Meet 5 Lake Norman entrepreneurs who are carving a new path

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Sometimes all it takes is one idea, an accident, a hobby, or an itch to create a new business. Meet five Lake Norman entrepreneurs who are carving a new path and embracing the ups and downs of being a business owner.

The Unexpected Entrepreneur

All Abby Kircher wanted was a healthier snack to satisfy her craving for peanut butter.

“Anything I could put peanut butter on I would eat,” says the 17-year-old from Mooresville.

What she didn’t love was the sugar that came with it. Kircher tried the plain nut butters on the market, but they weren’t sweet enough. So last summer, she started experimenting with her own, using only coconut oil and sweetening it with fruit or honey.

“When people tasted it, they raved about it,” says Kircher.

Abby Kircher

Soon she was selling her flavors like Honey Almond, Strawberry Cashew, and Coffee Almond at the farmer’s market. Her favorite is the Date Pecan and the Coconut Cashew. None have more than five ingredients.

Recently, the family bought a commercial kitchen to handle the demand.

Her family and friends are her employees. “They make deliveries. They help make the butter. They help demo the product in the stores,” she says.

Abby’s Better Nut Butters are sold in area Lowe’s Foods, Earth Fare, Healthy Home Market, Reids Fine Foods, and I Love Juice bar. You can also buy them online at www.abbysbutter.com.

“I wanted to be a writer. That’s the path I saw for myself,” says Kircher. “But the way the path is going I’m going to major in business and minor in journalism or English.”

Abby, who is homeschooled, will graduate in May but plans to take a year off to focus on the business. She says, “It never gets old when someone tries it and they love it.”

OnTap

An Asheville vibe is coming to downtown Mooresville. Husband-and-wife team Julie Douglas and Brian Brockwell are preparing to open OnTap, scheduled to be ready in April, in the former Quilter’s Loft location on North Main Street.

The couple has wanted to open a bar for years. “We were driving through downtown Mooresville a few months ago and saw the property for lease,” says Douglas, who fell in love with the building. “We’re trying to retain the integrity of it. We’re looking at converting the original bank vault into a walk-in cooler and keeping as much of the original features as possible.”

OnTap will offer an eclectic and diverse range of beers, showcasing North Carolina’s remarkable selection of craft breweries while supplementing with national favorites.

Julie Douglas and Brian Brockwell

Douglas plans to quit her job in retail operations and focus on OnTap full time. Brockwell, who works as a civilian for the Air Force, will help out when he’s not working. Both have been inspired by the process of building their own business and “the brainstorming of ideas and getting creative around how we can bring an amazing experience to the community and surrounding area,” says Douglas.

“We don’t want to just deliver a chair and a beer. We’re exploring options to bring something a little different and interesting—stay tuned.”

Keep up with the progress on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ontapnc.

A double shot of success

Some people will do anything for a good cup of coffee. Rebecca Younce and Kristin Credle opened their own coffee shop. What the Cup fills the void left in downtown Cornelius by Gabi’s Coffee Shoppe, which closed several years ago. Younce and Credle were regulars at Gabi’s. “We missed having a place to go,” says Younce.

The Cornelius residents also own Gl’amour Beauty Bar just steps from What the Cup at 19915 Jane Crump Lane. “It is very convenient to have both so close together,” says Credle.

That’s important when you are running two businesses.

“Well, let’s just say we both have a lot of late evenings,” says Younce, laughing.

Rebecca Younce and Kristin Credle

Credle adds, “It has been fun for us both training to become baristas and training our team. We have enjoyed the process of learning the business inside and out and are passionate about creating a wonderful place for our customers to visit.”

What the Cup is currently open daily from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., but the women are moving forward with plans to expand hours, adding beer and wine and more food options.

Younce says: “We want to bring a go-to coffee shop with the downtown feel, a place where everybody knows everybody.”

This story originally ran in Lake Norman Magazine.

Photos: Lake Norman Magazine files

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