393 Café: Mother-Daughter Team Serves up a Side of Kindness

by | Jan 2024

THE OWNERS of 393 Café, Tanya McPherson and her mother, Nadine Simons, wholeheartedly believe, “Good food is all the sweeter when it’s shared with good friends.”

For 25 years McPherson watched her father and stepmother run a successful restaurant in Wisconsin, 25 miles east of Milwaukee. She worked for them throughout high school and while attending Western Kentucky University, allowing her to witness firsthand the value a familyowned restaurant adds to the surrounding community.

“We were the place where all the locals came and gathered,” said McPherson. “The same people came in every day. We were the center of the community.”

After college, McPherson married the love of her life and moved to Hendersonville, closer to her mother and brother.

“Over the past 19 years of living in Hendersonville, we have watched it grow and flourish into the town it is today, but the one thing it still possesses is the small-town feel. Everybody still knows everybody, and locals make it a point to still support locals.”

McPherson comes from a family bursting with entrepreneurs and feels incredibly blessed to wake up each day and work alongside her mother.

“Before we opened, we were always gathering at Mom’s house, and there were always people there. Working together just seemed natural and normal. I get to spend most days with Mom, and our time together will always be a blessing. We have very defined roles. In the beginning, we were there from open to close while we learned our business. Now, she focuses on the dayto-day office work and is generally there only on weekends, while I’m there daily running the operation,” said McPherson.

At the café, old friends gather over comfort food, and new friendships blossom like the rows of yellow daffodils springing up along the roadside. Every day is a clean slate waiting to be filled with great food, new friends, and unforgettable memories.

“Mom and I have watched relationships grow and flourish. The camaraderie that happens each day between the people who come in and our staff gives us the most amazing feeling. Our dedicated team is a huge part of our success. Most staff have been with us for two years or more. Several have been with us for over five years. They build relationships with our customers just as much as Mom and I do, which is amazing! Each day, we are excited to see who is going to come through our door. Maybe a first-timer or one of our regulars. We love that our customers have literally become some of our very best friends.”

After only being open a short time, McPherson began pondering how she could help encourage local public school teachers. “Everything is always about the kids. I thought, ‘What about those who are teaching our kids?’”

This question birthed the idea for their annual teacher swag bags. McPherson created a post on Facebook and pitched the idea. After listening to suggestions about what teachers most commonly purchase for their classrooms using their own money, she tallied up the costs. She asked her mom if they could afford to cover the expenses themselves.

“After creating the post, people began generously donating items and money. We’ve now grown into our sixth year, and the number of people offering to help is overwhelming. The bags get better and better. I’ve even had companies sponsor the gift bags the items go into, which covers a huge expense. Most people in Hendersonville want to help and give back to our community.”

Nine months into their adventure, they began providing a traditional meal to everyone who dines with them on Thanksgiving Day. On average, they provide 250 people with a warm smile and their own instant family.

“I had this feeling that Mom and I could help,” said McPherson. “We’ve been so blessed to enjoy family, friends, and loved ones during Thanksgiving ourselves. Everyone deserves that. Even if it’s only one day, nobody should be alone. It’s truly one of the most rewarding days we have.”

In 2020, when store shelves were empty, the mother-daughter team happily sourced items from their regular distributors to help locals in need. “We never imagined selling 600 rolls of toilet paper in a day. We just did what we did to keep helping people.” GN

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