Cary businesswoman Sheila Ogle has sold the Matthews House, a wedding and event facility that was one of several investments to spark revitalization and growth in downtown Cary.
Ogle said the price of the business is “undisclosed.” Wake County records show the property on West Chatham Street sold for $1.5 million. The new owners are business owner and real estate investor Lila Chung and her daughter-in-law, Sarah Chung.
“You never build a business to keep it forever,” Ogle said. “It was a good time, and I had a good opportunity to turn it over to some people that I think will carry on my vision and continue it as the community has come to know and love it.”
The new owners say they have few plans to change the iconic downtown Greek Revival-style mansion, which was built in 1915, and the associated business.
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They said they will do some minor cosmetic work but will run the business as Ogle did, and potentially will add some marketing, said Sarah Chung. Sarah Chung will be the primary operator, which includes taking over the weddings and other events already scheduled for 2017 and 2018.
“We’re hoping to keep things going just as usual, may grow a little bit,” she said.
Sarah Chung, who moved to the Triangle from Chicago with her husband, Vincent, about three years ago, has a background in event planning and catering. Her mother-in-law, who has lived in Cary for about 40 years, owns Delight Foods Inc., a vegetarian soy food products producer based in Morrisville.
“(Sarah) is young and energetic and has a lot of great ideas for the property or the business moving forward,” Ogle said.
Ogle became interested in selling the business shortly after her husband, Carroll, died in 2014. They had bought the Matthews House about 12 years ago and renovated and redecorated the building. Demand for the space quickly grew, and before long, Ogle was adding a grand ballroom and buying a catering company to create a full-service facility.
Ogle also has owned and operated several other area businesses, including an advertising agency, Media Research Planning and Placement Inc., that she sold in November 2011. She opened the Cary Innovation Center, a small business incubator, the following spring in the same West Chatham Street building that had previously housed her advertising company.
“It’s kind of like raising a child,” she said of business ownership. “The child is born, and you see it grow up, and then it’s time to let it go and be out on its own.”
But Ogle said the sale doesn’t mean the end of her involvement in downtown Cary businesses. She still owns the Cary Innovation Center, where she mentors startup businesses.
“It’s been a really great opportunity for me to stay involved in the business community and, you know, these businesses startups and to propel them along,” she said.
Her commitment to Cary recently was recognized by the town. Ogle, whose South Academy Street residence is often called “The Pink House,” was named the winner of the Town of Cary’s annual Hometown Spirit Award. The award “recognizes community-minded residents who preserve, promote and carry out positive small town community values and traits.”
But when asked if she would ever start another business, Ogle said, “I’m sure if the right opportunity comes along, I would entertain the idea.
“I’m not going to sit idle,” she said. “We’ll put it that way.”
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-829-4845: @KTrogdon