A Look Back at 2019, A Most Extraordinary Year at the Saxapahaw General Store

A Look Back at 2019, A Most Extraordinary Year at the Saxapahaw General Store

Hello dear readers from the second decade of the 21st century! I hope that things are going well for you in the future. With only one day left of the decade, it’s fair to say that 2019 was a fantastic and transformative year for the Saxapahaw General Store.

In 2019, we celebrated 10 years as the modern Saxapahaw General Store (after Jeff and Cameron took over the store in 2009 and turned it into a five-star farm-to-table grocery store/restaurant/gas station), we had three General Store weddings, we reached the end of an era as Chef Marybeth Martin left after 13 years, we rolled out a new menu, launched a brand new website and online in-store delivery service, and so much more. We saw new faces and old faces, we saw seasons change, people change, and the store changed along with it to meet the needs of the community. It’s possible that in the 10 years of the Saxapahaw General Store, there wasn’t a year quite like 2019.

Even in Saxapahaw as a whole, we saw a brand new retail space opening up right next to the General Store in April 2019– it started off as Otter & Elk, before changing its name to Freehand Market in October 2019– full of handmade, sustainable and locally made gifts. In spring of this year, Frankie Blackburn and Bill Traynor opened their home to host Saxapahaw’s first regular open mic. This year saw Saturdays in Saxapahaw that were bigger than ever, more events and weddings at the Ballroom and way more vendors and shoppers at the annual Saxapahaw Holiday Market.

Let’s take a tour of some of the many things that made 2019 so fantastic in Saxapahaw…


New Year's feast with collards, cornbread, ham and black eyed peas
Ringing in 2019 with some prosecco
Beautiful January nights at the General Store
Brand new peanut butter making machine!
Heavy snows in December led to high water on the Haw River in January
Beautiful art cards by our very own Katie Cassette
Rainy January days led to some amazing rainbows and sunsets
Limited edition Snow Hands porter by our neighbors at Haw River Farmhouse Ales


Handmade flags from the "My Flag, My Story" Project at the Culture Mill decorate the SGS
The first of several tastings of the year by Mr. and Mrs. Headen, creators of the amazing Himihead Hot Sauce
It was a fantastic Valentine's Day with locally made wine from Iron Gate Winery
Just a tiny motorcycle gang hanging outside the General Store
It's always a fantastic day when families get to reconnect in Saxapahaw.
Jacquie posing with some fantastic new beer and wine we got in in February
We got brand new bulk dispensers in 2019, including bulk coffee among many other things!
Cold February weather is perfect for warm comfort food like this eye of chuck over rice, made with grass-fed beef.


This blood orange pork tenderloin dinner special was a huge hit. Maybe we'll try it again this year!
The first of three SGS weddings was in March, as Deanna and Matt were bound in matrimony.
March is all about green, especially fresh, locally grown greens!
And don't forget the beer, such as this Shenanigans Dry Irish Stout
Jack climbed atop the old bread rack to survey the General Store from a new perspective
Another amazing dinner special from March, the sweet n hot blackened salmon over red beans and rice
More SGS T-shirts and sweatshirts, a new shirt rack and a new sign!
Fresh, locally grown sungold tomatoes are every bit as delicious as they look
Cherry almond cake, made by Emily, one of many wonderful house-made desserts
Oh, and March is when we launched our new menu!


Springtime brings fresh flavors, like the yummy avocadomater!
And spring flowers from Fireside Farm!
April is also the time of year for the kayak giveaway from Haw River Canoe and Kayak!
And who doesn't love loaded mac and cheese? Baked mac n cheese with bacon and jalapenos!
April was the month when we started carrying CBD products, first with these oils from Rock n Roots Farm
And kombucha beer from Unity Vibration!
In April, Saxapahaw saw the first SaxapaHolla open mic!
Spring tomato seedlings from Machaven Farm!
My personal favorite specialty burger of the year, the Eggsplosion. House made egg salad atop a grass-fed burger patty, with house made pickles and local greens.
Sharing watermelon with friends and family is the best!


Warmer weather means it's time for loaded hot dogs and home fries!
Remember that time a customer brought a pet bearded dragon by the store and Palmer made a new friend?
Mother's Day brunch was a huge hit. Definitely doing that again in 2020 and every year.
May brings the Haw River Festival, which ushers in a whole summer of Saturdays in Saxapahaw full of food, music and friendship.
And then there was that time one of the locals, Jeff J, invented his very own blueberry and duck jam pizza. He swears it was delicious.
Oh yeah, it gets pretty busy around here on Saturdays during the spring and summer.
May is when our catering staff goes into full swing for spring weddings.
Like when we had our second Saxapahaw General Store wedding of the year between Maddie and Jake at the Haw River Ballroom!
2019 will be remembered as the year that fish tacos came to the General Store and nothing was ever the same again.
Farm, meet table...Gabby helps local dairy farmer Randy Lewis unload fresh milk


June, and more wedding catering at the Haw River Ballroom. Not to brag, but we're pretty dang good at this catering thing. Been doing it for a while.
Margaret welcoming summer with some beautiful locally grown flowers.
Fathers Day! Yeah, we've got some pretty awesome dads that work here.
Oooh, look at these sunflowers from Fireside Farm!
Summertime is the best time for dining out on our award-winning patio.
We get all kinds of visitors, but that time when an antique car club showed up for weekend brunch, that was pretty fun.
When the weather's right, sometimes you can find Gordon outside on his fiddle.
One of our summer specials, the fresh quinoa salad.
With pollinator gardens all around Saxapahaw, we love our bees. Bees are essential.
Cheerwine, snacks and big sunglasses are essential for summer weekends in Saxapahaw.


In July, we intro'd the Mystery 6-Pack...six surprise beers for just $9.99!
Fresh bouquets straight from our friends at Thistledown Farms
The spaghetti squash mushroom carbonara chicken was a huge hit, and a big dish with lots of summer flavor.
Marybeth was here for 13 years, longer than anyone, even Jeff and Cameron. In July, she moved on from Saxapahaw, but her impact on the General Store will last forever.
So much fresh local corn, we didn't know what to do with all of it, but as the kitchen does, they found lots of creative things to do with it.
Don't forget to stay hydrated! We drank so many bottles of Gerolsteiner in 2019.
Jack enjoying fresh veggies and mac n cheese on a summer evening.
Italian herb roasted pork over summer succotash. It just looks like summer itself.
There really is nothing like those long summer evenings in Saxapahaw.
In the summer of 2019, we introduced our Showtime specials, adding unique dinner specials when we're running the short events menu.


In 2009, journalist Beth Vellquette from the Chapel Hill Herald first told the wider world about the General Store, and in 2019, she came back, and oh how much had changed!
The Saxapahaw paella, made with Prince Edward Island mussels and NC shrimp was a huge summer hit.
Alex from Topia Hemp Farm can't get enough Homeland ice cream.
I don't know how the summer thunderstorms are in the future, but in 2019, they were incredible.
And that time we had a baby lamb visit us at the store? Amber definitely remembers.
In August, local Chris Carter returned from the Outer Banks, where he had been playing the role of Father Martin in The Lost Colony. When he returned, he was ceremoniously welcomed back.
Apple pie plus apple pie beer is the best. Hopefully, Haw River Farmhouse Ales keeps making this one.
Katie and Sam smelling a brand new shipment of locally made essential oils.
In August of 2019, some local farmers began holding weekly meetings at the General Store. How fitting!
And here's the class of 2020 returning for their first week of school at Hawbridge. One day, these kids will rule the world.


In September, we switched our main bread supplier to Ninth Street Bakery in Durham, and to celebrate, we had this giveaway.
Say hello to our 2019 Hawbridge intern, Ema!
Margaret and Britt having a blast serving up General Store gumbo at the 2019 Pittsboro Pepperfest!
Also in September, we started the #dogsofthegeneralstore hashtag on Instagram to keep track of all of the awesome dogs that visit!
This is what makes us a five-star gas station, this herb and parmesan crusted pork chop from Cane Creek Farm, with bruschetta and fresh brussel sprouts.
This kid falling asleep after breakfast was our most liked photo on Facebook of 2019.
Ben on his last day, preparing his last dinner special before he returned to Elon University to finish his education.
Emily made a lot of cakes in 2019, but this one was by far the most photogenic.
Are Saxapahaw sunsets this gorgeous in the future? They were beautiful in 2019.
We hired a bunch of new people at the end of summer 2019, and here are some of them at our new hire orientation.


In October, we officially launched our brand new online ordering! Hundreds of products online with free in-store pickup!
Lots of new friends came to Saxapahaw this year for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.
October 2019 was the biggest month for weddings and wedding catering, and every time we knocked it out of the park!
We went through so many pumpkins in the fall of 2019! Soooo many pumpkins!
Four times a year, local resident Linda Pucci puts out the Saxapahaw Current, a great little newsletter all about Saxapahaw.
October means all kinds of new kinds of beer, like this Saxapahaw Pale Ale from Haw River Farmhouse Ales.
In October, Brack posed with celebrities, both local and international. Here, Brack is posing with David Wimbish, lead singer of local band The Collection, after we made a pizza special just for the band to welcome them home after their first national tour. It was a huge hit.
Or that time when Brack, the biggest WWE fan in all of Saxapahaw, just happened to be here when wrestling legend Sgt Slaughter visited the store! Why did Sgt Slaughter come to the General Store? Because we're freaking awesome is why.
In October, we got ahold of some quail from Cooper-Lasley Farm, and the kitchen worked magic with it, like this braised quail over roasted red pepper and scallion risotto.
And of course...Halloween! Everyone loves dressing up for Halloween!


November is all about baking and cooking, and we did a ton of that in November 2019.
One of our most popular #dogsofsaxapahaw posts came wrapped up, almost ready for Christmas.
The Raleigh News & Observer was working on a documentary on economics, state and national politics reflected on a county-by-county level, and one of the people they chose to speak with in Alamance county was Jeff.
And just look at these carrots grown by our very own Maddie on the farm run by her and her husband at Eat Dirt Farm
The final Saxapahaw General Store wedding of the year was between two of our kitchen royalty, Brack and Emily.
One of our amazing November dinner specials was this pork osso bucco over risotto, topped with gremolata.
Spring and fall are the two big catering times of the year, and here is the catering train, starting at the kitchen, on the way to the Haw River Ballroom for a November wedding.
Maddie with some muscadine and scuppernong juice from Benjamin Vineyards before it's shipped out to a customer for the holidays.
Instead of Black Friday after Thanksgiving, we had Bulk Friday on the Friday before Thanksgiving, offering discounts on much-needed cooking and baking supplies.
The annual Holiday Market down at the Haw River Ballroom featured hundreds of artists and craftspeople, some of which just happened to work at the General Store...


We went ALL OUT for the holidays in 2019. With more arts and crafts than ever, online shipping and we were really just feeling that festive spirit all over the store.
We even came in late one night like a bunch of Christmas elves and re-arranged the entire front area to make it easier to find stuff.
We made all kinds of beautiful gift baskets and gift boxes...
And we had a killer staff Holiday party full of fun and games and gifts and amazing food!
And we made so much pie, cake and cheesecake for the holiday season. This is an almond cake with vanilla cream frosting.
The weather was unseasonably warm, which made for some amazing long winter nights out on the patio.
Jack and Hazel, dressed up for the holidays.
More locally made gift items, these are handmade candles by Deb Jones of Little Bee Drinkwater
And what is the holidays without community? Especially when that community brings cookies to share with everyone!
And then we had brunch... brunch every day, in an end-of-the-year brunch extravaganza, where we served brunch every day until the first week of January and it was glorious.

Thanks to our employees, thanks to our community and thanks to our guests for an amazing 2019. See you next year, in a new decade, we hope it was as much fun as 2019!


The Saxpahaw General Store