CCC&TI Small Business Center Honored for Work with Local Business

HUDSON, NC (December 7, 2022) — When starting a new business, one of the greatest challenges is having the right recipe for success. For Happy Valley Filling Station, that recipe includes locally sourced organic ingredients, a fun atmosphere and assistance from the Small Business Center (SBC) at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute.

The Happy Valley Filling Station, located a few minutes off U.S. 321 in Caldwell County’s scenic Happy Valley, opened in September 2021. After its grand opening, the Small Business Center helped the owners, Jesse Plaster and Angela Postigo, navigate a bumpy start for the popular pizzeria and brewery.

The successful partnership was recently recognized at the state level with a Centers of Excellence Award during the Small Business Center Network’s Professional Development Conference in Asheville on Nov. 17.

From left to right, CCC&TI Small Business Center Director Carmela Tomlinson poses for a photo with the owners of Happy Valley Filling Station, Jesse Plaster and Angela Postigo.

CCC&TI SBC Director Carmela Tomlinson won the “Business Success Story – Overcoming Challenges” award for her support of Happy Valley Filling Station through the SBC. The award recognizes a Small Business Center Director who overcame difficult challenges that resulted in a success story.

“I was thrilled when our name was called as the award recipient,” Tomlinson said. “It was a proud moment to be recognized among all 58 Small Business Centers in the state.”

According to the award nomination, the owners bought the property for the business to keep it from getting scooped up by a big box competitor and decided to open a gathering spot where neighbors could come together and enjoy good food and beverages. But the path to smooth operations got bumpy when one of the partners the owners brought in was unable to perform all the required duties and the owners had to step in to keep the business operating, while working through the partnership issues and legal details.  Throughout it all, the Small Business Center was there to provide helpful guidance and support and will continue to assist the business to ensure operational improvements that will help it remain a community favorite and successful business.

The award is a good reminder of the wealth of resources available to the community through the college, CCC&TI President Dr. Mark Poarch said.

“We’re so proud of the behind-the-scenes work that Carmela does in the communities we serve,” Poarch said. “Not only is she helping encourage entrepreneurship and economic growth through providing vital services to new businesses, but she’s also helping with the retention and growth of jobs for our existing employers.”

Serving both Caldwell and Watauga counties, CCC&TI’s Small Business Center is part of a statewide network of 58 Small Business Centers that support the development of new businesses and the growth of existing businesses by being a community-based provider of training, counseling, and resource information. Its services are free of charge and are offered both online and in-person at the HUB Station, 143 Cedar Valley Rd., Hudson.

For more information about CCC&TI’s Small Business Center, please visit or call 828-726-3065.

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