Go Local: Community-Minded Businesses

Story by Leslie Huffman. Photo by Hal Goodtree.

Cary, NC -When I went looking for Sponsors to help with the Cary Scavenger Hunt, I did not have to go far. When there is an event in Cary, there are certain businesses that often step up to offer services or sponsorship. In this installment of Go Local, we recognize some of the most community-minded businesses in Cary.

With an event like the Cary Scavenger Hunt, which is designed to celebrate all things “Cary”, it is wonderful to see what businesses big and small, come out in support.

Next time you want to go out and try something new, pick one of these establishments. These small businesses truly are some of our best loved places to go. They will become your favorite local spots too! Go where everyone knows your name and GO LOCAL.

Food & Wine

  • The Umstead Hotel & Spa – What national award has our local 5 star, 5 diamond Hotel not won? Award winning chef, one of the top Spas in the country, and uniquely located right here in Cary. This is a special place for all occasions.
  • Bella Mia Coal Fired Pizza – One of my personal favorite places to eat. Family owned and operated by wonderful Cary family, Bella Mia is magnifico! This pizza tastes just like the authentic flavors and simplicity you find in Italy.
  • Sip… a wine store– Organic and sustainable can be just words, but not to April. April, Sip’s owner, is passionate about wine and brings only organically grown wines and beers to her store. We’ve had a wine tasting party at Sip and April not only taught us more about organic wines, she made it fun. Sip is a comfortable place to sit and sip and ask questions. You’ll go home with something delicious.
  • Thai Spices & Sushi – I love this restaurant. The Bento box lunch special is a favorite for me and my “ladies who lunch”. Also, the Preston Roll, Thai basil chicken, and the Pad-Thai are yummy choices as well. The owners of this spot will deliver but I suggest you go in and enjoy the lovely dining room.
  • The Corner Tavern & Grill – This is one of those places that becomes a favorite watering hole. They have drink specials every night of the week, good food and a great patio hang out. Go play some corn hole and have a drink!
  • Great Harvest Bread Co. – Paige and her family do a wonderful job getting out in the community. You will see them at most events and at every school PTA function. They are HUGE supporters of everything Cary. My personal favorites when I go to buy bread are Extreme Cinnamon Swirl, High Protein Fiber Bread, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip and their whole wheat brownies. In a word, yum!
  • The Meat House – If you have not tried their marinated steak tips, you don’t know what you’re missing. Everything these guys carry is amazing. They are not just a butcher shop either, they sell locally brewed beer, baked goods, spices and veggies. Get on their mailing list and you’ll get recipes too.
  • Whole Foods Market – This store supports local and North Carolina farmers as well as local bakers and suppliers. Not only that, but they reach out on a global level too. Stop by to pick up your organic products here or come have lunch. They have wonderful ready made meals, hot or cold.
  • Chick-fil-A, Waverly Place – Have you been to any school event in Wake County where Chick-fil-A is not there? From Koka Booth Amphitheatre to Spring Daze Arts Festival, you can find this Waverly Place store providing their famous chicken sandwiches. Need catering quick? Pick-up the phone and call, they’ll fix you right up.
  • Catering by Design – When we have an event or special occasion we call our friend Greg Lewis. He makes your party seem effortless and delicious! Check out some of his menus and catering options for your next event. Greg will make you look good!
  • The Triangle Food Tour – These folks provided a walking food tour of Downtown Cary to our teams with the lowest scores in the Scavenger Hunt. Apparently our losers need to learn a few things about Cary. And what better way than eating your way through town. Meet local restaurant owners and taste their specialties as you learn more about Cary. What a great idea for a date!
  • Crema Coffee Roaster – Another little family owned spot. They roast all their own coffee right on site and have a wonderful menu of flavorful coffees, teas and other goodies. In my world, coffee is king!


  • Adore Resale Boutique – Nancy, who is my neighbor, is a regular fashionista. She combines high fashion with resale and designed a very chic boutique. If you love fashion but not the price tag, you MUST stop here. I promise, you’ll find something you must have!
  • Garden Supply Company – No one in Cary has a sweeter garden. With everything you need for yours and much much more. Plants, trees, fountains and some of the most beautiful and unique home accessories you can find. They helped my family with a landscape design plan too.
  • JustNeem – What amazing products this small local company produces! Soaps, lotions, and bath products made from the Neem tree, native to India and Pakistan. These products have many beneficial properties. You can buy their products at Whole Foods in Cary. Or check out their website and read their story.
  • Chamber’s Arts Interactive Arts Studio – This art studio has it all. Classes, an open studio, resident artists, musical performances and book signings all happen here. Lynda Chambers supports all things that have to do with the arts. Go in and see what’s happening there this week.
  • Brilliant Sky Toys & Books – I can spend hours in this toy store even without my kids! They carry so many neat products and creative items for the kid in all of us. Funny, the owner Lori and I have mutual friends from West Virgina. It’s a small world. Friends are everywhere. Make a new one today!
  • The Purple Polka Dot – Now this is a cute store with huge Southern hospitality! Owner Kristin, hand paints and designs many items in the store. She also carries items from other local artists. Go find the perfect gift here!
  • Hendrick Fiat – These folks are so cool! They gave us 4 cars for our Scavenger Hunt Teams to drive around in for the day. This little car is cute, sporty, energy efficient and Italian! Drive one today!

Sports, Fitness & Recreation

  • O2 Fitness – O2 has a wonderful facility! Modern and state of the art, they have 100 pieces of cardio equipment and over 50 group exercise classes a week. Go see Manager Steve. He’ll shape you up!
  • Triangle Rock Club – All I can say is, “This place really rocks!”. A very cool hidden fantasy world. Adventurous, competitive, challenging and fun. It can be what ever you want it to be for you, but you have to go and SEE it to believe it. Local folks make this place special while offering up something really unique.
  • SAS ChampionshipIn it’s 11th year, the SAS Championship Golf Tournament is a fantastic event and always held right here in Cary. Not only does this tournament bring many folks to Cary from out-of-town, they have raised over $2.5 million in funds for local charities. If you have never been, you should check this out.


  • Ashworth Drugs & Lunch Counter – A full service pharmacy and an old fashioned lunch counter, but so much more. You will always find Paul or Ralph Ashworth behind the counter ready to help. When my son broke his leg, it was the only place in Cary I could get him a pair of crutches. At the lunch counter, every Weds. & Sat., you can get 2 hot dogs for only $2.75 and it’s the only place you can get a real old-fashioned ice cream float.
  • Frantz Automotive – Owned and operated by Don and Lisa Frantz. Both Don and Lisa grew up in Cary. They will give you and your car the personal touches that comes with really knowing your mechanic. Don also serves on the Cary Town Council and is passionate about making Cary great. FYI, Lisa helped me with some of the clues for the Hunt.
  • Wake Tech Community College – If you want to continue your degree or learn a new vocation Wake Tech will help you out. They have a fantastic staff of professors, professionals and classes that make getting a degree easy. They also offer help for small businesses. Check out their Cary campus.
  • Cary Family Dental – Dr. Allen Acton is much loved by his patients. How many dentists can say that! Not only does this office offer state-of-the-art dental care, but they support several different charities. If you or your family need a dentist, look no further.
  • Ultimus – An industry leader in Business Process Management and Workflow software. This Cary company will help your business be more efficient. They were so glad to be out meeting Cary folks during the Scavenger Hunt.
  • The Mathews House – An elegant location for any event. Whether for a wedding or a corporate meeting, they will cater to your liking. The beautiful flower gardens and Southern hospitality will make all your guests feel welcome.
  • 1st Signal Realty –  These folks know Cary and will help you out whether buying or selling your home. They are located right in downtown Cary. Just stop on by and say hello.
  • Yelp! – Do you ever need help trying to decide what to do or where to go in town from that perfect meal or shopping experience? All the folks who use yelp will give their advise. These guys know everything!

If you love Cary like we do, you’ll shop, buy and seek out local products, companies and businesses. Going Local is not just a saying, it’s a way to help our community grow and prosper.


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