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winter 2017 IN THIS ISSUE Welcome....................................4 .

Savoring Greensboro.............6 ..

Together with Action Greensboro and Launch Greensboro, the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce serves as Greensboro’s principle economic and community development organization. Our goal is to strategically develop a vibrant community that creates, expands, and attracts business while advancing quality of life for all.

Melissa Wallace makes peanuts. Lee Comer sells food. They make a good team.

Made in Greensboro............9 Brent Wickham spends his days with Technicon Design’s Greensboro branch helping design and create products that most people won’t see for years to come.


a greensboro chamber of commerce publication

Good sports: Swarm, Allegacy promote health and wellness.......10

Publisher Brent Christensen

It was love at first sight for the Greensboro Swarm and Allegacy Federal Credit Union.

Editor/Graphic Designer Megan Mabry Cover Photography by VanderVeen Photographers Advertising Kathleen Donohue

grow is published quarterly by the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce for the distribution to its investors, members, and other interested parties. The publication is written and edited by the Chamber and editorial decisions are made by its staff. The views expressed in grow should not be interpreted as the official policy of the Chamber. The publisher reserves the right to decline advertising considered unsuitable for publication.


Welcome to the first issue of


a greensboro chamber of commerce publication

We’re so glad you’re here! Here at the Greensboro Chamber, we hear all the time from members and from our community the phrases “I didn’t know that about Greenbsoro” and “[insert company here] makes that? I never knew!” With this publication, we are spreading the wealth. Published quarterly, we seek to bring you timely stories and up-to-date information about your Chamber and your community. So the next time you’re in line getting coffee and the barista comments on your awesome jacket from The North Face, you’ll be able to say “Did you know their headquarters is in Greensboro?” Thanks for reading! The staff of the Greensboro Chamber


savoring greensboro

Homegrown flavors hit the road Story by Eddie Huffman

Melissa Wallace makes peanuts. Lee Comer sells food. They make a good team. A couple of Comer’s businesses now sell Wallace’s snacks, thanks to their meeting last year at the Women’s Executive Connection Conference, staged annually by the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce. Wallace and Comer not only have complementary companies, they also have a shared zeal: entrepreneurship. “We started a conversation about her products and I thought that they would be a nice addition to Hush, our speakeasy at Morehead Foundry,” Comer said. “She offered to do a custom label with our branding and to offer packaging colors that matched our concept.” Comer founded the Iron Hen Cafe, Greensboro’s first farm-to-table restaurant, at 908 Cridland Road in

2010, adding a catering component six months later. Her businesses expanded dramatically in 2016: She opened a second Iron Hen location at the Hilton Garden Inn in Asheville, followed by a host of new businesses at the southwestern edge of downtown Greensboro in Morehead Foundry, a warehouse and storage building at 509 S. Edgeworth St. Wallace teamed up with her wife and partner of 26 years, Cheryl Whalen, to turn a hobby into a business in 2014. Hops and Nuts creates snack foods made with and designed to complement beer. Dozens of stores, bars, breweries, wineries, and cideries between Pennsylvania and Texas sell Hops and Nuts products. Working with Comer “opened up another avenue for us,” Wallace said over a French Blonde at Gibb’s Hundred. “My comfort zone is not just pigeonholing into breweries.


So we’re at Southern Season. We’re about to go into 7th Street Market and Common Market in Charlotte. We’re doing some things in Wilmington with their farm stand markets. I love the layered approach, because it keeps it super fresh.” Wallace has never shied away from new challenges. She started her working life as a journalist, and also worked in sports information at UNC-Greensboro and sports event management with Whalen. The couple opened Indigo the Salon 20 years ago. Three years ago they closed Indigo and opened Blueprint the Salon. “Everything we do is family oriented,” Wallace said. “My sister is the master artistic director of the salon, I handle front of the house, Cheryl handles logistics, and Mom handled confirmation calls and running errands and things like that.”

Hops and Nuts grew out of some of the couple’s favorite leisure activities: drinking craft beer and vacationing on Ocracoke Island. They developed a taste for locally roasted redskin peanuts made by Carolina Select Peanuts and sold at Bench Tavern on Lawndale Drive. When a fire and other setbacks forced Kathy McKeithan to shut down Carolina Select, Wallace decided to try creating her own flavored peanuts. McKeithan directed her to the peanut farms of eastern North Carolina, and Wallace bought samples from five different ones en route to Ocracoke in the spring of 2014. There she made a serendipitous discovery. “I went out to check the boiled peanut pot and saw that it was kind of low,” she said. “I thought, ‘Do I walk back to the house and get water? Do I scoop out seawater?’ I happened to have a Bell’s Two Hearted Ale in my hand, so I poured that in. That night, everybody said, ‘What did you do different to the peanuts?’ By the time we got back, we had the recipe for Beer Salt Roasted, Suga Heff and Suga Hops.” At first they just used the recipes for family consumption, but they quickly learned that the peanuts

were a hit with their Lake Jeanette neighbors. That September they ventured into the snack-food business, selling their home-cooked peanuts at a beer festival. Wallace designed the logo and her sister,

Hillary Wallace Talcott, designed the packaging. Wallace got help expanding into a new world of business from the Chamber’s Launch Lab 101 Series. She got support from Joel Bennett, former program director for the Greensboro Partnership Entrepreneur Connection, and Marius Anderson, founder and CEO of Creative Snacks Co. Anderson became a mentor to Wallace: “He said, ‘You’ve got a niche here. Tell me what your goals are. How do you want to grow the company?’” Hops and Nuts has grown steadily over the past two and a half years. The company now manufactures 10 flavors of peanuts designed to pair with various craft beers, wines, and ciders. In November they expanded into craft beer-flavored pretzels they call “brewzels,” with at least one new flavor coming this spring. Wallace praises the leaders who laid the foundation for a more diverse economy and made Greensboro a haven for entrepreneurs like her. “I find that my approach to how we’re growing seems to mimic how Greensboro’s growing,” she said. “It’s multilayered; it’s coming from a lot of different directions.” Comer’s new business efforts are multi-layered, as well. They all fall under the “Fresh. Local. Good.” idea she pioneered with the original Iron Hen Cafe. Morehead Foundry now houses seven businesses. Two are restaurants: Four Flocks and


Larder and Revolution Burger. Hush is a members-only speakeasy. The Baker and the Bean is a bakery. The other three are catering and event centers and services.

“We’re in the process of making that a great location,” she said. “We’re doing our part to draw some attention to the south side of downtown. We’re still finding our way. It’s not as simple as, ‘We’ve opened something new.’ We’re trying to figure out the shared economy: How do you have seven different staffs working together and sharing resources?” An event center in Asheboro, The Cetwick South of Urban, rounds out Comer’s roster. She first started looking at the Morehead Foundry location in 2014 as a site for a new catering kitchen. Site preparation included rezoning, having a street closed, and working out arrangements with the railroad, Comer said. “Downtown Greensboro is primed and ready, and we are happy to be down there,” she said. Want to learn more? Click the logos below!

Photos courtesy of Hops & Nuts and fresh.local.good food group.


BRENT WICKHAM, 45, DESIGN MANAGER Brent Wickham spends his days with Technicon Design’s Greensboro branch helping design and create products that most people won’t see for years to come. Brent, a California native, came to Greensboro in 2013 when Technicon opened an office to support Volvo Trucks. “The whole region has so much potential. There is a great deal of manufacturing already here and the aviation industry is really growing and developing. All this and the great quality of life helps make Greensboro a great place to live and work.” Click here to read the rest of Brent’s story and discover other makers that live right here in Greensboro.

Made in Greensboro celebrates those makers — the entrepreneurs, the artists, the community builders, the next generation of leaders. Made in Greensboro is an initiative of Action Greensboro and the City of Greensboro. All the makers are photographed by Scott Muthersbaugh and Jerry Wolford of Perfecta Visuals.


good sports Baseball and hot dogs go together. So do football and marching bands. But basketball and a credit union? It may not sound like an obvious pairing, but the Greensboro Swarm and Allegacy Federal Credit Union have quickly become a solid team. The 50-year-old financial institution connected with Greensboro’s newest professional sports outfit in 2016.

the Triad, mostly in its home base of Winston-Salem. The company has served Greensboro for more than a decade, with a branch at 3314 Battleground Ave. that opened in 2015. Allegacy plans to open a new financial center here later this year.

“We met the Greensboro Swarm through the Chamber of Commerce at Coffee and Conversation last year,” said Tracy Myers, director of member development with Allegacy. “The main reason we decided to partner is because we share their community platform of health and wellness, and we both believe in doing right for the communities we serve, which includes our volunteerism and our communityengagement efforts.” Allegacy was founded in 1967 and has a number of financial centers in


Story by Eddie Huffman “We are obviously very focused on growth and becoming a major financial services provider in the Triad, and we see Greensboro as one of the fastest-growing markets in the Triad,” said Ashley Kohlrus, chief operations officer for Allegacy. “We want to support our growth and

Greensboro’s growth, and ingrain ourselves in the community of Greensboro.” The Greensboro Swarm was founded in 2016 as a minor league team for the Charlotte Hornets. The Swarm is part of the NBA’s Development League, or D-League, and one of three expansion teams to join the league last year. “We’re very passionate about the market and the community we live in,” said Steve Swetoha, Swarm president. “It’s really important for us to give back – not only personally but professionally. Obviously you see that in our relationship with Allegacy.” Allegacy has worked to support major initiatives in downtown Greensboro, financing renovation of the Old Greensborough Gateway Center and serving as a presenting sponsor with HQ Greensboro, the downtown co-working space. “We’re hosting a lot of wellness Lunch and Learns with HQ and community events with them,” Myers said. “We actually have two of our representatives working out of that space once a month.” Allegacy has been an important sponsor for the Swarm from the beginning. The financial institution served as presenting partner for the Swarm’s opening night on Nov. 12. They will team up March 4 to help battle breast cancer: Allegacy is sponsoring the Swarm’s Breast Cancer Awareness Game against the Grand Rapids Drive, with proceeds going to Susan G. Komen Northwest NC, based in Winston-Salem. “They have agreed to sponsor our first-ever theme night jersey, where our players will be wearing pink jerseys,” Swetoha said. The theme night will be a “win-win” for the Swarm, Allegacy and Susan G. Komen Northwest NC, he said.

“We believe this will open up additional opportunities for other local companies to see the impact that Allegacy is making through us, with Komen,” Swetoha said. “Everyone’s excited. We’ve been talking about this for months, and the jersey just got approved by the NBA this morning.” The Swarm has gotten off to a strong start. The team worked with the Greensboro Coliseum Complex to revamp the old Pavilion building, transforming it into The Fieldhouse. With a seating capacity of 2,200, the facility is about the size of a small college gym. “We wanted to sell around 500 season tickets, and we got to almost 700 this year,” Swetoha said. “We want to sell out every game. We think that’s going to take a little time, but when a third of your building is represented by season ticket holders, that’s a really good start.” Deana Allman, a diehard N.C. State University basketball fan who lives in Greensboro, has attended three Swarm games with her family. She was thrilled when the Swarm acquired former State star Cat Barber, and she enjoys cheering


him and his teammates in person. “Even if you’re on the very back row, you still have a great seat,” she said. “It feels modern and new. I love it.” Allman has taken advantage of social media specials to get discount tickets for every game she has attended. Swarm games combine high-quality professional basketball with entertainment during time-outs and at halftime, she said. “It’s not just the game,” Allman said. “There is constant ear and eye candy going on to keep you focused on the court.” Want to learn more? Click the logos below!

Photos courtesy of the Greensboro Chamber.

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a greensboro chamber of commerce publication

Join us as we grow our community into an even better place to work, live, and play. This new publication seeks to tell the stories that make us proud of our region and our state. Learn how you can be involved today! Contact Kathleen Donohue Director - Member Engagement 336.387.8330

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grow Magazine - March 2017  

Published quarterly, we seek to bring you timely stories and up-to-date information about your Chamber and your community. Vol. 1; Issue #1.

grow Magazine - March 2017  

Published quarterly, we seek to bring you timely stories and up-to-date information about your Chamber and your community. Vol. 1; Issue #1.