WILMINGTONâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S SUCCESSFUL WOMAN
Weddings in Focus
A look at ceremonies reimagined
Put a Ring on It Janice Kingoff on jewelry trends
30 8 SPOTLIGHT 10 HEALTH: COVID communications 12 TASTE: Fish tales 14 STYLE: Fit for a queen
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46 THE SCENE: Female artists unite 47 TAKE 5: Online with Sue Bilzi 48 MENâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S ROOM: Modern romance
14 24 N EW WEDDINGS: Ceremonies for the times 30 BEJEWELED: Janice Kingoff 's jewelry know-how 34 W EDDING UNPLANNER: Nimble nuptials 37 L EGAL EAGLE: Attorney Colleen Shea on making impacts
As with many things in the past year, publishing a wedding issue in the middle of everything going on is … different. But, like many of the couples and vendors in this month’s WILMA, it takes a shift in perspective. Wedding planners, photographers, florists, and jewelers have spent the past almost year adjusting to a year of disruptions. Couples looking forward to starting their lives together in wedded union, faced challenges and tough decisions – postpone, move ahead, improvise? Some headed to the courthouse; others figured out ways to celebrate their big days. The year magnified the truly important details and relationships, something we tried to highlight this month as love looms large. For many working in the wedding industry, normal times can’t return fast enough. One date, one location, one floorplan per client would be a dream, says Salt Harbor Designs owner Jennifer Rose in her profile story on page 34. “It’s going to feel like a walk in the park compared to the events of the past year,” she says. For all those newlyweds out there – as well as the rest of us in 2021 – “may the wind be always at your back.”W FEBRUARY 2021
BRIDGET CALLAHAN is a writer from
Cleveland, Ohio. She has been covering the Wilmington scene for over five years, through various publications. While her nationally published work ranges from the joys of hiking to the municipal intricacies of medical marijuana, she particularly appreciates all the amazing women she meets through her WILMA assignments. Callahan profiles Janice Kingoff, longtime jeweler at the family-owned Kingoff ’s Jewelers (page 30).
Publisher Rob Kaiser firstname.lastname@example.org President Robert Preville email@example.com Editor Vicky Janowski firstname.lastname@example.org Vice President of Sales Maggi Apel email@example.com Senior Account Executive Craig Snow firstname.lastname@example.org
DREWE SMITH and KATE SUPA own
a creative studio – Drewe and Kate – that helps companies elevate their brand and digital presence through photography, brand styling, logo design, and website creation. They styled and photographed this month’s wedding cover and style spread (page 14) inspired by the neoclassical fashion of Marie Antoinette’s court. dreweandkate.com
SHANNON RAE GENTRY has written
about Wilmington arts, culture, and news for nearly ten years. She and her family take in every concert they can and savor everything local. This month, she talks with several local wedding photographers about the unique and intimate ceremonies they photographed in the past year (page 24).
Account Executives Courtney Barden email@example.com Ali Buckley firstname.lastname@example.org Marian Welsh email@example.com Office & Audience Development Manager Sandy Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org Events/Digital Coordinator Elizabeth Stelzenmuller email@example.com Design & Media Coordinator Molly Jacques firstname.lastname@example.org Content Marketing Coordinator Morgan Mattox email@example.com Contributing Designer Suzi Drake firstname.lastname@example.org Digital Editor Johanna Cano email@example.com
KEVIN KLEITCHES is a portrait and
commercial photographer and personal branding consultant based in Wilmington. His work can be seen at kevintitusphoto.com. Kleitches features jeweler Janice Kingoff on the job on page 30.
TERESA MCLAMB, a native of southeastern
North Carolina, is an avid traveler, art collector, and cat lover. She is an award-winning freelance writer and PR consultant who holds a BA in journalism from the UNC and an MA in English from UNCW. She interviews area communications professionals working with the local counties to get information out to the public about COVID-19 and the ongoing vaccination plans in this month’s Health feature (page 10).
Fashion Stylists Ashley Duch Grocki & Drewe Smith Contributors Tim Bass, Nina Bays Cournoyer, Bridget Callahan, Beth A. Klahre, Shannon Rae Gentry, Teresa McLamb, Laura Moore, Lynda Van Kuren, Lori Wilson Contributing Photographers Logan Burke, Aris Harding, Drewe and Kate, Kevin Kleitches, Michael Cline Spencer, Terah Wilson Founder Joy Allen Subscribe For a one-year subscription, please send $26.00 (check or money order) to: WILMA, 219 Station Rd., Ste. 202, Wilmington, NC 28405, or call 343-8600 x201 www.WILMAmag.com
LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE FOUNDING SPONSORS
SUPPORTER SPONSORS Cape Fear Community College Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity Cavik Insurance Excite Credit Union Fleet Feet Sports Wilmington Frank Institute Hope Abounds Cancer Network Leggett, PLLC
Matthews Motors Murchison Taylor & Gibson Nothing Bundt Cakes Pathfinder Wealth Consulting Patriot Roofing Company Premier Staffing Solutions Quality Chemical Laboratories Salt Air Inc.
UNCW CIE The Village at River Landing Waylett Wealth Management Wells Fargo White & Johnson Pediatric Dentistry Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry (WARM)
W2W UPDATES WILMA’s Women to Watch Leadership Initiative has updates to share as we continue to work on the effort’s core mission of helping develop more women leaders in our area. Here’s what we’ve been up to with various W2W Leadership Initiative programs and what’s coming up next: GETTING SOCIAL: We now have social media pages for WILMA’s Women to Watch Leadership Initiative, where you can find the latest info about leadership program announcements, applications, and updates on women who have been involved with W2W. We’ll continue to post major announcements on WILMA magazine’s existing social media channels, but for the full details as well as other leadership resources, follow us on the new pages at: facebook.com/WILMAsWomenToWatch and on Instagram @ WILMAsWomentoWatch. LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE: Our advisory board members this month are interviewing finalists who applied to the 2021 WILMA’s Leadership Institute and selecting the final members for this year’s cohort. Orientation kicks off in April, with monthly leadership training and networking through December. Info and announcement of this year’s class: WILMAmag.com/women-to-watch WILMA NETWORK: Members of the WILMA Network, made up of sponsors of the Women to Watch Leadership Initiative, started the year off with an online New Year’s happy hour to welcome new members, catch up, and share goals for the year. WILMA LEADERSHIP EMAIL: If you haven’t checked it out yet, be sure to read WILMA’s Monday emails, which focus on leadership topics and profiles. IN THE LOOP: Keep up to date with these and other Leadership Initiative programs as well as applications announcement by going to WILMAmag.com or signing up for the WILMA Leadership email at WILMAmag.com/email-newsletter.
- Vicky Janowski, WILMA editor, and Maggi Apel, vice president of sales, Co-directors of the Women to Watch Leadership Initiative W2W@WILMAmag.com
The Women to Watch logo: When you see this throughout WILMA’s pages, it means this is a woman on the rise to know, an experienced leader to learn from, or a local program worth checking out. W
10 INFORMATION OPERATION: County communications teams get the word out 30 QUEEN OF BLING: Janice Kingoff has been in the jewelry business in 1958 46 ON EXHIBIT: A local Women’s Caucus for Art chapter launches
women’s professional groups Besides WILMA’s Women to Watch Leadership Initiative, there are a number of local groups to help women grow professionally. Here is just a sampling of some of them.
Cape Fear CREW Year Founded: 2010 Description: “Cape Fear CREW is the leading organization for commercial real estate in the Cape Fear region in North Carolina … Members represent every aspect of the commercial real estate industry, including, but not limited to, law, leasing, brokerage, property management, finance, acquisitions, and engineering.” Info: capefearcrew.org or firstname.lastname@example.org
Cape Fear Women in Tech Year Founded: 2014 Description: “Our vision is to make the Cape Fear Region the No. 1 employer of women in technology careers per capita in the country. We do this by championing opportunities for women in technology, empowering women to strive for these competitive positions, and inspiring women to lead in those roles.” Info: cfwit.com or capefearwomenintech@ gmail.com
Coastal Women Attorneys
The Junior League of Wilmington
(N.C. Association of Women Attorneys) Year Founded: 2013 Description: “CWA was formed to serve women attorneys in Southeastern North Carolina in the Fourth, Fifth and 13th judicial districts, which includes New Hanover, Pender, Brunswick, Columbus, Bladen, Duplin, Onslow, Sampson, and Jones counties. CWA is committed to increasing the participation of women attorneys in the legal profession, protecting the rights of women under the law and promoting, and improving the administration of justice.” Info: ncawa.org/cwa or email@example.com
Year Founded: 1952 Description: “The Junior League of Wilmington is a women’s organization designed to empower women and to improve the community through the leadership of women as trained volunteers.” Info: jlwnc.org or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Inspiration Lab Year Founded: 2015 Description: “The Inspiration Lab was built for working women passionate about personal and professional development. We offer teachings and tools to improve your skills, productivity, creativity, emotional intelligence, and well-being. We also provide opportunities for networking and connection. We represent a variety of backgrounds and careers, but we’re all like-minded in being serious about success, maintaining a manageable work-life balance, and supporting one another’s growth.” Info: theinspirationlab.co
Women’s Impact Network of New Hanover County Year Founded: 2011 Description: “WIN is a collective philanthropy nonprofit that makes yearly grants to nonprofits within the county. The focus of these grants rotates annually among four areas: education, health and wellness, the environment, and arts and culture.” Info: winofnhc.org
YWCA Lower Cape Fear Founded: 1914 Description: “The YWCA Lower Cape Fear is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.” Economic advancement programs focus on educational assistance, job training, and short-term and long-term planning skills. Info: ywca-lowercapefear.org
Study rendering by Matt Barnett
LS3P RECEIVES NATIONAL RECOGNITION
Health care architect ANGELA DOUGLAS is part of a team at architecture firm LS3P that received a national industry award for its study about making hospitals more resilient to hurricanes from a design standpoint. The project – “Hurricane Resilient Healthcare” – by Douglas (right), Matt Barnett, Joshua Ellison, and Adam Heilbronn earned the nod from the American Institute of Architects (AIA)’s annual Emerging Professionals Exhibit. The theme for the annual exhibit was “Environmental Excellence.” “Currently, many health care projects are defined by perceived efficiency of space to lower cost, which results in oppressively dense buildings lacking connection to nature,” the firm says. “This model was most evident during Hurricane Katrina when half of New Orleans’ hospitals went offline. More recently, when Hurricane Florence left Wilmington, North Carolina, the city was cut off from food, fuel, and medical supplies by floodwaters for over a week. Healthcare and hospital building typologies are slow to evolve, and this project takes a deep dive into how to create a resilient future for hospital architecture.”
SELLARS RECEIVES CHILD SUPPORT HONOR
SHERRI SELLARS was honored with the North Carolina Child Support 2020 Employee of the Year Award from the North Carolina Child Support Council. The North Carolina Child Support Council’s mission is to “foster communication, information exchange, and education opportunities to support the diverse professionals in their efforts to provide the best services available for the children they champion,” officials say. Sellars joined the Brunswick County Child Support Team in 2016 and was promoted to supervisor the next year. “Sellars stands out as she has a wealth of knowledge, dedication to the program, and the ability and flexibility to think outside the box to help the agency meet its goals,” says Brunswick County Social Services and Public Housing Director CATHY LYTCH. Sellars has worked to build relationships, implemented new programs, and made changes that have helped many families in Brunswick County, officials say. “We are grateful every day that Sherri decided to join the Brunswick County team and that we have the opportunity to work alongside her,” Lytch says.
BURTON BECOMES HEAD OF TOPSAIL CHAMBER
The Greater Topsail Area Chamber of Commerce hired KAREN WILLIAMS BURTON as its new executive director. The Greater Topsail Area Chamber of Commerce serves businesses from Scotts Hill to Sneads Ferry, including Topsail Beach, Surf City, Holly Ridge, and Hampstead. Burton, a longtime resident of Pender County, joins the chamber after a decadeslong career in education. She served Pender County Schools for nearly twenty-seven years until retiring from public education. She also worked with a private school as the director of curriculum/instruction and later as the director of advancement. Burton has served on the Burgaw Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors and is currently vice-chair of the Pender County Tourism Development Authority board. “I look forward to working with the Topsail Chamber’s board of directors and Kay Phelps, the finance coordinator,” Burton says. “Together we can bring educational and networking opportunities to our businesses in the greater Topsail area.”
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CHERRY EARNS FRANKLIN H. WILLIAMS AWARD
SABRINA CHERRY, assistant professor of public health at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, received a Franklin H. Williams Award. Cherry, who has nearly twenty years of experience in public health, is one of six recipients of the award. The Franklin H. Williams Award “recognizes ethnically diverse returned Peace Corps volunteers who demonstrate a lifelong commitment to civic engagement, service, diversity, inclusion, and world peace to the Peace Corps’ Third Goal of promoting a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans,” officials say. Cherry started her service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Gambia, West Africa. “As a public health practitioner, Cherry collaborated on community health needs assessments for the Greater Atlanta affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and two rural Georgia hospitals; provided technical assistance to faith-based mini-grant recipients in Southwest Georgia; and worked on a food insecurity and medication-adherence pilot study for persons living with HIV/AIDS,” a news release states. Cherry joined the public health faculty at UNCW’s College of Health and Human Services in 2017.
Have a suggestion for a local woman or group to spotlight? Email us: wilma@WILMAmag.com WILMAmag.com
NHC communications team members Lauren McConville, Jessica Loeper, and Kate Oelslager at the county’s Coronavirus Call Center
COUNTY COMMUNICATIONS TEAMS GET THE WORD OUT by TERESA MCLAMB photos by LOGAN BURKE
hroughout the pandemic, county communications officers have been front and center in getting the word out to residents. “Our team has been at the forefront, working hand in hand with the health department to communicate protective measures,” says JESSICA LOEPER, chief communications officer for New Hanover County. Her team has used traditional and social media to communicate public health data, information from the governor’s office, testing site locations, and vaccine rollout updates, she notes. “We have created videos, animations, and graphics; and posted on social media daily with public health reminders, case counts, testing and community resources, safety messages, and so much more,” Loeper says. “We have collabo-
rated with the hospital and other trusted voices to share important information. And, we have worked with community partners and our Office of Diversity and Equity to reach into historically marginalized communities with targeted messages and outreach testing.” Likewise, Brunswick County Communication Manager MEAGAN KASCSAK has expanded the county’s social media presence to communicate more effectively. New to the job in 2019, she had already planned an overhaul of the county’s communication systems. The pandemic pushed it forward, she says. Both counties have webpages dedicated to the pandemic and now vaccine information. With the statewide plan evolving constantly, they note the necessity of being proactive. “As you can imagine, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about vac-
cines. We have to be proactive to try to combat some of the myths and rumors,” Loeper says. “It’s been an important part of the process.” Working with the county health department, Loeper says there’s been a lot of behind-the-scenes work to share information, craft statements, and prepare the public health team. “They’re the subject-matter experts, but we’re learning from them every day so we can make sure we’re sharing the right information with the community,” she says. “We have some experience in fast-moving emergencies because of the hurricanes that have impacted us in recent years, so we have a well-established process of communicating information and working with our media partners to share messages widely. We know that not everyone absorbs or engages with information in the same way – so creatively and consistently sharing information has been key throughout COVID-19,” Loeper says. Because knowledge of the virus and its repercussions is constantly changing, keeping the community well informed can be difficult.
“We want everyone to have the right information at the right time, and that’s challenging as the situation is in constant flux,” says LAUREN MCCONVILLE, communications and outreach coordinator for New Hanover County. One of the biggest challenges to communicating effectively is the intangible nature of the pandemic itself, notes KATE OELSLAGER, also a communications and outreach coordinator for New Hanover County. “During other emergencies, like hurricanes, we can see and feel the effects right away,” Oelslager says. “A pandemic doesn’t work like this, and a lot of ‘ifs’ are at play. ‘If you do this, it will or will not slow the spread of the virus.’ “So much of how well we fare as a community depends on our collective efforts, and that can be difficult to communicate when the enemy we are fighting is invisible,” she adds. “Sharing consistently why it’s important, and the impact those actions have had has been a challenge. But, while COVID-19 continues to evolve in our community, we see the positive impacts of constant, clear communication. Our residential facilities are not overrun
with outbreaks, and our hospital maintains capacity to serve our residents from across the region.” Negativity and a distrust of the severity of the pandemic have been obvious on social media sites, according to the team members. A goal, McConville notes, has been to make sure the correct information is made available accurately and timely to every household in the community. “I think the biggest misperception about COVID-19 is downplaying the severity or the thinking that this is really only impacting older adults and those with serious health conditions. This virus impacts all of us,” she says. “It’s taken away loved ones that should have had more time; people are struggling unnecessarily through really tough times, and we still don’t know what the impact will be of any of this long term. “We need more empathy around these circumstances, people taking this virus and precautions seriously, and a better understanding of the big picture,” McConville says. “We can literally save lives if we all do our part. Why wouldn’t we want to do that?” W
THE BOLTZES HAVE BUILT A FAR-FLUNG FOLLOWING by LYNDA VAN KUREN photo by MICHAEL CLINE SPENCER
eing a go-to restaurant for seafood in a coastal community is no small feat, but it’s the status Fish Bites has held for twelve years. Tucked behind some gas pumps in a small strip mall on Carolina Beach Road, the restaurant can be easy to pass. Yet, diners from near and far flock to Fish Bites for its great food and cozy atmosphere. “We offer top-quality seafood, expertly prepared with great service in a comfortable and casual location,” says CATHY BOLTZ, who co-owns the restaurant with her husband DONNIE (both above). “We are so fortunate and blessed to have the support of our community, which is ever-expanding.” The couple started the restaurant in 2009 in the middle of the recession. Though it was difficult, the Boltzes refused to give up. They remained committed to their mission to offer quality seafood to diners, a goal
they felt served the community as well as themselves. To achieve that goal, they combined their talents. Donnie had been a commercial fisherman and seafood distributor, and he had expertise in seafood and other food preparation as well. Cathy’s skills made her the perfect candidate to run the front of the house and be the restaurant’s general manager. It is one of the few restaurants to break down and fillet its fish in-house, Cathy Boltz says. To ensure customers know how fresh the seafood is, the restaurant also offers the same quality raw seafood to customers from its seafood market. “We are not just a restaurant,” she says. “We are vertically integrated in that we not only catch and source our food, we also prepare and serve it.” Just a few of the restaurant’s popular dishes include chef-created daily specials, shrimp bombs, homemade soups and chowders, fish and chips, seafood po’boys, and pastas with Donnie Boltz’s original sauces. Then there’s his award-winning seafood mac and cheese, Stump Sound oysters and clams, Dungeness crab legs, live Maine lobsters, and local shrimp. Donnie Boltz’s homemade cheesecakes and coconut angel food cake are also perennial hits. Another part of Fish Bite’s appeal is its family atmosphere. The staff, as well as the Boltzes, have genuine regard for the restaurant’s customers and like to get to know them personally.
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“It’s a really great feeling when we get a package of phenomenal cheeses from guests from Wisconsin with a note saying we were the hit of their vacation or when we are asked to cater or attend a wedding from a couple who had their first date at Fish Bites,” Cathy Boltz says. Over the years, more and more people discovered Fish Bites, friends told friends about it, and the restaurant’s reputation steadily grew. Now, Fish Bites is a destination for those seeking great seafood. The Boltzes have plans for expanding, but the pandemic put them on hold. Meanwhile, they are taking precautions to provide a safe and comfortable setting for those who want to dine with them. They are also doing an enormous amount of take-out business, though it’s not the Boltzes’ preferred way to serve their food. “Even with the challenges presented by COVID, we’re blessed to have the support of the community,” Cathy Boltz says. “Even in these trying times, we will continue to offer the best we can provide.” The Boltzes’ passion for serving the best seafood is as strong as ever, as is their desire to serve their community. “When we walk into our restaurant and see a full house with people enjoying our food and hospitality,” Cathy Boltz says, “it is so rewarding to know that with all the restaurants there are in Wilmington, they chose us for a great experience.”W WILMAmag.com
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f there’s one subject that never goes out of style, it’s our obsession with royalty. From Princess Di to Duchess Markle, and a plethora of shows like The Crown, Bridgerton or even the fictional Game of Thrones, we are in love with the drama, the extravagance and let’s face it — the gowns. Sadly, for most of us a royal title just isn’t in the cards, leaving us with the commoner’s closest thing to a day of aristocracy: a wedding. And, whether your palace of choice is Buckingham, Peterhof, or The Water Gardens, we can all agree that nothing beats the palace of Versailles in terms of opulence. So how do you channel your inner royauté française for your special day? First, the dress. Keep the fabrics elegant but simple: satins, chiffons, organdy. An amplified silhouette is key to the royal look, so look for structure up top with an accentuated waist to give a nod to the corsetry of the era. Opt for a-line, Empire waist, or ball gown styles that allow the bottom to flow freely. (No mermaid or sheath dresses on the grounds.) Like the gardens of Versailles, florals play an important role in setting the mood and will add that organic flourish inherent in French Baroque style. The season’s sorbet hues of blue, peach, and pink can be worked into your bouquets, accessories (yes – chokers are back!) and decor. And now, it’s time to debut your regal self to your court of family and friends (just don’t refer to them as subjects in your bridal speech). Who knows? Your story just might get picked up by Netflix.W
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photo by TRINITY TOLBERT
CAPTURING A Wild
by Shannon Rae Gentry
FROM CHANGING DATES AND PLANS, COUPLES HAVE HAD TO RETHINK THEIR BIG DAYS. AREA PHOTOGRAPHERS SHARE SOME OF THE CREATIVE WAYS LOVE STILL CONQUERED ALL.
trength. Flexibility. Determination. All have been tested in the wedding industry as cancellations and postponements flooded ILM in 2020. And, for weddings that did come to fruition, still, guest lists were cut, venues changed, and expectations altered. All that to say, locally based photographer TRINITY TOLBERT (@treebirdphoto) of Treebird Photography says love continues to prevail. “I think the common denominator was how completely in love each of these couples are,” she notes of weddings she photographed this year. “I honestly experienced more heart
and emotion this year than any previous.” With Wilmington’s history with hurricanes, Tolbert says she and her peers also had an advantage adapting to COVID: “We already have the experience necessary to make adjustments and still show up for our couples,” she says. “Our community is unique in that we already have experienced tragedy and have been encouraging and supportive of each other.” Of weddings photographed by Tolbert in the past year, many had to change the venue or date, or both. One couple, Lauren and Max, downsized their initial plans to an intimate backyard wedding at their home. This
allowed the couple to add more personal touches, literally. “Max made all the ceremony decor himself, including the ceremony arbor, the backdrop behind the arbor, the greenery wall, and the floating deck,” Tolbert notes. “These two, as well as my other couples of 2020, were determined to get married and start their lives together. They showed flexibility, grace, and appreciation for the opportunity to still marry the love of their life.” STEPHANIE AXTELL (@ stephanieaxtellphotovideo) also notes more couples prioritizing their marriage over their wedding this year; identifying what is truly important to them because of COVID and “letting
photo by STEPHANIE AXTEL
go of any details that aren’t quite what they originally planned.” The pandemic has helped normalize smaller weddings, too. When Eydi and Jordan’s June wedding was pushed to November, the bride’s original venue informed them they would not be able to host any weddings for the rest of 2020. Then her boss offered up his 12-acre property near Conway, SoWuth Carolina. “This is hands-down the best backyard wedding we’ve ever had, COVID or not,” Axtell remembers. “The ceremony was on the front steps of their house, and the reception was held in the back near their horse stables and pool. The overall layout of the property ended up being better than they could have imagined for their original wedding.” Attention to guest safety has changed as well. From how food is distributed (no more open buffets) to being seated farther apart both during the ceremony and at reception tables. The smallest ceremony by far, for Axtell, was that of Daniel and Ann. The couple eloped on May 28 at Junction West in Raleigh, with just Axtell and their wedding planner as witnesses. “The most humble thing I’ve seen is to just get married – just the two of them – without the pressure of putting together a reception or cocktail hour for guests,” Axtell says. “It’s amazing to see how willing (the bride) was to say, ‘This day is just for us – and no one else.’ Not many people would have been willing to make this kind of decision.” Some couples simply put off the party until pandemic concerns pass but not the start of their marriage. In May, Aaron and Phil headed to the courthouse in downtown Wilmington for a civil ceremony for now and big celebration to come later. “They had just gotten engaged, and rather than stress about planning a huge wedding day, they simply called me and said, ‘What would you think about doing our engagement photos and then two hours later taking our courthouse wedding photos?’”
photo by STEPHANIE AXTEL
photo by TRINITY TOLBERT
photo by CHRIS BREHMER
photo by TRINITY TOLBERT
photo by TRINITY TOLBERT
photo by STEPHANIE AXTEL
photo by TRINITY TOLBERT
photo by STEPHANIE AXTEL
photos by TRINITY TOLBERT
Last-minute change of plans had Aaron and Wendy switching locations to Southport’s Marker 614, a venue that could accommodate both their ceremony and reception. Unfortunately, it meant their photographer, CHRIS BREHMER (chrisbrehmerphotography.com), couldn’t take an extended period of time staging those elegant bride-and-groom portraits, typically taken the day of. Instead, they had a “Day After Session,” a scheduled shoot anytime post-wedding at any location they want. “We go out and photograph just them without the hassle of time restraints, bad weather, or the anxiety of the wedding day,” Brehmer says. Like his peers, Brehmer has had to get creative with his photography in more ways than one. Smaller mini shoots fall into more budgets as luxury photography isn’t as high priority as before. “This has also led me to have to find supplemental work to fill in those financial gaps,” he says. “Truly, I believe COVID has made the industry have to restructure its business model as a whole.” Time will tell what lasting impact this past year will have on weddings to come, but the evergreen resolve of couples to celebrate their love and new marriage give Axtell, Tolbert, and Brehmer hope for 2021 and beyond. “I think this year really gave us all a new perspective on what matters in life,” Tolbert says. “And thankfully, all my couples were more than lucky in love, and I know they appreciated that more than ever before.” W WILMAmag.com
photo by TRINITY TOLBERT
by Bridget Callahan photos by Kevin Kleitches
or over a century, Kingoff ’s Jewelers has been a Wilmington institution. From its first Front Street location in 1919 to its present home at Hanover Center, the Kingoff family has been helping nervous couples find the perfect engagement ring.
JANICE KINGOFF found herself in the jewelry business in 1958 when she married Bill, the son of founder Ben Kingoff, and she says she knew then what she was getting into. “My father had a general merchandise store when I was a child and became a builder after that, so I certainly knew what retail was,” she says. Janice Kingoff became an integral part of the business, self-educating herself in silver estate appraisal. It’s a role she cherishes that has given her the opportunity to handle heirlooms from some of the oldest Wilmington families. “I love looking at the old silver pieces and unique pieces that people have. People lived very grandly in the town years ago, from what I’ve seen,” she says. WILMAmag.com
“They had magnificent pieces of silver and trays, really unique things.” In the thirty-plus years since her son Michael took over the store, the items that couples come in for has certainly changed. Kingoff ’s Jewelers still specializes in engagement and wedding rings but no longer carries tabletop items such as china and silver, which have fallen out of fashion. The days of grand china, crystal, and silver sets are gone. And, Janice Kingoff thinks that’s a shame. “Today, young couples don’t want to clean it, and it priced itself out of the market. Today, brides are asking for things for the yard or more practical things for their home rather than china
and crystal. I hate to see that brides don’t pick out at least something,” she says. “Pretty china and silver, it really makes a special occasion more special. When you go to someone’s house, and they take out their pretty tray and set their table differently, then you feel special, and that’s where good memories come from.” The store does still do a steady business in repairs and appraisals, and for people wondering what to do with old silver or wedding sets they’ve inherited, Janice Kingoff ’s number one tip is timeless. “My advice is to use it,” she says. “Sterling is a wonderful metal. There’s no reason to hide it; there’s no reason to FEBRUARY 2021
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not use it all the time. And the more you use it, the less you have to polish it. And, china? You can put it in the dishwasher. I’ve been doing it for years.” While her specialty is silver, Janice Kingoff ’s other specialty is being what she calls “a volunteer.” From the University of North Carolina Wilmington to the League of Women Voters, the much-missed Community Concert series to her synagogue B’nai Israel, precinct captain to board president, there aren’t many roles Janice Kingoff hasn’t held in Wilmington. Her devotion to Wilmington, connection to the community, and her many years here have given her a front-row view to thousands of weddings in town. “I think it’s a wonderful wedding town, and there’s so many places becoming available for it. I live at the beach, and I see all the weddings on the beach – the bride is always in white, and the bridesmaids and groomsmen are either formal or in khakis and matching shirts. And, I have even seen formal, like real tuxedos, down on the beach,” she says. Which probably makes the dry cleaners happy. “The wedding business and jewelry business, it’s a happy business. That’s the one thing I’ve always enjoyed; almost all the gifts are given with love and care to someone special,” she adds. “I love the business, and I love being at the store. The attitudes of the people coming in are always good.” As for the current trends in engagement rings, Michael Kingoff says the style of the season is definitely halo, a circle of diamonds around the center diamond. “Most women are buying platinum or white gold mountings; we sell very little in yellow gold or two tone. When I first started in the business thirty-seven years ago, all we sold was yellow gold. Now, it’s totally reversed,” he says, encouraging brides to bring in a picture of what they like, even if it’s an Instagram or Pinterest post. “It’s a big help to jewelers,” he advises. “A lot of jewelers resented it at first because people were looking somewhere else, but they didn’t realize they were being shortsighted. You couldn’t ask for something easier than for a bride to say this is exactly what I want.” W
5041 New Centre Drive, Suite 115 • Wilmington, NC 28403 910-218-0600 • INFO@PATRIOTROOFER.COM • PATRIOTROOFER.COM
by Laura Moore | photo by Aris Harding
NUPTIALS Flexibility remains key to planning in 2021
lexibility helped JENNIFER ROSE hone in on her artistic flair and turn a floral company into a wedding planning and event design firm. Flexibility helped Rose’s Salt Harbor Designs navigate the treacherous waters of 2020, and flexibility is what Rose says will continue to steer everyone through the unknowns of 2021. Salt Harbor Designs began in Rose’s garage and has grown into a full-service wedding and event design company. A “collaborative combination of meticulous planners, designers, green thumbs, graphic gurus, organizers, and storytellers,” Rose and her team create custom events that tell the stories of her clients. “There is something about working as a team to build an entire event from scratch, to create a unique environment every weekend that is custom to the client and their story – it just never gets old,” Rose says. Rose and her team faced challenges in 2020 they never could have anticipated because of the coronavirus pandemic, even for event planners who are used to being flexible at the best of times. “It has been a year like no other. Event planning requires lots of flexibility under normal circumstances, but this past year definitely required more adaptability than we knew we had,” she says. “For many clients, we had two to three different event dates. For some clients, we had two to three venue changes, multiple vendor substitutions, and between three and ten different floorplans.” Government mandates and legal issues changed headcounts, venues, and floorplans and introduced new protocols of temperature checks, masks, and sanitizer into Rose’s arsenal of event tools. Changes in couples’ travel plans and shifts to outdoor settings also helped draw some weddings to the area. “We ended up booking many small, WILMAmag.com
last-minute events as couples from other states and even countries moved their events to Wilmington where our weather could accommodate outdoor events into November and December,” Rose says. “We worked with one wedding planner from Canada to recreate in Wilmington a wedding planned for a vineyard there. We were hired about a month out to plan a tented wedding in Greenville, North Carolina, that moved from the Virgin Islands.” Salt Harbor Designs proved they were up to any of the challenges 2020 presented, but Rose admits, she is ready to return to the pre-pandemic days of event planning. “I will be honest, though, I am really looking forward to the return of one date, one location, and one floorplan per client and a year or more of planning time!” she says. “It is going to feel like a walk in the park compared to the events of the past year.” Rose does emphasize the need to stay flexible in event planning at the best of times, but certainly in the unknown territory that 2021 brings ahead. “I think in any business, you have to change and adapt with the needs of the client and industry as a whole. Typically, those changes are not nearly as drastic and immediate as they were in 2020, but I think, ultimately, it is what all business owners are constantly doing,” Rose says. “We change our business model to fit the client, and in our current environment, that just means we need to be as flexible as possible.” Looking ahead, Rose sees many of the trends that 2020 endorsed, such as intimate events with outdoor venues, continuing to remain the norm. “The smaller weddings feel incredibly special and intimate. These weddings become more about the people and less about the party. They can really enhance the atmosphere and experience in a way that makes their guests feel as special as they are,” Rose says. As far as tips for planning a wedding in 2021, Rose stresses that couples stay flexible. “We are all hoping by fall that things will be different, but for spring clients especially, we cannot predict what we will be permitted to do,” she says, “so last-minute changes should be expected, and flexibility is a must.” W
Jennifer Rose, owner of Salt Harbor Designs, shares what she sees ahead for couples planning a wedding this year.
WEDDING TRENDS FOR 2021 • Outdoor tented receptions • Smaller, more intimate weddings • Weekday weddings. With limited weekend dates available, a Thursday or Friday wedding is a way to spend the weekend celebrating with guests by planning other activities such as beach day, barbecue in the park, brunch, etc.
TIPS FOR PLANNING • Think about what is most important: “If a huge event or headcount is very important, they might want to consider a 2022 date to be on the safe side,” Rose says. • Book venues with outdoor options to have one or more back up plans in place in case mandated indoor assembly numbers remain low.
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LAW & COMMUNITY by Laura Moore | photo by Michael Cline Spencer
Lawyer Colleen Shea on succeeding in her field
OLLEEN SHEA rescues animals, mentors young professionals, and supports her colleagues. She is also a medical malpractice and professional liability lawyer. Shea, a partner at Cranfill, Sumner & Hartzog’s Wilmington office, was named a Best Lawyers 2021 Lawyer of the Year for medical malpractice law. “It is a huge honor because this is determined by my peers from other law firms and measures, at least what they feel, what they believe your professional integrity is,” Shea says. The first attorney in her family – “and possibly the last” – Shea decided as a child that she wanted to help protect people when they are vulnerable after her parents lost in small claims court in her small hometown in New Hampshire. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, her idea of law changed during the L.A. Law days, WILMAmag.com
and Shea decided to attend Campbell University’s law school. She soon realized that law is not nearly as glamorous as portrayed on television, and it really was about her initial desire to help people. Right out of law school, Shea interviewed with her current firm in Raleigh. “When I interviewed with the firm, I had no intention of going to Raleigh. I never wanted to work for a large firm either, and I was like the forty-third attorney hired,” Shea describes. “I was so intimidated by them, but they were such a talented and energetic group that I left after the interview thinking ‘I really want to work there.’” Twenty-three years later, Shea is still with Cranfill, Sumner & Hartzog. “I stayed in Raleigh for five years, but when I found out there was an opening in the Wilmington office, I thought, ‘Why stay in Raleigh when I can be at the beach?’” Shea says. Here since 2002, Shea is still passionate about helping people when they are most vulnerable. Those people include doctors, nurses, dentists, and therapists from
around the Cape Fear region. “When people do not have the perfect outcome, they think it must be malpractice. Just because the patient has a bad outcome, it doesn’t mean doctors committed malpractice,” Shea says. “I firmly believe that the vast majority of health care providers want the best possible outcome for their patients.” When she is not helping her clients, Shea and her thirteen-year-old daughter are saving the lives of dogs, but her goal also is to help more women succeed in law. Shea acknowledges that law can be a tough profession for women. “I would love to help train more female litigators. After twenty-three years of practice, I still come across how differently females are treated versus their male counterparts,” she says. “I want to continue to mentor. It can be a tough profession, and I would be so honored to do that.” W Colleen Shea’s profile ran in a recent WILMA Leadership email. To sign up for daily WILMA emails, go to wilmamag.com/ email-newsletter. FEBRUARY 2021
1/19/21 7:54 AM
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“Whale on Vacation” by Carol Willett. In an effor t to be inconspicuous, whales often travel to their vacation spots via air and camouflage themselves with feathers. The blimps might snag a second look or two. Find this at the Gallery of Fine Art in Mayfaire Town Center. Schedule an appointment online at GalleryofFineArtNC. com to visit the gallery at 970 Inspiration Dr., Wilmington, NC 28405 in Mayfaire Town Center.
Discover vibrant and versatile glassware for a stylish touch on your table setting. Find these hand-crafted glasses and other unique gifts and home décor in store at Big Sky Shop + Studio or online at www.bigskyshoponline.com!
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Sign up for WILMA’s new daily emails at wilmamag.com/email-newsletter. Here’s the weekly lineup: MONDAY IS WILMA LEADERSHIP with profiles on the region’s leading women, their business, personal, and career advice, as well as highlights on women who are making moves. TUESDAY IS WILMA ROUNDUP, a focus on stories published on our monthly print issues and a look behindthe-scenes at the magazine. WEDNESDAY IS WILMA WELLNESS where you can read about the latest fitness and health trends, as well as profiles on women in the wellness industry and get recipes and workouts from chefs and trainers in the community. THURSDAY IS KEEP IT LOCAL, a collection of shopping finds from local retailers, sponsors’ content brought to you by the WILMA marketing team.
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PREPARING FOR THE LOSS OF A SPOUSE
lthough many risks can be avoided in life, the loss of a spouse is something that is inevitable. Many widows report that their spouse did not have a plan in place for what would happen if they should pass away. While experiencing the loss of a spouse is never easy, a few simple preparations can make that time a little less stressful. When planning ahead for a funeral service, there are several decisions to be made. The team at Dignity Memorial is available to help guide you through the process and help with any questions you have along the way. Whether you prefer a metal or wooden casket, cremation memorialization or traditional burial, your favorite hymn or an organist, all of these details can be selected ahead of time. Planning ahead and making these selections with the team at Dignity Memorial will guarantee that your final wishes are understood and that they
are carried out accordingly. Making cemetery arrangements and choosing a burial plot is another portion that needs to be planned and discussed. Have an open discussion with your spouse about how you both want to be memorialized. Each individual is unique and will want their resting place and selections to be customized. Many spouses, however, choose to have burial plots next to each other – which can accompany other family plots – or be memorialized together in a cremation niche in either an indoor or outdoor setting. Making these plans in advance ensure that future generations have a place to pay tribute to and honor their family. Creating a list of contacts to be used after the death has occurred is another discussion to have with your spouse. Identifying a cadre of close friends and family that should be contacted first is a top priority for this list. If
your spouse is employed, making plans to contact their employer should be next on the list. Some couples choose to assign one person on the list to contact the remainder of the listed individuals. This individual can also send funeral arrangement schedules through email and post on social media on the family’s behalf. Also, there are legal and estate considerations when preparing for a death. It is helpful to make sure these important documents are in order and up to date before the death occurs. A will outlines how you would like your assets divided after you are gone. You also have the ability to designate an executor that makes sure your will is implemented as planned. Making certain that these documents are carefully constructed and current can take the burden of making these difficult decisions during an emotional time off of your
spouse. Most of us do not enjoy discussing death, and certainly don’t enjoy discussing the topic when it pertains to our spouse. But pre-panning together not only makes life easier for the surviving spouse, it ensures that final wishes are performed as desired. The compassionate experts at Dignity Memorial are available to discuss the process of pre-planning and walk you through each step. Michael Higgins is Sales Manager for Dignity Memorial®, which cares for more than 300,000 families each year through its network of more than 2,000 providers throughout North America. Learn more at www. dignitymemorial.com or call Greenlawn Memorial Park, Oleander Memorial Gardens and Coble Funeral and Cremation Services at Greenlawn Memorial Park, (910) 799-1686.
910.799.1686 | DIGNITYMEMORIAL.COM WILMAmag.com
JEFF LESLEY – CENTURY 21 DON'T WAIT UNTIL SPRING!
e have all had these thoughts cross our minds when it comes to selling a home: What is the hottest time for the real estate market?, Should I wait until springtime?, Things slow down around the holidays. Some of these phrases are true during a normal year, but 2021 has been far from normal − the same is true in the real estate market! So far this year, I have sold 98 properties and currently have 36 more under contract. Now is the time to sell! As we all know, COVID-19 slowed our market a bit in early 2020, but the market then roared back. In a normal year, we would see another slowdown in August once school starts back, but that was not the case. Parents adapted to new procedures as some schools went back, others went fully virtual, and some staggered. We are still operating in a wide-open market as buyers are taking advantage of some of the lowest interest rates we have seen − as low as 2.5% fixed! Where is all the demand coming from? A large portion of the buyers in our market have always come from the New England area. As buyers continue to flee out of larger cities, more and more of them are taking notice of what Wilmington has to offer. Remote employment has been a portion of our market for years, but typically only from Charlotte and Raleigh-based firms. As remote employment now becomes more of the norm in our society, why would someone not want to work from a home only minutes to the beach? All these factors are currently driving our market to even higher levels. The
normal cycles are not at play. According to the Cape Fear Realtors Association, when comparing August 2020 to August 2019 in the tri-county area (New Hanover, Pender, and Brunswick), closed sales are up 18.5%, pending sales are up 52.4% year over year (contracts in August), days on market are down to 65 days, and the median sales price is up 9.4% to $273,500, giving us only a 2 month supply of inventory. If you look at New Hanover County alone, the median sales price is up 20.1% − up to $298,808 from $248,667 compared to August of last year! This means that August 2020 is much hotter in sales, contracts, price, and how quickly your home will sell compared to August 2019. Why wait to sell? You can't control the election, unemployment impacts, what spring will look like, or if we will see a resurgence of the virus. There is no reason to wait. When is the best time to sell? The answer is now! Take advantage of this increased demand that is causing prices to climb and put the most money in your pocket. And of course, hire the #1 Individual Agent in the Cape Fear Region across all brands to help you do just that. Call or text 910-297-7071, email JLesley@Century21Sweyer.com or visit www.WilmingtonsTopAgent.com. Let’s get your home sold! Jeff Lesley with Century 21 Sweyer & Associates is the #1 Individual Agent across all brands in the Cape Fear Region.
910.297.7071 | WILMINGTONSTOPAGENT.COM
COLOR AND DESIGN TRENDS FOR 2021
shering in a new year symbolizes a fresh start to the future and a great time to think about refreshing your home. Homes are a retreat from the busy days we spend out in the world, and now that many of us are spending so much more time there, making sure your space is comfortable, practical, and reflects your unique style is essential. Consider incorporating a few ideas outlined below to help your home stay on-trend for 2021. For many of us, our kitchens have been put to the test over the past year. Keeping kitchen gadgets and small appliances organized and out of sight is pushing the trend of floor-toceiling kitchen cabinets. When cabinets are extended using all the space from floor to ceiling, homeowners gain tons of storage without losing precious
floor space, keeping kitchens feeling larger. The beauty of this trend is that it molds with any style, from modern to traditional. White and gray move over because there are some new, fresh colors making an appearance for 2021. Shades of blue and green are becoming the most requested within design plans. While choosing kitchen and bath cabinet colors should always reflect your taste, homeowners are gravitating towards shades of light blue and dark dusty green. Using more than one color within design plans is still a popular choice and many are using this two-toned combo of colors to break up the bold color trend. Coupling shades of blue or green with white or wood grain often create visual interest and make the space feel distinctive. Warming up contemporary
kitchen designs with natural wood tones is on the rise this year. Incorporating the neutral colors of wood and showcasing the beauty of the wood grain itself brings a cozy and inviting feel to kitchen design plans that opt for a more modern style. Using warm tones of oak can be overwhelming when the cabinet design uses heavy details within the millwork, but when the lines are clean and sharp the oak balances out the cold and ridged feel that some modern designs portray. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to give your kitchen and bath a new look, simply change the hardware. It sounds so simple – and it is! Changing your cabinet door and drawer pulls can completely change the way your space feels. The trend for cabinet hardware this year is a muted gold with simple lines.
This subdued metal shade pairs perfectly with almost any color and is a nice change from all the cool titanium shades that held the spotlight in recent years. Whether you’re planning a major remodel or a quick freshen-up of your space, make sure to consult with one of Markraft’s professional designers. They’re looking forward to creating the design plan that best fits your needs for the new year! President and General Manager Cee Edwards and his team of talented designers invites you to visit Markraft’s Design Studio, 2705 Castle Creek Lane, just off Castle Hayne Road. Markraft’s professional kitchen and bath designers consult by appointment.
910.793.0202 | MARKRAFT.COM
PATRIOT ROOFING WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A ROOF
WHEN YOU’RE BUYING A NEW HOME
here are so many things to consider when searching for a new home, like finding the right neighborhood, layout and size, special features, and not to mention the price. While many of these considerations are obvious, some future homeowners might forget to think about the home’s structure – specifically the roof. If you are in the market for a new home, here’s what to look for when assessing your potential new home’s roof. First and foremost, and quite possibly the most noticeable, look for signs of a leaking roof. You might spot water stains on the ceilings which are circular and can be yellow in color. If you can, it’s a good idea to check if the water stain is dry or wet. If the drywall is firm and dry to the touch, then it’s possible that it is an old stain that dried and left a stain. Heavy storms can bring strong wind-driven rain that seeps between shingles which can cause these sporadic stains. If the water stain is wet to the touch or if the drywall moves as you touch it, the home’s roof might not be sealing out water properly and need immediate attention. But the ceiling shouldn’t be the only place you check. As you tour a home, it’s important to look in a few more interior places for signs of a strong or weak roof. Look for possible water stains on walls – peeling wallpaper or paint can signal water damage from an improper roof. Fireplaces are a wonderful home feature, but the chimney can be a weak spot for a roof. If you notice wet spots around the interior of the fireplace, this could be a
910.218.0600 | PATRIOTROOFER.COM 44
sign of possible water damage. When checking out the exterior of your potential home, look for gutters. Gutters are a significant upgrade to any home but need regular cleaning and maintenance to perform at their best. When left unmanaged, gutters can create a host of water damage problems. If you notice leaves and other debris piling over the gutters, it’s possible that the gutters have not been regularly cleaned out which can lead to trapped water within the gutters. Since all the components of a roof work together, this moisture accumulation in the gutters can slowly start to effect other parts of the roof leading to major roof decline. Looking for these few things right away when touring a home can give you a sneak peek at what your potential home might look like behind the walls. And while a home inspector will look at all the tiny details of your potential new home, knowing in advance that there is possible water damage will give you a significant head start. If your dream home does need a new roof, or maybe just some maintenance, call Patriot Roofing today at 910-218-0600 or visit their website at www.PatriotRoofer.com to request a free estimate. Stephanie Bolton is the owner of Patriot Roofing Company, a female-owned and locally operated roofing company serving the Cape Fear area. With over 20 years of experience serving homeowners, Patriot Roofing Company specializes in residential roofing, siding, gutters, and windows.
ESTABLISHED COMMUNITY INVESTS IN EXCITING DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
ere at Plantation Village, the excitement is building around our current expansion project, as we have spent more than two years in the planning stages. With status as a nonprofit, everything we do is focused on adapting our services to what our residents say is important to meet their needs and goals. To that end, we continually focus inward to ensure that we can continue to provide our residents with the best possible amenities and services. As a component of our forward-thinking approach, we have been holding focus groups to gather feedback from current and future residents. This has informed the planning of our upcoming expansion in a number of illuminating ways. A recurring theme from our residents is they love the “Village Feel” of our community — how their friends and neighbors are easily reachable by driving a golf cart, riding a bike or utilizing our extensive trail network. Our residents have also
indicated they love the natural setting of our community, how nearly everything on our 56 acres is set under a canopy of mature trees. People love to sit and watch the Blue Herons, ducks and other native birds swoop in over the pond; they have said they value the lowdensity levels that we have focused on maintaining. With that in mind, the current expansion includes residential-scale buildings that leverage the charm of the community and preserve as many natural areas as possible. This is not just growth for the sake of growth. Instead, this is a means of creating the funding to provide our residents with premier amenities and services, as well as offer future residents the opportunity to experience our wonderful community. There will be three new restaurants after the expansion is complete: a “destinationstyle” dining experience (read: lobster and filet), a bistro and a new bar & lounge area for the residents to sip a craft cocktail
or grab a beer for the football game. There will also be a small market with everything from basic necessities to freshly baked pastries from our pastry chef. All of this is taking into account that our residents are more active, busy and engaged than their forbears could have imagined. Instead of having new spaces and programs defined for them, they want input and flexibility in the design process and the end result. To serve that need, the expansion will have room to host university professors doing lecture series, visiting grandchildren or the space to pursue woodworking/ crafting interests. Our residents have said maintaining the resident hardship fund is paramount. This ensures that anyone who moves here will have a place to live for the rest of their life, regardless of any sort of financial hardship. The expansion was motivated in part as a method of ensuring we can continue to offer this to our residents. Learning more about
what our residents want our community to evolve into is very inspiring and it is wonderful to have a part in supporting their endeavors to reach their potential. To schedule a tour and experience the gorgeous natural setting of Plantation Village firsthand, visit www. PlantationVillageRC.com. For updates on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/ PlantationVillageRC. Becky Grogan is Executive Director at Plantation Village, a non-profit continuing care retirement community that offers independent living on a 56-acre campus in Porters Neck, minutes from downtown Wilmington and area beaches. Residents enjoy first-class services in a wide variety of home styles, from one- and two-bedroom apartments to cottage homes and two-bedroom villas. Plantation Village is managed by Life Care Services™, the nation’s third-largest elder care management company.
1.866.825.3806 | PLANTATIONVILLAGERC.COM
WOMEN’S CAUCUS FOR ART CHAPTER LAUNCHES
by LORI WILSON photo by TERAH WILSON
he year 2020 marked an important centennial anniversary: The passing of the 19th Amendment that allowed American women the right to vote. For artist and UNCW instructor ANDI STEELE, the 100th anniversary of this milestone inspired the idea for the upcoming gallery exhibit through the university’s Cultural Arts Building called XX: Women 2020. “There were so many important subjects brought up in the year 2020,” says BILLY-GRAY WEATHERLY (above), director of the CAB Art Gallery. “We wanted to get a woman’s perspective on the year and reactions to the events that were happening.” The virtual exhibit opened in late January and will be online until February 19. Although the opening was originally slated for late 2020, the date was postponed in hopes that the University of North Carolina Wilmington gallery would be open to visitors again. As of press time, however, the gallery was still closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. But, the breadth and diversity of the exhib-
it’s artwork have not changed. The collection features a variety of self-identified women artists in a variety of mediums. XX: Women 2020 coincides with the launch of WCACarolinas, a regional chapter of the Women’s Caucus for Art open to both North Carolina and South Carolina artists. To the best of Steele and Weatherly’s knowledge, this is the only chapter in the state of the national group. “A group of local artists and myself had come together to start the regional chapter,” Steele says. “This show (is) our inaugural exhibit … That’s where it all started.” The purpose of the Women’s Caucus for Art is to support women artists in many ways. “Our chapter is brand new,” Steele says, “but some of our goals are exhibit opportunities, to take advantage of the virtual world we’re living in right now, do some virtual events, do some sharing of work (such as) virtual critiques … Really it’s a way for artists to network.” Once the chapter is more established, Steele says they will also be focusing on another important component of the WCA mission: activism. The exhibit serves as a way to promote WCACarolinas, which officially incorporated last summer. All exhibit artists are chapter members (becoming so either before or after applying to be included in the show). Contemporary artist and Duke University professor BEVERLY MCIVER, who produces art that examines racial, gender, social, and occupational identities, served as the juror of the exhibit’s applicants. Weatherly estimated that there were about twenty-eight applicants who entered multiple selections. In the end, seventeen artists were accepted for a show of about twenty-five pieces, including photography, paintings, fiber work, and more. “We left the criteria up to her (McIver),” Weatherly explains. “Whatever she saw would speak to what she knows the show is about.” Both Weatherly and Steele described the final selections as “striking.” The accepted work has been curated on a website called Exhibbit. The virtual gallery link is posted on the UNCW Cultural Arts Building gallery social media pages and website (uncw.edu/cabartgallery), as well as the social sites for the WCACarolinas chapter. For more information about the WCACarolinas, contact Steele at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the exhibit, contact Weatherly at email@example.com. W
by BETH A. KLAHRE photo by TERAH WILSON
Bilzi Mac, co-owned by SUE BILZI and husband, Steve, has been serving Apple product customers in the Wilmington area for the past thirty-six years. Not only is Sue Bilzi a technical expert in all things Apple, but she also commands the front office and retail store. After working with her husband in their highly successful “start from scratch,” fast-paced printing business in California, the Bilzis moved to Wilmington for a better life for their family. At first dabbling in real estate and then her own screenprinting business, Sue Bilzi eventually rejoined business forces with her husband, and Bilzi Mac was born. Through determination, continuing education, and pivoting to stay viable in a changing business world, Sue Bilzi has definitely found her niche. WHAT IS THE KEY TO BILZI MAC’S SUCCESS? “Customer satisfaction is what leads to business success and personal satisfaction. I believe in human contact and insist that real people always answer our phone – weekends and evenings included. Sincerely caring about our customers comes naturally to me, and I believe it contributes to our continued success.” WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS? “Owning my own business lets me set my own rules. So yes, dogs are welcome at Bilzi Mac. We have a very dog-friendly store. Our furry greeters attract, entertain, and help break the tension when customers are stressed about their electronics. And, just like long ago when I brought my kids to our printing factory in California, I enjoy having our present household all together at the store.” WHAT KEEPS YOU ENERGIZED? “Multitasking is fun. Keeping up the energy at our store is my everyday goal. Education is power, and I try to explain everything about computers to customers. Our company remains nimble and continues to quickly adapt to the changing needs of our customers. In the fast-paced world of technology, overnight change is constant. Understanding the changing product line and expanding our retail presence is a must if we will continue to grow.” WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CHARITABLE CAUSE? “I have connected with many organizations, but the one I cherish most is the Cape Fear Garden Club. This club embraces so many philosophies that I share. My most thrilling year of volunteerism was my year as president. All of the Cape Fear Garden Club members work so selflessly, improving and beautifying the community. Folks would be surprised to know how many beauty spots in Wilmington are actually created by the hands of our members.” WHAT DO YOU VALUE MOST? “I am most happy when I have all my kids around me. Planning our annual family reunion with all fifteen of us is my greatest pleasure. I hope the legacy I leave my kids is to work with purpose, set and achieve their goals, and create good lives for their families. After all, everything is really about family.” W SUE BILZI’s full profile will appear in an upcoming WILMA Roundup email. To sign up for daily WILMA emails, go to WILMAmag.com.
THE HOPEFUL HEALTHY SPIRIT by TIM BASS illustration by MARK WEBER Tim Bass is coordinator of UNCW’s bachelor of fine arts program in creative writing.
We go for dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant, where the masked maître d’ hands over our boxed food and nods toward the credit card reader. After I sign, she douses the screen with disinfectant, and I do the same to my hands, then to my card, then to my wallet. We back out, you and I, opening the door with our rear ends and retreating to the parking lot, where we spread our romantic meal across the hood of my Toyota. It’s a six-cylinder, thank goodness. The beast generates more heat than a Bunsen burner. “Hygienic hummus, love?” I say from one side of the vehicle. “Where are your gloves?” you ask from 6 feet away. I don’t know where my gloves are. Amid the panic buying at the start of the coronavirus lockdown, I’d snagged a hundred in the supermarket. It was like a mirage, this box jammed with onesize-fits-all-if-you-have-thumbs-like-pencils stretchy things that, somehow, the hordes of hoarding shoppers had overlooked. They wiped out the Charmin and paper towels, doggone it, but the gloves would put a latex layer between the germy world and me. I used a pair to work on my lawnmower, then forgot I had them. “I think they’re under the bathroom sink,” I admit. Your face is covered, but you can’t mask your disapproval. So cute. Determined to impress you, I open the Toyota’s back door and rummage under the seats. There it is: the ice scraper I bought that one day long ago when I prepared for worst-weather scenarios. It’s still in the packaging. I extend the handle and push the Styrofoam tub across the hood. “Here’s your hummus, honey,” I say. “And pathogen-free pita to
boot.” “Did you sanitize the scraper?” you say. This is what we’ve come to this Valentine’s Day, the occasion that’s supposed to be all about cozy closeness and, I hear, intimate interactions. We’re now hyper aware of what we knew a year ago, but we didn’t care then because we didn’t think it mattered, and we’ve found out that it does, and in a big way: Our mouths are bacterial caverns, our hands microbial magnets, our noses viral runways where infections can land and take off every minute. We’re good with each other, the two of us, but we’re bad for each other. Our feelings are contagious, and so are we. “The paella smells wonderful,” you say. I sniff. “I can’t smell the paella,” I say. “Do you think I’ve lost my smelling? Do you think I’m infected? Do you think I should get tested?” “I think the wind is blowing in my direction,” you say. That affirms for me, yet again, why I’m here with you, dining outdoors in 43-degree chill while a vase of roses teeters by the hood ornament. It’s your calm nature, your common sense, your special way of judging me in nonjudgmental tones. It’s how you remind me that the way to your heart is through your mucus membrane. “Wine?” I offer. “They say alcohol kills germs.” You toss your glass my way. I catch it just before it shatters against the windshield. “To the brim,” you say. Ah, there’s that hopeful, healthy spirit. Together, we’ll make it through this thing yet.
IN 2015, WILMA MAGAZINE LAUNCHED THE W2W LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE. HERE ARE THE NUMBERS OF WOMEN WHO HAVE PARTICIPATED IN THE INITIATIVE’S PROGRAMS SINCE THEN TO HELP DEVELOP MORE WOMEN LEADERS IN OUR COMMUNITY.
LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE WILMA’S
GET ON BOARD
106 363 82 1,500 TRAINED BOARD CANDIDATES
1,875 251 APPLICANTS
168 GROUP EVENTS
MENTOR / MENTEE MATCHES
180 TOTAL PARTICIPANTS
THE LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE HAS BEEN A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE, AND I AM SAD THAT IT IS OVER. BUT I AM WALKING AWAY WITH SOMETHING THAT IS TRULY OF VALUE AND THAT IS A NETWORK OF SUPPORT THAT I NOW CALL MY FRIENDS AND A NEW FOUND CONFIDENCE THAT I AM THE MASTER OF MY STRENGTHS AND BECAUSE OF THAT, OTHERS WILL BE INSPIRED
BY MY RADIANCE.”
SUPERVISOR, WORK MANAGEMENT SUPPORT / DUKE ENERGY PROGRESS
WILMINGTON’S SUCCESSFUL WOMAN
P R I N T
WILMINGTON’S SUCCESSFUL WOMAN WILMINGTON’S SUCCESSFUL WOMAN
WOMEN TO WATCH AWARDS MEET
9/13/17 12:03 PM
FA C E B O O K
11,035 I N STAG R A M
WILMAStoWATCH.com | W2W@WILMAmag.com