No one expects things to go perfectly smooth when they are opening a business, but neither would they expect to have their building almost destroyed by a nearby fire before opening and then closed down by a pandemic after being open only 16 days.
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That’s exactly what happened to Brent and Ashlee Moore when they began their quest to open Goose and the Monkey Brew House in the Historic Depot District in Lexington. Some may have thrown in the towel and walked away, but this Reeds community couple kept plugging away, pivoting with every ‘monkey wrench’ thrown their way to find a way to keep going.
Their positive approach is part of the reason the Moore’s business was named the Lexington Area Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year Thursday night at the annual Small Business Awards hosted by Davidson County’s three chambers of commerce and the Davidson-Davie Community College’s Small Business Center at Bull City Ciderworks.
Each chamber — Lexington Area, Northern Davidson and Thomasville – chose a Small Business of the Year from their area, as well as an Emerging Entrepreneur Award recipient. The DDCC Small Business Center selected an Emerging Entrepreneur Award recipient and a Champion of the Year.
“We come from a place of ‘yes’,” said Brent Moore. “Sometimes when you are trying to force things they do not happen. Instead of seeing these things that happened to us as a warning sign, we pivoted and went with the curve. In pivoting we looked for ways to make this happen and make things better.”
First, a fire in December 2017 at the former Lexington Home Brands Plant No. 1 building threatened Goose and the Monkey’s building. The demotion of the building’s ruins delayed the Moore’s opening by about a year.
Then after finally opening on Feb. 29, 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic hit a few days later. All restaurants, breweries, bars and retail were shut down by order of the governor on March 16 to help control the spread of the virus.
Ashlee Moore said while they were disappointed when they had to close for the pandemic, they decided not to let it get them down. They brainstormed ways to still get their small-batch brewed beers to customers, settling on offering their canned beers in a pay, pick-up and take-home model. Customers showed up faithfully, they said.
“Our customers now are really that base that formed when we had to shut down,” she said. “Our customers supported us. They got us through being shut down through June (2020).
Even after the complete shutdown order was lifted, Goose and the Monkey could only open at 50 percent capacity. Not until June 2021, could their brew house that opened February 2020 be open at full capacity.
“COVID taught us that the business plan we had could be tossed out the door,” Brent Moore said. “We just needed to enjoy it. Even when we were closed, we had good times here.”
Ashlee Moore noted they barely knew their staff after being opened only 16 days and closing in March 2020. However, being closed and working together to keep production going and sales happening in an alternate way made them all closer and offered them time to get to know one another without the pressure of being opened full blast.
Joe Wallace, president of the Lexington Area Chamber of Commerce, said the Moores are an example new business owners figuring out how to be successful when several curve balls were thrown their way.
“They are helping the City (of Lexington) further their vision of the Depot District and the development the city wants to have there. Even with a fire delaying their opening and COVID shutting them down, they have still are a No. 1 success.”
Other awards recipients at Thursday’s night’s Small Business Awards ceremony are:
- Lexington Area Chamber of Commerce Emerging Entrepreneur: Antionette Kerr and Kassaundra Shanette Lockhart for opening DavidsonLocal.
- North Davidson Area Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year: Ashley Lay Real Estate/ KW Elite.
- North Davidson Area Chamber of Commerce Emerging Entrepreneur: Jessica and Jordan Kiser for opening Kiser Country Merchantile.
- Thomasville Area Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year: Todd’s Seafood.
- Thomasville Area Chamber of Commerce Emerging Entrepreneur: Annalisa DiPuorto for Elizabeth’s Pizza on West Main.
- Davidson-Davie Community College Small Business Center Champion of the Year: Triad Food & Beverage Coalition founded by Algenon Cash.
- Davidson-Davie Community College Small Business Center Emerging Entrepreneur: Melissa Darr for opening Generational Transitions.
Jill Doss-Raines is The Dispatch trending topics and personality profiles senior reporter and is always looking for tips about businesses and entertainment events, secret and new menu items, and interesting people in Davidson County. Contact me at [email protected] and subscribe to us at the-dispatch.com.