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Jack Mason’s Tavern & Brewery Spotlight

Two men in business shirts in front of a bar and two female employees behind the bar smile at the camera

As a community bank, we take the time to build strong relationships with the local businesses we serve. Because our roots are here, those relationships are built with our friends and neighbors. Even if they’re new neighbors, we take the time to get to know the people who seek to build something wonderful for our community. We were proud to play a role in Martha Atherholt and Wendy Hudler’s dreams of building a place for members of the community to come and enjoy one another, known today as Jack Mason’s Tavern & Brewery.

Supporting a Community Tavern

en years ago, Martha and Wendy relocated from Phoenix, Arizona with the dream of opening a tavern in the quaint downtown area of Clifton Forge. They saw promise in the area and wanted to be part of its regrowth. After reaching out to Highlands Community Bank to help fund the purchase and renovation of their building space, they worked closely with the team at the Clifton Forge branch to build a trusting relationship that would allow the business to open and flourish.

“We had come to visit while staying with family in Botetourt and noticed that there wasn’t really a place for residents to come, hang out, have a beer, and see their friends,” says Martha. “So the wheels started turning.”

Martha and Wendy wanted to create a gathering place for people and their success shows that they’ve really been embraced by people who live in Clifton Forge as well as visitors who come through. In 2017, they expanded the tavern and opened a brewery just two doors down. As they’ve grown over the years, they’ve taken advantage of the wide variety of business banking features designed to support their growth.

“I love the online banking features,” says Martha. “We don’t need to spend hours balancing our books at the end of the day, we can just sign into our accounts and review everything from there.”

Paying it Forward

From business growth comes community growth. When a business is able to thrive, they then have the opportunity to spread that wealth in the form of new jobs and community outreach. Today, Jack Mason’s Tavern & Brewery provides jobs for 25 people. Martha has also taken the initiative to make sure her employees are set up to manage their finances properly.

“I’ve helped introduce some of our employees to banking and the products that Highlands has to offer beyond a checking account,” says Martha, further demonstrating her trust in the bank. “I wanted to help them establish a relationship with a local bank and show them the advantages of that.”

Because of the warm welcome they’ve received from the community, they also look for ways to give back. Beyond hosting fun events like beer yoga, they always look for opportunities to create a “win-win” for the tavern and the community. With the expansion of the brewery in 2017, they established a 5 cent per pint program that builds a fund with every pint purchased to go directly back to nonprofits in Alleghany County.

“Last year we distributed almost $2,000 back to local community organizations like the humane society, food banks, and women’s shelters,” says Martha.

They also do beer collaborations that are designed to raise additional funds. They’re currently serving a Summer Ale titled “Curtain Call” to raise funds for the Masonic Theatre Preservation foundation.

“Because the theatre is such a pivotal part of our community, we brewed a special beer for them and give 25 cents a pint back to the foundation,” she adds.

Supporting the Side Hustle

Beyond Jack Mason’s, Highlands Community Bank supports the entrepreneurial spirit and handiwork of Martha and Wendy. With an equity line of credit on their property, the duo has begun purchasing and restoring houses in the community as a side project.

“The key for me is the personal touch that they make. They make it easy to just make a phone call and get things done,” says Martha.

If you haven’t gone to visit the friendly faces at Jack Mason’s Tavern & Brewery, we highly suggest trying their loaded potato skins and a pint of your favorite brew!

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