She’s 31 years old, a mother of three and now a successful business owner.
Meet Stacey Aman who is celebrating her one year in business at Stacey’s, a Dunn restaurant known for its country cooking, good-sized portions, fair prices and friendly atmosphere.
Aman had always enjoyed being a waitress and had done just that with her mother at a grill in Suttontown. Mom, Ann Johnson, a good cook, would later go to work for Goodwill and Aman went into the health care field, but that was a big disappointment to her. When she told her friend she missed waitressing her friend advised her, “Do what you love.” It was shortly thereafter she received an alert on Facebook that there was a position open at Anna Margaret’s.
So, she returned to waitressing at Anna Margaret’s located at 205 Spring Branch Road in Dunn where she saw the business was up for sale, which initially disappointed her. But she got to thinking, “What if I bought it?”
Pat Godwin Sr., one her regular customers, said she came to him for advice. Godwin is a successful industrialist who calls Dunn home and eats at the restaurant usually twice a day.
“She said, ‘Mr. Pat, I’d really like to buy this place.’ I said, ‘Buy it and you’ll make it work with your work ethic,’” Godwin said.
So, she did.
“I had been at Goodwill for 15 years. She called and said the restaurant is up for sale and I said when do you want me to quit this place,” Johnson said.
“I don’t think we missed a beat,” Aman said of the transition from Anna Margaret’s to Stacey’s. “It was always a dream of mine to have a restaurant.
“Look around,” Aman said. “No one is on cellphones. Everybody is talking.”
And her customers are loyal, some even coming three times a day although the business only serves breakfast and lunch. One of the loyalist customers is Bruce Honeycutt. “It’s delicious,” he said.
Aman sells food items you don’t always see in restaurants like rutabagas, side meat, red-eye gravy, brains and eggs, salmon and eggs and liver pudding.
Customer Bobby Altman suggested adding the liver pudding and Aman added it.
When asked what he liked about the restaurant he said, “They will take suggestions from customers.”
“I do try to please them,” Aman said of her customers.
“They’ve got a good breakfast and it’s reasonably priced,” customer Rick Lashmit said, adding the staff keeps the place clean.
Aman said she has good help, like Ashley Woodall and Hayley Dickens, who have been with her since the start. Aman pointed out all three women’s names end in “ey” and all have Lynn as middle names.
“It’s like we were supposed to come together,” Aman said. “They have been my backbone.”
But the best part is the customers.
“Who we see at breakfast is who we see at lunch,” she said.
Another loyal customer is Locke Muse who jokes of Stacey’s, “This is the cheapest way I can get a woman to cook for me.”
Business has picked up for the young entrepreneur who said sales have increased 150 percent in the last year. And on Saturday morning the place is packed.
She said the customers take care of her, from providing anything from light bulbs to landscaping. The customers say Aman and her team take care of them, even going to see them when they are sick.
She said she wouldn’t have returned to work if her three children were still small, but she is glad of her choices. Her three children are Jacob, 7, Faith, 9, and Zachary, 11.