Acclaimed North Carolina entrepreneur Neal Hunter recently spoke to Tar Heel business school students and urged these future leaders: “Empower your people, give them a vision, and they’ll take you anywhere you want to go.”
They might not want to go too far, though. There’s rising optimism about North Carolina as a place to do business. A Wells Fargo report says the state’s economy “has clearly shifted into high gear.”
Amid the upbeat outlook, a NerdWallet analysis has determined the best places in the state to start a business.
A few key takeaways from the NerdWallet survey:
Ted Zoller, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, points to Research Triangle Park. Created in 1959, it’s one of the country’s top high-tech research-and-development centers.
The park, Zoller tells NerdWallet, is giving rise to a “robust and deep entrepreneurial stack.”
“We’re on a roll. We definitely are,” Zoller tells NerdWallet. “There’s an emerging entrepreneurial ecosystem that’s just supercharging.”
“A lot of retirement communities are springing up all around the place,” says Moses Acquaah, director of the MBA program at the Bryan School of Business and Economics at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
And North Carolina’s mountains and beach communities, he tells NerdWallet, are a potent draw for tourists.
Half of the top 10 places on the NerdWallet list are towns and cities with fewer than 10,000 residents. Except for the city of Hickory, all of them have fewer than 20,000. Catawba County stands out in the survey, with two cities — Hickory and Conover — in the top 10.
By the way, Wilmington ranked second in a previous NerdWallet study of the best places to start a business in the country. But we’ve ranked it 51st in this North Carolina survey. That’s because the national survey focused specifically on 183 metropolitan areas with a large population.
The survey was based on U.S. Census data covering 121,462 businesses in 115 communities in North Carolina and ranked the communities based on two key metrics.
One was business climate, which made up 65% of the overall score and included the average annual revenue of businesses, the percentage of companies with paid employees and the number of companies per 100 people.
The other metric takes into account the health of the local economy, which made up 35% of the total score. It covered such factors as median annual income, median annual housing costs and the unemployment rate.
The town of Pineville, with just over 7,700 residents, bills itself as the “biggest small town” in the region. The community has its own telecommunications and electric company, as well as recreational facilities and venues, led by Jack Hughes Park. Pineville tops the NerdWallet list with roughly 1,200 businesses recording an impressive average revenue per business of $2.2 million.
Morrisville is in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, a vibrant economic hub where Research Triangle Park, home to many high-tech companies, is located. That’s no doubt a factor in the town’s high ranking in the NerdWallet survey, which shows Morrisville posting an average per-business revenue of $4.6 million, the highest among the communities surveyed. The town has been “a very attractive business address for companies that are growing,” Joan Siefert Rose, president of the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, tells NerdWallet. The Morrisville Chamber of Commerce, which touts the city as the “Heart of the Triangle,” offers a range of services and aid to businesses, including those run through the Morrisville Innovation Foundation.
Nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Mount Airy became famous for its granite quarry and its furniture and textile industries. You get a sense of how the city’s business leaders take pride in their community from the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce website, which features a live webcam feed of downtown and a weather cam from a local TV station. The city of 10,400, which was the hometown of TV star Andy Griffith, has roughly 1,200 businesses that posted average revenue of $1.4 million per company.
Visitors to the city of Hickory’s official website will find the greeting “Welcome to a life well crafted,” a reference to Hickory’s history as a major furniture-making center. At the site for the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce, which covers the city of about 40,000, there’s a special section on furniture shopping. Hickory has more than 5,400 businesses, the highest among the top 10 cities and towns on the NerdWallet survey.
Morehead City is a port town that’s done well by banking on its beautiful beaches and picturesque waterfront district. The town of nearly 9,000 residents in Carteret County bills itself as the “gateway to North Carolina’s Crystal Coast.” Also called the Outer Banks, that 85-mile stretch of coastline includes beaches protected as national parks. The county Chamber of Commerce says its vision is to become “the most desirable location for business and leisure in North Carolina.” Morehead has about 1,400 businesses with a total of nearly $667,000 in average revenue per company.
Fifty miles northwest of Charlotte, Conover has steadily shifted from a heavy focus on manufacturing to more services-oriented industries. In the wake of the 2008 recession, the city got a boost from the Manufacturing Solutions Center, a 30,000-square-foot research, development and testing laboratory, which opened in November 2012. Conover has only 900 businesses, but they boast average revenue per firm of about $1.9 million.
Brevard, with a population of about 7,600, is known for its Land of Waterfalls, a major attraction in Transylvania County. Not surprisingly, tourism and summer camps are big economic drivers, although city and business leaders say they’re pushing for a more diversified economy. Brevard has a little over 1,800 businesses, with average revenue per business of about $288,000.
Aberdeen bills itself as a “quaint little railroad town steeped in history” and is famous for the Aberdeen Carolina & Western Railway, the largest privately held regional freight railroad in North Carolina. The community of about 6,500 residents recently got news that Reliance Packaging, which makes printed bags and rollstock, is expanding its operations in Aberdeen, bringing several dozen new jobs to the small town. Aberdeen has 540 businesses and roughly $1.5 million in average revenue per business, according to the NerdWallet survey. The Moore County Partner in Progress, the region’s economic development organization, has extensive information on Aberdeen’s business community.
Reidsville embraced the slogan “Live simply, think big” to highlight the city’s efforts to diversify its formerly tobacco-dominated economy. It seems the city of 14,360 is succeeding in this as it makes it to the top 10 of the NerdWallet survey. There are a little over 1,000 businesses in Reidsville with average revenue per business of $2.1 million. The Reidsville website has a variety of information on the city’s tourist attractions and its business community.
Wineries, breweries and other tourist attractions draw visitors to Hendersonville. The city, which has a population of 13,233, has a supportive business community, highlighted by the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development. The partnership is based in the city and offers a range of services, including support for small companies. Hendersonville has about 2,300 businesses, with almost $914,000 in average revenue per business.
|Rank||City||Population||Number of businesses||Average revenue per business||Percentage of businesses with paid employees||Businesses per 100 people||Unemployment rate||Overall score|
|56||Kill Devil Hills||6,776||1,124||$365,293||27.40%||16.59||6.4%||40.19|
NerdWallet analyzed communities with a population of more than 5,000 and with 500 or more businesses; we excluded places that lacked data. We calculated the score for each location using the following criteria:
Business climate (65% of the overall score). This was based on three metrics from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey:
Average revenue of businesses (20% of the score) — a higher average contributed to a higher overall score.
Percentage of businesses with paid employees (25% of the score) — a higher percentage contributed to a higher overall score.
Businesses per 100 people (20% of the score) — a higher number contributed to a higher overall score.
Local economic health (35% of the overall score). This was based on three metrics from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey:
Median annual income (10% of the score) — a higher median contributed to a higher overall score.
Median monthly housing costs (10% of the score) — a higher median contributed to a higher overall score.
Unemployment rate (15% of the score) — a lower rate contributed to a higher overall score.
For more information about how to start and run a business, visit NerdWallet’s Small Business Guide. For free, personalized answers to questions about starting and financing your business, visit the Small Business section of NerdWallet’s Ask an Advisor page.
Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital Receives Get With The Guidelines “Target: Stroke Honor Roll” Award
Award demonstrates Hugh Chatham’s commitment to quality care for stroke patients
ELKIN, NC -- Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® “Target: Stroke Honor Roll” Quality Achievement Award at the association’s International Stroke Conference 2015. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment and success ensuring that stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.
Hugh Chatham is one of 500 hospitals to be recognized on the Target: Stroke Honor Roll, among the nearly 1,000 hospitals given quality achievement awards at the conference.
To receive the Target: Stroke Honor Roll award, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. If given intravenously in the first three hours after the start of symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability. Over three months or greater, at least 50 percent of the hospital’s ischemic stroke patients have received tPA within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital.
These quality measures help hospital teams provide the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.
“With a stroke, time lost is brain lost, and this award demonstrates our commitment to ensuring patients receive care based on nationally-recognized clinical guidelines,” said Emily Parks, RN, CCRN, Director of the Hugh Chatham Certified Primary Stroke Center. We are dedicated to improving the quality of stroke care and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines program helps us achieve that goal.”
“We are pleased to recognize Hugh Chatham for their commitment to stroke care,” said Deepak L. Bhatt, M.D., M.P.H., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines steering committee and Executive Director of Interventional Cardiovascular Programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and
Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Studies have shown that hospitals that consistently follow Get With The Guidelines quality improvement measures can reduce length of stay and 30-day readmission rates and reduce disparities in care.”
In addition to the above Target: Stroke award, Hugh Chatham also received Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus recognition. Hospitals receiving Get With The Guidelines Gold Plus awards have achieved 85% or higher compliance with all measures in the most recent period, and 75% or higher compliance with the Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Measures for two or more consecutive years.
Hugh Chatham’s Stroke Medical Director, Dr. Steven Meadows, added, “This recognition is an amazing credit to our team. I could not be more proud of our dedicated staff, under the capable leadership of Emily Parks, whose dedication to our patients and community is beyond compare.”
For providers, Get With The Guidelines–Stroke offers quality-improvement measures, discharge protocols, standing orders and other measurement tools. Providing hospitals with resources and information that make it easier to follow treatment guidelines can help save lives and ultimately reduce overall healthcare costs by lowering readmission rates for stroke patients.
According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the number five cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.
About Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital
Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital has been certified as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center since fall 2011.
About Get With The Guidelines®
Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines has touched the lives of more than 5 million patients since 2001. For more information, visit heart.org/quality or heart.org/QualityMap
Company providing special socks for runners in the Blue Ridge Marathon
Socks aim to keep feet happy
Danielle Staub, email@example.com
POSTED: 10:52 PM EDT Apr 08, 2015 UPDATED: 09:24 AM EDT Apr 09, 2015
Nester Hosiery is partnering with Roanoke Outside and the Blue Ridge Marathon this year to give every runner a pair of Farm to Feet socks in their gear bag
What is so special about these socks?
Longtime runner and owner of By Foot Sports, Jeff Beckelhimer, will not wear any other sock.
"I want a sock that is going to fit nice and snug on my foot. I don't want it to slip around," Beckelhimer said.
He swears by Farm to Feet socks. In any other socks, he says his feet aren't happy.
"I'd get blisters when I didn't need to get blisters. My feet would hurt when they didn't need to hurt," described Jeff Beckelhimer.
Nester Hosiery's 2015 spring sock line, Farm to Feet is not just any old sock. Each stitch is there for a reason
"Our tag line is 100 percent American because we go all the way back to the raw material input and feature the supply chain all the way through," Nester Hosiery President Kelly Nester said.
Production beings by first, knitting the sock.
"That's where the spools of yarn are put on an automated knitting machine. The sock is knitted on a cylinder and then the toe is closed on a toe closer device," Vice President of Marketing, David Petri explains.
"The socks go over and is audited for quality control and then sent to our steam tumbling station which is in a sense a washing station," he continues. "It washes the sock, it cleans it, sets the yarns in the sock so it is sized correctly."
Finally, "A boarding step which takes the sock and lays it out correctly for the type of packaging it's going in," Petri said.
There are four different types of the Farm to Feet socks that Marathon runners will find in their gear bags the morning of the race.
The runners do not have to use the sock that day if they don't want to but so far the feedback from users has been pretty good.
"It's the only socks allowed in our house," Beckelhimer said.
The company says, if your feet feel good, you feel good. But it's not just about finding athletes and businesses to love the sock. For the company, it's also about keeping the manufacturing on U.S. soil. Each sock tells a story and made totally in America.
"We are telling the stories of those companies, of those American manufacturing companies, U.S. manufacturing companies through individuals and their roles as skilled employees at these places," Nester said.
On each packaging, there is a person with a story. The person behind the sock, helped some way in the production.
"All the way back in the beginning and to the American cheap industry ranchers and found different folks that were willing to share their stories with us and really kind of develop the story of U.S. supply," Nester said.
Copyright © 2015, WDBJ7
A historic theater that has been the subject of revitalization talks for years is one step closer to turning that discussion into reality.
Renovation of The Reeves Theater, built in 1941 on Main Street in Elkin, could begin sometime in the next year, said Laura Gaylord, Main Street and community manager for the town of Elkin, thanks in part to a grant of up to $100,000 from the N.C. Department of Commerce.
That $100,000 is just a sliver of the funds needed for the project, which includes restoration of the theater and conversion of some of the space into a café and bar. Turning the Reeves into a venue for regional music and entertainment originally was estimated to total about $700,000, Gaylord said, but added time, unforeseen expenses and inflation could push that total to $1 million.
Gaylord estimates Debbie Carson and Dr. Chris Groner, who formed Historic Reeves LLC and purchased the building for $45,000 in September 2013, have about $500,000 of the necessary funds. They currently are seeking other grants.
The Main Street Solutions Award provided by the state commerce department is expected to fund four full-time positions, each with a $25,000 salary, Gaylord said. Those funds will not be released until the group shows it has the jobs in place.
North Carolina Main Street and Small Town Main Street communities have experienced $2.2 billion in public and private investment and a net gain of more than 19,000 jobs since the inception of the program in 1980, according to the N.C. Department of Commerce.
Gaylord said Carson and Groner hope to bring the Reeves back to its original grandeur with its original blue sign and other salvaged pieces. Renovations are expected to begin next year, she said.
"The Reeves Theater has been a meaningful part of Elkin's history since 1941," Gaylord said. "Many in our community have fond memories of the Reeves and have supported restoration efforts in the past."
Discussions of revitalization have been occurring since the theater closed in 1994. The BB&T across the street offered to purchase the property for demolition to provide additional parking for its employees and patrons, but concerned citizens pulled together donations and purchased the building.
The Reeves Theater LLC was established in 1999, but the theater's new owners could not agree on a final blueprint and, in 2007, they gave the property to a nonprofit group interested in restoring it.
Under that group, the Tri-County Citizens Foundation, numerous events were held to raise sufficient funds to fully restore the theater. Some work was done, including the clearing out of asbestos, theater seats and debris. Beams were replaced and the integrity of the structure was restored.
Once again, progress stalled. Then Carson and Groner purchased the property.
"Once the new owners complete this project, downtown will truly benefit from a dedicated music venue that will feature local music in a setting large enough for crowds, but intimate enough to make the experience special," Gaylord said.
"It will also be wonderful to see the façade restored to its original glory, adding even more historical elegance and charm to our cozy Main Street," she said.
A Main Street Solutions Award also was given to Clinton, in eastern North Carolina, for a restoration project. The $200,000 grant will help the town relocate a restaurant to a historic and currently unoccupied building.
Many people enjoyed seeing Gov. Pat McCrory during a program here Wednesday, but he also asked for something in return: local support for historic tax credits that have benefited this and other communities.
“I’m preaching to the choir right now,” McCrory told an audience of more than 100 people jammed into the McArthur’s on Main restaurant in Mount Airy, where state figures show nine income-producing tax credit projects were completed between 1983 and 2013.
However, historic tax credits that have stimulated private investment and job growth — while also rehabilitating older buildings — expired on Dec. 31 as part of recent budget-reform efforts by the state Legislature.
Gov. McCrory has reinstated those credits in his proposed budget, but approval by the N.C. General Assembly is needed for that to actually occur. In the meantime, he and N.C. Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz have been touring the state to drum up support for this.
“We are here today because of a crisis,” Kluttz told Wednesday’s gathering, one linked not only to preserving older structures in Mount Airy and elsewhere but which has implications for the economy.
Kluttz called historic tax credits “critical” to the state’s recovery. Those credits reduce an investor’s tax liability and serve to provide an incentive for development efforts and make projects easier to finance. In order to qualify, a building targeted for a new use must be on the National Register of Historic Places, the cultural resources secretary said.
“The rehabilitation costs are so high they (developers) are not to be able to do it without these tax credits,” local Main Street Coordinator Lizzie Morrison explained during Wednesday’s program.
“Throughout North Carolina, so many people don’t even know this is happening,” Kluttz said of the major loss posed by phasing out the credits.
“We all need some assistance in these Tier One counties,” Mount Airy businessman Gene Rees, another program speaker who is a developer of numerous projects downtown, said of historic tax credits that help poorer areas of the state compete economically and grow.
Among recent efforts of Rees which were aided by credits were the rehabilitation and reuse of buildings on Market Street constructed in the 1930s that formerly housed a produce company and an egg business.
Additional local examples in which tax credits have aided historic preservation and development include Old North State Winery and Main-Oak Emporium, among others.
Though some view the granting of tax credits as a budget strain due to reducing revenue in state coffers, Rees referred to figures showing that this money is recouped over time through such sources as sales and payroll taxes from new businesses that credits help create.
One local project he cited as an example was undertaken using private investment of $225,969 and a state tax credit of $30,680. That led to sales and payroll tax receipts of $401,743 over a 10-year period.
The overall impact of commercial rehabilitation in downtown Mount Airy in recent years amounts to a sales contribution of $18.1 million and 206 jobs representing a gross payroll of $4.2 million, figures show.
Buildings in downtown Mount Airy now enjoy nearly 100 percent occupancy after a period of decline coinciding with local industry closings. “And that was not by accident,” Rees said.
During his time at the podium, Gov. McCrory referred to a broader role that tax credits play in regional economic development.
“We have to sell the city and the region when we bring jobs,” he said of industry-recruitment activities. Prospects want to see the “living rooms” and the “Main Streets” when they consider which communities to expand to, because quality-of-life issues and community fabric help determine where they and company employees choose to live, McCrory pointed out.
“If you have blight and decay in your ‘living room,’ you’ll have blight and decay in the region,” he added. “You encourage reinvestment block by block.”
McCrory asked those in attendance Wednesday — which included city and county government leaders — to take part in a grassroots effort aimed at restoring the historic tax credits.
This can be done by asking state legislators who serve Surry — Rep. Sarah Stevens and Sen. Shirley Randleman — to support the restoration of those credits through telephone calls, letters and even trips to Raleigh, the governor said.
Yet there is more to the tax credits equation than economics, Secretary Kluttz reminded Wednesday.
“What’s getting lost in this is, this is North Carolina’s history,” she said of the structures preserved along the way using defined guidelines.
“Mount Airy is doing a tremendous job, but it’s not just Mount Airy’s responsibility — the buildings in North Carolina are part of North Carolina’s story.”
After the formal program at McArthur’s on Main, McCrory and his entourage went on a walking tour of local sites that have benefited from historic tax credits — after some socializing with local folks by the governor, who also posed for photographs.
The tour included income-producing properties that recently have taken advantage of the tax credits before their expiration as well as the former Spencer’s Inc. industrial complex acquired by the city government last year.
And local officials hope there will be many more such projects in the future.
“There are success stories downtown,” Morrison, the Main Street coordinator, acknowledged Wednesday.
“We still have stories that are left to tell.”
PILOT MOUNTAIN — Surry Telephone Membership Corporation is expanding its service in Pilot Mountain. The new services will include high band width internet, television, home phone and home security. These services will offer an alternative to the existing providers, Time Warner and Century Link.
Surry Telephone is a local company, operating since 1951. Since joining forces with Piedmont Communications Services in 2004, the company already has overhauled service in Dobson, Elkin and Mount Airy, according to Andy Hull, engineering manager.
With an office in Pilot Mountain, staff are easily accessible, and services in the area are being improved an expanded. “We are all about customer service,” Hull explained.
A remote site was built off West Main Street in the last couple years, according to Hull. Being granted access to install lines took some time. For the past week, crews have been actively installing fiber optic lines along Depot Street. “Fiber optics offer the best service, so whoever has fiber is the winner,” Hull said.
More equipment will be installed in the next couple months allowing service to be available before July, according to Hull. Upgrades throughout Pilot Mountain include areas of Old Highway 52, N.C. 268, Depot Street and Marion Street. For more information about coverage area, contact the office at 336-374-5021.
Diane Blakemore may be reached at 336-368-2222 or on twitter @PilotReporter.
Last updated: February 11. 2015 10:50PM - 124 Views