Using lessons from corporate life to build a legacy
It started in a dance appreciation class. Randy Wadsworth ’95 admits he signed up because he thought it would be an easy A. Instead, he gained both an appreciation for dance and a new friend in fellow freshman Damion (Dame) Moore ’95. They were both marketing majors and ended up sharing several classes together during their time at UNCG. They became roommates, then fraternity brothers. They shared the goal of graduating and getting corporate jobs, and they both succeeded.
“We both went our separate ways, but we stayed in contact the entire time,” said Wadsworth.
Wadsworth spent twelve years with the Ford Motor Company, living in Mississippi and Tennessee before returning to North Carolina. He then spent seven years with Wells Fargo. Moore spent those years with Nortel Networks, spending a few years living in China and traveling throughout Latin America and Asia. Then, the company hit troubled times.
“I got laid off,” said Moore. “I was fortunate that I received a pretty generous severance package, and I had a choice. I could get back into corporate America and work for someone – which certainly had its advantages – or I could roll the dice on cooking for a living.”
After starting their first restaurant in Durham in 2010, they used their success to open another location in Greensboro, and a Dame’s Express on the campus of Duke University. This year, they opened their first franchise location in Cary. They have also opened a production facility in Mooresville where they create their waffle batter and famous schmears. Their growth has been deliberate, well-planned, and self-funded, with a focus on quality.
“When we started off we had to be self-sufficient, because it was during the mortgage crisis and we couldn’t get a lot of money in terms of loans. We had to be creative in terms of bartering for advertising and those kinds of things,” said Moore. “We relied on our own abilities and skills from day one, even if it meant we had to take baby steps.”
Their love for UNCG is reflected in the name of their company. Hinshaw Holdings is named after the residence hall where they lived. The duo both credit their time in the Bryan School and their corporate experiences for laying the foundation for their current success.
“I loved the Bryan School environment. There were a lot of group projects, great interaction with fellow students, and an open door with faculty. I felt compelled to work hard because I saw the effort of the professors and instructors and because my classmates pushed me.”
– Damion Moore
They duo say that their time in corporate America gave them the skills to understand all aspects of business.
“It really taught me how they organized everything, how they handled their HR, how they protected their company,” said Wadsworth. “I learned all these things from working in corporate America and took that knowledge and brought it to my company. A lot of people look at us like, ‘You have a little chicken joint and you’re trying to run it like a Fortune 500 company?’ But you have to have that kind of confidence to be successful.”
Creating a Legacy
As they’ve built their businesses, they’ve expanded the ways they give back. They recently established a scholarship fund to help Bryan students who need an extra hand with books and expenses.
“Since the day we’ve opened I think we’ve given away more than we’ve actually put in our pockets. We’re high on charity. We have an annual volunteer appreciation event, and do things with domestic violence organizations. The reason we thought of UNCG is, that’s the foundation of it all. That’s where we all started, and we remember,” said Wadsworth.
“We thought about it and said we’ve been blessed, there’s no reason we can’t help a kid who’s coming along who needs books or whatever,” he continued. “We want to leave a legacy for our kids. Once we’re gone, that scholarship will still exist. Our kids will know the true meaning of giving something with a caring heart.”
“We often get asked about our definition of success. It’s not necessarily the number of stores we have or how much money we make. There’s more to it than that. For us, it’s how many jobs we create, what we pay in taxes for the community, and how our people grow and prosper. It’s not just monetizing what we do, it’s how we help other people fulfill their goals.” – Damion Moore