BIZBRIEFS Compiled by Anna Louise Pickens
Rumors Boutique on North Graham Street temporarily closed on March 17, but pivoted to doing business online for two months. While the brick-and-mortar store was closed, co-owner Casey Longyear operated a virtual version of the boutique on Instagram. Prior to COVID-19, Rumors made around $50 through Instagram sales, but Longyear says online sales increased to $600 a day until the store reopened on May 9. The Durham-Chapel Hill area is expected to make one of the “most dynamic recoveries” in the nation after COVID-19, according to a study by Moody’s Analytics. The study shows the area looks promising due to a high degree of educational attainment and low population density, second only to Provo, Utah. Cities and towns such as Durham and Chapel Hill “may well bypass traditional powerhouses” such as New York, Boston and San Francisco in their recovery, according to Adam Kamins, director at Moody’s Analytics. Launch Chapel Hill, spearheaded by director Velvet Nelson, plans to add additional programming over the next 12-18 months and focus on bringing in new sponsors. This summer, in addition to mentoring a new class of 10 startup companies 28
led by UNC students, they will also support an additional four companies that are exclusively focused on problem-solving during COVID-19. The Downtown Chapel Hill Partnership is organizing a campaign to promote and support businesses as they open after COVID-19 closures. Experience Downtown Chapel Hill (XDCH) campaign funds will support financial recovery, community engagement and sanitation resources, and in the future, will provide free events and programs downtown. A tiled mural of people, places and events in Chapel Hill will also be commissioned to represent the town’s diversity and collective resilience. Patrons will be able to purchase a tile to support the effort.
In April, Ravila Gupta stepped down from her position as CEO of the Durham-based Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) to become CEO of Chapel Hill-based
Bagchi Group, which provides business strategy and financial coaching services. Gupta was also nominated to become the next chair of the CED board, which allows her to continue providing guidance to CED. If the nomination is confirmed, Gupta will become board chair on July 1.
NEW ON THE SCENE
ODDCO, an art gallery, gift shop and craft beer retailer in Pittsboro, added an outdoor patio to its storefront in May. The renovation features a new outdoor sound system, garden, tables and steel privacy screen.
calendar spreads and characterbuilding activity pages. Chatham Park donated 17 acres of land to Raleigh-based Thales Academy, making it the first school in Chatham Park. It is slated to open on Thompson Street near Chatham Park in July 2021 for students in kindergarten through third grade for its first year, and adding grades in subsequent years.
MOVEMENT, DEVELOPMENT, ACQUISITIONS
Cultivate What Matters, a lifestyle site guiding its audience toward intentional living, released The Girls Goal Planner, created specifically for girls ages 8 to 13, in May. The planner, created in tandem with child psychologists and developmental experts, is “made to inspire and empower the next generation of women,” according to CEO Lara Casey. The planner includes coloring pages, weekly planning sheets, monthly
In the midst of the global pandemic, UNC Health submitted two separate certificate of need applications to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services in May. The first request was for $10.4 million to add three operating rooms to its Chapel Hill hospital, and the second was for $12 million to add 10 inpatient rehabilitation beds to its Hillsborough location. The state has not yet approved or denied requests. Raymond Management Co., a Wisconsin-based development company, wants to build an