Terry’s Place in Hilden celebrated 50 years over the last weekend in May. Angie Payne (front centre) purchased the business from her parents. She’s joined by her employees, front from left, Jenna Densmore, Payne, and Cordelia Payne. Second row, Susan Eldershaw, Rebecca Rankine, Reagan Arseneau, and Jalysa Shipley.

HILDEN – Struggles, success, love and community were all celebrated last month at Terry’s Place.

Angie Payne spent 34 years working at Terry’s Place having started at the age of 13 when her parents owned and operated it. She celebrated 50 years by inviting the public over the last weekend of May.

“It was really all I knew,” said Payne. “By the time I graduated high school, I didn’t know where I wanted to be or what I wanted to do.”

Upon graduation, Payne enrolled in hotel and restaurant management and gained knowledge and skills that are currently of benefit. She wanted her education to be worth the time, effort and money.

When she told her husband she wanted them to purchase the business, he was reluctant, but Payne wanted it to stay in the family.

“After being here for that many years, it was home.”

She said it wasn’t easy, buying into the business, as restaurants aren’t seen as a guaranteed income. They did a lease-to-own with her parents for five years.

Working at the family business was Payne’s first job, and she had fun. While most 13-year-olds don’t get to work that early in life, she was able to because of the family ownership.

She worked with her parents and siblings, and loved waiting on her friends.

“My favourite thing was meeting the people, and the coworkers I’m lifelong friends with,” she said.

Owning the business, Payne loves going to work daily.

“I never had the ability to call in sick when I wasn’t. I still don’t. That’s where I got good work ethics.”

Over the celebration weekend, it was more than anticipated.

Staff – current and former – was present, and her current staff went above and beyond what they were required to do.

“My parents were here all weekend and the community participated, even if it was just to say hi,” she said, adding many offered to help out.

It was important to host the celebration for many reasons.

“The whole year – it’s not just the 50th anniversary here – but my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. It was to celebrate the start of their life and what they’ve accomplished. I want to give back to them, for what they’ve done for me and their community.

“And it was important for the staff as well. They’ve seen the struggles and the busy times. They’ve seen we’ve survived through good products and work ethics. It’s important to recognize all that.”

Throughout her career spent at the business, Payne said a lot has changed. Debit machines weren’t a thing many years ago, and there are numerous demands on small businesses through licensing, regulations, safety courses, and even fire inspections.

All are a good thing, however can be a large expense and demand on a business owner.

Payne tries to keep all her employees above minimum wage, and she knows people don’t have as much extra money nowadays.

But it’s the customers that keep her going.

“Not so much clients from years past, but their children and even grandchildren.

“We hear a lot of, ‘I remember when,’ especially the young girls. They hear that a lot as well.”