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Ayden Chamber of CommerceMNI ASSOCIATION

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  • Thu, March 09, 2023 11:29 AM | Bailey Harris (Administrator)

    Friday, February 24, 2023, Coltrain Home and Hardware kicked off its Grand Opening with a ceremonial ribbon cutting.  The ceremony started at 4:30 as friends, family, employees, Ayden Chamber representatives, town commissioners, and the Mayor gathered in front the the hardware store. Kona Ice was set up serving snow cones while Sam Jones BBQ and other vendors were handing out samples.  

    Gwendy Yiznitsky, owner of Gwendy's Goodies and Chair of the Ayden Chamber opened the ceremony on behalf of the Chamber by saying, "Thank you (Sarah and Shane Coltrain) for taking the steps to bring your hardware store here to Ayden and making an investment in our community...We feel like you guys are just another piece of the puzzle of what's an amazing downtown for Ayden." 

    Sarah Coltrain, owner of Coltrain Home and Hardware went on to thank everyone for coming out. "Thank you for welcoming our little hardware store into Ayden. We expect to be here for many many years growing together...", said Sarah.   She and her husband Shane, with their staff standing behind them, and their town, friends, and family watching,  went on the cut the ribbon and officially open Coltrain Home and Hardware. 

    Ayden is very excited to have Coltrain Home and Hardware. The staff is helpful, knowledgeable, and friendly. They have more than tools and hardware supplies. Coltrain's carries local honey, seasonings, giftware and more! So stop by, say hello to their bunnies, Mr. Wilson and Scooter, grab a cup of coffee and browse around. I promise they will make you family!

  • Tue, December 13, 2022 4:41 PM | Bailey Harris (Administrator)

         What comes to mind when you think of a Christmas Town? Snow? Presents? The smell of freshly baked gingerbread? Well for the Ayden Chamber we think of STOREFRONTS! Who can resist walking by a twinkling display lights paired with images of Santa, snowmen, candy canes, and ornate Christmas Trees?

         A beautiful and fun Christmas decorated storefront can mean a lot to current and potential customers. It is a chance to lure customers into your store while adding Christmas cheer and a festive site to your community.

         This year the Ayden Chamber held a Christmas Storefront Decoration Contest. The community voted during our Christmas Town in Ayden and Parade of Lights event on December 1, 2022 and voted CAROLINA HEAT MARTIAL ARTS as this years best Christmas Decorated Storefront! Congratulations to them and make sure to stop by and see their decorations!

  • Tue, May 24, 2022 3:43 PM | Anonymous

    On May 7, Welcome Waggin’ Animal Hospital celebrated the grand opening of their new facility with a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by the Ayden Chamber of Commerce.

    While the building may be new, Welcome Waggin’ has been providing veterinarian services for 13 years. It all began with a mobile truck – the Welcome Waggin’.

    “My daddy found it. It was an ambulance that he found in a salvage yard. He retrofitted it and put in cages and a countertop. He fixed it up so we could do surgeries in there,” said Welcome Waggin’ owner and veterinarian Martha Worthington.

    “We did a lot of spay and neuters for rescues.”

    Welcome Waggin’ began by making house calls in Ayden and surrounding areas. As Worthington garnered more patients, the “waggin’” became stationary sitting at her home with clients coming to her.

    While Worthington was still able to meet the needs of all her patients, she desired for a bigger stationary space.

    “I wanted to have separate spaces for dogs and cats, so that we could keep cats calm in the clinic. We have two cat exam rooms and two dog exam rooms. We don’t always manage to keep them separate, but we try to,” Worthington said.

    “We also have an isolation suite now, so that I can isolate sick animals.”

    The new facility also provides a safe space for cats, who are waiting to be adopted.

    “The cat adoption room was very important,” Worthington said.

    “If someone is interested in adopting a cat they can visit our Facebook or they can come in and visit.”

    For the location, Worthington did not have to look far, as Welcome Waggin’ is now siting on her family farm.

    “My family has been here for generations,” Worthington said.

    “I like this area. I like the people here. We work with a lot of rescues, and I like to be close to the rescues. I like that it is rural, so I can serve more people that really need help.”

    The clinic provides services to all animals including cats, dogs, birds, squirrels, chickens, exotic animals and more.  Worthington also provides services to wild animals in need of care and works with rescues to assist. Services include general wellness exams, vaccinations, spay and neuter, x-rays and some emergency services.

    Quality care is guaranteed with Worthington’s passion for helping animals shinning through.

    “I always wanted to be a veterinarian. I never considered anything else. I don’t know why,” Worthington said.

    Her determination to providing quality care at an affordable rate is what inspired Worthington to start Welcome Waggin’ in the first place.

    “I worked at another practice, and I learned a lot there, but I couldn’t make my own decisions. Especially on how to treat animals. There were people who did not have the funding to take care of their animals. I didn’t have the option to give them a discount to help them,” Worthington said.

    “Now that I’m here, I can help in those situations more. I can set my own policies. I just feel more useful when I can make my own policies.”

    Through the years, Worthington has worked with multiple rescue organizations. She desires to continue to provide services and assistance with these organizations.

    “I always loved rescuing cats. I love working with the rescue groups,” Worthington said.

    Worthington desires to provide the best care possible for all her clients and hopes to be able to offer more services in the future.

    “Possibly boarding or grooming or becoming a 24-clinic,” Worthington said, adding she would like to eventually hire another veterinarian.

    “We designed the building with the intention of being able to expand later.”

    She also plans to convert the “waggin” which currently sits stationary into a mobile vaccine station, she said.

    Welcome Waggin’ is located at 949 Old Snow Hill Road. It is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 252-565-3291. 

    Article Credit: Donna Williams

Carolina Heat MArtial Arts

Carolina H.E.A.T. Martial Arts Academy fights to make a difference

Having opened in 2008, Carolina H.E.A.T Martial Arts Academy has proven taekwondo is more than a fighting style. Taekwondo is a discipline used to shape spirit and lives through the use of body and mind. It is a way of bringing people together, enhancing confidence, and creating community. 

“Taekwondo is not just fighting. It’s not just exercise. It is who you are and who you will become,“ said Caroline H.E.A.T. owner Allison Croom.  

“I see and enjoy seeing the confidence taekwondo builds in my students. At their starting point they may have low grades or may not have that many friends. They may lack the confidence to jump up in front of everyone and make their presence known. Taekwondo builds students up and teaches them these life lessons.”

Croom is a fourth-degree taekwondo black belt and knows first hand the impact and importance taekwondo can play in a child’s life. Croom began taekwondo when she was four years old. Through her studies, she built confidence in herself and developed life skills at an early age. 

“When I was a kid, I was very much bullied. I know how that feels and I also want my kids to know there is a way out of that. There is a right way to correct a bully,” Croom said. 

“Fighting is not the answer, but through taekwondo they will learn how to have confidence, stand up for themselves and use their words to tell that person no. You learn that you are special and important. Plus you have the skills and the know-how to protect yourself if you need to.”

Having watched Croom and her younger brother grow and develop through taekwondo, Croom’s parents opened a taekwondo studio under the name Carolina H.E.A.T. Martial Arts Academy in Kinston. 

“As I got older, I started to develop the business side of the dojang. I began to flourish as a business owner,” Croom said. 

This led to Croom opening up her first dojang or taekwondo training academy in Grifton when she was only a senior in high school.

She began with only eight students and would pick the students up after her classes each day, take them to the dojang and instruct them on the practices of taekwondo. 

Croom then had the opportunity to expand from her small dojang into a larger facility in Ayden. The building now houses The Doghouse Tavern, but for several years it served as a safe place for children to learn and develop. 

The business and students thrived, leading way to an even bigger facility. WIthin seven years of relocating to Ayden, Carolina H.E.A.T. moved from Second St. to its location at 249 West 3rd St.

As in the beginning, Carolina H.E.A.T. continues to offer an affordable after school program, weekly classes and a summer camp program for students eager to learn the practice of taekwondo. 

Pick-up from Ayden Elementary, Ayden Middle and Grifton Elementary schools is available and offered by Carolina H.E.A.T. 

Once students arrive at the dojang, they receive homework assistance and tutoring which also help enhance the student’s grades. At four o’clock, and after a snack break, students then begin to train in taekwondo until dismissal at 6 p.m. 

Students also have a chance to participate in a variety of taekwondo tournaments, held from Virginia to South Carolina. This includes the state’s Body Armor State Games in Raleigh, where Carolina H.E.A.T. 's demo team has earned the rank of state champions for the past three years, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic which canceled the tournament for two years.

“We just started our demo team back up. It’s a smaller group of kids that participate in it. They travel doing different performances like breaking boards and a choreographed weapons routine,” Croom said. 

The dojang’s motto “Fighting to Make  A Difference,” is more than nice words for the students. They are words students strive to live for. Before each tournament, students work hard to raise money for fees and costs. All extra funds are then donated to a cause or non-profit chosen by the students. 

“The kids research where they want to donate to. The kids really love picking the organization and want to make a difference.  This passion helps them fight harder to try and raise that money,” Croom said. 

In the past, the students have garnered $600 for the ENC Pet Food Pantry. 

Carolina H.E.A.T. 's summer program also helps expand both mind and body with students partaking in crafts, a multitude of activities and taekwondo training. Students also have the opportunity to participate in weekly field trip activities. In the past, Carolina H.E.A.T.  has taken students to the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher, Asheboro Zoo, WonderWorks in Myrtle Beach and has even participated in a week-long trip to Grandfather Mountains for the older students.

Through their offered programs, Croom has watched students grow, prosper in school and in life, and has watched friendships develop. For her and her students, Carolina H.E.A.T. is more than a training facility or after school option. It’s a second home filled with caring family members. 

“You know that everyone here is your best friend and you have people to talk to and have role models that can help build you up. “I hope that every kid knows that this is their family and that no matter what they are going through they have someone they can talk to and we can work through it together. I hope I can teach them the skills to grow in life and as they go through life and struggles happen they can reflect back on the things I taught them,” Croom said. 

“I hope they can hear me telling them that they can do it and to keep going. I hope they know how proud I am of them that they never quit. I push them very hard here to be a good athlete, good person and good kid. I want them to know that if they did that here, they can do it even when they get older and become an adult.” 

Its training model helps facilitate this familial feeling with students of all levels and ages training together as one. 

“ We put them together on purpose so they can be with each other so they can be with each other and see each other. When you break them up, sometimes they never even know who is in their dojang with them,” Croom said. 

“Here we are very much a tight, close-knit family.”

“The older kids are able to learn how to be leaders and mentors to the younger and beginner kids. Those younger and beginner kids may be nervous coming in. They have the older kids right there and they can watch and learn from them.”

Carolina H.E.A.T. is open Monday through Friday with after school available. Registration for its summer program, weekly taekwondo classes and after school program is available. For more information find Carolina H.E.A.T. on Facebook or call 252-746-0775. 

Carolina H.E.A.T. Martial Arts Academy    

Article and Photo Credit: Donna Williams

Ayden Chamber of CommerceALUMNI ASSOCIATION

Address: 531 W. Third Street, Ayden NC 28513

252-746-2266 ,

Ayden Chamber of Commerce, Inc.

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