to do just that: create paper dolls, make graphic novels and comic books about dogs.

“I’ve always grown up with animals,” she said.

The series "Beer Dogs" will soon be on display at Temple Mojo in downtown Matthews.  Photo by Cyma Shapiro

The series "Beer Dogs" will soon be on display at Temple Mojo in downtown Matthews. Photo by Cyma Shapiro

While she captures the often impassioned and enamored looks of her subjects - “I think dogs are expressive,” she said. “I think it’s kind of second nature (to intuit their) emotions” - she is also not immune to the whiles of animals, herself. Bethany and her husband are the proud owners of one Miniature Long Haired Dachshund, Mochi, and an Australian Cattle Dog named River.

“I’m lucky to be able to do [this work]” said Bethany. “It’s been my passion since I was a kid. I love animals and I love to paint.”

Giant Genie Pharmacy and Community-Based Health Care

Here we have solutions that nobody else has... We’re applying the knowledge that we learned in school; not many pharmacists can say that in a daily setting.
Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

To Bill Henning, Pharm.D., pharmacy manager and minority partner of Giant Genie Pharmacy (2925 Senna Dr.), compounding is both an art and a bonus to offering traditional pharmacy services. The pharmacy is one of two compounding pharmacies in Matthews and has been in town since 2010.

“People have to go back to believing the pharmacy is a health-care provider,” said Bill. “We need to be that point of contact in the community because people can reach us.”

In the 17th to 19th centuries, compounding in the US was a function of physicians who prescribed and created their patients’ medications. In the 20th century, with the advent of mass-drug manufacturing, compounding decreased. Today, the industry is experiencing a resurgence as the importance and need for custom-made medications becomes more prevalent.

According to Wikipedia, pharmaceutical compounding is the creation of a particular pharmaceutical product to fit the unique need of a patient. To do this, compounding pharmacists combine or process appropriate ingredients using various tools. This may be done for medically necessity, such as to change the form of the medication from a solid pill to a liquid, to avoid a non-essential ingredient that the patient is allergic to, or to obtain the exact dose needed (not already readily available). It is also the basis for creating bio-identical hormones.

Approximately 5-10% of Genie Pharmacy’s business involves prescriptions for animals.

“It’s exciting…that we can have an impact on so many people from pediatrics to geriatrics,” said Bill. “I have a lot of colleagues who work for big-chain pharmacies…they are put in a more [prescriptive] role where they are expected to fill [a certain number of] prescriptions a day and can’t pick up the phone to talk with people. Here we have solutions that nobody else has... We’re applying the knowledge that we learned in school; not many pharmacists can say that in a daily setting.”

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

The pharmacy retains a staff of four pharmacists and a few drivers – a staple since they offer free delivery.

While the downside of compounding is the cost – approximately $40 - $60 more per month, the individual attention to medication, coupled with a drive for customer service and a “family feel” often makes these Mom and Pop pharmacies more desirable.

“I enjoy it because I wake up each day and get to be excited to come to work,” said Bill.

Tammy Schoolcraft: Reiki for Wellness

Energy therapies like Reiki and Biofield Tuning work at treating the whole person body, mind, and emotions.  People are starting to think outside of the pillbox – they are sick and tired of being sick and tired and are finding relief and results outside of the traditional model.  I am passionate about helping client’s bodies to remember its own potential for healing itself naturally.
Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Seven years ago, Tammy Schoolcraft’s son was plagued by chronic ear infections and incessant anxiety; she tried every method possible to alleviate his symptoms. Thinking outside the box, she ended up taking him to a Reiki specialist. The outcome was immediate and transformative. While he changed for the positive, she changed, too.

According to the International Association of Reiki Professionals, Reiki is a spiritual healing art with Japanese roots. The word, “Reiki” comes from the Japanese word, “Rei,” which means “universal life” and ki” which means “energy. Not associated with a religion or religious practice, the modality is a subtle and effective form of energy work using guided life force energy. Reiki practitioners believe that everyone has the ability to connect with their own healing energy to strengthen energy within themselves. The goal is to achieve strong and free-flowing “ki” (or “chi”).

Reiki is associated with Mikao Usui who is credited with rediscovering this system, passed down by generations. A session is usually 60-90 minutes. The client can either choose to lie on a table or sit in a chair. The practitioner will apply a light touch or hands-off, holding hands slightly above the body.  The practitioner will go through specific standard Reiki hand positions starting at the head or feet. Reiki can be used for relaxation or stress reduction. It is also used to stimulate healing.

Photo courtesy Tammy Schoolcraft

Photo courtesy Tammy Schoolcraft

“My mom was always very open to feelings…so I was a little open to [things]…not in my realm,” she said. A series of subsequent related experiences changed her more fully, guiding her toward an even more natural philosophy and perspective. At first, it was considered “woo-woo,” she said, as family and friends wondered where her new approach might take her. But, after she began doing energy work on some of these same people, perceptions began to change.

She began studying the technique of Reiki and subsequently became a Reiki Master. In 2016, she took a Medical Reiki Training class which helped combine her previous experiences as a medical billing supervisor and pharmacy technician with her new-found energy work. She also met her future Reiki partner, Miri Klements. Together, they decided to introduce Reiki into the greater Charlotte medical community.

They were first offered the opportunity to bring Reiki to the staff at Mercy Hospital. Later, that summer, they were invited to participate in a pilot program offering Reiki to orthopedic trauma patients as an alternative to opioids at Carolinas Medical Center Main (now, Atrium). Subsequently, they were invited in to Levine Children’s Hospital Inpatient Rehabilitation to work with patients recovering from traumatic and nontraumatic brain injuries.

Most recently, she and her Reiki partner have also begun work at the LCH’s Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant Clinic. To date, they have given over 1,000 treatments to children admitted to that unit. This year, they will again provide Reiki to Levine Children’s Hospital HEMONC/BMT patients.

One year ago, she opened her own office to provide clients with Reiki and to further concentrate on her newest passion -the modality of Biofield Tuning.

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Biofield Tuning, using tuning forks, is based on the principle that everything in the universe is made of vibration. When a body is out of sync or dis-ease, this methodology assumes the body has lost its rhythm. Tuning forks can be used to assist the nervous system and help stimulate the body to heal itself. By addressing the body on a cellular level, it is believed that a combination of sound and energy waves can help heal areas being addressed. Utilizing sound waves, tuning forks produce sound and vibration which engage the nervous system to help revert the effects of stress and increase energy.

“I wasn’t looking for a career, and I don’t [need] to work,” said Tammy. “It just has evolved into something I’ve developed a passion about. It’s something I’ve become so passionate about it’s not work. It’s about being a light for somebody who is trying to make it through their own journey.”

Explaining further, she amplified her belief in her work and the modalities she espouses. “The traditional healthcare model works beautifully for emergencies and treating ‘symptoms,’ but does little for overall continued well being,” Tammy said. “Energy therapies like Reiki and Biofield Tuning work at treating the whole person body, mind, and emotions.  People are starting to think outside of the pillbox – they are sick and tired of being sick and tired and are finding relief and results outside of the traditional model.  I am passionate about helping client’s bodies to remember its own potential for healing itself naturally,” she said. 

In the end, Tammy’s ongoing personal and professional journey toward wholeness and wellness continues to flourish and grow.

“I can’t imagine being without this [work] now,” she concludes.

 Tammy Schoolcraft , Reiki for Wellness, 325 Matthews Mint Hill Road, Matthews.