So Long Sarah – Basic Necessities Manager Heads To Charlottesville

BlueRidgeLife™2013 – Photos By Tommy Stafford : Sarah (Leake) Shelton puts up some of her final bottles of wine as manager of Basic Necessities. In just a few days Sarah leaves to start a new chapter in her career at the Melting Pot Restaurant in Charlottesville. Sarah’s time at Basic dates back to April of 1999 when she was just 17 years old.

Nelson County, VA

Back in April 1999, then 17 year old Sarah Leake walked into the doors of Basic Necessities for the first time. It would be the start of her career there, on and off, for a period of 14 years. Fast forward to the end of March 2013 and Sarah Leake Shelton will walk out the doors of Basic Necessities as an employee for the very last time. “Seriously, the friendships will be the big thing about leaving. Even the girls I work with. All of us working here for years. That’ll be hard to walk away from,” Sarah told us late last week parked at the two top table sitting in the front window of Basic. (Known as Basics to the locals)

Sarah’s actually left Basics a couple of times before. Above her last picture with then (Nelson County Life) Publishers, Tommy & Yvette Stafford before she left for Texas in 2007. She returned in under a year to become the manager at Basics until now. She will leave the restaurant for good at the end of March. She began working there at the age of 17 years old in 1999.

“Honestly. I missed it when I was in Texas. The biggest thing I will miss is the customer / friend relationships that I’ve grown. They’re not just customers, they’ve become my friends and a part of my life. That’ll be the big thing that I’ll miss,” Sarah continued.

For us here at Blue Ridge Life, it’s more than just a manager of a restaurant leaving. It’s a longtime friend as well. Most of you that read our web edition or the printed magazine know our kids have essentially grown up there with Sarah.

Basic Necessities Manager Sarah Shelton holding a much younger Peyton Stafford back in the summer of 2011. Sarah became family to not only us but hundreds of customers passing through the doors of the restaurant over 14 years.

It’s a feeling you simply can’t find in many places these days.

Back in 2007 just before leaving for Texas, Sarah started her own baking company. Here she’s at The Nelson Farmers Market in Nellysford chatting it up with Arlene Hueholt (right) who once worked at Basics and is now at Wild Wolf Brewing Company and works events at Veritas Vineyard & Winery.

Sarah says after years and years of driving the long stretch from Albemarle to Nelson, she ready to dial that part back a bit. “I live in Charlottesville. I think that’s the big thing nobody realizes. I love Basics, but my family is in town. For me it’s a company I can grow with. I’ll miss the hometown feeling of this. It’s a career move for me.”

Sarah ia taking a job with Melting Pot in downtown Charlottesville. “I’ll be managing down there and I definitely want people to come see me. I want people from Nelson to come represent!,” Sarah laughingly said as we wrapped up the interview.

In addition to Sarah leaving, Bev Lacey and Keith Dix, (current owners of Basics) announced just last week in their weekly email newsletter, they will be selling the restaurant. “Bev is selling. It will give them more time for retirement and more time to spend with their grandkids and the farm,” Sarah added.

Danny Watson (left) owner of Wintergreen Hardware next door to Basic Necessities and Sarah Shelton in October of 2011 when Tough Mudder was held at Wintergreen Resort.

For us here at BRLM, is it personal? You bet. Sarah’s been a great manager, waitress, surrogate aunt to our kids, and most importantly our friend. We know she’s not going far, but it will be different.

We wish you the best Sarah, break a leg, and do what you do best at Melting Pot. You’ll do very well!

To read more history about Sarah’s time at Basics and in Nelson, click here.


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