Tucker Tharpe: Local Winston-Salem Difference Maker

In addition to celebrating Winston-Salem natives that have moved on to do significant things outside of Winston, this blog will also celebrate local people who make a difference currently in Winston-Salem. 

“Winston-Salem means everything to me,” said Tucker Tharpe. “Winston is a big part of me as a person. It is beautiful here and I love it.”

Tharpe with Winston Under 40 Award

Tharpe most likely will be the only person I ever blog about that I almost got in a fight with and a fight against (both on the soccer field). He is a very passionate person and his passion (just like mine) always came out on the soccer field. It also bodes well in his line of work as the owner, producer, and talent buyer at The Garage on 7th Street in Winston-Salem (Garage website).

Tharpe purchased the Garage with one of his best friends, Brian Cole, in 2012, and became the sole owner in November of 2015. Along with bringing bands to the popular venue, he also has produced videos for up and coming bands like Must be the Holy Ghost and All Them Witches with the help of Justin Reich.

Tharpe and Cayce

Besides his four years majoring in business administration with a minor in marketing and as a member and captain of the Greensboro College soccer team, Tharpe has always called Winston home. He grew up in Pfafftown, and moved downtown after moving back from Greensboro. Between 2003 and 2012, Tharpe worked two stints with his father’s company, Spevco, and one stint with the Winston-Salem Downtown Partnership as their director of events.

With the help and advice of his dad, Marty, Brian Cole, and the founder of The Garage, Richard Emmett, Tharpe took a risk the second time he left Spevco when he took over The Garage. “I am an overly passionate person in everything I do,” said Tharpe. “Watching a crowd at The Garage enjoy a concert, gives me the same thrill that scoring a  goal in soccer does.”

Tharpe married his long time girlfriend, Cayce, almost three years ago. They currently live downtown, but plan to take their dog (Duke) and cat (Messi) to their first house and yard in Ardmore this July. Cayce is an artist and bartender downtown.

Along with his work at The Garage, Tharpe is also the Co-Chair for 88.5 WFDD. He is very involved in the community and charity events through Twin City Santa, Movember, and Family Services of Forsyth County. “If you give to Winston, it will give right back,”said Tharpe.

Tharpe with family

He is also still very close to his family. Marty is still the CEO of Spevco, while his older brother, Tii, is currently the COO. Tharpe was joined by Tii as recipients of the 2015 Winston Under 40 Winners. His mom, Dare Smith Tharpe (co-founder of Spevco), is one of his biggest fans and the two are extremely close. He is also close with Tii’s wife, Jennifer, and their two children, Kyle and Marty.

Below Tharpe answers questions about his favorite things about Winston:

Winston-Salem Questions:


Which Winston-Salem streets have you lived on?
I grew up in Pfafftown on Vienna-Dozier Road. When I was fourteen, we moved to Stone Oaks in Winston. After going to Greensboro College, I moved in with my mom for a year and then I bought a condo at Tar Branch on Marshall in Downtown Winston.

Tharpe with Duke

Why are dachsunds so important to you?
I grew up with dogs and my family has always loved dachsunds. Duke is a lot like me. He is small, doesn’t know how to back down, and he is very loyal. I have never met a dachsund that I didn’t like.

What different Winston-Salem schools did you go to?
I went to Old Richmond through fourth grade, and then to Vienna for fifth grade. I went to Northwest for middle school, and then to Mount Tabor for two years and North Forsyth for two years of high school.

Tharpe at The Garage entrance


What are your top three local Winston-Salem restaurants?
There are so many great places to eat here. I definitely would say Finnegan’s. I love it for its proximity to The Garage, and Opie is just a great guy. I used to love going to the old Staley’s Steakhouse on Reynolda with my dad. I have unbelievably fond memories of going to business meetings with my dad there. A favorite of the bands that come to The Garage is Mooney’s. You can get whatever you want there and it is all very authentic. I think some bands come back into town just to eat there!



If you were on a stranded island and could just have one breakfast for the rest of your life, which would you choose: Moravian sugar cake, Bojangles biscuit, or Krispy Kreme doughnut?
Without a doubt, sugar cake!

Tharpe and I with our trophy of a cooler full of beer after winning an adult soccer tournament together

What is your favorite North Carolina Beach?
The Outer Banks are beautiful. I have the best memories as a child at Sunset Beach with the Flavin family, though. That is the epitome of a family vacation place. It was so quaint. I do love Outer Banks though, every place there is beautiful.

Where is your favorite place in the mountains in North Carolina?
Banner Elk. We have a family home there on Sugar Mountain. Tii and I are avid snowboarders. We have gone there my whole life, and I go every chance I can get there.



If you lived in (Old) Salem in the late 18th century, what do you think your occupation would have been?
I am not very handy so not a carpenter or blacksmith. I feel like I would have had to do something physical though. Some sort of civil service. I would say something with music, but I am not a musician. I don’t think I could have put on rock shows back then.

If there was one restaurant you wish we had in Winston, what would it be?
A twenty-four hour diner in downtown. When I get off at 4:00 in the morning, I just want a crappy cup of coffee and a hearty meal.

Tharpe’s face can be seen on stickers that are shared around the world

What about a retail store?
I would like a camera store with dark-room availability. I call myself a hobby photographer, and I want to be able to go to a place if a camera breaks to get it fixed, without having to wait for something to be shipped to me or buying an all new one.

If there was a musical show you could see from a deceased artist and one from a current artist that have not been to Winston, who would you most want to see?
I can’t help but go straight to David Bowie and Prince. They were both alive during my time, and I will regret not seeing them. They are obviously fresh on my mind, but I can’t think other musicians that have influenced my life more.
For current bands, I would say Cage the Elephant and Queens of the Stone Age. I feel that we could get both of them here, and I wish we did.