From Vegan Fare to an Events Venue, Entrepreneur Sharon Gregory has Passion for Creating Community
Jun 30, 2019 11:28AM
● By Kathleen Ganster
Notcho Nocheez spread
Sharon Gregory was used to challenges. She was a female entrepreneur who had started her own business, and when she couldn’t find a venue suited for her professional presentations and training programs, she bought a building, renovating it to fit her needs.
But when Gregory heard “the Big C” as she calls it, it threw her for a loop.
“Like many people, I asked, ‘Why me?’ I had what seemed to be a healthy lifestyle, I took care of myself, I was surprised,” she said.
Gregory was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2014 and almost overnight, she embraced a gluten-free, vegan diet. “I wanted to give myself the best chance of recovery and I believe that includes diet and lifestyle,” the Pine resident said.
And when Gregory embraces something, she really embraces it.
Just like creating her own training and meeting venue, Sigmas Event Center, Gregory not only began eating vegan, but researching and studying the facts and statistics of a holistic cancer management program which included a plant-based diet. As she learned more, she wanted to expand her knowledge even further and enrolled in a year-long program through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Gregory completed the 800-hour program in September 2015 and added holistic coaching to her already impressive resume.
“I started educating and coaching because I really believe in this lifestyle. And since I had the building, I had the perfect space,” she said, referring to Sigmas Event Center located in Shaler.
As a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Gregory worked for years in the corporate world as a practitioner and trainer. In 2001, she decided to start her own company, Hexagon Solutions and Beyond (HexSAB), helping companies and organizations all over the world implement process improvement.
As HexSAB grew, Gregory often struggled finding meeting space that had the technology she needed to conduct her local training and coaching sessions along with other amenities.
“I decided to create my own event center and started looking in the area for a building,” she said.
In 2007, Gregory found what she was looking for in Shaler on Babcock Blvd. and renovated the structure to fit her needs, while considering other corporate groups and social events that could be hosted there. The result is Sigmas Event Center, a facility that has the technology services needed for her own training sessions as well as areas suitable for weddings, showers, anniversaries, birthday parties and professional meetings. There is also space perfect for her own vegan cooking and coaching sessions.
When she became vegan, Gregory realized she missed “cheesy sauces and dips.” Just like creating her own meeting space, Gregory decided to create her own vegan cheesy sauce. After lots of research and experimentation, she came up with an almond-based spread that she loved. And so did others.
“One day I was at a meeting and shared my vegan cheese at lunch and those who tried it told me that I should sell it,” she said.
That took things to a whole new level and after a lot of attempts, Notcho Nocheez spread was born. The product was introduced at the Specialty Food Show in NYC in June of 2016 and is now sold nationally as well as locally.
Gregory named her vegan coaching, nutritional workshops and classes, and her Notcho Nocheez business The Happy Vegan, LLC. In addition to her love of vegan foods and cooking, Gregory has a passion for organic and vegan wines and hosts private and corporate wine tastings.
Though her consulting, business venue, vegan cheese, wine and coaching businesses keep her busy, Gregory also finds time to enjoy her three Japanese Chin dogs and boating with her husband, Dave, who owns Washington’s Landing Marina.
Gregory is also devoted to promoting other local businesses. This summer, she kicked off her Summer Pop-Up Community Thursdays from 3 to 6 p.m., which will be held at Sigmas Event Center.
“We wanted to create an indoor market-type event that would be a lot of fun and offer delicious samples in a welcoming atmosphere to support the community and other local businesses that promote healthy foods,” Gregory said.
The Pop-Ups are slated for Thursdays—July 11, August 8 and September 12—and will feature other local businesses including Shenot Farm, Frankferd Farms, Consider the Lily’s, Pure Grub, and CoreLife Eatery along with Gregory’s own Scout & Cellar wines and Notcho Nocheez.