A true Amherst County landmark sits on Route 130 in an unassuming cinderblock building. Well known in the local community—but now a destination for those
from near and far—Woodruff’s Store, Café and Pie Shop has a lengthy history in the county.
Long before Southern Living magazine wrote of the “best apple pie ever” (leading to the little store being featured on national TV), Wyatt Woodruff, a freed slave and Civil War Veteran, opened the first Black-owned business in Amherst County just across the street. The present building has been home to many businesses, and got its start when Walter Woodruff, Wyatt’s son, gifted his son James and wife Mary Fannie $1,000. Built by hand, and with the help of friends in the community, Woodruff’s Store opened in 1952. Now at the helm is fourth-generation Angela “Angie” Scott, who turned her restaurant background into a hometown experience. Today, Woodruff’s remains a little gem that’s rooted in faith, family, and history in the Elon community.
Angie and her siblings, both biological and foster, grew up above her parents’ store. One of her sisters resides with Mama Mary across the street. That sister (her
twin) and Angie’s husband can be found in the shop, working side by side. Mama Mary, before the pandemic, could be found sitting in the café with a friendly smile and words of wisdom for all who entered. These days she is not present in the shop, but continues to be an inspiration and folds each pie box with care.
Psalm 34:8, which states, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him” is stamped on each box. Angie comes from a long line of believers, and credits this heritage of faith with the family’s success. When recalling the moment she decided to take on the family legacy she says, “My great-grandfather, he was a believer; he believed in helping people. And I said, ‘You know what? That would be great if I could carry this on’.” But when the doors reopened in 1998, it was a slow start. Angie persevered by listening to the faith of Mama Mary, reassuring her that everything would be all right.
Over the years, the entire community has found a home at the pie shop. Angie remembers fondly the older crowd that would frequent the shop and stay awhile in
the early days. She says, “During that time, you know, we comforted people. They would come sit with Mama. If they needed a place to come, they would drop in.” Mama Mary had a group of women that came so frequently they earned the nickname the Golden Girls. Now it is the college kids from the nearby universities that frequent the shop. While the shop is carryout-only due to the pandemic, they remain confident that they are blessed.
This little shop plays a big part in the community that they serve—not only through their delicious food, but also through the devotion of the Woodruff family
throughout the years. Angie recalls how many people have come to her with stories of her parents taking care of those in need, giving shelter, or simply offering an ear to listen. When speaking of what is important when starting a business, most people will point to location. However, Woodruff’s has taught us it is not where you are but what you give that will create your legacy.