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WNC Business

New Food Truck welcomed to Haywood County

Apr 05, 2023 01:01PM ● By WNC Business
Food Trucks are becoming more and more popular and a new couple to Haywood
County has brought a true gem to the area. Ashley and Jesse Gainey, self-proclaimed
foodies, have followed their dream by opening Sticky 8s food truck in Western North

This path didn’t come too easy for the couple. It took some time for Chef Jesse and wife
Ashley to find their true passion that led to the leap of faith to start their own business.
Their business sense is truly a great combination with Ashley using her management
and business background to focus on the business-side of food truck operations and
Chef Jesse executing his culinary creativity to take his experience as a chef to a new
level creating unique new recipes which now have a rave following.

They were drawn to Haywood like most new residents are – from past vacations to the
area. It’s easy to fall in love with the nature and friendliness of Haywood County. After
holding their wedding in the area, they made the move to WNC to see where the future
would take them!

Like many new businesses, starting a food truck business was not without a few speed
bumps. From finding the right food truck within their budget to seeking funding, Ashley
and Jesse worked with many local resources to the small business support they
needed. After moving to their plan B with their initial food truck choice and some great
work with Mountain BizWorks, the couple was able to exceed their original target to
open in early 2023, officially launching Sticky 8s Food Truck in November 2022.

As part of their new business venture and the research needed, they partnered with
Haywood Community College’s Small Business Center. They worked with Ashley
Swanger on items such as networking opportunities, taxes and financial resources, as
well as structure and guidance sprinkled in with some tried and true Do’s and Don’ts for
new business owners.

“Ashley and Jesse are such a great example of watching Entrepreneurs find a way.
They planned and adapted when things didn’t go quite like they expected. They always
looked for how to make it work. That forward focus and willingness to reach out to
others for support has served them well. They are always looking for how to improve
and know that success depends on the ability to not get stuck on one way to do things”,
shares Ashley Swanger, SBC Director.

Sticky 8s Southern Asian Fusion food brings the best of both worlds together with items
like smoked pork belly sliders with DJ’s pickles, Asian slaw and Korean barbeque
sauce. They are inspired by their favorite venues in culinary hotspots like Charleston,
Savannah, and Columbia who frequently swap out menu items to use the freshest
ingredients. Chef Jesse isn’t one for shortcuts. He explains that, it’s easy for food
preparation to include pre-made or pre-cut items but those types of items won’t bring
the elevated experience he wants his customers to have. “I learned from some of the
best, and it’s important to me to work from scratch with fresh ingredients. It really
makes a difference you can taste.”

This couple has already come a long way after opening their truck in November of 2022.
They have been welcomed to the WNC Food Truck community and Ashley has honed
in on one word for this experience – strategize. Ashley shared a recent experience, “We
attended the We Speak Conference in Cherokee and one of our activities was to pick a
verb that described our work. I picked strategize, because no matter what we are
working on, we are always strategizing.” Ashley and Jesse spend time strategizing not
only their community partnerships but operating efficiencies and menu items as well.

They feel very lucky with the success they have seen in the past four months and can’t
thank their family, friends, and others in our community enough for their support and
desire to help them point in the right direction to help make their dreams a reality.

Photo credit: Michelle Harris

Thinking about starting a business in Haywood County or growing an existing business?
Take advantage of the programs, services and resources provided by the Small Business
Center. The NC Community College’s Small Business Center Network assists in starting an
average of over 600 businesses each year. Small Business Centers have an economic impact
in 90 percent of all NC Counties each year, helping to create and retain nearly 3,000 jobs