ASHLAND, Va. -- Many people have hit what must feel like their lowest point during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ammie Mines can relate.
While she lost her cafe during the pandemic, she didn't lose her hope. And now, her dreams are coming true.
Mines has a passion for cooking and for decades she dreamed of opening her own restaurant.
But her plans didn't come together seamlessly.
In 2019, she got a taste of the success she's always imagined when she opened a small cafe inside a pawnshop in Mechanicsville.
COVID-19 hit a few months later and she was forced to shut down.
"That really took a toll on me. I found myself at my lowest point, and I get emotional just thinking about it," she said.
Enter Kelly Jackson, Ammie's cousin and now business partner.
"Whatever she needs she knows that I am going to be there," Jackson said. "I don't like to cook, so she stays in the kitchen and I handle the business part."
They signed the lease on their soul food restaurant in December 2020.
Together the pair opened Around the Table, a new restaurant nestled in the corner of an Ashland shopping center.
"First without God, it wouldn't be possible. And second, without my guardian angel Kelly, it wouldn't be possible," Mines said.
Their story serves as an inspiration for others.
"This is about a sense of assurance and devotion where through the darkest night they could see the light. And they kept their eyes on the light rather than cursing the darkness and in many ways in the midst of the darkness they chose to bring light to the darkness rather than to allow the darkness to put their lights out," Pastor John Kinney, Ebenezer Baptist Church, said. "I want to invite all of us to learn from these two women and those who surround them. In the darkness there is light. Choose to bring light to the darkness."
Ammie and Kelly held a soft opening for "Around the Table" last week. The official grand opening is Thursday, April 1. A day that also happens to be Ammie's birthday.