"It's really unbelievable how much I learned."
Faye Schultz knew she was taking a leap when she opened Mrs. Lacy's Magnolia House & Tea Room on Carthage Street in Sanford back in 1995. Faye had spent most of her adult life as a nurse - first at Central Carolina Hospital and later as an independent contractor - and admits she didn't know the first thing about creating and operating a restaurant.
Yet, a decade-and-a-half later, Faye's restaurant is still flourishing. She attributes much of her success to her time in Central Carolina Community College's Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning (REAL) program. The six-month program helps aspiring entrepreneurs develop business plans and put them into action upon graduation.
"I was already in the process of opening the restaurant when I took the classes," Faye said. "But I felt I needed more knowledge about what I was doing. REAL taught me not just how to develop a business plan, but also all the other things you need to know in business - bringing in extra income, making sure all the numbers match up, and not taking money out of the business for other things. It's really unbelievable how much I learned."
Faye said she still looks to CCCC - and the REAL program specifically - as tools that those in central North Carolina can use to realize success.
"I would recommend it to anyone planning on opening a business," she said. "You need to have a dream first, but you also need to see it on paper. The REAL program teaches you that taking chances is okay, but you need to know the reality as well."