WilmingtonBiz Magazine - June 2022 issue

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Wilmington B iz M A G A Z I N E

2022

THE REGION’S HEALTH CARE INDUSTRY

COMMUNITY

CAPITAL WILLIAM BUSTER ON INVESTING NEW HANOVER’S $1.3 BILLION BEATING BACK THE FLOODWATERS INSIDE: GOOD LIFE WILMINGTON Published by

Greater Wilmington

BUSINESS JOURNAL

SUMMER 2022


Extraordinary Results Creating healthier and better living with quality building.

3807 Peachtree Avenue - Suite 200 | Wilmington, NC 28403 910.395.6036

www.mckinleybuilding.com


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THE REGION'S HEALTH CARE INDUSTRY

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ENDOWMENT PLAN

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IN PROFILE: KHADIJIA TRIBIÉ REID

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INDUSTRY TRENDS

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IN PROFILE: SHITAL PATEL

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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR BIZ BITES BEHIND THE NUMBERS SOUND OFF THE DIGEST C-SUITE CONVO RESTAURANT ROUNDUP THE TAKEAWAY

F E AT U R E S

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ADDRESSING SEA LEVEL RISE BUILDING COLD STORAGE TRAVEL REVIVAL

ON THE COVER

Photographer Madeline Gray takes William Buster’s portrait at the Common Desk offices. Buster started as president and CEO of the New Hanover Community Endowment, created from the sale of NHRMC to Novant Health last year.

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CONTRIBUTORS

M A G A Z I N E

SUMMER 2022 – $4.95

J E N N Y CALLISON JENNY CALLISON is a former Greater Wilmington Business Journal reporter who continues as a freelancer with the Business Journal and WILMA. Before moving to Wilmington in 2011, she was a university communications director and a freelance reporter covering a variety of beats. Callison details new communities for Good Life Wilmington on PAGE 46 and talks with retirees living downtown on PAGE 52.

Publisher Rob Kaiser

rkaiser@wilmingtonbiz.com

President

Robert Preville rpreville@wilmingtonbiz.com

Editor

Vicky Janowski vjanowski@wilmingtonbiz.com

A s s i s ta n t E d i t o r Cece Nunn

cnunn@wilmingtonbiz.com

Reporters Johanna Cano

jcano@wilmingtonbiz.com

Johanna F. Still

N E I L COTIAUX NEIL COTIAUX is a freelance journalist who has written for the Greater Wilmington Business Journal since 2013. His work has also appeared in various other publications and digital sites around the Southeast. He wrote about ways sea-level rise is being addressed (PAGE 14) and the latest on the rollout of the $1.25 billion New Hanover Community Endowment (PAGE 26).

jstill@wilmingtonbiz.com

Vice President

of

Carolyn Carver

Sales

ccarver@wilmingtonbiz.com

S e n i o r M a r k e t i n g C o n s u lta n t s Maggi Apel

mapel@wilmingtonbiz.com

Craig Snow csnow@wilmingtonbiz.com

M a r k e t i n g C o n s u lta n t s Rachel Miles

rmiles@wilmingtonbiz.com

Lauren Proff lproff@wilmingtonbiz.com

D i g i ta l M a r k e t i n g S p e c i a l i s t

MADELINE G R A Y MADELINE GRAY is a freelance documentary photographer based in Wilmington. With a master’s degree in photojournalism, her work is regularly featured in local and national publications. Gray photographed New Hanover Community Endowment President and CEO William Buster for this issue’s cover and story on PAGE 26. madelinegrayphoto.com and @madelinepgray on Instagram

Braden Smith

bsmith@wilmingtonbiz.com

O f f i c e & A u d i e n c e D e v e l o pm e n t M a nag e r Sandy Johnson

sjohnson@wilmingtonbiz.com

Events Director Elizabeth Stelzenmuller

events@wilmingtonbiz.com

E v e n t s & D i g i ta l C o o r d i nat o r Jamie Kleinman jkleinman@wilmingtonbiz.com

Contributing Designer Suzi Drake

art@wilmingtonbiz.com

Designer

Tara Weymouth tweymouth@wilmingtonbiz.com

A R I S HARDING ARIS HARDING is a Wilmington-based freelance photographer originally from southern Maryland. She moved to New York City after graduating from UNCW and returned to Wilmington to pursue her love of storytelling, specializing in editorial and portrait photography. Harding photographed Shital Patel (PAGE 36), downtown resident Margaret Haynes (PAGE 52) and pickleball player Steve Dayvault (PAGE 76).

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M e d i a C o o r d i nat o r Julia Jones jjones@wilmingtonbiz.com

C o n t r i b u t i n g P h o t o g r ap h e r s

Megan Deitz, T.J. Drechsel, Madeline Gray, Aris Harding, Allison Joyce, Michael Cline Spencer, Terah Hoobler

Subscribe

To subscribe to WilmingtonBiz Magazine,visit wilmingtonbiz.com/subscribe or call 343-8600 x201. © 2022 SAJ Media LLC


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Coming- O F -Age s t o r y

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ast year, I became the first person at the Business Journal to join AARP. I wore the card as a badge of honor. In the multigenerational makeup that is our office, at 44, I fall pretty much in the middle of the bell curve. The elders, whose names I’ll

keep from throwing under the bus, poked fun while being secretly jealous of my newfound travel discounts and member tote bag. I’m a generation in flux. Gen X is like the often-overlooked middle child. We don’t have a say in the current Gen Z/ millennials skirmishes. No one’s made us an insult hashtag a la #boomers. Everyone pretty much just leaves us to our Reality Bites and Dinosaur Jr. nostalgia. (Though our greatest recent flex has been Top Gun: Maverick. You’re welcome, 2022; we knew you needed a win.) But enough about our legitimate claims over this year’s Super Bowl halftime show. This is about you guys. As you all know, the past couple of years has upended how people think of work and how best to work. The shifts in perspective, across all ages, have amped up discussions about how to communicate in teams that span the decades, particularly when it deals with recruiting and retaining talented people. One thing I’ve noticed is that no matter the generation’s social media channel of choice, the common thread is connection – virtually, in-person, hybrid. The challenge

is trying to figure out the best way to find the right formula for everyone. All this comes to mind as we introduce a new project: Good Life Wilmington. Good Life is geared toward the influx of retirees moving to the area or people scoping out where to land when it’s time to retire. And as a – now-card-carrying – member of the sandwich generation, it’s also of personal interest as I learn more about caring for aging parents while also discovering how our family with two kids can live our best Wilmingtonian lives. (Turn to page 39, and you too can share in the wisdom.) So, let us know what you think and what speaks, or doesn’t, to where you are on the generational bell curve. And as Ethan Embry said in Empire Records – a Gen X classic, filmed on Front Street in Wilmington, by the way – “We mustn’t dwell … not on Rex Manning Day.”

VICKY JANOWSKI, EDITOR vjanowski@wilmingtonbiz.com

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B i z B i t es BEHIND THE NUMBERS |

SOUND OFF |

THE DIGEST

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GARBAGE BARREL: In a shot

from the documentary Journey to a New Earth, a surfer rides through the barrel of a wave carrying ocean-polluting rubbish. The eight-episode series, which aligns with the initiative A New Earth Project, aired on Earth Day. Founded by Wes Carter, the president of Wilmington-headquartered Atlantic Packaging, the initiative brings together water advocacy groups with brands and organizations in the supply chain. “After hearing well-known surfers share their personal stories of how they’ve observed the rise in plastic pollution in the oceans, there was a big moment when I realized a lot of the plastic waste was coming from packaging, a supply chain that I’m part of,” said Carter, himself a surfer. “This was the catalyst for A New Earth Project and is at the heart of this strategic collaboration.” photo c/o A New Earth Project

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SIZE OF FORMER PPD HQ IN WILMINGTON

THERMO FISHER LOOKS TO SELL DOWNTOWN BUILDING BY JOHANNA F. STILL & CECE NUNN

PHARMACEUTICAL GIANT THERMO FISHER SCIENTIFIC announced in April that it plans to explore opportunities to sell Wilmington’s tallest building. The 380,000-square-foot, 12-story structure at 929 N. Front St. overlooking the Cape Fear and Northern Cape Fear rivers had served as PPD’s corporate headquarters since it opened in 2007. Thermo Fisher purchased PPD last year in a $17.4-billion deal. The scientific service leader is embarking on a multi-year effort, which includes plans to seek new office space in Wilmington. The shift “will enable this business to better match current and future workspace needs with flexible work models,” officials stated in a news release. Thermo Fisher’s move is indicative of an international trend whereby companies are reassessing their use of office space in the context of rising remote capabilities. The company is currently in the early stage of considering new office space opportunities, according to a release, and “remains committed to Wilmington.” David Johnston, Thermo Fisher’s senior vice president and president of clinical research, said a significant percentage of the company’s 1,700 Wilmington employees and prospective candidates prefer a hybrid working model. This involves coming into the office for collaboration purposes, “which necessitates more flexible workspaces and fewer dedicated offices.” “We have been proud of our Wilmington building since it opened in 2007, and, as we consider the evolving needs of our workforce and business, we believe this is the right time to establish a new location to serve our colleagues, customers and visitors,” Johnston said in a release. Speculation about what will become of the former PPD headquarters has included the possibility of a mixed-use development with a housing component. Architect Steve Smith said he would be surprised if the landmark structure doesn’t remain an office building. “The design of the building has predominantly column-free space providing tremendous flexibility in office planning and layouts,” said Smith, an architect whose firm, Cooper Carry, was a master planner and design architect for the PPD headquarters. “I don’t think the life of this building as an office building is over by any means.”

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$315M

SOUTHEASTERN NC

SQUARE FEET

WILMINGTON

380,000

WINNING BIDS FOR

OFFSHORE WIND LEASES IN THE WILMINGTON EAST WIND ENERGY AREA

WO RLD C EN T RAL K IT C HEN HAS SERVED

M EALS , INCLUDING IN WILM IN GT O N IN

HURRICANE FLORENCE’S WAKE, ACCORDING TO NEW DOCUMENTARY WE F EED PEO PLE

NORTH CAROLINA

NUMBERS

2019 2020

$29.9B

$20B

2021

$28.9B

VISITOR SPENDING DIREC T

NEW HANOVER COUNTY

BEHIND THE

32.1% $420,000

2022

$318,000

2021

MEDIAN SINGLE-FAMILY HOME SALES PRICE (APRIL 2021-APRIL 2022)

Sources: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, Cape Fear Realtors


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FINANCIAL HEALTH IS HEALTH TOO

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ANDEMICS, SOCIAL UPHEAVAL, SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTIONS, NATURAL DISASTERS, ELECTIONS, WORKER SHORTAGES, INFLATION AND A JOHNNY DEPP-AMBER HEARD LAWSUIT: all stories that

have captivated our attention over the past few years. And while one of the stories was an entertaining sideshow, the others have had real economic effects – positive effects for those who could turn them into opportunities and negative effects for those who were unprepared. Pre-pandemic, over one-third of U.S. households couldn’t cover an unexpected $400 expense. Even with government support programs during the pandemic, nearly a quarter of North Carolina households used credit cards, at some point, to pay for their usual household expenses. A major lesson from the pandemic is that financial health and financial residency are an important part of overall health and resiliency. In an unexpected twist of fate, households have emerged from the pandemic in an unusually strong position with more cash in checking accounts than ever before, ($2.7 trillion – three times more than the pre-pandemic records) and record low levels of debt service driven by mortgage refinancing and debt pay downs during the pandemic. And while the economic

A D A M J O N E S discussion currently centers around inflation, it won’t be long until many of us have spent through the cushion and are at risk once again. While we might not (hopefully) have another national disaster, regional disasters are potentially riskier as there are no stimulus checks, mortgage relief or low-interest rates coming after a hurricane, business closure or health incident; it’s up to us to be prepared. Academic literature has long recognized a strong relationship between subjective economic stress (think high credit card debt) and worse mental health, yet too often we ignore our financial health. Early 2020, when uncertainty was at its highest, is a poignant case study and, unsurprisingly, that financial wealth reduced feelings of depression. Yes, the stimulus checks intended to stimulate the economy, but households saving them or paying down debt might also have been beneficial in the mental health dimension. (Of course, the downside is that we only save so long before the stimulus leads to inflation as we’re seeing now.) Financial health, and its corresponding effects on mental health, is particularly important when we think about some of the most vulnerable members of society. A

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study using anonymized bank account data shows that the lowest income households saw their incomes rise the most from stimulus checks (nearly doubling in March and April of 2020), but also that those low-income households spent the funds out the quickest, having spent 80% of it by the end of the year. This pattern suggests a lack of emergency funds and contingency planning. Particularly concerning is that the same bank data shows that for 2012-18 (relatively good economic times) the bottom quintile of households was subject to the highest number of income disruptions. While money struggles for lowincome households are nothing new, recent experiences have reminded us just how vulnerable they are and the link between financial and health troubles. Money discussions are often taboo and private, but if we don’t talk about it, how does anyone learn? The answer is by making mistakes and learning when it’s too late. Learning the importance of an emergency fund during an emergency is a hard lesson; realizing you need gas and food money when the hurricane is bearing down only adds to the mental stress and subsequent physical stresses. Maybe a good starting point is simply having a conversation. Adam Jones is a regional economist with UNCW's Swain Center and an associate professor of economics at UNCW's Cameron School of Business.

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WHERE ARE WE G O I N G W I T H C OV I D ?

OVID IS SURGING IN OUR COMMUNITY. ALL OF US ARE TIRED OF COVID. WE ARE SICK OF MASKS. WE ARE TIRED OF ALL THE CONSTRAINTS THAT COVID HAS PLACED ON OUR LIVES OVER THE PAST TWO-ANDA-HALF YEARS. SO, WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? ARE WE EVER GOING TO REALLY GET PAST COVID? IS THIS OUR “NEW NORMAL”? Let’s first take stock of where the virus is at present. Like hurricanes, COVID does not run on our schedule. It has an agenda of its own, whether we like it or not. The current omicron variants of the COVID virus differ significantly from the variants we first encountered in early 2020. Over time, the virus has mutated, or evolved, adapting itself to humans so as to ensure its survival in nature. It has become much more contagious, but it has also become less deadly. From the virus standpoint, this makes sense. If the goal is to survive in nature, the virus doesn’t want to kill its victim – it wants its victims to survive so they can spread the virus to others. The same thing happened with the great H1N1 influenza pandemic of 1918, which, like COVID, initially killed millions. Later waves were milder, however, and indeed H1N1 descendants are still with us today. So, what common sense “rules”

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P A U L KAMITSUKA should we be following now, with the goal of minimizing the impact of this virus on our lives and the lives of those around us? RULE 1: If you don’t want to get really sick or die from COVID, make sure you’ve been vaccinated with at least three doses (the initial two + a booster) of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. This rule applies regardless of whether you have ever had COVID or not. For those who have compromised immune systems, a fourth dose (a second booster) is advised. While milder than previous variants, omicron still kills, especially among the elderly, the debilitated or the immunocompromised. The vast majority (roughly 90%) of current omicron deaths occur among the unvaccinated, with the rest occurring among those who were vaccinated last year but never boosted. While the vaccines may not fully protect you from getting COVID, they provide remarkable protection against getting really sick or dying from COVID. RULE 2: If you don’t want to get COVID, then wear a proper mask (N95 or KN95, which can be ordered online at projectn95.org) whenever you’re in an indoor setting around people, such as in a grocery store.

M A G A Z I N E

Cloth masks or even surgical masks do not provide adequate protection. This may be why mask mandates haven’t worked well to stem the tide of COVID. Remember, the current variants are much more contagious – meaning that it’s far easier to catch COVID from someone else than before. Since masking mandates were lifted, few people are wearing masks. This is precisely the wrong response when facing a virus that’s far more contagious. No wonder that the percentage of positive COVID tests has shot up in this community from 2% a few weeks ago, to 28% now, as of early June. More and more people are getting COVID and spreading it to others. This is exactly what the virus wants. The virus, which has no brain, is outsmarting us! We are “done” with COVID, but it is not done with us. For those who are vaccinated and boosted, the likelihood of getting very sick from COVID is much reduced. One might ask why it’s still important to mask. The simple answer is that having COVID may still be dangerous for those susceptible and interfere with your life in ways you’d want to avoid. You may have to miss work. You may have to cancel or reschedule a long-awaited vacation at the last minute. Some symptoms, such as losing your sense of taste and smell, would pose a real problem if you like to cook. Other neurologic and cardiac problems are possible. Finally, you may still get long COVID, with symptoms such as


B i z B i t es disabling fatigue that may last for months. The bottom line is that this is not an infection that you want to get if you can prevent it.

CROWDSOURCING REACTIONS, OPINIONS AND QUOTABLES FROM OUR ONLINE SOUNDING BOARDS

O N FA C E B O O K . C O M / W I L M I N GT O N B I Z

RULE 3: Make use of home COVID tests. If you develop symptoms such as sore throat, stuffy nose, cough, chest congestion or body aches, take a home COVID test. The tests are not perfect, being about 85% accurate. A repeat test the following day, if the first test is negative, improves accuracy. Also, if you are going to an unmasked indoor gathering, such as a family reunion, it’s important for everyone to test on the day of the event to make sure that they are test-negative.

“THE FACT I’M HAVING a hard time feeding my family of 4!!”– DAVIDA DEE SCHNEBELEN

“OUR RETIREMENT INCOME should have been sufficient, and it isn’t. It’s not just groceries & gas. The cost of our meds is bankrupting us. Big pharma is in on it, too.”– FALLON CURTIS PEARCE “WHAT IS MOST DISCOURAGING is that the reason the economy is suffering is because our own leaders in Government have chosen this path. And then they act like it’s someone else’s fault.”– MICHAEL R. BEATTY “THAT FACT THAT it is being misrepresented as anything but what it is, corporate greed.”– BILL NEVILL

T W I T T E R P O L L : @ W I L M I N GT O N B I Z HOW MUCH VACATION TIME DO YOU PLAN TO TAKE THIS SUMMER?

yes

WHERE IS COVID GOING FROM HERE? Unfortunately, I think that COVID is here to stay. Vaccines have been extraordinarily effective in reducing severe illness and death. But we need new vaccines that provide durable protection against getting infected. We also need better treatments to lessen the burden of illness. We can all breathe a sigh of relief, however, that if we are vaccinated and boosted and still contract COVID, we are highly unlikely to be hospitalized or die. We can look forward to enjoying the summer – to outdoor gatherings, outdoor dining, picnics, going to the beach, playing golf, tennis, pickleball, getting out on the boat, fishing and traveling. If we don’t want to get COVID, we just have to wear a proper mask (N95 or KN95) when around other people indoors. Paul Kamitsuka is an internal medicine/infectious diseases physician with Wilmington Health. He also serves as a clinical associate professor with UNC School of Medicine.

WHAT, IF ANYTHING, BOTHERS YOU THE MOST ABOUT THE CURRENT CLIMATE OF RISING PRICES? GAS, GROCERIES, BUILDING SUPPLIES? TELL US HOW YOU’RE BEING AFFECTED.

A FEW DAYS HERE & THERE

A WEEK OR MORE

41.7% 5.9%

NONE YES

41.7%

W I L M I N GT O N B I Z T A L K “OUR COMPANY’S BEEN IN THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BUSINESS NOW FOR ABOUT 50 YEARS, and we’ve tried to be good stewards of and responsible stewards in developing communities that not only enhance the quality of life of our customers but also the folks who live and work and have been long-term residents. … We’re enjoying working through the process of coming up with a plan that not only will create the kind of community we’re used to creating but also fit the culture and lifestyle requirements of the people of Southport … This is always the tough period of time trying to find that proper balance, but we seem to be making progress on that.” – R OGER PERRY, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER OF DEVELOPMENT FIRM EAST WEST PARTNERS, WHICH HAS PARTNERED WITH BALD HEAD ISLAND LTD. ON A NEARLY 400-ACRE, $565-MILLION PROPOSED MIXED-USE PROJECT, PROJECT INDIGO, THAT IS PARTLY IN THE CITY OF SOUTHPORT SIGN UP FOR DAILY NEWS UPDATES AND SUBSCRIBE TO THE GREATER WILMINGTON BUSINESS JOURNAL AT WILMINGTONBIZ.COM

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A R O U N DU P O F R E C E N T NE WS

HEALTH CARE GROUP OPENS SURGERY CENTER

LOW-COST CARRIER LANDING AT ILM

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ilmington International Airport officials announced in April that the airport had landed its first low-cost carrier, with routes that were anticipated to start June 30. “Low fares have arrived,” ILM director Jeff Bourk said at a news conference about Avelo Airlines, a startup that touts having lower fares because of its use of larger planes. Between fist pumps, officials shared that Avelo was launching two nonstop routes out of ILM to Orlando International Airport and Tweed-New Haven Airport in Connecticut – both locations previously lacking direct connections to ILM – and a seasonal

route to Baltimore/Washington International Airport. ILM has been trying to court a low-cost carrier for years. Historically, the bulk of ILM’s traffic is made up of business travelers, who use legacy carriers American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. Avelo’s nine new weekly flights will represent 15% of ILM’s total passenger traffic, according to Bourk (last year, ILM served nearly 906,000 passengers, still shy of its 2019 pre-pandemic record that broke 1 million passengers). “It’s a major amount of service,” Bourk said of Avelo’s new stops. “It’s 170,000 seats they’re putting in this market.”

TO STAY I N T H E LO O P O N T H E L AT E ST AR E A B U S I NE S S H A P P EN IN G S , CHECK OUT OUR DA I LY A F T ER NOON NE W S L E T T E R . S I G N U P AT WILM IN GTON BIZ.COM .

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Wilmington Health, a multispecialty medical practice that has been seeing patients in the area for 50 years, on June 6 celebrated the opening of its new ambulatory surgery center (ASC). The center, 1305 Glen Meade Road in Wilmington, is a 20,000-square-foot facility licensed for one operating room and three procedure rooms. The ASC allows Wilmington Health to perform same-day preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic surgical procedures.

800 Number of homes purchased between 2016 and early May 2022 in Riverlights, a 1,400-acre master-planned community on River Road in Wilmington


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HEAD OF CLASS

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N JULY 1, ASWANI VOLETY STARTS AS THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA WILMINGTON’S SEVENTH CHANCELLOR. After a national search and input from local committee members and university trustees, UNC System officials went with a familiar name to replace retiring Jose Sartarelli. Volety comes back to UNCW after formerly serving as the dean of the school’s College of Arts & Sciences, a position he left after he became the provost and vice president of academic affairs at Elon University in 2019. He worked for UNCW from 2014 to 2019. Below is an excerpt from a recent Q&A with Volety. To read more, go to WilmingtonBiz.com. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE RETURNING TO UNCW? “I am very excited. Serving

as UNCW’s next chancellor is the opportunity of a lifetime. I look forward to giving back to an institution that gave so much to me and helped me grow. Based on my previous experiences as dean of UNCW’s renowned College of Arts & Sciences and as executive director of the Center for Marine Science, I know this university has a solid foundation and unlimited potential. It really is a place like no other.” WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR INITIAL PRIORITIES? “Initially, I want to work

with faculty, staff and administrators to make sure we are doing all that we can to help students settle back into the new normal after the pandemic. Everybody went through challenging times and supporting the health and well-being of

BY VICKY JANOWSKI

POTENTIALLY GROWING? “UNCW

ASWANI VOLETY

CHANCELLOR-ELECT UNCW

our campus community is a hallmark of the UNCW experience.” WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR LONGERTERM GOALS OR AREAS YOU WANT TO FOCUS ON? “I look forward to

working with colleagues on campus and supporters in the community to continue UNCW’s momentum and enhance its programs and services. The university is an anchor institution in the region, and we already have strong partnerships in many areas – biopharma, business, education, engineering, film, health and marine sciences, to name a few. I want to expand these collaborations to enhance students’ access to internships and mentoring opportunities, boost our research capabilities and amplify our community engagement efforts. We will develop a shared strategic vision for the university to guide these efforts to make sure UNCW keeps soaring toward new levels of service and success.” AMONG YOUR PREVIOUS ROLES AT UNCW WAS CMS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AND YOUR ACADEMIC BACKGROUND IS IN MARINE SCIENCE. IS THIS AN AREA YOU SEE

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already has an excellent reputation in the marine sciences for the master’s and undergraduate levels, and the university is well known for engaging in applied research. With our new doctoral program in Applied Coastal and Ocean Sciences, the quick growth of coastal engineering and expansion of research in other areas, we are building on our existing reputation as one of the country’s premier marine science centers. As a former president of the Southern Association of Marine Laboratories (SAML), I am familiar with the opportunities and strengths of various centers around the country, and I look forward to sharing insights and connections from that experience with CMS colleagues. There’s so much more we can do to support the blue economy here in Southeastern North Carolina.” HOW DO YOU SEE UNCW AND THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY INTERACTING? “I hope to blur the lines

between academia and the broader, regional community. We already are connecting the needs of the community with expertise available on campus. Let’s expand those efforts. At the same time, our students, faculty and staff need to get even better at listening to and learning from businesses, civic and community organizations. I hope to increase practitioners’ engagement in our classrooms and enhance students’ engagement in the community, which helps them translate concepts and principles from class into solutions for real-world problems. UNCW is a part of the fabric of this place, and I want people within the community to know UNCW and to feel like it is their institution.” S U M M E R 2022

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N I G I R S to the

OCCASION BY NEIL COTIAUX

GREATER PUBLIC AWARENESS, ALONG WITH TRADITIONAL AND INNOVATIVE REMEDIATION PROGRAMS, COULD TURN THE TIDE AGAINST SEA-LEVEL RISE.

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oastal Carolina’s sea level is rising. River flooding has become more problematic. And hurricanes are here to stay.

The facts behind these threats to the region’s neighborhoods, economy and lifestyle are incontrovertible. The question is whether the response by property owners, business leaders, environmentalists and elected officials will prove sufficient to thwart significant long-term damage. According to SeaLevelRise.org, the sea level around Wilmington has risen 11 inches since 1950 and has accelerated over the past decade, as measured by satellites, buoys and tidal gauges. Scientists say melting ice from the North and South poles and the slowing of the Gulf Stream are the primary culprits. King tides – unusually high tides that are more than a foot higher than normal – in Wilmington create flooding even on sunny days, both along the ocean and inland because of celestial alignments. While king tides normally occur once or twice a year for areas along the coast, they can preview how sea level rise might impact those areas in the future as tidal system heights gradually rise, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. With the 2022 hurricane season underway, public attention is again starting to focus on the risk of inaction. “A big hurricane like Florence certainly encourages urgency,” said Tony McEwen, Carolinas director for the American Flood Coalition,

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A QuickReef living shoreline is installed at Figure Eight Island. Native Shorelines developed the patent-pending system that attracts native oysters and is intended to naturally grow with sea level rise to provide protection.

photo c/o NATIVE SHORELINES

a national group that works with elected officials at the local, state and federal levels as well as businesses, the military and civic groups. Its objective is to build “a unified voice” for solutions to sea rise and flooding. “And we’re entering what could be the eighth active hurricane season in a row. So, as more and more Carolinians see the impacts of stronger storms, rising sea levels and more frequent flooding pile up, there’s going to be more talk and more demands for solutions,” said McEwen, who previously served as the city of Wilmington’s assistant to the city manager for legislative affairs. Last year, the coalition and other organizations lobbied Congress to

increase financial support for flood mitigation, resilience and disaster preparedness programs, with $34.7 billion finding its way into a bipartisan package. Also last year, the N.C. General Assembly passed “historic” levels of funding for flood resilience and disaster recovery as part of the state budget, according to McEwen, who said much of that funding was influenced by the advocacy of the Eastern N.C. Recovery and Resilience Alliance, begun by Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo following Hurricane Florence and now led by Saffo and Pender County Commissioner Jackie Newton. The alliance currently includes more than 60 mayors and chairs of county commissions.

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While flood cleanup is important, the coalition’s emphasis on prevention is central to the group’s agenda, McEwen said, with a single dollar spent on predisaster mitigation saving $5-$7 in disaster relief. “FEMA’s (Federal Emergency Management Agency) maps often are outdated, do not account for sea-level rise and overlook rainfall and riverine flooding. To put it plainly, these maps can significantly underestimate flood risk … Relying on outdated flood maps gives people a false sense of confidence, through no fault of their own,” McEwen said. “We’re starting to explore how incentives can encourage resilient building on the front end and not just in rebuilding.” S U M M E R 2022

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Carolina Beach beach nourishment started in early spring.

photo by JACOB REINWAND

EMERGING SOLUTIONS

Beach nourishment is one triedand-true method of combating erosion and protecting against storm surge. Its first usage was at New York’s Coney Island 100 years ago. The practice involves pumping and laying into place sand imported from nearby sources, which in turn produces a wider and higher beach that serves as a buffer against damage to coastal structures. The practice also enhances beaches popular with tourists and locals. Dune restoration often accompanies such projects. Funding for nourishment projects at Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach and Kure Beach was recently approved by Congress. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began work at the latter two sites in February and completed both projects by June 1. Those projects “equated to roughly 1 million cubic yards of sand placed for each beach or 2 million

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total,” said David Connolly, chief of public affairs for the Army Corps’ Wilmington District. Wrightsville Beach’s nourishment was delayed due to rules within the Coastal Barrier Resource Act that prohibited borrowing sand from Masonboro Inlet, so the Corps had to identify another offshore source. Nourishment work is expected to begin at Wrightsville this fall. Meantime, a newer approach to addressing erosion has caught the attention of both residential and commercial property owners who have traditionally used seawalls and bulkheads. Introduced by Native Shorelines, a Raleigh-based environmental engineering firm, the Living Shorelines program works with residents and businesses to thwart erosion using fabricated blocks made primarily of coastal materials like limestone marl and oyster shell and placed along the shoreline. M A G A Z I N E

When a wave hits a hard surface like a bulkhead, it bounces back out to sea and also spills over into a neighbor’s shoreline, while the blocks of a living shoreline absorb most of a wave’s energy but also allow some water into the adjoining marsh. This helps the marsh thrive and the surrounding ecosystem to flourish, explained Mary-Margaret McKinney, the firm’s director of coastal restoration. Living shorelines often cost less than $200-per-foot to install and require little to no maintenance, McKinney said. Cost-sharing is available through the N.C. Coastal Federation. “We currently have projects in progress from Brunswick County by the South Carolina border all the way to Perquimans County by the Virginia border,” with more than 100 living shorelines projected to be in place by year’s end, McKinney said. Such innovative solutions might


A S MO R E AN D MO RE CAR O L I N I AN S S E E T HE IMPACTS O F ST RO NG E R STO R M S , RIS ING S E A LE V E LS A ND MO RE F R E Q U E N T FLO O DING P I L E U P, T H E RE ’S G O I N G TO BE MO RE TA L K AN D MO RE DE MA N D S F O R S O LU T IO NS .

TONY MCEWEN Carolinas Director American Flood Coalition

photo by MADELINE GRAY

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pay off in the form of reduced insurance payments. “FEMA recently implemented Risk Rating 2.0, essentially updating the National Flood Insurance Program to focus more on individual property risk,” McEwen said. “This update actually reduced premiums: 89% of flood insurance policyholders saw their premiums either immediately drop or increase by no more than $10 per month.”

FROM SEA TO RIVER

The west bank of the Cape Fear River across from downtown Wilmington is another area that merits close attention when addressing future water damage, according to Robert Parr, a retired oceanographer and former physician who lives at Middle Sound. Parr said there are four components to flooding around the west bank: river flooding, tidal flooding, storm surge flooding and sea-level rise flooding, a “quadruple threat” in a location with the distinction of “having the highest increase in tidal flooding frequency on

both the East and West Coast.” Projections by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predict a sea-level rise on the west bank as high as 1.5 to 2 feet by 2050, Parr said. Parr remains outspoken about proposals for commercial development on the west bank, including the contentious Battleship Point mixeduse complex whose backers have not yet won municipal approval. “As some of the lowest-lying land in New Hanover County, new intense urban-style development has no future on the west bank,” he said. In a possible harbinger of bad tidings, flooding has required repairs at the site of Battleship North Carolina, moored among 2,000 acres of wetlands and shoreline on Eagles Island. “The battleship has seen more flood stage events in the past decade than in the previous 60 years” with 101 flooding events in 2018 alone, says a write-up on the historic attraction’s website. The frequency and severity of floods have led to safety concerns and economic losses, including damage to facilities, disrupted utility services,

strains on ship structure, public closures and lost revenues, officials said. In January, the battleship ranked fourth among area attractions with 195,000 visitors last year. To head off further damage, battleship officials are restoring one-fifth-acre of hardened shoreline with a living shoreline and a 2-acre, flood-prone area of a parking lot with wetland habitat. “All sorts of innovative solutions exist to reduce the impacts of sea level rise, and we must continue funding these measures and determining what works best for each community. Such solutions in one community can mean seawalls, pumps and drains, and in another community, it can mean more parks, living shorelines and oyster-covered reefs. Often, it will be a little bit of everything – policy, hard infrastructure, natural infrastructure,” McEwen said. “Overnight, flooding can upend communities and livelihoods for years. And though big storms briefly dominate headlines, communities take years to recover. The damage from flooding is a costly reminder that we must adapt.” Oyster growth is shown a year after a QuickReef living shoreline was installed in the Bogue Sound.

photo c/o NATIVE SHORELINES

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The frost market heats up BY JOHANNA F. STILL PHOTO BY T.J. DRECHSEL

A

nearly halfbillion-dollar tranche of private capital investments in cold storage is being planned in the Wilmington region. The infusion of funds into an otherwise sparse local cold storage marketplace is expected to result in the addition of nearly 2 million square feet of cold storage warehouse space within the next few years. Several participants in the cold storage world say Wilmington currently has too little of the space – and adding more could create jobs, drive more goods through the port and amp up the regional economy. Of the four proposed developments, each are planned to feature an expansive temperaturecontrolled warehouse larger than 200,000 square feet. Capabilities among the projects range from the option to store refrigerated and frozen

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goods to features geared toward serving the agricultural or life science sectors. “Wilmington is vastly underserved from a cold storage perspective,” said Josh Lewis, chief strategy officer for RL Cold. “If you look at any other port city, even smaller port cities, there’s three, four or five cold storage facilities there today.” Lewis, part of the team building a $100 million refrigerated warehouse at the Pender Commerce Park that broke ground in April, said the area’s lack of cold storage space to accommodate the state’s food manufacturers and processors was surprising. Nearby protein producers have traditionally sent their products to be exported at larger East Coast ports, according to Lewis. “Logically, it makes more sense” to send locally produced products through the Port of Wilmington, he said. Pandemic-related disruptions and busy port backlogs prompted a widescale reassessment of the supply chain, causing stakeholders to consider secondary markets like Wilmington more seriously. Also, unprecedented demand prompted the marketplace to prepare for goods shortages to prevent the mismatch from occurring again. In March, the port saw its highest refrigerated cargo volume in its history. The Port of Wilmington historically has not been a major player in cold chain. It saw less than 1% of East Coast cold-chain imports during the first quarter of 2021, according to the Journal of Commerce. But as activity for refrigerated cargo increases nationally, local port officials hope to capture more of the trade. In 2020, a $14 million investment allowed the Port of Wilmington to add 540 refrigerated container plugs, which connect the specialized containers to a power source in a dedicated container yard. In February, the ports authority authorized adding another 704 plugs in a nearly $23 million project set to be complete M A G A Z I N E

next year. Recently, the port added an 8,000-square foot chiller facility, which is mostly dedicated to inbound produce headed to grocery stores. These port investments in cold storage capabilities unlock potential for North Carolina businesses, ports authority officials said recently. “North Carolina is experiencing rapid growth in the cold cargo sector,” authority spokesperson Christina Hallingse said. Seizing the already robust export market also depends on the region’s


The Port of Wilmington Cold Storage facility is the area's only existing cold storage warehouse open today.

ability to lure in more refrigerated imports. The added capacity would give the region the ability to target import commodities such as fruits and vegetables from South and Central America to balance equipment needs, said Scott Satterfield, CEO of Wilmington Business Development. “Cold storage warehouses have clearly been a missing component in our region’s property inventory,” he said. “We identified that in recent years and have been working closely

with our partners at N.C. Ports on this sector recruitment initiative.” The region’s first and only standing private cold storage space opened in 2016, arising out of USA InvestCo’s initiative with the Port of Wilmington Cold Storage (PWCS) facility. Located on port property, the facility was developed for $15 million and stands at 101,000 square feet – about half the size of the handful of projects being planned today. Chuck McCarthy, president and CEO of PWCS, said the facility is

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operating at 91% of capacity, noting that activity temporarily slowed in the spring with the avian bird flu outbreak. PWCS stores mostly frozen protein products such as pork, ham and poultry produced in North Carolina east of Interstate 95, he said. The facility also occasionally stores produce, including blueberries and sweet potatoes. Operations hit a snag due to the pandemic, McCarthy said, and the facility averaged about 60% of capacity S U M M E R 2022

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The N.C. State Ports Authority's recent investments in cold chain infrastructure include an everexpanding "reefer" container plug yard.

photo c/o N.C. Ports

in 2020. Though business is steady now, McCarthy wouldn’t double his current operations to meet market demands. McCarthy said he is skeptical that the local market can handle the incoming pipeline of speculatively planned cold storage space. New entrants in the space represent competition, McCarthy acknowledged, which could put pressure on rates. With a staff of 30, PWCS is a service-oriented business that works with many distributors in North Carolina, representing a small aspect of the overall export equation a company like Smithfield Foods relies on. “Is it a ‘Build it and they will come?’ Or is there an actual need for that space right now?” McCarthy said. “I can’t really answer that. If it were my money, I don’t know that I would jump out here and build 300,000 square feet of space,” he said, adding, “Maybe they know something I don’t.” Like McCarthy, Richard Mayes, managing partner of Fresh Continents, said he has doubts that the region is ready for “a glut of speculative cold storage space.”

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“Wall Street has identified cold storage as a hot real estate investment sector,” he said. But he said there is demand for the kind of space his team is developing under an owner-operator model. Fresh Continents is planning an owner-operator facility in Burgaw (similar to PWCS), which means the developer will also run dayto-day activities and work directly with clients. The company’s first 270,000-square-foot phase of the total 450,000-square-foot venture will serve the state’s agricultural products, including produce, poultry and other proteins for export, import and domestic distribution, Mayes said. Planned to open mid-summer 2023, it will be located strategically near rural agricultural producers and adjacent to a major food processor. As for RL Cold, a subsidiary of real estate development firm RealtyLink, Lewis said he’s comfortable with his company’s position, especially given that they’re the first to break ground out of the batch of cold storage proposals. “Most of these other developments are really approaching a different

M A G A Z I N E

product type and different opportunity than what I’m looking at,” he said. “Ours was to address the importexport business for the Port of Wilmington … Essentially, you’ll have a ton of different food, all of these different customers, all under one roof.” Another speculatively designed project is being planned near port property by Cold Summit Development. The two-phase, $145 million investment includes a twobuilding campus spanning 440,000 square feet. A flexible building design, widest temperature variance available (ranging from -20 to 55-plus degrees Fahrenheit) and space designed to meet customer demand will allow the facilities to “store any and all product, from frozen, to chilled and those requiring ambient storage,” according to Cold Summit Development President and CEO Scott Pertel. Potential rail access and 1-mile proximity to the port will offer users quick product turnaround times, he said. RL Cold, which bills itself as the largest cold storage developer in the nation, is strategically building similar


PRIVATE SECTOR COLD STORAGE SPACE Just one privately operated cold storage facility is in operation in the area. In the next few years, there’s a nearly $500 million pipeline of new cold storage development. CAPITAL EXPENDITURE

SQ FT

COMPLETION DATE

USA INVESTCO (PORT OF WILMINGTON COLD STORAGE)

$ 1 5M

101,000

2016

RL COLD

$100M

285,000

2023

(ESTIMATED)

COLD SUMMIT DEVELOPMENT

$145M

440,000 (TWO PHASES)

2023

(ESTIMATED)

FRESH CONTINENTS NEARLY

$90M $150M

450,000 (TWO PHASES

P1 2023 / P2 TBD

CIL CAPITAL

October 6th | Wilmington Convention Center

750,000 P1 SEPT. 2023/ (TWO PHASES P2 NOV. 2023

TOTAL ABOUT

$ 5 00M

2M S Q FT

Sources: companies, N.C. State Ports Authority

facilities in key markets, fueled by $1 billion in private equity funds, Lewis said. And at ILM Business Park, there are plans for 750,000 square feet of cold storage space for two phases of speculative development by CIL Capital to target the life sciences industry. Strategically positioned next to the airport, those facilities won’t compete with what RL Cold is planning, according to Lewis. “Can the (cold storage) market support drugs and vaccines and food?” Lewis said. “I would say absolutely.” w i l m i n g t o n b i z m a g a z i n e . c o m

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READY TO ROLL AFTER MUCH DISCUSSION AND PLANNING, NEW HANOVER COUNTY’S BILLION-DOLLAR ENDOWMENT GETS CLOSER TO COMMUNITY FUNDING. BY NEIL COTIAUX | PHOTO BY MADELINE GRAY

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ILLIAM BUSTER, NEW HANOVER COMMUNITY ENDOWMENT’S FIRST PRESIDENT AND CEO, HAS SOME GOOD NEWS FOR THE COUNTY’S 225,000 RESIDENTS: THE FIRST GRANTS FROM THE INDEPENDENT CHARITABLE FOUNDATION WILL BE ANNOUNCED BY THE END OF THIS YEAR. Until recently, it appeared that the nonprofit’s first grants might not be made until 2023 as its 13 directors awaited Buster’s arrival from Dogwood Health Trust in Asheville, where he was senior vice president of impact, and as they faced the task of selecting a community advisory committee to work with them. Formation of the 15-member advisory group was one of several conditions negotiated by N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein with New Hanover County in return for his not blocking the acquisition of county-owned New Hanover Regional Medical Center by Novant Health. The merger, which closed on Feb. 1, 2021, helped launch the endowment with $1.25 billion of sales proceeds. Buster, a former regional director at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and a program officer for the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation before joining Dogwood, began work as NHCE’s CEO in March after being chosen in a nationwide search. Prior to Buster’s arrival, the hospital purchase agreement enshrined four areas of

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Here are some examples of ways the grant money possibly could be used, as described when the New Hanover County Endowment was established in late 2020. Though the four focus areas are set, the specific uses in them will be decided through the upcoming grant process and not necessarily these below.

illustra

tion by BRIANNE WRIG

HT

COMMUNITY SAFETY Next-generation 911 services developed and deployed

HEALTH & SOCIAL EQUITY

Rapid response fire rescue and emergency medical services Support and resources for community-led restorative justice programs

Eradicate food deserts across the county Expand access to highquality, fair-cost physical and mental health clinics for county residents Funding support to eliminate disparities in health outcomes focused initially on diabetes and obesity

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COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT Workforce housing trust fund

Small business micro-loan program Minority- and womenowned business support programs

PUBLIC PRIMARY, SECONDARY & POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION High-quality universal prekindergarten with wrap-around services Comprehensive, no-cost broadband connectively countywide Comprehensive access to modern technology for all learners


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focus for the endowment: public primary, secondary and postsecondary education; health and social equity; community development; and community safety. His first order of business was to meet, and exchange ideas with, a wide spectrum of individuals in the county. “I’ve done them in one-on-ones, two-on-ones … as much as 75 people at any one time,” Buster said. He also has worked with the directors in reviewing applications for seats on the community advisory committee. Applications closed on May 13 with 82 individuals expressing interest. Among the applicant pool, “We probably have the most in the public health/social equity arena. Then, second to that, would be community economic development, and then third, education … and then the least amount of applications we have are folks with backgrounds or interest in public safety,” he said. Buster said the 15 CAC members were expected to be announced by July 1. Each adviser will act as a sounding board for the directors and a community convener in their area of expertise, but advisers will not be allowed to advocate for specific organizations, Buster explained. “So, they won’t be seeing (grant) applications, nor will we be talking about organizations,” he said. To get them acclimated and to shorten decision-making on the endowment’s first grants, the advisory committee most likely will not participate in the 2022 grant process. “We’ll probably have one or two meetings with them before the fall, but we won’t try to push them and rush them into being a part of the fall grant cycle conversation because even that is just beginning with our board,” Buster said. w i l m i n g t o n b i z m a g a z i n e . c o m

Grant criteria are expected to be announced in August, applications will go live in September and be accepted for several weeks, and the board will vote on grants in November or early December. “We want to make the announcements before the end of the year,” Buster said. No more than 4% of the endowment’s average net fair market value can be drawn down for grants annually. Those assets are now invested very conservatively, and at Nov. 5, 2021, stood at $1.29 billion. “We haven’t determined how much we’re going to do this fall, but we know it’s going to be far below that (4%) amount,” Buster cautioned. With the endowment’s bylaws stating that the organization will support community projects “in New Hanover County,” Buster said any grant recipient that serves clients in more than one county will have to engage in programmatic reporting and segregate its funds. “Right now, we have to stay focused on our county,” he said. In Buster’s conversations across the community, several themes continue to bubble to the surface. “I’m hearing lots as it relates to children and what we are doing on behalf of children,” Buster said. “That can be job training for young people. That can be improving the educational system. That can be improving the early childhood educational system. But nothing in the area of youth or children has bubbled up to the top as far as the specificity of what people want to have. “I did meet with the chief of police, but we talked about, very interestingly, youth development, which is actually what I think more people are thinking about as it relates to public safety,” Buster told the Business Journal one day before the mass killing at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

TH AT’ S THE WAY I WOUL D A SK PEOPLE TO TH IN K A BOUT T HE R ESOUR C ES THAT WE H AVE, IS H OW I S IT GOIN G TO SOLVE TH E P R OBL EM, NOT N EC ESSA R ILY M AI NTAI N TH E STATUS Q UO.

WILLIAM B U S T E R President & CEO, New Hanover Community Endowment

On the hot-button topic of teacher staffing, Buster emphasized that the foundation has no interest in “bending to political pressure” and must not supplant governmental funding. “I will say this, there are strategies where I could imagine supporting teacher development,” he noted. “There’s never enough resources to help teachers become better at what they do. “That’s the way I would ask people to think about the resources that we have, is how is it going to solve the problem, not necessarily maintain the status quo.” Velva Jenkins, CEO of the YWCA Lower Cape Fear, is one of many in the area following the endowment’s early deliberations closely. One problem that she wants solved is the financial gap that exists between the more modest cost of day care needed by single working parents and the higher pay that’s needed for day care staff. Raising day care workers’ pay forces the operators of child care centers to also raise the fees paid by working parents, Jenkins explained, which in turn can price lowerincome parents out of the market. Jenkins suggests that S U M M E R 2022

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endowments like NHCE underwrite child care credentialing programs. “They (graduates) come work in the industry, we pay them higher salaries because there’s funding to offset that and … keep the rates at a lower cost for these parents that cannot afford a higher rate for child care while they work,” she said. The impact could be “immediate,” Jenkins believes. On another thorny issue, county commissioners recently committed $15 million in existing revenues over five years for additional spending on affordable housing. During two endowment listening sessions last fall, advocates hammered home the urgency of creating a greater stock of workforce housing. “If we don’t take action now, I’m concerned about our future ability to hire and retain teachers, police officers, restaurant and hotel workers, etc., after they’ve all been displaced and no longer call our community home,” Tom Gale, vice chair of the joint city/county workforce housing advisory committee, said at the time. Addressing affordable housing, Buster said he is interested in “making sure that we can bring the best thoughts, the best opportunities, some innovations that maybe governmental entities may not be able to be a part of.” As New Hanover Community Endowment grows its relationships, its staff and its invested funds over the next five years, Buster sees a need to have the foundation work with nonprofits so they can increase their capacity to administer larger-scale projects and plan more strategically. “Let’s say we are at $1.5 billion at that point. We’ll be around that 4% to 5% deployment of resources, which is $40 to $50 million,” he said. “We have to have an infrastructure by that point that’s accepting those resources and not hurting the resources because too much money can hurt a community when you’re not prepared to deploy those resources correctly.”


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CASTING

LIGHT

BY MEGHAN CORBETT | PHOTO BY MICHAEL CLINE SPENCER

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P e d i at r i c i a n Khadijia Tribié R e i d g o es a f t er m a n y way s t o m a ke a n i mpac t .

H

ealth care is a vital component of our everyday lives, and we rely on it in the best and worst of times to always be there – a lesson driven home during the past few years.

Then, there are providers like Khadijia Tribié Reid, who wears more hats than most on a daily basis to take care of those around her. “I am a community health pediatrician,” Tribié Reid said. “I currently serve as the pediatric medical director of MedNorth Health Center. MedNorth is a federally qualified health center (FQHC) in New Hanover County that cares for all people, regardless of their insurance status. Uninsured patients benefit from a sliding-fee payment schedule. Prior to working at MedNorth, I worked at a similarly structured FQHC in Duplin County. I enjoy providing high-quality medical care to people who may not otherwise receive such care.” Pediatrics was a natural fit for Tribié Reid, she said. “I have always loved children. My initial career goal was to be a child psychologist, but the marvels of traditional science appealed to me,” she said. “Once I chose medicine as my career path, pediatrics was a no-brainer. Neither of my parents and none of my close relatives were doctors. I really had to forge this path with the knowledge I gained along the way.” Tribié Reid earned her undergraduate degree from Duke University. She took classes at Georgia State University and attended a postbaccalaureate program at Southern

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Illinois University “to become a more competitive medical school candidate.” She earned her medical degree at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta and then did a pediatrics residency at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. “After residency, I moved to North Carolina and began my first job as a pediatrician in Wallace,” she said. “After 12 years of practicing medicine, I decided to pursue a Master of Public Health, which I obtained from the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of (Global) Public Health in 2020.” Today, in addition to her clinical work, Tribié Reid has taken on many more responsibilities to further help her community. Those included serving as board president several years ago for Smart Start New Hanover County, which focuses on children from birth to 5 years old. “This nonprofit is a huge asset to our community,” Tribié Reid said. “Our county’s Smart Start supports more activities than I could ever list including Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, Reach Out and Read, parent support groups, day care financial assistance, training for child care staff, child care referral center and many more.” Tribié Reid now serves as a board member for the N.C. Partnership for Children (NCPC), which is Smart Start at the state level. “I represent the needs of families like my patients,” she said. “I am proud to amplify the needs of these families and ensure their issues remain on our agenda.” Tribié Reid also is a New Hanover Community Endowment board member, a position that opened up after N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein recommended that the new group expand to 13 members to reflect a diverse membership. “It really sounded like the seat was tailor-made for me. So, with my husband’s blessing, I applied, and I was honored to be selected,” Tribié Reid said. “When I see themes, like unfit housing or unmet educational needs, these are the themes I bring before my board. I also talk a great deal about health and wealth

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disparities and shine a light on the roots of these disparities, as well as the structures that support many of those disparities. While the United States is one of the wealthiest nations, we are far from the healthiest nation. Some populations suffer grave health consequences disproportionately to other populations. “I always look for the light. There is hope here,” she added. “I’m placing my efforts where there is hope.” This mentality extends to her daily work as well. “As the pediatric medical director at MedNorth Health Center, I design policy and create protocols regarding the care of children at our center,” Tribié Reid said. “When I joined MedNorth 10 years ago, there were very few pediatric patients coming to the Health Center. Now, we care for more than 1,000 children. Along the way, we had to design systems to most efficiently and effectively care for these children.” Tribié Reid is also the chair of Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s pediatrics department. “In this role, I serve as a liaison between the Department of Pediatrics, the Novant New Hanover system and the community,” she said. “I represent the needs of the pediatric providers to the larger Novant New Hanover system, and I communicate to Pediatric Department members any important changes in how the system works.” While many people never find a way to “have it all,” it seems as though Tribié Reid has found a way to find fulfillment in many aspects of her life. “I am thankful to have the support of a loving spouse and mom who help me be my best self,” she said. “One of the greatest motivations for doing this work is my own journey with my children. I've been excited about every milestone and grateful to watch them achieve it. It fills me with joy to watch any child fulfill his potential,” Tribié Reid said. “In contrast, when I watch highly capable children fail to reach the next wrung, it upsets me. These little people are our future; I want to see them thrive. So, my mission is to make it right – to find the light.” S U M M E R 2022

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TO WATC H

TRENDS

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rom expanding spaces to training more workers, the local health care industry continues to grow even as providers continue to navigate the COVID pandemic. BY VICKY JANOWSKI

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NHRMC is working on medical facilities to increase capacity. Site work is expected to start in late summer or fall on a 66-bed hospital in the Scotts Hill area, according to Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center representatives. The $210 million acute care facility is being built to serve northern New Hanover County and southern Pender County residents. It will be at the site of NHRMC Emergency DepartmentNorth, a free-standing emergency department and surgical center at 151 Scotts Hill Medical Drive. The health system also is moving ahead with plans for two proposed Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinics in Wilmington. The clinics are intended to address care for underserved communities and are being funded by $10 million donated by Jordan. The first site, at 1410 S. 15th St., is expected to open to patients next summer. A second to-be-determined site is expected to start seeing patients in 2024, hospital officials said.

Amidst a nationwide physician and nurse shortage, the area’s higher education institutions are focusing on training more providers in the health care industry. In recent years, the University of North Carolina Wilmington has started degree programs in respiratory therapy for undergraduates and a doctoral degree in nursing practice. And this fall, the university will launch a Ph.D. program in pharmaceutical chemistry. “New innovations flowing from advanced faculty and student research will have the potential to spark creation of industry opportunities across the state, nation and even internationally,” said Jeremy Morgan, professor and incoming chair for the school’s chemistry and biochemistry department. At Cape Fear Community College, new health-related programs include a medical lab technology training program starting this fall and a community paramedicine course launching this month in partnership with Novant Health.

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TRENDS

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MEDICAID EXPANSION

COVID CHECK-IN

PHARMA POSSIBILITIES

Though not a uniquely local development, the issue of Medicaid expansion in North Carolina has resurfaced. A Republican bill on health care access, including the longblocked backing for expanding the federal program in the state, passed the state Senate. The expansion was a part of the Affordable Care Act enacted in 2010. Since then, 38 states and Washington, D.C., have adopted Medicaid expansion in which coverage extended to nearly all adults with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level. The federal government pays for 90% of expansion coverage, with states picking up the rest. For years, North Carolina has been one of the holdout states for the expansion. Lawmakers have cited reasons such as impacts on taxpayers and skepticism about the level of federal coverage for costs. The bill, “NC Health Works,” is estimated to cover an additional 600,000 people in North Carolina if adopted, and under it, the state’s 10% share would come from an assessment on hospitals. The measure could still face opposition in the state House.

Two-and-a-half years into the coronavirus pandemic, area public health officials are continuing to address contagious variants, even as mitigation measures have waned. As of early June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rated New Hanover County as a low COVID-19 community level. “While the number of COVID-19 cases in New Hanover County has steadily increased in recent weeks, the CDC’s community level for our area remains low, mainly because the local healthcare system is not being significantly impacted,” according to a statement from the county. From late March through early June, the percent positivity rate for PCR testing over 14 days in the county rose from 4.3% to 20.6%, and the average number of confirmed cases per day increased from 9.7 to 61.5. “We are certainly seeing more COVID tests come back positive, but thankfully a large portion of those infections have not led to hospitalizations,” the county’s pandemic operations manager Jon Campbell said. For the week of May 23, Novant Health NHRMC reported a daily average of 12 COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized.

Several developments are happening in the area’s pharmaceutical-related industries. Cygnus Technologies Inc., part of Maravai LifeSciences, is planning to move from Southport to a morethan-$10 million, 45,000-square-foot facility at Waterford Commercial Park in Leland. Cygnus manufactures, assembles and distributes kits that allow pharmaceutical and biotech companies to detect and identify host cell impurities in biotherapeutics. Wilmington-based Catalyst Clinical Research, a provider of clinical research services, acquired U.K.-based Aptus Clinical. Alcami also recently announced that it had partnered with Civica Inc., a nonprofit pharmaceutical firm that seeks to make generic medicines accessible and affordable. Meanwhile, Quality Chemical Laboratories is working on its 100,000-square-foot expansion at its facility at Northchase Industrial Park. The company, which conducts testing of raw- and in-process materials, finished products and active pharmaceutical ingredients, plans to move into manufacturing pharmaceuticals through the expansion with a sister company called Pyramid Pharmaceutical Co.

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S U M M E R 2022

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PULSE 2022

PREVENTING THE

WORST BY CECE NUNN | PHOTO BY ARIS HARDING

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PULSE 2022

S hital P atel crusades for dental sedation rule changes after her husband ’ s death .

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t was the worst day of Shital Patel’s life. It had no right to start like it did, so normal and unassuming, with plans to accompany her husband to his dentist in Leland for a simple appointment, maybe duck out for a quick trip to the grocery store. Then they’d take their boat from Wrightsville Beach into the Atlantic Ocean later in the afternoon.

She and her husband, Wilmington cardiologist Henry Patel, couldn’t know that a dental implant appointment would lead to Henry’s death by anoxic brain injury, caused by the administration of anesthesia. A little after 1:30 p.m. on July 30, 2020, Henry was called back into the procedure room of oral surgeon Mark C. Austin for the implant. Shital was told the appointment would only take 20 to 30 minutes, so she nixed the idea of grocery shopping, figuring that wouldn’t be enough time. The minutes ticked by with no Henry emerging from the procedure room. She was then told there was a delay because the oral surgeon had gotten a late start. As more minutes went by, and Shital Patel knew something was wrong. “I thought something must be happening. I never in my wildest dreams … never, never, never, never, never did I think it was this kind of

serious,” Shital Patel said. Henry Patel’s heart had stopped, and his oxygen saturation levels had plummeted, but neither the oral surgeon nor his staff tried to perform CPR, according to a review by the state’s dental board and Shital Patel. Excruciating minutes later, an ambulance arrived, and emergency medical service workers gave him CPR for 23 minutes. They were able to get his heart beating again, but four days later, the 53-year-old otherwise healthy Henry Patel was gone. In the aftermath of the wellknown and respected cardiologist’s death, his wife has been crusading to make the state’s dental board change its rules so an anesthesiologist or a certified nurse anesthetist (CRNA) has to be present when a patient is undergoing a procedure requiring deep sedation. In Henry Patel’s case, he had never asked for deep sedation, only checking the box in his dental paperwork that indicated moderate sedation, Shital Patel said. A year after that day, Austin permanently surrendered his license to practice dentistry in the state of North Carolina. The N.C. State Board of Dental Examiners found that even though Henry Patel’s oxygen levels and heart rate had dropped to life-threatening levels and did not improve, Austin “did not successfully place an advanced airway adjunct, create a surgical airway via cricothyroidotomy, take specific intervention to treat bradycardia, nor initiate CPR prior to EMS’ arrival.” Austin, according to the board’s consent order, denied that his actions resulted in Henry Patel’s death. The Patels filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Austin that’s been settled. But nothing can bring Henry back. “We had this perfect life,” Shital Patel said, “and it got taken away. All of it.” These days, she has channeled her grief, and that of her son and daughter, into pushing state officials to change the rules, which now only

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require a permit from the dental board to administer anesthesia. The board has been considering rule changes, part of which would require dentists and oral surgeons to have a CRNA or an anesthesiologist present when a patient is put under certain types of sedation, according to NC Health News. The proposed changes state, “During a sedation procedure involving the administration of general anesthesia, moderate conscious sedation, or moderate pediatric conscious sedation, the permit holder performing the surgical or other dental treatment shall utilize either a dedicated sedation provider or a dedicated sedation auxiliary as set out in this Rule.” Bobby White, CEO and legal counsel of the N.C. State Board of Dental Examiners, said the proposed changes garnered the most comments the board has ever had, with more than 1,300 pages of comments that the board’s volunteers have to go through. “The proposed rules, in light of the comments received from the public, are being reviewed by the board’s advisory committee on sedation and general anesthesia,” White said June 6. “We’re working as quickly as we can. It is a slow process.” But officials are pushing hard to have the latest revision, which incorporates the public comments, to them at the June or July meeting of the dental board, White said. The revised rules will then be available for public comment before being put forward to the state’s rules review commission. That commission is a subcommittee of the General Assembly, White said, and that’s where the actual rules could be approved. Shital Patel said she won’t give up until they are. “Nobody knows the pain we feel every day. Nobody knows the tears that have flooded our cars, our homes, our beds, our pillows, our friends’ shoulders,” she said. “My goal is so nobody else has to know this.” S U M M E R 2022

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Dr. Egg Pediatric Dentistry

Raleigh 919.355.0567


RETIREMENT LIVING IN COASTAL N.C.

wilmington

P. 46 HOMES + COMMUNITIES

P. 56 HEALTH + WELLNESS

P. 58 LIFESTYLES + CONNECTIONS

P. 78 FOOD + DRINK


Dental AND Vision. We love your whole face. Now offering dental and vision plans for employer groups, families, and individuals.

Learn more at DeltaDentalNC.com.

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RETIREMENT LIVING IN COASTAL N.C.

wilmington

About Our Sponsors For more than 50 years, Delta Dental of North Carolina has championed healthy smiles across the state as North Carolina’s leading dental insurer. A member of the Delta Dental Plans Association, we are part of the largest dental insurance network in the nation, covering more than 80 million Americans. Today we are pleased to provide both dental and now vision insurance administered by VSP ® Vision Care to businesses as part of their employee benefits, and directly to individuals and families. Our mission is to improve the oral health and the overall well-being of the communities we serve. Learn more about Delta Dental of North Carolina at www.deltadentalnc.com and DeltaVision ® at www.deltadentalnc.com/deltavision. Curt Ladig / President and CEO / Delta Dental of North Carolina

Liberty Senior Living is excited to once again sponsor “Good Life Wilmington” – A Guide to Retirement Living in Coastal North Carolina. For over 147 years, Liberty Healthcare Management, a Wilmington-based, family-owned organization, has been helping older adults manage their healthcare and residential needs. Our portfolio of communities throughout the Southeastern United States continues to grow as we expand our service offerings which include communities for active adult living, independent living, assisted living, memory support and skilled nursing care. We have proudly served the Wilmington area for over 30 years with two communities; Brightmore of Wilmington and Carolina Bay at Autumn Hall, with more on the way. We invite you to visit LibertySeniorLiving.com where you can learn more about all of our premier communities which have been designed for active seniors who have high expectations for living life to the fullest and on their own terms. We look forward to serving you! Dean Dellaria / Corporate Director of Marketing and Sales / Liberty Senior Living

Riverlights is Wilmington’s vibrant master-planned community situated along the Cape Fear River, featuring a humming commercial village, 38-acre freshwater lake and lakehouse, a pool and fitness center, miles of nature paths, and a dock for crabbing, fishing, or launching a kayak. And there’s far more to come. Home to 800+ families, we’re a social, easy-going, “we love it here!” kind of place, offering single-family homes, townhomes, apartments, and a Del Webb 55+ neighborhood. We invite you to visit riverlightsliving.com to learn more or drop by the Information Center. Time your visit right and catch a spectacular sunset over the Cape Fear River. Riverlights Team

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THE SAGEWOOD 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath + a “You Room” 1,643 square feet

WILMINGTON’S ORIGINAL LIFE PLAN COMMUNITY is expanding with brand new community amenities to include all new dining venues and 44 village flats! Our new dog park — “Central Bark” — will welcome our residents’ four-legged friends. Construction is underway and only a limited number of floorplans are available. Call us at 1-866-825-3806 to learn more!

Secure your future today. 42

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Toby

Nick

Keira

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wilmington

Letter from the Publisher

Finding the

U

Good Life

nless my subconscious is playing mind games, it’s a complete coincidence that we’re launching a retirement-focused media property for people 50+ the year I’m turning 50. This idea has consciously been on our minds for several years. We see an information gap in our region. While the Wilmington area continues to attract more and more retirees, there isn’t a central, trusted information source to help current and aspiring retirees make decisions and connections. Enter Good Life Wilmington, which will be that information source on retirement-related topics for three primary audiences – retirees and those nearing retirement who already live in our community, people outside our region who are researching Wilmington as a retirement destination as well as family members who are helping with these decisions. A few years ago, I was one of those family members in need of information when I helped my parents move to Wilmington from their home of more than 40 years near Pittsburgh. Even for someone already in

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Wilmington, many questions weren’t easy to answer – Where should we live? How do we find a primary care doctor and specialists? What opportunities are there to get involved in the community and meet people? Where should we shop, eat and go out for fun? What professionals should we work with for financial planning, legal issues and other needs? These types of questions informed the five main areas of coverage you’ll find at GoodLifeWilmington.com: • HOMES + COMMUNITIES — Neighborhoods, retirement communities, housing trends and more • HEALTH + WELLNESS — Medical specialists, ideas to stay active and health-related groups • LIFESTYLES + CONNECTIONS — Volunteering, mentoring, the arts, golf, boating and pickleball (if you haven’t tried pickleball yet, imagine playing ping-pong on top of the table) • FOOD + DRINK — Restaurants, bars, farmers markets and locally made products • COMMUNITY RESOURCES — Financial and estate planning, shopping destinations and more Good Life Wilmington is mainly online so it’s easy for people in our community and beyond to find information at GoodLifeWilmington. com, the Good Life Wilmington Directory at the same site, weekly

emails and Facebook posts. We’ll also publish an annual Good Life Wilmington magazine in print and as a digital flipbook. Similar to our other two media properties, Greater Wilmington Business Journal and WILMA magazine, our stories will mainly focus on the trends, resources and happenings in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties, but we’ll venture into some neighboring areas as well. We already have some ideas about expanding Good Life Wilmington’s reach and impact through events and other vehicles, but please contact me directly if you have thoughts on what we’re doing already and what else we can do to serve the Good Life audience. My email is rkaiser@ wilmingtonbiz.com. Also, you can send your story ideas to editor@wilmingtonbiz.com and if you’re interested in learning about becoming an advertiser or sponsor of Good Life Wilmington, contact us at marketing@wilmingtonbiz.com. Hope you enjoy the Good Life! Sincerely, Rob Kaiser, Publisher Good Life Wilmington Greater Wilmington Business Journal WILMA Magazine 910.343.8600 x204 rkaiser@wilmingtonbiz.com

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WE ARE BETTER TOGETHER The #1 Registered Investment Advisory Firm Six Years in a Row.

*

With more than $600 billion in assets, CAPTRUST has the scale, resources, and local presence to provide Carolinians access to unparalleled financial advisory services.** CAPTRUST specializes in providing comprehensive wealth planning services to executives and high-net-worth individuals, and investment advisory services to retirement plan fiduciaries, foundations, and endowments.

910.256.8882 | captrust.com 1209 Culbreth Dr #100, Wilmington, NC 28405

*Source: FA Magazine’s 2016-2021 RIA Survey and Ranking in the category $1 billion+ in assets under advisement **As of June 30, 2021

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CONTENTS S U M M E R

2 0 2 2

Homes + Communities

46 52

Developing Neighborhoods Downtown Dwelling

Health + Wellness

56 64

Novant Health 101 Hitting the Trails

Lifestyles + Connections

68 74 76

Main Stages Movie Extras Magic Pickleball Powerhouses

Food + Drink

78 83

Specialty Food Shops New Restaurants

About the Cover Tom and Kathleen Barber show off their dance moves on the Riverwalk in downtown Wilmington. The couple moved to Wilmington about 20 years ago and has been active in the area since. Read their recommendations for living the Good Life in our Insider’s Corner interview.

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Homes + Communities

moving IN By Jenny Callison

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Homes + Communities

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Median sale prices in the area – April 2022 $450k $400k

singlefamily homes

$350k $300k $250k $150k $100k $50k

townhouses + condos

pender co

$200k

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In New Hanover County, where vacant land suitable for large residential developments is scarce, Riverlights is one exception. This 1,400-acre master-planned community bounded by the Cape Fear River offers a mix of housing, from rental apartments to townhomes and single-family homes. It includes a Del Webb neighborhood for residents 55 and older, while also featuring homes whose design and price appeal to young buyers and families.

clubhouse, swimming pool and gym as well as walking and biking trails. Partly because of the growth at Riverlights, the southwestern portion of Wilmington has seen a boom in commercial development nearby, from grocery stores to specialty retail to a wide variety of restaurants and a movie theater. The eastern portion of Pender County is experiencing significant growth as well, with new housing developments under construction and in the planning stages. Windsor Homes, based in North Carolina’s Triad area, is building two new communities in Hampstead: The Arbors and The Terraces, with homes ranging from just under 1,700 to 3,000 square feet and price tags

new hanover co

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ith growth in the Wilmington threecounty market area projected to reach nearly 570,000 by 2040 – an increase of about 34% over the 2020 population – builders and developers are striving to meet current and future demand for housing.

Charleston, South Carolina-based company New Leaf Builders is new to Wilmington, expanding specifically because of the opportunities available in Riverlights. “We have two collections at Riverlights: one, The Piedmont, is designed with the retiree demographic in mind,” said Tyler Henrikson, a sales consultant with New Leaf. “The homes are designed with the main living area focused around a covered courtyard, and they offer three bedrooms and two baths with an attached two-car garage.” Potential buyers who are retired or soon-to-be are looking for a bedroom that can serve as a home office, Henrikson continued. Also high on their list of desired features: hardwood floors throughout the house; one-level living or at least a main-level master; a fireplace; a fully tiled, walk-in shower and a natural gas kitchen. “The Piedmont Collection homes range from 1,850 to nearly 2,400 square feet. They are built on a standard lot, but it may be smaller than the buyers had previously,” Henrikson said. “There is a shift toward low-maintenance yards.” Among Riverlights’ attractions for people relocating within the Wilmington market as well as those new to the area is its sense of community, according to Henrikson. Amenities maintained by the homeowners association include a

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Homes + Communities

photos c/o RIVERLIGHTS

from about $328,000 to $450,000. While many potential homebuyers are military families connected to Camp Lejeune in nearby Jacksonville, Windsor is seeing a number of retirees showing interest in its models and homesites. “I get phone calls from up north, from retirees,” said Jason Cox, a Realtor who is a new home sales associate for the company. “A lot of them are looking for one-level living or that downstairs master. We have a couple of floor plans that have a downstairs master bedroom. Others are mostly on one level but have a frog (finished room over garage, a local term for a bonus room).” While open floor plans for the main

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living areas are in demand, Cox is seeing another trend among would-be buyers: requests to repurpose the dining room space into a study. “With COVID, everyone is working from home; even some retirees are coming back into the workplace,” he said. Increased demand along with supply problems caused by COVID have complicated pricing and selling for builders. “Before COVID, Windsor strived for presales,” Cox said. “The buyer picked a lot, picked a house and we started from the beginning and locked in a price. Now it’s more difficult with labor and

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materials shortages. A home takes at least a year to build. After the drywall is in, we have to have the right to adjust the price if costs have risen. That’s making presales difficult, so now we’re just specing out and pricing the homes. We try to put as much that people want in our spec homes.” Backlogs are affecting many new developments in the Wilmington area. “We order materials as soon as possible so delays cause less of an impact,” said Grae Hawks, on-site broker for The Lakes at Pine Forest, the first neighborhood in Pine Forest of Oak Island, a large development taking shape in Brunswick County.

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Homes + Communities

While there are price uncertainties due to rising materials costs, the price of a home is finalized when the buyer signs the contract, she said. The Lakes homes range in cost from the low-$400,000s to the mid-$500,000s. Plans call for Pine Forest’s 2,000acre expanse to include a mix of singlefamily, apartment and townhome units, an 80-bed assisted living facility, community facilities, a connected walking trail and dog parks. A medical clinic, Novant Health Family Medicine Pine Forest, is located within Pine Forest and has a contractual agreement with the development, although it serves residents of surrounding communities

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as well. “We are not an age-restricted community, but we are senior-targeted,” said David Davis, Pine Forest’s director of marketing and business development. Demand has been strong for The Lakes, many of whose homes offer one-level, open-concept floorplans and range from 1,650 to 2,600 square feet, Hawks said. Hawks said that many future homeowners are living in the community’s apartment complex, The Hawthorne at Pine Forest, while their new homes are being built. The Hawthorne’s first phase of upscale one, two and three-bedroom apartments is

complete, with more than 150 units. A second phase will bring the total number of apartments to more than 300. Northern Brunswick County is home to several well-established housing developments such as Brunswick Forest, Waterford, Magnolia Greens and newer Compass Point. Farther south is St. James Plantation, an expansive golf community. Developments in the pipeline range from those featuring large homes on big lots to mixed-use and multifamily communities. Two new developments are ones that Brunswick Senior Resources Inc. is creating in partnership with private developers.

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Not Your Father' s Retirement Plan

Single-family, luxury, townhomes and Del Webb 55+ living along the river. Floorplans by 9 homebuilders from the mid $300s - $1M+

@RiverlightsNC

RiverlightsLiving.com

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(910) 405-1234

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109 Pier Master Point, Suite 100

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Wilmington, NC 28412 G o o d L i f eW i l m i n g t o n . c o m


Home is better with a whole lot of “you” mixed in. Our diverse home styles capture the colorful spirit of Riverlights and life on the water in a way that gives you just what you want, where you want it.

Trusst Builder Group – Duplex 2,266 sq. ft. | Plum Island II Model 831 Wharton Ave

New Leaf 1,573 - 2,650 sq. ft. | Gates Model 741 Edgerton Dr

Pulte Homes 1,841 - 3,160 sq. ft. | Newberry Model 740 Edgerton Dr

Trusst Builder Group – Duplex 2,317 sq. ft. | Linville Model 837 Wharton Ave

Trusst Builder Group 2,197 - 2,505 sq. ft. | Roanoke Model 730 Edgerton Dr

AR Homes

Del Webb*

AR Homes – Luxury Single Family

PBC Design + Build – Luxury

2,715 sq. ft. | Seascape Model 524 Edgerton Dr

1,262 - 3,818 sq. ft. | Dunwoody Way Model 4136 Passerine Ave

Hamp’s Landing and River Row

Single Family

Contact sales representative for

Hamp’s Landing and River Row

*5 additional Del Webb models available to view

more information.

Contact sales representative for

Legacy Homes by Bill Clark 1,453 - 2,590 sq. ft. | Cypress II Model 744 Edgerton Dr

Trusst Builder Group 2,697 - 2,924 sq. ft. | Catawba Model 726 Edgerton Dr

Charter Builder Group 2,347 sq. ft. | Devonshire Model 722 Edgerton Dr

more information.

Newland is the largest private developer of mixed-use communities in the United States. With our partner, North America Sekisui House, LLC, we believe it is our responsibility to create enduring, healthier communities for people to live life in ways that matter most to them. newlandco.com | nashcommunities.com

NNP IV-Cape Fear River, LLC (“Fee Owner”) is the owner and developer of the Riverlights Community (“Community”). Fee Owner has retained Newland Real Estate Group, LLC (“Newland”) solely as the property manager for the Community. North America Sekisui House, LLC (“NASH”) has an interest in one of Fee Owner’s members. Homebuilders, unaffiliated with Fee Owner, Newland, NASH, or their affiliates (together, the “Released Parties”) are building homes at the Community. The Released Parties are not co-developing, co-building, guarantors of, or otherwise responsible for, nor shall they incur any liability as a result of, any of the obligations or representations made to buyers by any homebuilder or other third party. Fee Owner’s responsibility with respect to the Community is limited to certain infrastructure improvements (e.g., roads, sewer, etc.) and such obligations run solely to persons buying real property directly from Fee Owner. Buyers of homes waive, to the fullest extent allowed under the law, any and all rights, claims, causes of action and other rights whatsoever against the Released Parties arising from their purchase of a home or services, respectively, in the Community from homebuilders or other third party. Not an offering of the sale or lease of real property to residents of any jurisdiction where prior qualification of out-of-state real property is required unless the Community has been so qualified or an exemption is available. Any prices, sketches, renderings, and specifications contained herein are proposed only and subject, without notice, to change or withdrawal at any time. The maps contained herein are for illustrative purposes only and are based on current development concepts, which are subject to change without notice. © 2022 NNP IV-Cape Fear River, LLC. All rights reserved. EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY.

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Homes + Communities

Downtown’s

DRAW By Jenny Callison

B

ordered by the Cape Fear River and seeped in more than 250 years of history, downtown Wilmington has blossomed into a dynamic and colorful place to live for people of all ages. Its neighborhoods are diverse, from districts on the National Register of Historic Places to blocks of sleek condo and apartment developments in or near the central business district. “I love being downtown,” said Margaret Haynes, a longtime Wilmington resident who traded her 3,000-square-foot home for a River Place condo in September 2020. Centrally located River Place, which contains 171 residential units, 32,000 square feet of retail space and garage parking, has proved popular with others as well: Both its condos and its retail spaces are fully occupied. Wilmington’s Ruth’s Chris restaurant recently relocated to River Place. “There is a bunch of sociable people in our building, and now that

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COVID is waning we enjoy getting together for happy hours and other occasions,” Haynes said. She also likes the convenience of being able to walk to the many restaurants, performing arts, visual arts and educational events downtown Wilmington has to offer. She is steps from the Cape Fear Riverwalk, a nearly 2-mile boardwalk connecting Riverfront Park and the marina to the north with development near Cape Fear Memorial Bridge to the south. “It’s great for people-watching; you see a little bit of everything,”

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Haynes says of living downtown. She also enjoys the view from her riverfacing windows, a panorama that includes Cape Fear Memorial Bridge and the Battleship North Carolina, moored across the water from River Place. In less than a decade, downtown Wilmington has welcomed several large apartment and condo developments. More than $650 million of private capital has been invested over the past six years in apartments, condos and hotels throughout the central business district, according to G o o d L i f eW i l m i n g t o n . c o m


Homes + Communities

INSIDER’S CORNER KIM NELSON

After a career in the pharmaceutical industry, working on both the scientific and business sides, Kim Nelson retired in 2014. Nelson, who is 59, and her husband, Tim, traded in workwear for travel duds.

Hometown: Bolivar, Pennsylvania Any professional work that you still do now? “Strategic consulting mostly in the nonprofit industry ” How did you prepare for retirement? “The long-term financial

Several apartment and condo projects have been built around Wilmington's northern riverfront area in recent years, especially around the city's new park and amphitheater (shown in foreground).

photo by T.J. Drechsel

Wilmington Downtown iNC (WDI). In addition to River Place, there is Pier 33, a fully occupied complex of 275 residential units and retail space, and Flats on Front, another fully occupied development of 273 apartments. In October, developers broke ground on The Metropolitan at the Riverwalk, which will contain 293 apartments, 4,500 square feet of retail space and a 490-stall parking garage. “Downtown has added more than 1,100 new housing units (primarily apartments and condos), and more than 300 additional units are currently under construction,” said Holly Childs, G o o d L i f eW i l m i n g t o n . c o m

who until recently served as WDI’s president and CEO. Investment of public and private dollars in Wilmington’s downtown has not been funneled only into housing and infrastructure. Cape Fear Community College’s Wilson Center, funded through private gifts and a New Hanover County bond sale, took glittering shape as a 1,500-seat performance venue, with a smaller studio theater and 26 instructional spaces. Across the street, but part of the complex, is the Wilma W. Daniels Gallery, one of a large mix of

vision that we wanted was to retire early and travel the world. We started investing young and stuck with it.”

What community activities are you involved in? “GLOW (Girls Leadership

Academy of Wilmington) board member, Young Scientist Academy board member, District C trained coach, UNCW-Cameron Executive Network Advisory Council and mentor, FuseCR Advisory Council and mentor, QENO (Quality Enhancement for Nonprofit Organizations) coach, SeaTech Advisory Council member, Leadership Wilmington Advisory Council member, United Way of the Cape Fear Area Planning and Investment Committee member, UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Blue Economy strategic adviser. And, of course, the stuff I do with WILMA’s Women to Watch Leadership Initiative.”

Any restaurant picks? “Our favorite

restaurant, manna, has the total package of excellent food, wine and service. Brassiere du Soleil is a nice place for an outdoor lunch. A few recent entries to the Wilmington food scene with good food and nice outdoor space are Three10 and True Blue Butcher and Barrel.”

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Homes + Communities

Margaret Haynes downsized from her home to a condo in River Place in 2020.

photo by Aris Harding

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downtown area art galleries. “In 2016, $45 million was invested in the Wilson Center, and just last summer we celebrated the opening of the city’s $35 million Riverfront Park, which includes Live Oak Bank Pavilion – downtown Wilmington’s second Live Nation venue to attract nationallytouring music acts,” Childs said. Music and other performing arts flourish in a variety of downtown venues, while the visual arts are on display everywhere, from private galleries to public sculpture installations. Downtown is also a place to shop and work. The downtown office occupancy rate is at 96.2%, and there is currently 17,000 square feet more in development, according to a report Childs cited from SVN Efird Commercial Real Estate. The report stated that retail occupancy downtown is at nearly 100%, with rents rising as a result of demand.

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Health + Wellness

photo c/o Novant Health NHRMC

HOSPITAL LANDSCAPE

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By Neil Cotiaux

n the wake of the first anniversary of their merger, Novant Health and New Hanover Regional Medical Center are accelerating plans to build more facilities, deepen medical specialties and serve more patients. Following the Feb. 1, 2021, merger of New Hanover County-owned NHRMC with Novant, the two health care systems began integrating staff, policies and resources – a formidable task in itself – as COVID-19 tested the combined organization’s capacity to handle record waves of hospitalizations. At the same time, a new coastal market management team was put in place that cross-pollinated leadership at NHRMC and Brunswick Medical Center, which was already part of Novant Health prior to its purchase of NHRMC. Above: Laurie Whalin, COO of Novant Health NHRMC, shown at its neuroscience center

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Health + Wellness Now, with an integrated team that proved its mettle throughout the pandemic, the approximately 8,400 individuals working in Novant Health’s coastal region as of the beginning of the year have their sights set further down the road. When NHRMC’s sale took effect last year, Novant Health became obligated to execute a host of hospital-specific and communityrelated promises made as part of the purchase agreement. Among the key commitments are a total of $3.1 billion to fund major facilities and both strategic and routine capital needs; $300 million for a county revenue stabilization fund; and $1.25 billion in sales proceeds as base funding for a new nonprofit, the New Hanover Community Endowment, which is expected to release $50 million or more in grants annually for education, health and social equity, public safety and community development. “You had Brunswick and then you had NHRMC, and we did things separately and almost in competition. And now this has given us an opportunity to take a step back and say, okay, now that we’re one, how do we provide access to the entire region?” said Laurie Whalin, who served as president and COO of Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center over the past year before being named COO of Wilmington-based Novant Health NHRMC in February. “Not just Pender, Brunswick and New Hanover County, but all seven counties” as far north as Onslow and as far west as Columbus, she said. Retaining and recruiting the right staff will be critical in delivering quality services to a growing area population, many of whom need specialized care in disciplines such as cardiology, oncology, neurology and pediatrics. As part of its acquisition, Novant pledged to retain all of the G o o d L i f eW i l m i n g t o n . c o m

Wilmington system’s employees for a minimum of two years at their then-current salaries, titles and responsibilities. Hourly workers at NHRMC were transitioned to Novant’s higher $15 minimum. As the pandemic continued to take its toll on employees and their families and as the first anniversary of the merger neared, Novant announced a one-time, $40 million investment in team members across its three-state system of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Full-time employees at the assistant director level and below were given an extra week of paid time off or its cash equivalent. Part-time workers received an additional 24 hours of PTO or cash. While the bonus came on the heels of some staff departures and concerns across the health care industry over nursing shortages, it also was a reflection of the need to retain and hire even more staff devoted to value-based performance. Over the past year, 49 new providers were recruited to the coastal region’s physician group alone, Whalin said. “One, the volume has increased, so we need more staff,” she said. “But two, we’ve lost staff. We’ve probably landed in about the same place (8,400 employees) … but nursing is our No. 1 top focus.” Shelbourn Stevens, formerly president of Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center and now president of Novant HealthNHRMC as well as its broader coastal region, said quality staffing is essential as the system develops a master facility plan that is central to meeting the demand for services. “Where are there gaps? Where are we out of space? What could we do differently, what could look different, how do we offer those services? How do we expand some specialty clinics for the region?” Stevens said. “People just keep moving here and moving here, so

NOVANT AT A GLANCE

Novant Health is a notfor-profit health care system based in WinstonSalem, North Carolina. In February 2021, it purchased New Hanover Regional Medical Center and took over the local system’s facilities and physician group. Novant previously had a presence in Brunswick County with physician offices there and Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center. As part of the deal, Novant entered into an agreement with UNC School of Medicine to expand its branch campus in Wilmington.

NOVANT

BY THE NUMBERS

800 15 1,800

LOCATIONS, including

HOSPITALS

PHYSICIANS

35,000

EMPLOYEES

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Health + Wellness Clinical coordinator Lynn Brinson stands with the da Vinci Xi robotic surgical system in an operating room at Novant Health Scotts Hill Outpatient Surgery Center.

photo c/o Novant Health NHRMC

we’re going to have to continue that physician recruitment and be able to provide those services in those communities. So, we’ll have lots more projects coming up on the horizon.” With both providers and patients having gotten used to virtual care during the pandemic, there is increased interest by Novant in the health care system becoming more deeply involved in home-based care. Last September, Novant launched COVID Care at Home for patients who had been hospitalized with COVID-19 and who could transition to athome monitoring using virtual care, along with office visits or hospital readmission if required. NHRMC had launched a similar program in April 2020, prior to the G o o d L i f eW i l m i n g t o n . c o m

purchase. “We used that as a mini-model,” Whalin said. “We see (using) it for a lot of simple conditions like pneumonia, cellulitis, things that can be treated in the home that just need minimal therapy such as antibiotics, but some monitoring and nurse care. “We do see us offering a lot of those services ourselves, from physician staff as well as nursing” while utilizing partners such as physical therapists and mobile X-ray services, she said. Meantime, Novant Health launched a new business division in March that will serve as an incubator for technological advancements that could enhance clinical care for a variety of patients.

 The new division, Novant Health

Enterprises, is able to invest in, or acquire, third-party enterprises that pioneer breakthrough technology that could help staff deliver a higher level of care. Prior to NHE’s formation, Novant partnered with the firm Viz.ai to introduce artificial intelligence that can analyze images of suspected large-vessel occlusion strokes. The technology enables stroke specialists to save “critical minutes, even hours,” a company statement said. It is already in use in Novant’s coastal market. “I’ve lived in this region for 15 years,” Stevens said, “and it has been astounding to see this positive level of investment and health care progress in just one year.” S u m m e r

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DON’T JUST LIVE HERE...

LOVE IT HERE.

LIVE at Carolina Bay at Autumn Hall and… LOVE the INSPIRE wellness program LOVE the active lifestyle LOVE the variety of dining venues LOVE the spacious apartments and garden flats LOVE the peace of mind with continuing care on-site. Call 910.541.8538 to schedule a tour and see why residents don’t just live here, they LOVE IT HERE.

630 Carolina Bay Drive, Wilmington, NC 28403

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R E T I R E M E N T L I V I N G I N C O A S TA L N . C . A Life Plan Community offered by Liberty Senior Living

CarolinaBayatAutumnHall.com

G o o d L i f eW i l m i n g t o n . c o m © 2022 Carolina Bay at Autumn Hall


SPONSORS’ CONTENT

WE ARE LIBERTY Liberty Healthcare is a Wilmington based, family-owned company that has been helping people manage their healthcare and residential needs for more than 145 years. Principal owners, Sandy and Ronnie McNeill, are proud to call this area home, and are the fifth generation of the McNeill family that has been immersed in the healthcare industry. The company founders, who opened their first pharmacy in 1875, established Liberty’s core values of quality, honesty, and integrity that guide us to this day. LIBERTY SENIOR LIVING Liberty Senior Living is the development and operations management company for Liberty’s senior living division. We oversee the development, financing, acquisition and operation of independent living, assisted living memory-care and Life Plan Communities. For more than 30 years, Liberty Senior Living has been offering seniors access to a full continuum of services in luxury communities built in some of the most desirable locations in the Southeast. With two locations here in Wilmington, Carolina Bay at Autumn Hall and Brightmore of Wilmington which includes The Kempton and The Commons on the Brightmore campus, Liberty G o o d L i f eW i l m i n g t o n . c o m

Senior Living is posed for growth and a continued commitment to helping seniors live life to their fullest. COMMUNITY OFFERINGS Liberty Senior Living communities have been designed for active seniors. They are filled with fabulous amenities and an abundance of activities for promoting physical, mental, social, educational and spiritual well-being. We have specifically designed and/or acquired communities that are able to offer our residents whole-person wellness, distinctive dining, life enrichment, and top-class amenities and services. With the active senior in mind, Liberty has branched out into the Active Adult division. Our first community, Inspire Coastal Grand, opened in Myrtle Beach, SC in 2021. Inspire Royal Park will open in Matthews, NC in June 2022. Our future location near Brunswick Forest in Leland, NC will open in 2023. Our community and service offerings combine housing, health care, hospitality, and ancillary services. Our senior living communities offer residents a state-of-the-art home-like setting, assistance with activities of daily living and, in some communities, licensed skilled nursing services. We also provide ancillary services including home health, hospice, in-patient short-term rehabilitation, S u m m er

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SPONSORS’ CONTENT

long-term care, and out-patient services to residents in many of our communities as well as seniors living outside of our communities. We offer our residents the opportunity to “age-in-place” by providing a full range of service options as their needs change. With a diverse range of community and service offerings, we are positioned to take advantage of favorable demographic trends over time. WHOLE - PERSON WELLNESS AND LIFE ENRICHMENT One of our core values at Liberty is whole-person wellness, the integration of a person’s multiple dimensions, including physical, nutritional, spiritual, social and intellectual, into positive beliefs and meaningful activities. We encourage all of our residents to participate in this program. Our

“At Liberty Senior Living, we offer all sorts of activities. There are classes and cooking demonstrations, outings and social groups, concerts or movies, lifelong learning opportunities, book clubs, women clubs and walking clubs,” Haley Norris, Regional Wellness and Enrichment Director. goal is to help our residents remain at their highest level of functional abilities, and even to improve their fitness and wellness once they move into one of our communities. Wellness is not just about physicality. We know that engagement and socialization play a crucial role in the mental health

and wellbeing of our residents. Isolation can diminish the immune system and have other negative impacts on physical and emotional health. Our wellness facilities and equipment are state-of-the-art, and all of our wellness instructors are certified. Energetic instructors conduct both land and water classes, as well as training on the stationary equipment. Classes are tailored to residents’ requests and participation, from yoga to tai chi, water aerobics to line dancing. Residents design their own community program based on their interests, and our wellness instructors are also available for coaching and personal training upon request. We encourage residents to indulge their current passions and discover new ones as they embrace all life has to offer.

WHAT LIBERTY HAS TO OFFER: DISTINCTIVE DINING Liberty’s Senior Living communities offer distinctive dining and a remarkable range of culinary choices for residents and their guests. The various venues and menus afford residents a wide range of healthy, dining options. Best of all, our communities offer dining dollars or a declining monthly balance which are including the monthly rent that can be used at the residents’ discretion. This policy allows residents the flexibility to dine out with friends without paying for meals they are not eating at the community.

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AMENITIES AND SERVICES As a resident of a Liberty Senior Living community, you’ll let go of house and yard upkeep and embrace all the services and amenities we offer to ensure your comfort, convenience and safety. AT A GLANCE: · fully equipped fitness center complete with a salt water pool and hot tub · a professionally staffed day spa and salon · multiple dining venues; several living rooms, libraries and game rooms · plus an art studio and various meeting spaces · onsite security and emergency response services, giving both you and your family invaluable peace of mind · weekly cleaning · grounds maintenance and landscaping · concierge services

R E T I R E M E N T L I V I N G I N C O A S TA L N . C .

G o o d L i f eW i l m i n g t o n . c o m


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Senior Living Community.

Imagine a community filled with social opportunities, exceptional amenities and a maintenance-free lifestyle. Now, imagine living there.

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AS A RESIDENT, YOU’LL ENJOY: - The resort-like amenities

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Call 910.507.7384 to schedule a visit and discover all that Brightmore of Wilmington has to offer. 2 3 24 41 S T ST R E E T, WI L M I N G TO N , N C 2 8 4 03 G o o d L i f eW i l m i n g t o n . c o m

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© 2022 Brightmore of Wilmington


Health + Wellness

WALK on Wilmington File photo

By Neil Cotiaux

Invariably, one of the first things that day-trippers or newcomers to the Wilmington area want to do is park their car, hop out and soak up some sun and sand at one of the area’s scenic beaches. While strolling along the ocean engages the senses and rejuvenates the soul, locals know there is another outdoor activity that is just as invigorating, and which doctors say may be even more helpful in sustaining good health. From the Cape Fear River to the Atlantic Ocean and in a variety of adjoining communities, opportunities to walk or hike abound. With an accelerating number of baby boomers either retiring or working remotely and many choosing “Wilmington and beaches” as their preferred location,

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the proliferation of natural and man-made trails in Southeastern North Carolina provides numerous options to enjoy the outdoors while making new friends and staying active. According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, a daily brisk walk can prevent or manage conditions such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and cancer; improve mood, memory and sleep; and reduce stress and tension. “The faster, farther and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits,” Mayo Clinic staff advise. In the greater Wilmington area, local governing bodies, businesses and nonprofits have worked together since 2013 to create a Comprehensive Greenway Plan that continues to expand. Along with parks and other nature trails, the initiative aims to bring more people together outdoors. Before embarking on a

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full-fledged hike, newcomers to the area might head downtown to stroll along WILMINGTON RIVERWALK, a 1.75-mile stretch with immediate access to dining, shopping and cultural attractions that was named “Top Riverfront” in USA Today’s Readers’ Choice Awards. Then it’s off to the GARY SHELL CROSS CITY TRAIL, a 15-mile mostly off-road pedestrian and bike route that runs from Wade Park, Halyburton Park and Empie Park and along Eastwood Road, all the way to the bridge crossing to Wrightsville Beach and a picturesque view of the Intracoastal Waterway.

“We walked the entire trail a few years ago by breaking it into short segments,” said Andy McGlinn, a retired call center manager from Wisconsin and a member of the Sierra Club, whose local Meetup group exceeds 1,000 people. “It was a fun series that we will likely repeat soon.” On the other side of the

waterway lies THE LOOP, a 2.5-mile circular path that draws a steady stream of walkers, runners and bikers who keep fit as they take in the charm of a friendly beach town. The Wrightsville Beach shoreline and the town park are just steps away. G o o d L i f eW i l m i n g t o n . c o m


ARE YOU GAME? Open space and recreational opportunities are key to a high quality of life and in Wilmington we strive to provide just that. As part of the voter-approved bond projects, the City of Wilmington is investing $38 million in enhancing our parks. From upgraded facilities at the Municipal Golf Course to resurfaced courts at Empie Park, we’re working hard so you spend your time relaxing and enjoying life in the city you love.

wilmingtonrecreation.com

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Health + Wellness

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Beyond the cross city trail and The Loop, McGlinn suggests visiting some lesser-known trails such as EVHENWOOD NATURE PRESERVE in Leland, “a great wilderness trail” within a 175-acre coastal forest preserve; GREENFIELD LAKE, a 3.9-mile loop trail near downtown brimming with springtime azaleas and views of turtles, geese and alligators; and the cypress- and pine-covered trail at BLUETHENTHAL WILDLIFE PRESERVE on the University of North Carolina Wilmington campus.

Further south, at CAROLINA BEACH STATE PARK, nearly 9 miles of trails lead visitors through distinct habitats of plant and animal life. Over the next few years, Wilmington city planners hope to add the WILMINGTON RAIL TRAIL to the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s greenway plan. To be developed along abandoned rail lines, planning is underway for a 5.9-mile pedestrian and bicycle pathway that will create “a unique space for art, exercise, and community engagement” and “honor and celebrate the local history and culture” of the city’s Northside neighborhood. Such greenways are “the only real way to improve traffic congestion, produce cleaner air and improve our personal health,” the Sierra Club’s McGlinn believes. “We need to keep this at the forefront of plans as the region grows.” G o o d L i f eW i l m i n g t o n . c o m


MAKE YOUR NEW HOMETOWN THE BEST IT CAN BE Volunteer with AARP Learn more about volunteer opportunities at www.aarp.org/volunteer

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Lifestyles + Connections

Stage Presence By Fritts Causby

Shows at Live Oak Bank Pavilion and the Wilson Center have upped the area’s entertainment ante in recent years.

photo by T.J. Drechsel

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Lifestyles + Connections

REO Speedwagon's Kevin Cronin at Live Oak Bank Pavillion during the 2022 Azalea Festival

T

he Wilson Center and Live Oak Bank Pavilion are consistently bringing high-level talent to Wilmington. Now, it’s no longer a necessity to find a vacation rental or hotel in a far-away city if seeing live acts such as Widespread Panic, ZZ Top, Diana Ross, The Doobie Brothers or touring Broadway productions is the goal. “Without question, the Wilson Center and Live Oak Pavilion have elevated the arts in Southeastern North Carolina, offering unique experiences in two unique settings,” said Rhonda Bellamy, executive director of the Arts Council of Wilmington and New Hanover County. “The grandeur of the Wilson Center, coupled with an ambitious Broadway series and robust calendar of local and national acts, rivals cities several times our size. Similarly, how many cities can boast having the Cape Fear River as the backdrop for a 7,200-seat amphitheater? Both facilities have helped establish our region as an arts destination.”

USHERING IN NEW SHOWS

Cape Fear Community College opened the Wilson Center, with more than 1,500 seats, in late 2015. Officials call it the most technologically advanced theater in the eastern part of the state. “We are constantly reinvesting our earnings back into the building, to ensure that we can continue to offer the broadest range of talent possible, with the highest level of quality possible,” said Shane Fernando, vice president of advancement and the arts at CFCC. The popularity of the comedy acts, musicians and theater performances may serve as an indication of the success of the venue. A few highlights for the rest of 2022 include stops by well-known performers such as Pat Benatar, the Blue Man Group, G o o d L i f eW i l m i n g t o n . c o m

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Lifestyles + Connections “Weird Al” Yankovic, Jason Isbell and Trombone Shorty. Musicals including Tootsie, On Your Feet and Anastasia make up this year’s touring Broadway slate, with crowd favorites Annie and The Book of Mormon slated for next spring. With about 300 events a year, the Wilson Center’s schedule has returned to pre-pandemic levels. “Around 30 percent of our ticket sales were to buyers from out of town,” Fernando said. “In just the first six months, we entertained guests from all 50 states and every continent except Antarctica.”

AMPHITHEATER ACTS

The $35 million Live Oak Bank Pavilion – paid for mostly by the city of Wilmington but including $4 million from venue manager Live Nation – opened with fanfare in July 2021 as the centerpiece of the city’s new Riverfront Park along the Cape Fear River. The economic impact created by Live Oak Bank Pavilion, which celebrated its opening with three sold-out shows by Widespread Panic, has already been significant. The city receives $2 from each ticket sold at the 7,200-seat concert venue, as well

as $200,000 in yearly rent from Live Nation. “We can’t wait to kick off our second season at Live Oak Bank Pavilion,” Live Nation general manager Ryan Belcher said. “This year’s lineup has something for everyone. We are featuring a wide range of genres.” This year’s calendar is filled with top names such as Josh Groban, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Darius Rucker, My Morning Jacket, Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats and more. “We’re able to secure notable acts by leveraging our extensive industry and touring relationships while utilizing our knowledge of the region,” Belcher

Wilson Center shows: Trombone Shorty (from top left), 9 to 5, Legally BlondeThe Musical, and The Midtown Men

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Lifestyles + Connections Widespread Panic at Live Oak Bank Pavilion’s opening in 2021

INSIDER’S CORNER Nick & Deloris Rhodes Nick and Deloris Rhodes have lived in Wilmington since 2001 after Deloris retired from Fairfax County Virginia Public Schools and Nick from the U.S. Air Force and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Locally, Deloris worked as assistant superintendent of schools in Pender County Schools, and both remain active in local organizations.

Hometowns: Lake Waccamaw and

Riegelwood

Why did you choose to retire here? “We chose Wilmington to retire

because of the moderate climate, close proximity to family, the university, the airport, libraries, good medical services and the downtown area.” What community activities are you involved in? Deloris: Alpha Kappa

Alpha sorority, Davis Heath Care CenterThe Davis Community, Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington (GLOW), WILMA’s Women to Watch Leadership Initiative advisory board, Cape Fear Community College trustees and Landfall Foundation; Nick: 100 Black Men of Coastal Carolina mentorship program for minority youth, Child Development Center board, Kids Making It board, N.C. Agricultural Foundation board, New Hanover County Airport Authority board and Wilmington Downtown Rotary Club What do you recommend for others moving here who want to be involved with the community? “Wilmington

has over 135 nonprofits in the area. Additionally, there are organizations that need the support and assistance of Wilmington-area retirees. Be open for new experiences and embrace differences and explore the unknowns.” Any restaurant picks? “Wilmington

has so many outstanding restaurants. We love Blue Surf, True Blue, Caprice Bistro, Landfall Country Club and so many more!”

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photo by Michael Cline Spencer

said. “Wilmington is also a big draw for bands and live music fans.”

BEYOND THE HEADLINERS

While Live Oak Bank Pavilion and the Wilson Center are the largest and newest entertainment venues for the area, other stages from Thalian Hall to Brunswick Community College’s Odell Williamson Auditorium to UNCW’s Kenan Hall have been used for years to stage local productions and national names, just with smaller seating capacities. The arts, Bellamy pointed out, have been an active part of the area. In 2015, the arts council was the local organizing partner for an Arts & Economic Prosperity study on the county – before Wilson Center and the amphitheater factored in. “We will launch the next study in May and update the numbers, which, in 2015, showed an economic impact of $55.8 million, supporting the fulltime employment of 2,076 jobs and generating $5.6 million in local and state tax revenues, not including the cost of admission,” Bellamy said about the impacts of arts and cultural

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organizations and audiences in New Hanover County. Recognizing that the arts are not only a valuable economic driver but also a major cultural benefit to those who live in or visit the Wilmington area, Fernando and his team have worked to make the Wilson Center a lab for student learning. “We focus on experiential, handson learning here,” he said. It is not just about providing CFCC students with a chance to perform on stage. There are many roles, tasks and responsibilities that need to be taken care of to effectively pull off a show; graphic design, carpentry, welding, physical therapy, hair and makeup, set design and A/V management are just a few of the on-the-job learning opportunities provided to students. Each event requires a staff of about 200 to make it happen, and students always make up a portion of the crew. “Our major focus is on providing access so students can learn,” Fernando said. “We waive the base rent for school systems, something that is very unusual for a touring house of our size.” G o o d L i f eW i l m i n g t o n . c o m


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WilsonCenterTickets.com

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Lifestyles + Connections

Starring HOLLYWOOD File photo

EAST By Neil Cotiaux

P

aul and Patricia Lawler like to keep busy, even though they’re retired.

She, a former congressional aide, and he, a former member of Wilmington City Council, like rolling up their sleeves and addressing a variety of community causes such as child advocacy and urban forestry. They don’t stay home watching a lot of TV – but they do help make it. Last year, just for fun, the Lawlers signed on as extras for several series being shot in the region. Since 1985, more than 400 films, television and commercial projects have shot at the Wilmington lot of EUE/Screen Gems and various off-lot locations, pairing big-name stars with locals who get in on the action. It’s an opportunity to see how films and TV programs are made while making some money – and for the area’s newcomers, a chance to make friends and acclimate to new surroundings. On any given day, a single production can require anywhere from a dozen to at least 400 extras, said Taylor Woodell, owner of TW Cast & Recruit. Woodell and another firm, Kimmie Stewart Casting, use digital platforms to engage with potential background actors. “The first thing you do is sign up with them and you put some pictures in there – full-body, headshots, etc. – and tell them some things about yourself,”

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Patricia Lawler said. Height, weight, waist and shirt size are captured in the event of costuming, said Woodell, who reviews entries, confirms an applicant’s availability and selects the candidates who “best suit the roles.” Currently, extras earn a guaranteed $80 over an eight-hour day and after that, time-and-a-half for each hour. Some productions require extras to test for COVID-19, but extras get a bump in pay for being tested. Once on set, it’s “rush, rush, rush” and then “you may sit there for two or three hours before you’re used,” Woodell said. She urges extras to “bring a book; bring cards.” In the past few months, Paul and Patricia Lawler have been extras on a total of four productions: Patricia on Echoes and Our Kind of People; Paul on Florida Man (shown above); and both of them on George and Tammy, a miniseries about married music superstars George Jones and Tammy Wynette. Be warned, though, retakes can sap energy. “I was at Legion Stadium for two concert scenes, and we must have gone through 14 or 15 takes of each of those scenes. So, part of it is, you just have to bring up the enthusiasm,” Paul Lawler said. One day’s shoot can occasionally run up to 16 hours, and things can change fast, he cautioned.

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During a casino scene for George and Tammy, “All of a sudden, somebody comes over and unbuttons my shirt, puts a silver chain on me and then cuts my T-shirt,” Paul Lawler recalled, giving the scene a better ’70s vibe. “I guess I needed to look more like a casino guy … it’s an indication of how they keep adjusting the scene to fit the storyline and it points to their attention to detail.” For Florida Man, he was told he would be a pedestrian, but “I got there, and the production assistant looked at me and said, ‘No, you have more of a detective aura.’” He was “deputized” on the spot. Throughout any shoot, small talk is forbidden. “You only speak when spoken to, and that’s a way for them to preserve the integrity of the set and also to kind of protect some of the principal actors from being hounded by fans,” Patricia explained. On the days Patricia Lawler was on the set, numerous extras were either retirees or new to Wilmington. “It was amazing how many had moved here within the last year,” she said. Despite all the rules, Paul Lawler recommends becoming an extra at least once. “It’s just one of those things you should really do if you’re here and become a part of the community,” he said. “It’s really cool.” G o o d L i f eW i l m i n g t o n . c o m


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S

Piddle Paddle Pickleball By Fritts Causby

photo by Aris Harding

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teve Dayvault is no stranger to making history with a racket in his hand.

In fact, his name is synonymous with achievements on the racquetball court, as he was inducted into the N.C. Racquetball Hall of Fame in 2005 after a career filled with open singles and doubles titles in the state as well as national wins in his age bracket. The achievements led Dayvault, who took up the sport when the Market Street YMCA opened its doors in 1965, to be inducted into the Greater Wilmington Sports Hall of Fame in 2019. These days, Dayvault’s focus has shifted to the sport of pickleball. He explained that the 2016 closing of the Wilmington Athletic Center, where he often played, was a partial catalyst for the decision. “Racquetball is on the decline,” said Dayvault, “and pickleball is not as hard on the body. Plus, with pickleball, it is usually easy to get a game.” Dayvault said that the average game only lasts about 15 to 30 minutes. Along with the fact that it is played on a relatively small, badmintonsized court and approaching the net is against the rules, this makes it a relatively low-impact activity. The area within 7 feet of each side of the net is called the kitchen, and it is illegal for a player to hit a ball there before it bounces. Pickleball has a legion of devotees across the nation, and the numbers are only expected to increase. In fact, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association recently reported that the popularity of the sport grew in 2021 to include about 4.8 million players nationwide. People love the fast pace, simple rules and social aspect of the game, which is partially why it is the fastest-growing sport in the nation, according to the association. Holly Manning, president of the 500-memberstrong Cape Fear Pickleball Club (CFPB), estimates that there are between 1,600 to 1,800 players in Wilmington and the surrounding area. Many of them can be found on private courts in communities such as Brunswick Forest, Magnolia Greens and St. James Plantation. Those who are interested in finding a public place to play in New Hanover County can consider joining the club, as doing so allows access to the courts at Robert Strange Park, Greenfield Lake Park and Veterans Park. The club G o o d L i f eW i l m i n g t o n . c o m


Lifestyles + Connections maintains a lockbox with nets and balls at these locations for members to use, so they can modify the tennis courts for pickleball. “There are 87 tennis courts in New Hanover County but only six pickleball courts,” Manning said. “Getting court space has been a struggle, but we are going to keep trying,” Dayvault said. “The thing is, you can do twice as much with one court with pickleball as you can with tennis.” Dayvault, who manages and helps coordinate the schedule of more than 80 local players, added that: “I have to thank Dr. John Ludwig and Steve Lombardi, as they were instrumental in getting our group together. Our group is comprised of around 60% men and 40% women. Basically, anyone with experience playing sports with a racket can pick it up really fast.” The startup costs are relatively inexpensive, as the only thing that is really necessary is a racket. Rackets start at about $40; a good one can be

had for about $80. The price for joining CFPC starts at $25 a year, and in addition to lockbox maintenance, the dues cover everything the club does to promote the sport. This ranges from providing lessons to holding charity benefits, such as its recent spring tournament to benefit the Domestic Violence Shelter and Services. With numerous public and private facilities in Brunswick County, including the area’s only indoor facility, the House of Pickleball, the region might have to increase current efforts to meet the demand. But with a new large, private project being considered for an 8-acre tract at 5000 N. College Road in Castle Hayne, the growth outlook for the sport might be as fast as the pace of play. “This started out as a sport mainly for seniors, but we have a lot of teenagers and 20-somethings now,” Dayvault said. “Pickleball is just a really inclusive sport; it’s really easy to learn, and there is a quick learning curve.”

FALLS are the leading cause of death from injury among older adults. 33% of those falls are directly related to environmental hazards within the home such as poor flooring, shaky railings, and lack of grab bars.

Visit WilmingtonSymphony.org or call Wilson Center at (910) 362-7999

2022-2023 SEASON

Season subscriptions on sale June 6! G o o d L i f eW i l m i n g t o n . c o m

Join WARM’s mission to repair, rebuild, and make homes accessible.

Learn more at

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Food + Drink

specialty

eats By Laura Moore

F

or foodies on the lookout for interesting food selections, the outlook is bright in Wilmington. Whether you’re a carnivore looking for exotic cuts of meat or a vegan hoping for a new twist, options abound in the area. There’s a unique variety of stores and markets in the Wilmington area with food choices that go above and beyond the typical grocery store selections. If you are looking for fresh seafood classics, international delights or perhaps comfortable favorites, there are plenty to choose from to satisfy even the most discerning of tastes.

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Food + Drink

NEW SAIGON INTERNATIONAL MARKET 831 S. Kerr Ave.

BIGGERS MARKET 6250 Market St. + 6458 Carolina Beach Road

Local fruits and vegetables, as well as plants, honey, seasonings and dressings are the focal points at Biggers Market. “We carry local meat, eggs, cheese, beer and everything in between. The No.1 question I get asked is, ‘Where is this from?’ So, it’s exciting when I can say it’s from right here,” general manager Tamara Thomas said. Biggers has expanded to carry a variety of Amish furniture and has a bar open Friday-Sunday with live music and a food truck to round out the market experience. Biggers has two locations to choose from in Wilmington. Both are open 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; 8 a.m.6:30 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.

biggers-market.myshopify.com

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If fresh international foods are what you desire, then the New Saigon International Market will more than likely have what you are looking for and more. With a wide array of foods from a variety of regions around the globe, the market offers produce, meats and seafood, as well as snacks and specialties. The multicultural market, a local favorite since 1994, provides fresh and packaged products from East and Southeast Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean. With a diverse selection of sauces, spices, vegetables, teas and rice, the market offers an abundance of options for your palate. New Saigon makes its own in-house kimchi, offers fresh crab and lobster, and has fully stocked freezer and refrigerated sections. The market is known for its authentic food selection and variety of herbs and produce. Housewares such as cutting boards, steamers, knives and chopsticks are available as well as bamboo plants and candles. The New Saigon Asian Market is open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. every day except Sunday when it closes at 8 p.m.

new-saigon-marketinternational-groceries. business.site

THE BUTCHER’S MARKET 4512 Oleander Drive, Suite 800

“If it walks, crawls, swims or flies,” The Butcher’s Market can get it through their doors and onto your plates. Opened in Wilmington in March, the father-and-son business offers a wide variety of meats as well as the produce and products to finish off meals. “We most likely have it or will do our best to source it for you,” said Smith Prevost, The Butcher’s Market owner and operator. Whether it is beef, pork, chicken or seafood on the menu, The Butcher’s Market is a go-to place. If you are the more adventurous type, it has a selection of exotics including elk, bison, kangaroo, gator and crawfish too. “We offer an array of housemade sides/marinated veggies to pair with your proteins,” Prevost said. “Our grocery area is made up of local North Carolina//Wilmington products, and our line of ‘Dinner Done Easy’ items, just take it home and pop it in the oven. “I believe after the pandemic there has been a huge shift in customers’ shopping patterns,” Prevost added. “They are seeing the importance of shopping local.” The store’s hours are 9 a.m.-7 p.m. daily.

thebutchersmarkets.com

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INSIDER’S CORNER TOM & KATHLEEN BARBER

Good Life Wilmington’s cover models, Tom and Kathleen Barber, have lived in Wilmington for two decades. Tom, 78, worked as vice president of operations for Continental Airlines and vice president of its Houston hub before retiring. Kathleen, 68, was senior director of airport operations for Continental and served as senior director of the airline’s Cleveland hub before retiring.

Hometowns: Staunton, Virginia, and

Denver

How did you prepare for retirement? “Since we would be

retiring before traditional retirement age, we decided we would like a small business to operate. Within a few months, a franchise broker recommended that we consider a Great Clips for Hair opportunity. Initially, we were lukewarm to the concept despite the broker pointing out that our last name was Barber! The franchisor offered us an incredible opportunity to purchase complete market rights to a territory that extended from the South Carolina border to just south of Jacksonville. … We opened 14 salons in seven years! In late 1999, we executed the franchise agreement, and Kathleen retired to start the operation.” In 2006, they also purchased A&B Personnel services, in partnership with Kathleen’s sister. Second retirement: “We really

retired in 2012 when we sold our Great Clips franchise to another franchisee that we had been mentoring, and A&B Personnel Services was sold to Greene Resources of Raleigh.” Favorite ways to spend a day:

“Coffee and bagels in the morning on the beach, pickleball, wine club at Country Club of Landfall and bicycling”

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SEAVIEW CRAB COMPANY

Midtown Market: 1515 Marstellar St. (retail, wholesale and kitchen) • Other area locations: 6458 Carolina Beach Road • Biggers Market: 6250 Market St.

When three college graduates decided to get a few crab pots and start a business, they never imagined it would grow to a nationwide business that serves the Wilmington area and beyond. Seaview Crab Company offers fresh selections of seafood through a wide network of local fishermen.

A TASTE OF ITALY 1101 S. College Road

For almost 30 years, the deli and specialty market at A Taste of Italy have been bringing Italy to the tastebuds of local customers.

With nearby locations in Wilmington, Castle Hayne, Carolina Beach and Belville, Seaview “actively source(s) our products locally, supporting the entire North Carolina commercial fishing industry,” according to its website. Whether you are looking for crab, shrimp and oysters or tuna, trout and mahi-mahi, you can go into one of their retail locations to find it or order a box online and have it delivered to your door. If you want it prepared for you, Seaview has opened its Kitchen & Deli at the Marstellar Street location, offering “quality seafood served fresh, hot & affordable.”

Fan favorites of chicken, meatball and eggplant parmigiana are central to A Taste of Italy’s menu, as well as chicken marsala and baked ziti. Olives, salads, cheeses and sausages are front and center in the deli, in addition to its line of Boar’s Head cold cuts. The deli offers catering service, dine-in or take-out. A Taste of Italy also has a wide selection of grocery items including assorted pastas, canned tomatoes, olive oils and wines. Because so many people have moved to Wilmington from the Northeast, the shop is always willing to “hunt down products for people, so they can always find what they’ve been able to get up there,” manager C.J. Guarino said. “The backbone of our business is making sure our quality and standards are kept the same. Recipes haven’t been altered. We don’t cut corners,” Guarino said. A Taste of Italy is open 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday.

seaviewcrabcompany.com

atasteofitalydeli.com

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Good Life Directory - Sponsored Listings

wilmington

DIRECTORY RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES Brightmore of Wilmington 2324 41st St. Wilmington, NC 28403 (910) 350-1980 BrightmoreOfWilmington.com

Carolina Bay at Autumn Hall 630 Carolina Bay Dr. Wilmington, NC 28403 (866) 455-0599 CarolinaBayAtAutumnHall.com

Plantation Village

1200 Porters Neck Rd Wilmington, NC 28411 (866) 825-3806 PlantationVillageRC.com

COMMUNITIES Riverlights

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Village at River Landing 131 River Village Pl. Wallace, NC 28466 (888) 285-4171 RiverLanding.com

REALTORS Cassidy Boone, Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices, Carolina Premier Properties 1612 Military Cutoff Rd #200 Wilmington, NC 28403 (970) 275-6224 CBoone@BHHSCPP.com

Jane Marr, Intracoastal Realty 523 Causeway Dr Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480 (910) 231-3343 JMarr.IntracoastalRealty.com

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COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT Priestley Management Company 1205 Culbreth Dr Suite 100 Wilmington, NC 28405 (910) 509-7276 PriestleyManagement.com

CABINETS MarKraft Cabinets

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HVAC Salt Air Heating and Cooling 3306 Kitty Hawk Rd #100 Wilmington, NC 28405 (910) 777-3539 SaltAirInc.com

HEALTHCARE Coastal Carolina Concierge 3942 Market Street Wilmington, NC 28403 (910) 616-7718 CoastalCCS.com

Delta Dental

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FINANCIAL ADVISORS Captrust Financial Partners 1209 Culbreth Dr #100 Wilmington, NC 28405 (910) 256-8882 Captrust.com

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Nabell Winslow

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INSURANCE AGENTS Huneycutt Group 1908 Eastwood Rd. Wilmington, NC 28403 (910) 338-1773 HuneycuttGroup.com

James E. Moore Insurance Agency 1508 Military Cutoff Rd #104 Wilmington, NC 28403 (910) 256-5333 JamesEMoore.com

ATTORNEYS Block, Crouch, Keeter, Behm & Sayed 310 N Front St Wilmington, NC 28401 (910) 763-2727 BCKLawFirm.com

ENTERTAINMENT Wilmington Symphony Orchestra 5032 Randall Pkwy Wilmington, NC 28403 (910) 791-9262 WilmingtonSymphony.org

Wilson Center

703 N 3rd St. Wilmington, NC 28401 (910) 362-7999 WilsonCenterTickets.com

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Good Life Directory - Sponsored Listings

wilmington

DIRECTORY TRAVEL Wilmington International Airport 1740 Airport Blvd Wilmington, NC 28405 (910) 341-4125 | FlyILM.com

NON-PROFITS/ VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES AARP

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Good Shepherd Center

811 Martin St. Wilmington, NC 28401 (910) 763-4424 GoodShepherdWilmington.org

United Way of the Cape Fear Area

5919 Oleander Dr Suite 115 Wilmington, NC 28403 (910) 798-3900 UWCFA.org

Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry (WARM) 5058 Wrightsville Ave Wilmington, NC 28403 (910) 399-7563 WarmNc.org

LOCALITIES City Of Wilmington

102 North Third Street Wilmington, NC 28402-1810 (910) 341.7800 WilmingtonNC.gov

Visit the Directory section at GOODLIFEWILMINGTON.COM to see more. To learn about Sponsored Listings and how your organization can become a Good Life sponsor or advertiser, contact us at Marketing@WilmingtonBiz.com

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Food + Drink

new places to nosh By Stephanie Bowens

W

hile the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted the restaurant industry, some new restaurants in the region were birthed amid the challenges. From vegan to Asian menus, comfort dishes to modern Southern classics, here are some of the owners and chefs who are finding ways to thrive.

photos by Megan Deitz

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One was THE GREEN HOUSE, which Laura Tiblier and Anastasia Worrell opened in July 2021 at 1427 Military Cutoff Road, Unit 106. They brought vegan fine dining to Wilmington, opening the city’s first upscale vegan restaurant. Tiblier said opening The Green House Restaurant during a pandemic meant taking a “brave” step. Extra downtime, however, caused by the pandemic proved useful for Worrell and Tiblier. “The pandemic gave us a lot of time to be together, and it gave us a lot of planning time,” Tiblier said. Tiblier and Worrell have been working diligently together to make The Green House a restaurant that is sustainable, collaborative and inclusive. They want it to be a place where everyone, including those with dietary restrictions, can find enjoyable options. “We are really big on inclusivity,” Tiblier said. “We are 100% gluten free and vegan, and we want people to come here and be comfortable.” The Green House chefs have found creative ways of incorporating fresh S u m m e r

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Food + Drink

THE GREEN HOUSE

PHO VANHLY

CASTLE STREET KITCHEN

greens, nuts, seeds, flavorful vegetables, beans and herbs into a variety of dishes. Diners can experience a variety of plantbased cheeses and “charcuterie” made in-house typically with a variety of nuts, gluten-free grains, seeds and beans. Working closely with local farmers, Tiblier said the menu changes weekly. But some staples are offered throughout the year. Fifty percent of The Green House’s cocktail menu is alcohol-free, offering a sustainable way to drink. Herbs and greens for the restaurant are grown using tower farming in the restaurant’s greenhouse located in Scotts Hill. “We are only one of four restaurants in the U.S. who use this type of farming,” Tiblier said. Plans are underway to have a greenhouse on-site where the restaurant’s greens and herbs will grow in aeroponic tower gardens. In downtown Wilmington, Jennifer Concklin and Matthew Walker opened THREE10 at 1022 N. Fourth St. in October 2021. Housed in a renovated 1920s bungalow, the menu blends seafood and traditional Southern meals, along with customized cocktails. “The focus of our menu, like the space, is modernizing classics,” Concklin says. She and Walker, who is the head chef, choose to focus on low country ingredients in updated ways, while also maintaining a rotating menu. Concklin said that for a new restaurant – particularly one that opened during the off-season and amid the pandemic – business started on a

strong note. “We try to have fun at three10 while still providing an upscale yet welcomingto-all dining experience,” she said. Over in Porters Neck, PHO VANHLY Asian Bistro opened in November 2021 as a noodle house serving Asian food from Vietnam and Laos. Mone Somsnith, Pho Vanhly’s owner, and her partners Oye Schwartz and Tunyamai Netsavang opened the restaurant at 208 Porters Neck Road, Suite 120, offering diners a chance to experience authentic Vietnamese and Laotian cuisine. “For lots of my friends when they wanted to eat some authentic food like this, they had to go to places like Raleigh, so I felt that I could bring this to Wilmington,” Somsnith said. Somsnith was born in Laos before immigrating to High Point 30 years ago with her parents and siblings. “I am so excited to introduce this food from my country to my customers and friends,” she said. Somsnith named the restaurant in honor of her mom, Vanhly, and says Pho Vanhly basically means “mom’s soup.” “My plan for this restaurant was already set up before the pandemic, and when the pandemic hit it delayed things,” Somsnith said. “But I was so glad when I was finally able to open it up and get it going. This is a long-time dream and goal.” Pho Vanhly’s signature dish is pho, a traditional Southeast Asian rice noodle soup. Pho Vanhly offers this Vietnamese noodle soup in a beef broth. It’s served with a side dish of bean sprouts, cilantro, Thai basil leaves, jalapenos and lime

slices. You can choose from various types of pho, such as vegetable pho, tofu pho, chicken pho, meatball pho, beef pho and more. Somsnith cherishes memories of her mom cooking pho and said she wants diners to fill the same warm, relaxing feelings the soup brought to her while growing up. “My mom would make this dish every Sunday, so every Sunday after church we would eat pho,” Somsnith said. Other popular dishes at Pho Vanhly include khao poon and khao piek – both noodle soup dishes of Laos. The khao piek is a popular comfort food consisting of homemade rice flour noodle soup filled with crispy pork belly, cha lua pork roll, cilantro, scallion and crispy shallots in a light broth. A recent addition, CASTLE STREET KITCHEN opened in March as a neighborhood eatery reflecting the surrounding blocks’ unique character. Located in the Castle Street Arts & Antique District, with its mix of antiques, vintage clothing shops and locally owned businesses, Castle Street Kitchen offers up unique food with a twist. Heather and Lauren Rhodes moved from Raleigh to open the restaurant at 509 Castle St. “We wanted to honor the history and heritage of Castle Street by keeping it in the name,” Lauren Rhodes said. “Then we added Kitchen, typically considered the heart of the home. We hope to become the heart of Castle Street.”

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-Beth A. Klahre, Scott Nunn and Elizabeth White contributed to this story.

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Summer carnival on the Carolina Beach Boardwalk

RETURN

TRIPS

THE TRADITIONAL SUMMER TRAVEL SEASON KEEPS GETTING LONGER, BUT CAN AREA RESOURCES KEEP UP?

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Blockade Runner Beach Resort general manager Nicolas Montoya

BY JOHANNA CANO PHOTOS BY ALLISON JOYCE

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OR ONE OF HER LATEST TRIPS, AVID TRAVELER AND BLOGGER ALYSSA NELSON WAITED FOR WARM, YET COMFORTABLE WEATHER IN LATE APRIL TO HEAD TO WILMINGTON FOR A WEEKEND VISIT.

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Nelson, who lives in Charlotte and is the content creator for her website waywardblog.com, was excited to finally start on her 2020 New Year’s resolution to visit one new destination a month, an endeavor that went on pause during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Wilmington was high on my list of places to visit in North Carolina, and many of my new friends in the area recommended it as the perfect weekend getaway spot,” she said. While her trip to the coast is similar to one that many inland North Carolinians take, hers differed due to portions of the visit being hosted by the Wilmington and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), which works with influencers to promote the region to travelers. Nelson left Wilmington with an even bigger list of must-dos for when she comes back. “I’m itching to return,” she said. Nelson’s excitement to start traveling again after a year of coronavirus travel restrictions echoes trends that the tourism industry has been seeing in the country and region, with the local coastal destination expecting a bounce back in tourism and continued strong activity this year. Nationwide, the World Travel & Tourism Council projects that travel and tourism will reach pre-pandemic levels this year. Locally, room occupancy tax (ROT) collections garnered from overnight rental stays have been on the rebound, said Kim Hufham, president and CEO of the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority, which does business as the CVB. While 2021 figures on local tourism expenditures are not yet available, Hufham said she expects them to be once again record breaking. “We’re really pleased to announce that in FY 2021, which is current through February, we are up 36.7% over last year. And last year was a record-breaking year in occupancy tax collections topping over $17.5 million,” Hufham said. In light of upward trends, regional economist Adam Jones said the area


could expect even more of a tourism increase this summer. “The rush is coming,” said Jones, associate professor of economics at the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Cameron School of Business. Room occupancy tax collections in the county are ahead of 2021 figures so far, with ROT levels higher during the pandemic years than in 2017 and 2018. Industry experts suggest the surge in travel many locations are experiencing was brought on as a side effect of the pandemic. “The pandemic changed the way visitors travel in that they shifted to destinations that offered outdoor activities, beach, riverwalk, parks, gardens, as well as a substantial inventory of vacation rentals,” Hufham said. “Once restrictions were lifted, there was a lot of pent-up demand, and people were traveling again, mostly domestic before vaccinations became available.” This demand can be described by a new term that emerged known as revenge travel, the idea that people are traveling to make up for lost trips during the height of the pandemic. In 2021, AirDNA, a provider of vacation rental research, and HomeToGo, a vacation rental search engine, created the “Revenge Travel” report that named Carolina Beach as one of the top-booked destinations in the country and Wilmington as one of 10 locations nationally with the best market for growth. The report found that Wilmington’s year-overyear bookings increased 62% from data gathered in April 2021 compared to that of pre-pandemic, April 2019. Data from 2020 was not used because of the impact the pandemic had on travel. Contributing factors of revenge travel might include work-fromhome policies that give people more flexibility to travel and more money in their pockets because of recent low unemployment rates and government stimulus programs that created disposable income for some. w i l m i n g t o n b i z m a g a z i n e . c o m

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OVERNIGHT STAYS NHC ROOM OCCUPANCY TAX COLLECTIONS BY FISCAL YEAR (JULY 1-JUNE 30) JULY 2021-FEB 2022*

(PARTIAL FISCAL YEAR) : $13.3M

$20M

$17.8M*

$15.5M $15M

$12.9M $12.5M

$13M*

FY 2020-21*

FY 2019-20*

FY 2018-19

FY 2017-18

$5M

FY 2016-17

$10M

*TRAVEL MONTHS DURING THE PANDEMIC SOURCE: NEW HANOVER COUNTY

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“Consumption is strong, and it’s increasing still. And consumers are in a really strong position to continue to consume,” Jones said. This is something that Angie Fanning, founder of Wilmingtonbased travel agency AwayBug Travel, has found with recent clients. While the pandemic threw her for a loop with cancellations, travel demand really ramped up in January, she said. “There’s definitely been a huge increase in new inquiries and people who want to travel. It kind of went from zero to a hundred overnight,” Fanning said. One interesting trend she has noticed is people wanting to travel sooner than usual, with travelers planning for March trips in January as opposed to planning more in advance. The biggest challenge Fanning has seen in the travel industry is shortages, from car rentals to workers. “I have been telling people, the travel and tourism industry had to

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shrink down to basically nothing for a while and then sort of overnight, everything has ramped back up really quickly as far as the demand for travel,” she said. “But the industry just doesn’t have the ability to all of a sudden go back to the way it was in 2019, overnight. We shrunk in so many ways.” One popular Wrightsville Beach destination for travelers is Blockade Runner Beach Resort, which has experienced staffing challenges. But the resort has dealt with that issue for years, said general manager Nicolas Montoya. “As we expand our occupancy more consistently over the years, we have struggled with balancing yearround staff against summer staff,” he said. “Now our year-round core has expanded, which is good. The pool of folks in the service industry has indeed seemingly dried up. However, we have more young people entering the workforce. Young high-school-age students are applying and working at the resort.”


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To deal with competition in hiring, the resort has adjusted pay scales, provided flexible working hours when able and considered training workers versus requiring previous experience, Montoya said. “This all means that we need to be more focused on growing and training our staff. I have always thought of the Blockade Runner as

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a teaching resort,” he said. “It has not been truer than over the last two years.” A trend Montoya has observed is the widening of the shoulder seasons, with visits during the typical off-season increasing. “During the last two years visitation has increased from March through November and with the M A G A Z I N E

warm winters also in December and January,” he said. “However, this has been a growing trend for us at the resort and the area in general. The expansion towards year-wide visitation has been growing for the last eight to 10 years.” Blockade Runner is preparing for visitor numbers like those of summer 2018. “There are all kinds of factors that may affect travel, but we are hopeful that our accessibility, beauty and offerings will provide an option to more distant destinations,” Montoya said. “As one of the fastestgrowing states in the country, the amount of people in North Carolina keeps on being our biggest pool.” The CVB also expects a prosperous year. “Barring any unforeseen economic circumstances or weatherrelated events that are beyond our control, we anticipate that ROT will continue to track ahead of 2021,” Hufham said. “While we do not have a crystal ball, based on recent trends and feedback from our travel partners, the immediate future of tourism looks very bright for New Hanover County.” The CVB marketing team continues to work to attract visitors to the region including promoting it as a meeting and convention destination and transitioning its website, social media and promotions to summer activities for leisure travel. It’s also working with Avelo Airlines, a new airline at Wilmington International Airport, and a new sports marketing concept. With the ups and downs that the tourism industry experienced in the past few years, one key takeaway is embracing what attracts people to the region in the first place. “Tourism is vital to our region. It has been and will continue to be. We are a small county and area that packs a punch,” Montoya said. “Many of the things that we attribute to our quality of life are also the main reasons for why folks come to visit.”


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RESTAURANT R O U ND U P

RESTAURANT ROUNDUP

C AT C H I N G

DRIFT

THE

BY ELIZABETH WHITE | PHOTO BY MEGAN DEITZ

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offee and culture once again intersect at a new Drift location in Wrightsville Beach. Located in the former Gulfstream Restaurant space, the cafe opened in April, just in time for the summer tourist season.

This time, along with premium coffee and the shop’s known casual coastal aesthetic, an expanded menu is offered with a full sit-down service. At close to 3,000 square feet, the new location is Drift’s biggest to date. For owners and brothers Ben and Michael Powell, the transition to the new space was relatively problem-free. “There weren’t any renovations, and the equipment and building were already set up,” Michael Powell said. The space at 114 Causeway Drive once housed the local beach staple Causeway Café. One of the biggest challenges for turning it into the latest Drift location, Michael Powell said, was “the hiring of more specific positions. At the cafes, employees usually blend roles more. With a full-on restaurant, it became much more complex. Beyond adding a wait staff, we definitely needed more leadership-type positions.” Michael Powell credited their culinary director, Thomas Mathers, with making the transition work. “Mathers had to scale up our menu, which was different from our other locations, but still offer the same staples that customers come to rely on,” Michael Powell said. The brothers started with a cafe in Ocean Isle Beach in 2014 and moved into Wilmington in 2017 with a location at Autumn Hall. Two years later, Drift opened in Mayfaire Town Center. With the expansion comes keeping the Drift aesthetic alive

RESTAURANT ROUNDUP

throughout all of its cafes. “Our store atmosphere is unique to each location, with the Drift brand always in mind,” Ben Powell said. Customers have come to expect natural materials, such as plants and greenery, with pops of color. The owners strive for an apartment-like feel that is bright and open. “The younger generation wants a complete experience. The days of homogenous, fast-food-type interiors are coming to an end,” Ben Powell said. The idea to turn the Wrightsville location into a full-service cafe was inspired by the brothers’ recent trip to South Africa. Ben and Michael happened upon a particularly memorable business while traveling, and its “owners there fired us up about the idea. We decided to give it a shot,” Michael Powell said. After returning from their trip, he said, they contacted the Gulfstream team right away, and “they were interested in selling and we are thankful that it worked out.” The Drift owners long believed that their business could support two different concepts, a sit-down, fullservice model and a quick service as they had done before. All they needed was the right spot, and within five months, the Wrightsville Beach location opened its doors. The “Drift Cafe,” as it is referred to (other locations are known simply as Drift coffee shops and kitchens), offers the same beverages as the others, but the food is more involved. There are larger entrees and greater variety as well as beer, wine and cocktail selections. The expanded brunch and lunch offerings include pancakes, bowls and riffs on eggs benedicts, among others. The Powells did not envision themselves in the restaurant industry. Growing up in Ocean Isle, they were known for being in the water more than out of it. Avid surfers, they traveled the world competing on regional and national levels. While

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traveling overseas, Ben and Michael Powell found a sense of comfort and community in the local cafes they frequented – especially in Australia – that made a lasting impression. They brought back that feeling and opened the first Drift in their hometown. “We felt it was natural to open there,” Michael Powell said. “We had no background in hospitality, so it was definitely a wild start.” Gradually, the brothers learned the ropes of starting a business. Admittedly, among the “busy, fun and chaotic” environment they find themselves in, there has been the usual fair share of challenges. For Michael Powell, investing in their entry-level team, building up trust and connections and seeing growth are positives, but the “transient nature of the hospitality business as a whole is tough,” he said. “It is hard to watch members go.” For now, the Powells are not slowing down. At the request of their customers, a fifth location is planned for downtown Wilmington. Coffee will be served up at another Drift next to Bijou Park on North Front Street. The downtown site, expected to open this summer, will copy the “coffee shop and kitchen” concept, like the Mayfaire and Autumn Hall locations. While the owners are appreciative of their expansion plans, at the same time, they remain cautious. “Opening and growing is fun, but our goal is to take care of our team so they can continue to give our guests something memorable,” Michael Powell said. “There is a bit of uncertainty about what is next; we want to be sure we can responsibly handle what we have signed up for currently before moving into the next phase of operating more sites.” For more restaurant news, sign up for the Business Journal's weekly Restaurant Roundup email by going to WilmingtonBiz.com. S U M M E R 2022

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THE TAKEAWAY

BRIDGE TENDING PHOTO BY MICHAEL CLINE SPENCER

Bridge operator Charles Crawford has worked at the Wrightsville Beach bridge for 12 years. He’s responsible for opening the bridge for boat traffic on the Intracoastal Waterway, keeping an eye on potential traffic hazards and making sure people are out of harm’s way during the bridge operations. “Working and communicating with the boat captains is fun and at times challenging,” Crawford said. “Working over the waterway is like being outside all the time yet protected from the climate because of being inside,” he added. “The sunsets and sunrises are awesome, and watching the moon reflecting on the waterway cannot be described.”

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EXPERTS. NEIGHBORS. EXPERTS. EXPERTS. NEIGHBORS. NEIGHBORS. COMMUNITY LEADERS. COMMUNITY COMMUNITY LEADERS. LEADERS.

elebr ating CCelebr C elebr ating ating

Year Year Year ss s

COMMITMENT TO THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY COMMITMENT COMMITMENT TO THE TO THE REAL REAL ESTATE ESTATE INDUSTRY INDUSTRY Established in 1922 and proudly serving Community champions a lead role role Established Established in 1922 and in 1922 nownow and proudly now proudly serving serving Community Community champions champions thatthat taketake that a lead take role a lead more than 3,500 members in counties. sixincounties. in the of the Advocates more than more 3,500 than members 3,500 members in six six counties.in the development indevelopment the development of the region. ofregion. theAdvocates region. Advocates for fair housing, serving as as for fair and forand affordable fair affordable and affordable housing, housing, serving as serving community representatives on numerous celebrate 100-Year history, accomplishcommunity community representatives representatives on numerous on numerous We We celebrate We celebrate our our 100-Year our 100-Year history, accomplishhistory, accomplishboards and councils. Supporting locallocal ments, and growth - looking forward at ourat ourboards and boards councils. and councils. Supporting Supporting local ments, and ments, growth and-growth looking - forward looking forward at our continued success and opportunities. continued continued success and success opportunities. and opportunities.

organizations by building revitalizing organizations organizations by building by building andand revitalizing and revitalizing homes, and helping our neighbors in need. homes, and homes, helping and our helping neighbors our neighbors in need. in need.

FOR A RELIABLE RESOURCE REAL ESTATE, FOR AFOR RELIABLE A RELIABLE RESOURCE RESOURCE ININ REAL IN REAL ESTATE, ESTATE, LOOK FOR THE R. R. LOOK LOOK FOR THE FOR R. THE


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