The Company You Keep

As we celebrate our 30th anniversary as a local, family owned adventure outfitter, we are excited to reach our longtime goal of paying a living wage to our team. We see our employees as our greatest resource and the most valuable investment for the success of our business. We hope to inspire other retailers in our community and across the industry to pursue a living wage and more importantly, to deeply value and treasure their team members.

Cheers to living wage at our staff holiday party at Johnny’s Coffee Shop in Carrboro.

Cheers to living wage at our staff holiday party at Johnny’s Coffee Shop in Carrboro.

When Audrey Townsend and Scott Bertram opened Townsend Bertram & Company in 1988, they envisioned an adventure outfitter dedicated to building community and providing quality jobs. They added "& company" after their last names to recognize their entire staff, customers and brand partners in the outdoor community. And company extends beyond the current staff to all staff throughout time who forever belong to the TB&C family.

Staff holiday party photo circa 1989.

Staff holiday party photo circa 1989.

Today the store is run by Sara Abernethy, Taylor Dansby, and me, Betsy Bertram. What makes this partnership unique is a shared dedication to the incredible staff we feel lucky to get to work with every day. We want to foster their dreams by supporting projects like Transgender inclusion training and bridging the collegiate adventure gap through an organization dedicated to brining outdoor adventure programs to historically black colleges across the South East. We see TB&C as an incubator for creating the change we wish to see in our community, industry, and the world. Valuing team members is the first and most important step any business can take in setting themselves up for longterm success. We hope that TB&C becoming a certified living wage employer inspires other local businesses to invest in their staff.

TB&C is a true family business. In this photo Betsy Bertram, Taylor Dansby, and Sara Abernethy embrace in a group hug with Isla, Rowan and Louis at our holiday staff celebration at Johnny’s.

TB&C is a true family business. In this photo Betsy Bertram, Taylor Dansby, and Sara Abernethy embrace in a group hug with Isla, Rowan and Louis at our holiday staff celebration at Johnny’s.

Bethany Garrison, one of the guides on the sales floor today, captures the impact of a living wage on employees at all levels of the company. "As a college student, I am grateful that our general manger Taylor Dansby has implemented the Orange County Living Wage. TB&C has always done a good job of taking care of its employees because even before this we were getting paid more than minimum wage. This is just taking it to the next level to reward employees for working consistently, doing what we love, and building community." 

To learn more about living wage certification requirements and actions to take to become a certified living wage employer, visit Orange County Living Wage. Living wage is one of many ways to show your team appreciation. In addition to living wage, we offer our team flexible schedules with time built in to get outdoors and do what they love, free weekly yoga, free coffee and kombucha, a dog friendly workspace so they can bring furry friends to work, an open work environment where all feedback is welcome, and most importantly genuine respect. We are endlessly grateful to our team and recognize that without them, the shop would not be what it is today.

The company you keep makes or breaks your company. Invest in you team. Show them you care. When you care, they care. When your team is happy, your customers are happy. Happiness and health are directly correlated both in life and business. Paying living wage is a step in looking at your business holistically, in seeing the happiness of your staff as an indicator of the health of your business.

To learn more about how to build a strong team, explore TB&C Consulting: community minded, sustainability focused coaching for businesses seeking to thrive, grow, and giveback.

PassionBetsy BertramComment