WEST JEFFERSON — Moving from Charlotte to West Jefferson, Mark Watson and Ed Sheehan, owners of West Jefferson Specialty Foods, aim to bring a different type of product to Ashe County, offering a twist on gourmet products.
Watson said he and Sheehan are enjoying the new venture for one main reason.
“It’s the satisfaction of helping others — making them happy and giving them ideas of doing something a little different,” Watson said. “Stepping up a couple notches and entertaining at a different level.”
Self-proclaimed gourmet food purveyors, Watson said he and Sheehan source their products from across the state, country and even overseas. Their goal was to bring something truly unique West Jefferson, where they moved from Charlotte three years ago. Down south, Watson was in real estate and Sheehan worked in finance.
Originally, the pair wanted to own a restaurant, but Watson said they went another route to keep a more preferable schedule.
“We love to entertain,” Watson said. “This allowed us to have a life and go home after 6 p.m. each day.”
Along with gourmet foods, West Jefferson Specialty Foods includes bakeware, dinnerware, table runners, linens and more. Watson said he enjoys helping people plan parties, get togethers among other social events.
“People go, ‘Well, I’m having a dinner. I don’t know what to put together,’” Watson said. “We help them (with tasks such as) putting together a cheese platter or charcuterie board.”
Adding that the business has a little bit of everything, the store has become known for certain gourmet entrees — sent from Raleigh — including chicken pot pies, which West Jefferson Specialty Foods has already sold out of twice.
“The pot pies are delicious,” Watson said. “Everybody has those night where they don’t want to cook — or don’t know how to cook.”
Ashe County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kitty Honeycutt said the store was a beautiful addition to downtown West Jefferson.
“It is a feast for the eyes, as well as the appetite,” Honeycutt said. “It’s a beautiful place. It has very interesting offerings and lots of temptations. It’s a great place to visit.”