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COMING HOME • 336.838.8662


4-19 Assemblaggio! Grande Riserva Blending Trials At Raffaldini Vineyards & Winery

4 Create Your Own Christmas Ornament At Adagio Vineyards

10 Dirty Dancing

At The Walker Center

11 Prohibition Hot Rods & Moonshine Festival At The Yadkin Valley Marketplace

11 The Painted Pig Drawdown At Wilkes Art Gallery

17 Light Up Downtown North Wilkesboro

18 Christmas Tree Lighting Wilkesboro

23-30 A High Country Christmas With Wilkes Playmakers


1 Christmas with Ernie Hasse & Signature Sound At The Walker Center

1-3 A High Country Christmas With Wilkes Playmakers

2 Wilkes County Christmas Parade 2 A Day of Comfort: Music, Soup & Games At McRitchie Winery & Ciderworks

2-10 A Christmas Carol

With Blue Moon Productions

contents Why Wilkes?


Arts & Entertainment


From the Chamber


Food & Flavor


Wilkesboro & North Wilkesboro


Making a Difference


Business Profile


Pet of the Month

Health & Wellness

18 20


{} Love Wilkes


Publisher Mountain Blue Resource Group, LLC Editor in Chief Tara Fitz, M.A. Ed Editor Jason Schneider

Contributing Writers Heather Dean Wilkes Chamber of Commerce Production Design Uncle Jake Media, LLC Art Director Jamie Reeves

Outdoor Life


Print Production Meade Graphics





he year has passed by quickly, and the holidays are upon us. Many of you will be traveling to celebrate with loved ones near and far. And many come home to Wilkes, as our own James Vincent Carol sings in 421 Take Me Home.

This is a season to be grateful for many things: health, traditions, memories, friends, and most of all, our families.

Wilkes is a place rich with history, deep family roots, and a unique sense of pride. The hard work and entrepreneurial culture that pour into our local small businesses continue to be a vital part of the community. Hard times have impacted many in the area, forcing a lot of folks to think of ways to do things differently. Sometimes it’s for survival. Other times for innovation and expansion.

Would there be moonshine and NASCAR, Lowe’s, the Carolina West Wireless Community Commons, or the Downtown North Wilkesboro Partnership without that enterprising spirit?

We at Wilkes Living are proud to offer you the first issue of our magazine. Our goal is to provide another, new platform to support our community—to strengthen it, and to share the stories that inform and inspire not only those who reside here, but those who visit as well. Those who built our community and its businesses, those who keep it going, are our friends and neighbors. They and their families depend on us to shop with and support them. We are happy to be a part of it, and more than happy to spread the word about our beautiful area and its people.

We all love living in Wilkes and are proud to call it home! Sincerely,

LIKE US @ wilkeslivingmagazine



Tara Fitz, M.A. Ed. Publisher & Editor in Chief

Thanksgiving Traditions T

he nostalgia of the holidays brings us closer to friends and family and brings to mind those we miss and those who are no longer with us. We encourage you to celebrate past traditions and create new ones. Here is one we like.



“Every Thanksgiving, we all write down three things we’re thankful for and put them in a hat. Then we pass the hat around the dinner table and everyone has to guess who wrote what!”

Since 1981, I’ve spent every Thanksgiving Day broadcasting a game, and it is one of my favorite days. You can say, ‘Woe is me, I never get to be part of the tradition,’ or you can say, ‘Heck, we’ve got our own tradition, and it’s pretty good.’

John Madden

You may have heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There’s another day you might want to know about: Giving Tuesday. The idea is pretty straightforward. On the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, shoppers take a break from their gift-buying and donate what they can to charity.

Bill Gates

The men and women in the Armed Forces, that’s what I always think about and what I teach my kids about. We’re getting ready to sit down at the table and have Thanksgiving, and there’s people that are not with their families.

Guy Fieri



moved to Wilkes County from Washington, D.C. my senior year of high school. Like many young people, I couldn’t wait to leave. After 7 years away, I came back. This time, I made the effort to find my place and things to do. I became a volunteer at Wilkes Art Gallery. The rest is history.

I finally opened my eyes and saw Wilkes County for what it truly was: A oneof-a-kind, beautiful mountain-arts community!

It blew my mind that I was closed-minded for so long. Now I see it all. This county is so beautiful. I am proud to live here and call it home. I tell people time and time again to move here. If you live here, make the time to rediscover Wilkes. You won’t be sorry!

Felisha Daemer North Wilkesboro, NC


cott and I moved here in 2015 from Spokane, Wash. After 29 years of traveling with the military and corporate moves, we wanted to be closer to family.

Wilkes County has so much to offer. We love the mountains and the people.

Anita and Scott Cranston Boomer, NC

I’m most impressed with the quality and variety of artists represented by the Wilkes Art Gallery—it’s a gem! Everyone should visit and see what they have to offer. We both love the Wilkes YMCA. They offer so much community support; it’s a great place to get involved.

We have a wonderful church home at the Wilkesboro Church of Christ. The members have made us feel right at home. And there’s no end to good places to eat! Being from Texas, I love Tex-Mex and Monte Del Rey is my favorite lunch spot. Scott loves Branciforte, and takes clients there all the time. But Saturday after the YMCA, it’s Dooley’s for lunch! We feel right at home here in Wilkes! 6


Charlotte, NC Richmond, VA Atlanta, GA Charlotte, NC

Richmond, VA Atlanta, GA

90 Miles 290 Miles 300 Miles 90 Miles 290 Miles 300 Miles


Explore Wilkes! By Linda Cheek

President, Wilkes Chamber of Commerce

xplore Wilkes for outdoor adventure, recreation, cultural art and heritage appreciation, vineyard tours, wine tasting, birdwatching, and overall enjoyment of nature’s beauty and wildlife.



Wilkes County hosts numerous indoor and outdoor activities. There are public and state parks for camping, hiking, biking, disc golf, birding, enjoying nature, and wonderful stargazing.

e n j oy t h e g r e at o u t d o o r s Perhaps the crown jewel in Wilkes County is the W. Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir, a 1,475-acre lake with 55 miles of shoreline, seven boat launches, and a marina. W. Kerr Scott has high-quality facilities that include not only the lake, but also 45-miles of nationally recognized mountain bike trails. It also has five swimming beaches and three RV campgrounds with a total of 230 campsites.

go birding Wilkes County now has five birding sites designated by the North Carolina Birding Trail Organization. These sites include the Doughton Park on Blue Ridge Parkway, Stone Mountain State Park, W. Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir, Whippoorwill Academy, and the Yadkin River Greenway.

ta k e a s tayc at i o n Maybe your family would like to be away from home for a few days. Check in at one of our local hotels, cabins, or bed and breakfasts. Cabins in the area feature beautiful views (some have indoor and outdoor Jacuzzis), fishing and swimming areas, canoeing and kayaking, hiking, and horseback riding.

never stop learning Let your family vacation be a learning opportunity. Visit local heritage attractions and sites such as Old Wilkes, Inc. that offers tours of the Wilkes Heritage Museum, Old Wilkes Jail, and the Robert Cleveland House. To hear a hair-raising story about your heritage, be sure to spend an evening attending a candlelight ghost tour. Whippoorwill Academy and Village is fun for everyone, especially shopping at the general store for bamboo pickles. Stone Mountain State Park features historical sites such as the Hutchinson Farm, and Rendezvous Mountain State Education Park showcases a sawmill exhibit, logging trail, and talking trees.

ta k e pa rt i n t h e a rt s

Enjoy the arts while touring the Benjamin F. Long Frescoes located at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, the Wilkes Art Gallery, and the Garden of the Senses. Music can be heard at multiple venues—check the Explore Wilkes website for locations, dates, and times. While driving around in Wilkes, be sure to take a look at the Quilting Trail showcased on area barns—it’s a fantastic way to see your community and enjoy visual arts.

l o c a l f l avo r Tasting wine and the spirits of local distillers while touring vineyards and distilleries will be a highlight of any day. Experience the picturesque gardens, fantastic mountain vistas, and the rippling waters of the streams and rivers as you travel to visit each location. Visit or or Call the Chamber Office 336-838-8662 NOVEMBER & DECEMBER 2017





Lead Change for Wilkes Youth Open Arms of Wilkes adds a “new layer of togetherness” By Heather Dean


n this issue, we talk with Nick Cirillo, one of the founders of Open Arms of Wilkes, a nonprofit organization focused on mentoring and supporting underprivileged youth.

Wilkes Living: Tell us a little about yourself.

Nick Cirillo: I’m a 20-year-old entrepreneur, and was born and raised here in Wilkes County. I went to Wilkes Central High School and also briefly attended Western Carolina University. WL: Why did you choose to stay here in Wilkes to pursue a career?

Nick Cirillo

Parker Ward

Nick: After realizing that I wanted to be learning and earning my chops directly in the work life (following my “flop or fly” life philosophy), I knew I had to drop out of college and get busy!

At that time, Parker (Ward, another founder of Open Arms of Wilkes) had been taking real estate classes and really introduced me to the big role real estate plays as a bedrock of all business and investment. I decided that a small-town is a perfect place for someone like me to work—it is a seemingly less competitive environment, BUT it requires a different kind of commitment and innovative approach.

WL: Tell us about Open Arms of Wilkes. Why did you choose this type of organization? 10


Nick: Open Arms was a result of us deciding that community leaders, young or old, bear the responsibility of stepping up and providing solutions and fixing problems, and—most importantly—that anyone can step up and do it so long as they believe they are a leader.

The idea behind it is that if you want to truly change a community, you must start by educating and enlightening the youth, which inherently provides them with more opportunities. We want the Gen Z kids to grow up and help this county to thrive.

We want to expose them to new things, spanning from creative arts to technology and invite prominent figures from the community to come teach those lessons and be mentors for the kids involved. It takes a village to raise a child, and the organization’s purpose is to create a whole new layer of togetherness for this county.

To learn more about Open Arms of Wilkes, visit

Making a Difference explores the people and organizations in Wilkes County that are changing people’s lives. NOVEMBER & DECEMBER 2017




Therapy of Friendship

“Living our dreams because they gave up theirs.” By Jason Schneider


hat’s the mission statement of The Fallen Outdoors, an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that provides hunting and fishing-related trips for veterans and active duty military.

Friends for Life

North Carolina is part of the organization’s East Coast region. As of October 5, 2017, 398 veterans had participated in a total of 80 trips in the state, says Daniel Reavis.

“Our mission is to take veterans and active duty military into the outdoors and provide recreational therapy,” Reavis says. “If you get a group of veterans together who have never met each other before, within an hour they’re best friends. Sometimes it doesn’t even take that long. You network with everybody, make new friends—that’s what we’re about.” 12



Wilkes County native

Stationed: Jacksonville,FL and Whidbey Island, WA

Aviation Structural Mechanic Petty Officer

Deployments: Japan and Central America.

First Class Aviation Warfare Specialist

“I do miss the brotherhood and camaraderie. The military helped me to be a more responsible person and a better person. It instilled a drive to help people.” He moved back to Wilkes County and now works as a maintenance technician with the Interplex Group.

100% Volunteers Reavis adds that everyone in The Fallen Outdoors—from its founder, Eric Bakken, to those on the local level—is a volunteer. “I work a full-time job, I’ve got a family—two small kids—and do this in my spare time,” he said. Donations are what make the trips for veterans possible, often from businesses that donate a day trip. There are various fundraisers throughout the year, including selling raffle tickets for various items, from rifles to coolers to custom fishing rods. Reavis says he is planning a golf tournament in Wilkes County for next year, and possibly one or two bass tournaments.

A Chance for Everyone

Available trips are posted on the organization’s website and Facebook page (there are two pages, one for veterans and active duty military, another for everyone) and veterans comment on them. From those who commented, the participants are chosen randomly to make it fair for everyone.

Reavis is also helping build a database of email addresses and phone numbers of those who may not have access to social media. “In the western end of the state, there’s a large veteran presence, many of them older, and we’re trying to reach out to those people,” he says.

Giving Back

In the end, The Fallen Outdoors is about letting those who served (and are serving) in the military know they’re not alone. “They volunteered to do something to serve their country,” says Reavis. “Organizations like this give people the opportunity to give back to them.” If you’re interested in donating money, land for hunting or fishing, or other resources, contact Daniel Reavis at Learn more at





indy Holloman always knew she would have an old-fashioned store. After all, she grew up playing in and around the general store her grandfather operated in Gummi Bears are just the beginning. York County, Pa.

I sat down in a red leather chair at a 1950s kitchen table, complete with a checkerboard, with a bag of candy and a bottle Nehi Peach to find out what brought her to our little corner of the world.

When her husband’s job offered him a transfer to the South he took it. So, in 1989, Bob, who grew up in the Tennessee/Kentucky area, moved to Raleigh. Cindy and the girls followed in 1990, after she sold her hair salon and the house. They knew they would be in the South forever, but Behind Every Smile is Something Sweet! Raleigh was just too crowded for their tastes.

After the girls grew up and went on their way, Cindy and Bob started taking long weekends throughout the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia looking for their “forever home.” Cindy decided her old-fashioned store would be a candy emporium after they visited Opie’s in Mt. Airy. They got to know the owners, and in typical North Carolina hospitality, they mentored the Hollomans along the way, from the smallest details to the grandest schemes. Cindy is the official purveyor, and Bob, her trusty sidekick. After Bob retired two years ago, they chose Wilkes County to settle in and to eventually open the store. Wilkes reminded them of their own small town in the foothills, with plenty of countryside and knowing your neighbors. They loved the straight shot to Winston on Highway 421, and the W. Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir, as Bob is an avid fisherman. “The plan was for me to work five more years, and then open a business. But I 14


couldn’t find a job. So, we bumped up our game plan, and everything, everything, started falling into place once that happened. So, here we are, and we love it! People are so gracious, and there’s so much history in this area. “You’d just assume, like I did, that everyone here was from here, but there is such phenomenal diversity. We are really excited to be in the center of the growth and renovations going on in the historic district. We love it in Wilkes, and we love do- Local honey ing this here,” Cindy said. Sweet Smiles is all about spreading love and community spirit. She knew the building had more space than she needed at first, so she reached out to several of the local artisans. Her store showcases various crafts, wares, and artwork. Speaking of reaching out, Sweet Smiles will be putting up a North Pole mailbox for letters to be dropped off for Santa. Cindy said she has already been in touch with the big guy, and he is planning to respond to each letter, and even make an appearance before Christmas. The mailbox will go up after Thanksgiving.

“Not one customer has left here sad. We get to share in the happy moments of life. I think the notion of ‘growing up’ is all a mindset. You get older, sure, but you sometimes have these moments of childlike lucidity where you get to learn something new. And then one day, here we are at Sweet Smiles Candy Store, filling our bellies with Cherry Pops.”

Fudge by the pound

Hand-dipped ice cream

101 West Main Street • Wilkesboro, North Carolina • (336) 990-0599 NOVEMBER & DECEMBER 2017



Relax, we’ve got your back!

Research shows that workplace design does in fact contribute to “innovation and productivity and it can positively contribute to happiness, productivity, and even physical health,” the leader of a global design firm says. The Pencare team has years of combined knowledge and expertise, from large offices to customizing those in people’s homes. Jerry Dameron & Darrell Sparks

Community Ties Originally from Caldwell County, David and Linda Pennell reside in Ashe County, where Linda was born and raised.

Jerry Dameron and Darrell Sparks are life-long Wilkes County residents and community volunteers. Midtown Shopping Plaza • 312 Wilkesboro Avenue • North Wilkesboro, NC (336) 990-0774 • 16



Total Package:

By Jason Schneider

Pencare Total Office offers furniture, office supplies, art and accessories


avid and Linda Pennell started Pencare Total Office in 2010, and in 2015 opened their showroom in Midtown Plaza.

“At that time, Quality Business Services was closing, and we were fortunate to bring on Jerry Dameron, who has over 30 years of experience in the office products industry,” says David Pennell. “Then, in July of that same year, we hired Darrell Sparks, who is also originally from the Wilkes County area and from an early age worked in the office products industry.”

Not Just Paperclips

Pencare Total Office offers office supplies, including ink and toner, and office furniture for all business, education, and healthcare needs, David says, adding that free local delivery of office supplies is available for their customers. Just this week, I had a customer run out of toner at 4 p.m. and was able to have it to her by 10 a.m. the next morning. She knew she could count on us and didn’t have to worry. We appreciate that kind of loyalty.”

David has been in the office products industry for more than 25 years, having started working for a family owned office supply company in the early 1990s. He’s been involved in the industry ever since. They also provide workspace layout and design, providing 2D, 3D, and color renderings. “Sure we have desks, chairs, lamps, and art, but making sure it fits both the room and the client makes a huge difference,” he says with a smile.

Growing Wilkes

“It’s a pleasure serving customers who realize the importance of supporting local businesses and putting back into the community,” says David. “Being able to provide quality products and services to our customers at competitive pricing is a top priority for all of us.”

Pencare Total Office is looking forward to continued growth and providing additional jobs and economic growth for the people in Wilkes County, he adds. NOVEMBER & DECEMBER 2017



Mommy’s Little Minions


By Anita Cranston

Miss Elli and Little Bear are two of the happiest souls you will ever meet.


acquired Elli after our daughter left for college. She is a Coton de Tulear. The breed is from Madagascar and kept the number of rats down on pirate ships! They are happy and fearless—one of their characteristics is that they dance on their back legs.

Around the time our son left for the Navy, Elli had four puppies (with a toy poodle). Our older dog passed away, and we kept one of the puppies (called a Poo-ton), and named him Bear. He is as smart as a poodle and as happy as the Coton … he’s never met a stranger! He’s content to let you stroke his mink-soft fur, or happy to go running with you on a Sunday morning. Bear is that pup everyone wants to touch and take home. Miss Elli and Little Bear are friendly and outgoing. You can often catch them at the Villages of Wilkes Traditional Living, visiting and loving on the residents there.

Every single day I am grateful for these two, as they bring joy to me and to everyone they meet. They are the perfect “child replacement therapy!” 18


Holiday Safety Tips for Pets from Riverview Animal Hospital

Secure, hide or cover electrical cords and electronics.

Use bitter apple spray and encase cords in PVC tubing to deter chewing. Don’t leave Christmas lights unattended.

Pets are attracted to bright light. Pets could easily mistake a string of lights as a toy, which could lead to choking or electrical shock. Beware of decorations.

Be sure to hang delicate ornaments higher on the Christmas tree. Ribbon or tinsel can become lodged in intestines and cause an obstruction. Don’t eat that!

Chocolate, candies, gum, certain peanut butters, onions, garlic, raisins, and grapes can result in life-threatening problems for your pet. Bone can splinter and cause blockages. Greasy and fatty foods can cause gastrointestinal

upset. Aluminum foil and cellophane wrappers can cause vomiting and intestinal blockage. Watch those drinks.

Alcohol can cause a pet to go into a coma possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure. Many seasonal plants are poisonous.

Poinsettias, ivy, holly (berries and leaves), mistletoe, balsam, juniper, cedar, pine, fir, and hibiscus can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and death, depending on the age and size of your pet. Create a safe haven for your pet.

Many pets have an area or room where they feel safe; this is especially important for your pet security during the holidays when strangers and loud noises are often present. Pets need an area where they can retreat if they are scared or overwhelmed.

Follow these safety tips and help your pets enjoy the holidays too!


ANIMAL HOSPITAL Robbins L. Miller, D.V.M. and Sarah E. Miller , D.V.M. 239 Armory Road • North Wilkesboro, NC 28659 Telephone (336) 667-2463 NOVEMBER & DECEMBER 2017


H E A LT H & W E L L N E S S


he holidays can be a joyful time of friends, family, food, and festivities—but they can also be stressful.

Nap breathe walk By Jason Schneider

It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of holiday activities and forget to take a little time to relax and enjoy the beauty of the season. Here are a few tips to help you reduce your Three easy things you can do for your stress and make it health this holiday season through those hectic days.

Take a Power Nap

According to the National Sleep Foundation, a short 20to 30-minute nap can help improve alertness, mood, and performance. But don’t take a nap too late in the day; it can make it difficult to go to sleep at your normal bedtime.

Make sure you have a cool (between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal), quiet, dark place to lie down so you’ll fall asleep faster and make the most of your power nap.

Just Breathe

Taking a few moments to breathe deeply helps shift your focus from stressful thoughts. It’s simple, really: Breathe in slowly, filling your lungs. Let your chest and belly rise as you take in air. Then slowly breathe out through your mouth or nose.

According to Harvard Medical School, deep abdominal breathing can slow the heartbeat and lower blood pressure. Deep breathing promotes a full exchange of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide.

Go for a Walk

Whether you decide to visit a local park or trail, walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise, and can be one of the most enjoyable. No special equipment is needed … and it’s free.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases suggests adults get 150 minutes (or 2 ½ hours) per 20


week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. A brisk 30-minute walk each day will help you reach that goal. And if you can’t walk for 30 minutes at a time, you can break it up into three 10-minute walks. . . giving you even more opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy the sights and sounds of the holidays!

Treat Yourself to a Massage

A massage is often considered the ultimate in relaxation. Aside from reducing stress and muscle tension, massage can also be beneficial for certain medical conditions such as anxiety, headaches, fibromyalgia, and sports injuries, the Mayo Clinic reports. (Be sure to check with your healthcare provider before seeking a massage as medical treatment.)

The American Massage Therapy Association lists on its website 25 reasons to get a massage, among them better sleep, lowering blood pressure, and increasing range of motion. When choosing a massage therapist, the Mayo Clinic suggests asking about their training and experience; if they are certified, licensed, or registered; and cost.

Take some time for yourself this holiday season and enjoy the many benefits of massage.

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE The Wilkes Family and Express YMCAs offer a wide range of programs for the whole community. Here are just a few: • Over 75 Group exercise classes to choose from between the two facilities • Over 25 Water Aerobics classes • Drop-in care on Out-of-School days NEW TO THE Y! • Moving for Better Balance • Adult Weight Loss program • Women’s Self Defense class When you join the Y, you’re joining a nonprofit that works to make our community stronger. Stop by to learn more today. WILKES FAMILY YMCA 1801 YMCA Boulevard Wilkesboro, NC 28697 336 838 3991

WILKES EXPRESS 1218 West Park Drive North Wilkesboro, NC 28659 336 838 2152

Our Mission: Helping people reach their God-given potential in spirit, mind and body. Financial Assistance Available. A United Fund Agency.



H E A LT H & W E L L N E S S : P E R S O N A L F I N A N C E

Talk Finances with

Loved Ones Today


n uncertain future can be a great motivator for putting together a financial plan. Knowing you’re prepared and that your loved ones will be taken care of after you’re gone can provide peace of mind to everyone involved.

While it’s a tough conversation to have, you can’t afford to put it off. In fact, as the boomer generation enters its golden years and is set to bequeath a historic amount of money to younger generations, the time to talk is now.

It’s Not Just You

Discussing financial matters is considered taboo in American culture. While observing that taboo may be polite in a room full of strangers, failing to communicate to your family the rationale behind a fair but inequitable division of assets in your estate planning could do more harm than good. Unfortunately, 80 percent of parents don’t get around to discussing the topic of inheritance with their children.

Start Slow and Keep Going

When children are young, coaching them about the value of money may be enough. Introduce them to your financial advisor to help establish trust early on. As they mature, continue to include them as you meet with your network of professional advisors and go beyond inheritance to discuss the details of your estate plan, including items such as legal documents and long-term care insurance.

By properly managing expectations through a series of conversations over time, you can clear up misconceptions and reduce the level of uncertainty, shock and stress your loved ones will face in the event of the inevitable. Sid Collins, President, has over 25 years experience as a local small business owner and a decade of experience as an independent investment advisor. Clients appreciate his depth-of-knowledge and personalized approach. To schedule a review: 336-990-0160 22


One of North Carolina’s hidden gems!

541 Clubhouse Road • Wilkesboro, NC 28697 Tel: 336-838-3011 • Web:

Whether you are a veteran of success or are just starting to manage your portfolio, we can help.

1226 School Street • Wilkesboro, NC 28697 • 336-990-0160 NOVEMBER & DECEMBER 2017





on’t let the name fool you. Sure, Cook’s Sports has always been a goto for sporting goods and outdoor gear. If you haven’t visited lately, it’s time to come back and check it out. Today, Cook’s blends tradition with modern wisdom. Relationships, knowledgeable staff and great products continue to be a cornerstone for their 70-plus years of success.

Just inside the glass doors, visitors are greeted with a friendly smile and warm hello.

The store covers 30,000 square feet and according to Brook Sloane, buyer for Cook’s, traditional sporting equipment is just part of their business.

“We still offer the things people expect; however, we have learned that people want more than just gear,” she says. “They want the clothing, shoes, and accessories that express the (outdoor) lifestyle.”

One of a Kind Finds: Cool Clothes, Shoes and Accessories

Out of that realization, Sloane says, came Cooks Outfitters. The Outfitters side of the business boasts carefully chosen men’s and women’s lines of clothing and shoes you expect to find at fine retailers and upscale boutiques. Everything they carry has been carefully vetted.

“Quality, originality, popularity, and the product’s story are important to us,” she says. “We are proud to be a leader in the lifestyle store movement on a local level.” Cook’s also offers custom screen-printing, engraving and an entire sales team servicing schools and recreational team uniform and equipment needs.

A Broad Reach

They continue learn and grow, and have expanded the Cook’s brand t-shirts and trucker-style ball caps with seasonal styles. “The internet and tourist traffic has helped us broaden our reach,” Sloane continues. “People now come in and specifically ask when the next Cook’s hat or shirt will be available. They sell out pretty fast.” Cook’s also offers custom screen printing, engraving, and an entire sales team servicing schools and recreational team uniform and equipment needs.



entals R t n e Equipm rvice and Se yaks, a Bikes, K boards now Ski & S

Monday-Friday 8:30 am-6:00 pm

Saturday 8:30 am-5:00 pm


Why Cooks?

“I love shopping with you. I love the unique things such as the jewelry and clothes that you carry. I was able to “Great knowledgeable complete my Christmas shopping with crew! Friendly smiles. If great gifts for everyone in my family. anyone needs quality gear The staff are always very friendly, this is this place to find it.” courteous and helpful! Great store!” “The shopping experience is awesome! One of a kind finds & cool clothes! I bring all my friends & family from out of town to shop there!” “Large variety of sports & adventure clothing, footwear & accessories. Well worth the visit!”



Blaze a Trail! By Tara Fitz

Enjoy the outdoors, get healthy, take a walk


oing for a walk is not only a great way to enjoy the outdoors, it’s good for you—it may lower your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, and it can strengthen your bones and muscles.

Longtime Wilkes resident, Paul Anderson suggests a walk (in fact three walks— Two on the Yadkin River Greenway and one at Cub Creek Park. Stop by Cook’s for the perfect pair of walking shoes, and you’re ready to go!

Short (Less than 1 mile)

Begin at Cub Creek Park, 206 S. Bridge St.,Wilkesboro.

“You have two easy trails to choose from,” says Anderson. “Walk across a footbridge to a nice oval trail that’s about a quarter of a mile, or instead of crossing the bridge, turn more to the right toward the dog park and gardens. ”

From West Main St. in Wilkesboro, go south on S. Bridge St. (the intersection at Wilkes Heritage Museum). Drive to bottom of the hill and turn right into baseball field parking lot.

Medium (About 1 mile) Begin at Brushy Mountain Dental, 1401 Willow Lane, North Wilkesboro. From the Wellness Center Trailhead to the greenway at Brushy Mountain Dental, this part of the greenway starts by walking across the deck of the dental office where there is a great view of the Yadkin River. Follow the trail to the footbridge that crosses the Yadkin, then return for a nice walk of about one mile. Turn south from West D St. in North Wilkesboro, on West Park Dr. at the light. Drive to the end of the road and park behind the YMCA Express.

Long (About 2 miles)

Try the historic Jefferson Turnpike (also known as the Reddies River Trail).

Established 2013 “It’s one of my favorites,” says Anderson. “The trail is a level, unpaved road that follows the Reddies one mile out and one mile back.” From D St. in North Wilkesboro, turn north between Hour Glass Cleaners and Dollar General, onto 13th Street Drive to the end of the street. Park across the street from Riverside Medical. The trail is an unpaved extension of 13th Street. NOVEMBER & DECEMBER 2017


Strengthening the Foundation of the Community By Chelsea Cullen

The Wilkes YMCAs are more than gyms — they’re places of encouragement and opportunity


hen you walk through the doors of the Wilkes Family YMCA or Wilkes Express YMCA, you might get the sense that the Y is not just a normal gym and place to swim. In fact, it’s so much more than that.

Maybe it’s the genuine smile that greets you from the behind the front desk or the gentle encouragement of the wellness staff as you work toward your goals. There is so much more to the Y than you may know.

Helping People Reach Their Potential

“At the Y, our mission is, ‘Helping people reach their God-given potential in spirit, mind and body,’” says Caroline Whitson, Executive Director of the Wilkes YMCAs. “We open our doors to all and work to ensure that all children, adults, seniors and families have access to the life-changing programs of the YMCA.” As a charitable organization, the Y’s cause is strengthening the foundation of community through youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. The Y offers financial assistance through the Open Doors Program thanks to generous donations to the Annual Giving Campaign.

Providing Assistance and Changing Lives

The YMCA’s Annual Giving Campaign provides financial assistance to keep the Y available for kids and families who need it the most. The Y works to ensure everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn grow and thrive at the Y and provides financial assistance so no one is ever turned away due to the inability to pay. 28


Supporting Our Youth In addition to financial assistance, donations to the Y support many important programs. For the first year, the Wilkes YMCAs hosted Bright Beginnings, a program that helps kids feel confident by making their first day of school special. Volunteers take children in need, who have been identified by their school, back to school shopping to purchase a new outfit and new shoes.

The Wilkes YMCAs also send 25 children from Wilkes County to YMCA Camp Hanes for a week that helps them discover who they are and what they can achieve. Donations also fund scholarships for after school care and summer day camp, and LIVESTRONGÂŽ at the YMCA, a program for cancer survivors, water safety lessons for children who would otherwise not have access, as well as other YMCA programs.

Help Us Build a Stronger Community

The Y needs your support! Consider joining, volunteering, or donating at the Wilkes YMCAs. Visit to learn more or stop by either location. You can also visit to learn more about the Y’s Annual Giving Campaign. NOVEMBER & DECEMBER 2017



913 C Street North Wilkesboro, NC 28659 Hours: Tuesday-Friday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Saturday: 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

A place of Beauty, Creativity, Celebration & Community


estled in the beautiful foothills of Western North Carolina, located in the heart of historic downtown North Wilkesboro, Wilkes Art Gallery is a pillar of the community, supporting arts and art education for all ages. Out of town visitors often comment that they are surprised to find a gallery that rivals those found in larger cities! Like any worthwhile project, it started with vision and the action of a few.

Founded in 1962 in the parlor of art patron Annie Winkler’s home, the Wilkes Art Gallery (WAG) has experienced many transformations over the years. Perhaps the most dramatic of these was the 2004 move into the renovated, original North Wilkesboro Post Office building. Today, many fundraising and social events take place at WAG that not only build community, but continues to keep



the original vision thriving. Gallery openings, auction nights and bingo night often draw close to 100 participants.

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls. Pablo Picasso

Exhibits often changed every four to six weeks, depending upon the size, type and artists featured. They include youth art, amateur artists and professional artists.

Classes, Parties and Event-space

Throughout the year art classes for children and adults are offered across the spectrum: clay, drawing, sculpture, pottery, stained glass, and painting. Art parties for groups and organizations and art workshops with special guest artist lectures also occur throughout the year. Summers Art Camps are offered to children in a wide variety of visual arts. The Gallery’s 10,000 square foot facility includes over 3,500 square feet of exhibition space, an education center with a complete ceramics studio, painting and drawing studios, two multi-purpose classrooms, and a Gallery Gift Shop. The Wilkes Art Gallery is also available for parties, weddings and other events. There is a fully equipped kitchen and our main gallery can seat up to 150 people or 250 standing.

Gift Shop

The Wilkes Art Gallery represents a wide variety of local and regional artists. There’s no end to the variety of creativity you might find: One-of-a kind prints, jewelry, pottery, books, food stuffs, baskets, textiles, clothing, stained glass, and much, much more. Gift certificates are available. NOVEMBER & DECEMBER 2017



Aita & Daniels Oil Paintings and Ceramics November 3, 2017 - January 6, 2018

Local award-winning artists

Kevin & Gilda Aita, along with Jacob & Lina Lav Daniels present their art.

see more: &



The Arts & Entertainment section of Wilkes Living 913 C Street North Wilkesboro, NC 28659 336-667-2841

will continue to feature Wilkes Art Gallery, as well as profiles of local artists.

Art exhibits are free & open to the public.




421 Take Me

HOME Bringing people together, supporting local businesses is a focus for local artist James Vincent Carroll


ames Vincent Carroll, an alumnus of North Wilkes High who grew up in the McGrady community, has recently been traveling statewide performing new music from his recently released album, Book of James Chapter 2.

By Heather Dean

“I ain’t sorry for being me, I ain’t sorry for being free, so just take these words from me, I’ve got no apologies.” No Apologies Book of James Chapter 2

This is Carroll’s third, with the previous Book of James Chapter 1 and 421 Take Me Home both being crowd pleasers. Book of James Chapter 2 proves a bit edgier, and authentic. In his online blog, he writes about life experiences that led to his resonating lyrics, especially those of “No Apologies.” In “A Nut Shell View of My Life” (2016), he talks about being bullied in school in a time when teachers and bus drivers were not compelled to protect students.

“Where are those big bad bullies now? I’ve broken free from years of religious fanaticism and I respect all humans in their personal interests and searching for possible origin and purpose. Through it all I refused to be dishonest and I’ve told hard truths to people that deserved nothing less along the way. Stay close to people who lift you up and encourage who and what you authentically are. I have NO regrets because all of this is making me the man I’m still growing to be and 34


I’ve learned self worth, self respect and self confidence as a result.”

For more than 23 years, Carroll has written, recorded, and performed all over the United States, becoming a full-time career musician in 2013 after years of learning what worked and what didn’t work for him in the music industry. He performs his own music, with a dash of some favorite singalong songs across all genres, at 200 to 300 events of all types— including vineyards, wineries, private parties, corporate events, house shows, clubs, restaurants, festivals and more— each year to make his living. Among the repeat venues in Wilkes is an historic building in Downtown North Wilkesboro that now houses The Dispensary Restaurant & Pub. Co-Owner Brad Luty said of Carroll, “We are always excited to host James. It’s nice to have a local perform at home and not be afraid to get back to their roots. He’s got a great following and we always look forward to the show.”

Of his chosen art Carroll said, “I say often that I am ‘not a typical musician’ due to my main desire of bringing people Released May 4, 2016 together with my live shows. I have seen people come together, make lifelong friendships and relationships “I love supporting just by attending my shows over the years, and that businesses who realize continues to be one of the most rewarding parts of that supporting ‘the local what I do. “I love supporting businesses who realize that supporting ‘the local scene’ is successful for all of us,” he continued. “I have learned that in order to do what I am best at I must live simply and work long hours by booking, performing, and not only promoting myself, but the businesses that hire me.” If you follow him on social media, you’ll see that even when he isn’t performing, he’s still promoting the hometown venues and encouraging his family, friends and followers to frequent them, as he does.

Carroll is currently working on a new acoustic album, with recording beginning this winter.

scene’ is successful for all of us. I have learned that in order to do what I am best at I must live simply and work long hours by booking, performing, and not only promoting myself, but the businesses that hire me.”

For more information on upcoming shows, or to book JVC music, go to His music is available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Amazon. NOVEMBER & DECEMBER 2017




Gathering By Heather Dean & Tara Fitz


The Dispensary carries on the tradition of friendship and food


s a boy, Gwyn Kilby remembers walking up the street to Brame Drugs to have lunch with his father every Wednesday during summer vacation.

His father, Gwyn “Shine” Kilby, worked at Rhodes Day Furniture, which closed at noon on Wednesdays, as was the custom for most businesses in those days. “I would wait at the corner for him every Wednesday,” says Kilby with a twinkle in his eye. “His smile would shine all the way down the sidewalk!”

“Meet your friends at Brame’s!” Brame Drugs had a lunch bar, and a prescription area in the back. It was the only drugstore in town.

Additionally, it was centrally located on the corner of 9th and Main Streets in downtown North Wilkesboro and was a popular place to socialize.

Art Brame, the owner of the building, remembers, too. His father, Phillip, was the druggist. You can still see the “Prescription Pick-up” sign in the back. One of the walls holds photos of the building’s history.

“’Meet your friends at Brame’s!’” he recalls. “That’s what we always said. On Friday night after football games, Brame’s was standing-room only. There was a large floor-sized jukebox in the back. Table-top versions were at every booth. It was a joyous time.” These days when Gywn Kilby walks into the historic building, the sign on the door reads “The Dispensary Restaurant and Pub.” He is now the co-owner of 36


the restaurant, along with business partner Brad Luty.

“When I got the opportunity to buy the bar, there was of course a sentimental attachment,” Kilby says. “I pull up a chair to the same bar like when I was a kid. Everything used to be downtown; this building has been a local hangout forever.”

The “Yankee and the Southern Gentleman”

Of the business venture with his friend Brad, he calls it the “Yankee and the Southern Gentleman”, as Luty hails from New York. At first glance, the two don’t seem to have much in common other than their friendship, playing golf, and being salesmen at some point in their careers.

833 Main Street • North Wilkesboro, NC • 336-818-1152 “We run a tight ship by thinking global and living local,” Luty says earnestly. “If you are kind and thoughtful it will come back to you tenfold. That’s why I can navigate my adopted town as well as I do. Being a kid from New York, I had to learn that quickly.”

“We are in it for the community,” Luty continues, in reference to The Dispensary. “We are vested in the history. We want to provide the gathering place of friends and family that this place has always been, while supporting the locals and downtown.”

The Dispensary

Restaurant & Pub Tuesday through Thursday 11:00 am - 11:00 pm Friday and Saturday 11:00 am until

Outside dining and catering are available. NOVEMBER & DECEMBER 2017




Reasons to Support Locally Owned Businesses*

Local Character and Prosperity In an increasingly homogenized world, communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character have an economic advantage. 4

Keeping Dollars in the Local Economy Compared to chain stores, locally owned businesses recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy, enriching the whole community.


Community Well-Being Locally owned businesses build strong communities by sustaining vibrant town centers, linking neighbors in a web of economic and social relationships, and contributing to local causes.


Local Decision-Making Local ownership ensures that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions. NOVEMBER & DECEMBER 2017

5 Job and Wages Locally owned businesses create more jobs locally and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits than chains do.

6 Entrepreneurship Entrepreneurship fuels America’s economic innovation and prosperity, and serves as a key means for families to move out of low-wage jobs and into the middle class.

7 Public Benefits and Costs Local stores in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure and make more efficient use of public services relative to big box stores and strip shopping malls. Environmental 8 Sustainability Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centers-which in turn are essential to reducing sprawl, automobile use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution.

9 Competition A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.

10 Product Diversity A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based, not on a national sales plan, but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices. *This content was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at NOVEMBER & DECEMBER 2017 39

Live Music Trivia Nights Foosball/Shuffleboard Board Games

Dooley’s Grill & Tavern Fresh ground burgers • All natural meats Largest GLUTEN FREE menu in Wilkes County and surrounding areas Specializing in local beers and wines

102 East Main Street • Wilkesboro


The Best Selection of Art, Clay, Glass and Jewelry Around.


Creating life-long memories for more than 40 years. Your family legacy starts with Brand.

1826 West US Highway 421 | Suite G | Wilkesboro, NC 28697 | phone: 336.667.2257

Uptown Flair and Downtown Charm

We Can DressYou From Head-to-Toe! 336-818-2221 • 309 Tenth Street, North Wilkesboro NC 28659

DESIGN | PRINT | MAIL Providing graphic design, printing, and bulk mailing to businesses in Wilkes and surrounding counties. Ph: 336-838-4200 | Fax: 336-838-3096 102 Chestnut Street, North Wilkesboro, NC






Come start the Holiday Season in Downtown North Wilkesboro as the Town’s Christmas Decorations are officially illuminated.

A local tradition for over

20 years

There will be foods, craft vendors, entertainment and Santa!

Main Street North Wilkesboro

November 17, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm 44


North Wilkesboro’s traditional downtown is a center for arts and culture, leisure and entertainment, fine dining and independently owned shops. Hot Chocolate

tion Contest

Building Decora

Santa Claus


stone photogra

Carriage Rides Decem * ber 18-22




your purchase of $25 or more at participating downtown North Wilkesboro merchants. COUPON VALID November 17-December 2, 2017



North Wilkesboro These merchants are getting ready for the holidays and are looking forward to welcoming you! They offer thoughtful gifts for every budget. Bring a friend, have some lunch or a cup of coffee, and get ALL of your shopping done right here! Happy holidays from all of our families to yours.

Wilkes County Hardware

Taupe Gallery

Ivy Ridge Traditions Pandora Jewelry

Talia Espresso

coupon on other side

Anchor Coffee Co., Copper Barrel, Griffin’s Sports & More,

Hallmark Quickframe, Ivy Ridge Traditions, Liberty Theatre, Michael’s Jewelry, Pink Pair Boutique, Talia Espresso, Taupe Gallery, Wilkes Art Gallery, Wilkes Country Corner, Wilkes County Hardware



Griffin’s Sports & More find us on Facebook

Pink Pair Boutique

Michael’s Jewelry

Wilkes Art Gallery

Copper Barrel Distillery

Hallmark Quickframe look for us on Facebook

Wilkes Country Corner look for us on Facebook

Liberty Theatre

Anchor Coffee Company NOVEMBER & DECEMBER 2017




Carolina in the Fall An Award-winning Success


arolina West Wireless, the premier wireless carrier in western North Carolina, recently announced a new partnership with the Town of Wilkesboro to support the Historic Downtown Wilkesboro Revitalization Project.

The project fulfills the community’s vision of creating a workable and visually appealing mixed-use downtown area. The new park facility, “Carolina West Wireless Community Commons.” will consist of a pavilion stage, landscaped park, and a splash pad. “We are grateful to be able to partner with the Town of Wilkesboro on a project that will provide such a positive community impact. The park facility and future phases will enhance the quality of life for the citizens in the area, said Slayton Stewart, CEO of Carolina West Wireless.

Revitalizing streetscapes, improving public gathering spaces, and upgrading utilities within Historic Downtown Wilkesboro are part of a transformative process for creating an engaged, healthy, and happy way of life. The Town of Wilkesboro recognizes that special places don’t happen by accident. Great communities require planning. They bring together partners and community members who are willing to contribute their knowledge, time, and resources to renewing the vibrancy of downtown. Carolina West Wireless serves an integral role in Wilkesboro and Wilkes 48



County and contributes to long term growth in our area. Wilkesboro is proud to be a reflection of the company’s dedication to excellence and making a difference in communities.

“Wilkesboro is proud to be a reflection of their dedication to excellence and making a difference in communities. Through the Historic Downtown Wilkesboro Revitalization Project, the town will bring together partners and community members who are willing to contribute their knowledge, time and resources to renewing the vibrancy of downtown. The Town of Wilkesboro is pleased to have Carolina West Wireless and Wilkes Communications join us in these efforts,” said Inscore.

For more information go to

Carolina in the Fall Event/Festival/Venue won the

2017 IBMA Momentum Award in partnership with

Carolina West Wireless Community Commons (Park)


Wilkes Communications Pavilion (Stage) in

Downtown Historic Wilkesboro NOVEMBER & DECEMBER 2017




Serving up Hometown History By Heather Dean

Dooley’s and Mother Earth Foods offer fresh, local fare


he Wilkesboro Hotel, built in 1891, is one of the most architecturally impressive in town, due not only to its size—it’s a three-story brick structure—but its prominent position at the northeast corner of Broad and E. Main Streets, across from Courthouse Square in the center of Wilkesboro.

From Department Store to Delicious Food

The building has played a central role in the social and commercial life in Wilkes. It served not only as the most prominent hotel in this town (the county seat) for over half a century, but also as the home of the first store in Nike B. Smithey’s multimillion-dollar chain of Smithey’s department stores, which he opened after the purchase of the hotel in 1906. Dooley’s Grill & Tavern is located in the historic Smithey building. It first opened in 2003 as a bar, but its food quickly became famous and it reopened as a family friendly restaurant in 2014, and now features trivia nights, shuffleboard, a foosball table, and card and board games for everyone to enjoy.

Family Matters

The building and the businesses it houses are still a family affair, as they were in Nike 50


Smithey’s day. Seth Cohn, a 1999 graduate of Wilkes Central and 2003 graduate of Appalachian State owns and manages Dooley’s, and Mother Earth Foods and Smoothies next door, with his wife, Ashley. You can routinely see them carrying baby Liam, or find their kids Werner and Aurora helping out around the store and restaurant. Seth’s brother Grayson is also a fixture in the businesses, always greeting people with a smile and his knowledge of the products—as well as the history—in the businesses.

Local Color, Local Flavor

Mother Earth Foods and Smoothies features a whole assortment of herbs, vitamins, and gluten-free foods, and all fresh-fruit smoothies, locally sourced from apple orchards and berry farms. Dooley’s has quickly risen to be the top choice for vegetarian and gluten-free options as the top-rated gluten-free restaurant in the area. It features 50 different local selections of craft beers (weekly rotation; selections vary), make everything fresh using locally sourced meats and produce. They trim and slow cook their roasts in-house for a true rare roast beef, and offer freshly ground burgers, organic chicken wings, and homemade fries, which are cut and made fresh throughout the day.

And like their name, many of the menu items at Dooley’s are named after local people who have shaped Wilkes County history, (albeit some of those on the infamous side of history).

Dooley’s is open

Sunday 12:00 pm-9:00 pm Monday –Thursday 11:00 am-9:00 pm & Friday and Saturday 11:00 am-until 102 E Main Street • Wilkesboro, North Carolina • (336) 667-0800 NOVEMBER & DECEMBER 2017


If you’re looking for a little holiday inspiration, you can find it right outside your door. We’ve gathered a few seasonal decorating ideas you can craft using materials found in nature. Grab a basket, step outside, and gather up a few things. All you need after that is a little creativity!






But no one needs to know that. Carolina West Wireless delivers reliable local coverage that also works everywhere else you might someday want to be. When you choose to use it, that’s up to you.



Certain restrictions apply. See store for details.

Profile for Wilkes Living Magazine

Wilkes Living | November & December 2017  

Premier Issue

Wilkes Living | November & December 2017  

Premier Issue