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WILMA

MARCH 2021

WILMINGTON’S SUCCESSFUL WOMAN

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Al Fresco Living

Moving the party outside

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A house becomes a home

DWELLINGS


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march 2021

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46

30 8 SPOTLIGHT

46 SCENE: Hammer time

10 HEALTH: Safe space

47 TAKE 5: Commission for Women update

12 TASTE: Family style

48 MEN'S ROOM: Achy breaky house

14 STYLE: Vintage verdant

Check out WILMA magazine here:

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/WILMAMAG


14 24 L  ABOR OF LOVE: Renovation results 30 UNCONTAINED: The Cargo District’s mix 34 W  IDE OPEN SPACES: Backyard retreats 39 H  OME FOR ALL: Brenda Dixon on helping first-time homeowners

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Old adage: Home is where the heart is. Update: Home is where everything is. Like everything at some point in the past year – office, schoolroom, studio, refuge, and more. So, it’s no surprise, with people spending more time at home that many spent 2020 working on their spaces inside and out. Outdoor living areas became even more utilized (check out some trends on page 35). And, the area’s real estate market heated up with more people moving to Wilmington. The Mattis family, for example, fielded multiple offers the first day their home was listed, which partly is a sign of the times but also a reflection of all the work they put into renovations (page 24). Outside the home, the past year also has offered plenty of time for entrepreneurs to plan out their next moves, which is what a number of them did when deciding to move to the burgeoning The Cargo District neighborhood (page 30). For this year’s Dwellings issue, we take stock of all the things a home can mean.W MARCH 2021

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Publisher Rob Kaiser rkaiser@wilmingtonbiz.com

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. This month, Callison talks with Kathryn Wandling, chair of the New Hanover County Commission for Women, in our Take 5 Q&A on page 47.

MEGAN DEITZ turned her love of photography

into a full-time career in 2003 when she began traveling up and down the East Coast as a sports photographer. Today, she specializes in portrait and commercial photography but can be found fueling her true passion for landscape and wildlife photography. Deitz photographed the women building their businesses at The Cargo District (page 30). megandeitz.com and @megandeitz_photography on Instagram

President Robert Preville rpreville@wilmingtonbiz.com Editor Vicky Janowski vjanowski@wilmingtonbiz.com Vice President of Sales Maggi Apel mapel@wilmingtonbiz.com Senior Account Executive Craig Snow csnow@wilmingtonbiz.com Account Executives Courtney Barden cbarden@wilmingtonbiz.com Ali Buckley abuckley@wilmingtonbiz.com Marian Welsh mwelsh@wilmingtonbiz.com Office & Audience Development Manager Sandy Johnson sjohnson@wilmingtonbiz.com Events/Digital Coordinator Elizabeth Stelzenmuller events@wilmingtonbiz.com

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 cover and style feature (page 14) in fullspring blooming glory. (dreweandkate.com)

LYNDA VAN KUREN, a transplant from the

D.C. metro area, is a freelance writer and content marketer whose work has appeared in national as well as regional publications. She loves connecting with others, whether through writing, ballet, or training her dogs for agility competitions. She looks at the trends behind outdoor living spaces and talks to one couple about the process of turning their backyard into an oasis (page 35).

Design & Media Coordinator Molly Jacques production@wilmingtonbiz.com Content Marketing Coordinator Morgan Mattox mmattox@wilmingtonbiz.com Contributing Designer Suzi Drake art@wilmingtonbiz.com Digital Editor Johanna Cano jcano@wilmingtonbiz.com Fashion Stylists Ashley Duch Grocki & Drewe Smith Contributors Bridget Callahan, Jenny Callison, Megan Corbett, Nina Bays Cournoyer, Shannon Rae Gentry, Beth A. Klahre, Lynda Van Kuren, Dylan Patterson, Justin Pope Williams, Lori Wilson Contributing Photographers Logan Burke, Megan Deitz, Aris Harding, Drewe and Kate, Stephanie Savas Photography, Michael Cline Spencer, Terah Wilson

LORI WILSON is a freelance writer and editor

living in Wilmington. She is studying to become a social worker and looks forward to serving the local community. Wilson checks in on this year’s Women Build initiative, organized by Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity, on page 46.

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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


WILMA’S

LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE FOUNDING SPONSORS

CORPORATE SPONSORS

“As a PNC leader and a WILMA advisory board member, it is an honor

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to support the growth and development of female colleagues by building authentic relationships. Development is critical for all women in business, whether you are a business owner, corporate leader, or just starting in a career. PNC is committed to supporting female leaders in the quest to build skills, experience, and connections not only with other leaders, but with the diverse communities we serve.”

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NEWCOMER

NETWORKING &v

irtual happy hour

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WILMA’S

WOMEN WATCH TO

AWARDS

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: NEWCOMER NETWORKING: WILMA’s Women to Watch program partnered with The Inspiration Lab for an online networking event, geared toward those new to the area. Networking has been challenging this year but especially for those who moved here recently and are still trying to get the lay of the land. Representatives from several women’s and business groups hosted smallgroup discussions during the Zoom talk last month, sharing networking advice and making connections. LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE: Our advisory board last month selected members of the 2021 WILMA’s Leadership Institute. Keep an eye out for an announcement about the new class. Orientation kicks off in April, with monthly leadership training through December. 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. 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.

- Vicky Janowski, WILMA editor, and Maggi Apel, vice president of sales, Co-directors of the Women to Watch Leadership Initiative W2W@WILMAmag.com

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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

30 OUT OF THE BOX: Meet the women helping grow The Cargo District's business footprint 39 ACHIEVING HOMEOWNERSHIP: Get That Deed helps first-time homeowners attain financial stability



47 TAKE 5: Q&A with NHC Commission for Women's Chair Kathryn Wandling

MARCH

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 info@capefearcrew.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

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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 cwa@ncawa.org

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 info@jlwnc.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

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C

INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL AT HOME

Cape Fear Community College’s Humanities Department plans to continue its annual International Film Festival, turning to the web this year for the showings. “We aren’t going to let a worldwide pandemic prevent us from providing our students and the community with a cultural opportunity,” Humanities Department Chair LUCINDA MCNAMARA says. The college holds the film festival, now in its second year, to showcase CFCC’s foreign language courses. Three films will be available to watch between 7 a.m. March 2 and 11:59 p.m. March 4. The movies are Les enfants du 209 rue Saint-Maur, Paris Xe (The Children of 209 Saint Maur)-in French; Das schweigende Klassenzimmer (The Silent Revolution, which is shown above)-in German; and Lanzas de todas partes (Spears from All Sides)-in Spanish. The movies also will have English subtitles. Info: cfcc.edu/filmfest

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UNCW HONORS ALUMNI, SUPPORTERS

The University of North Carolina Wilmington Alumni Association recently honored four graduates and supporters. Its award winners this year were PHILIP BROWN (Distinguished Alumnus of the Year); COURTNEY RICKERT (Distinguished Young Alumna of the Year); WILBUR JONES (Distinguished Citizen of the Year); and EDELMIRA SEGOVIA, the first recipient of the group’s Distinguished Diversity Award.
 The Distinguished Diversity Award recognizes an individual who has made exceptional contributions in the areas of diversity, equity, access, inclusion, and social justice, officials say. “In a year like no other, this year’s recipients have gone above and beyond. Greatness is woven into the fabric of their being, and it shows in their everyday work,” says Lindsay Leroy, the alumni group’s executive director. Rickert is business operations coordinator for Talbert & Bright, Inc., a professional airport engineering and planning consulting firm in Wilmington. Segovia (above) is director of Centro Hispano in the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at UNCW.

W

ROTH NAMED COUNTY PLANNING DIRECTOR

New Hanover County has a new planning chief. Officials announced last month that REBEKAH ROTH would be the county’s planning and land use director, after serving as interim director since October. Before that, Roth was senior planner for the county for four years. “Rebekah is a strategic leader whose vision and expertise will continue moving our planning team forward,” County Manager Chris Coudriet says. “She is committed to promoting and protecting our neighborhoods through responsible land-use policies and plans, while also enhancing complete communities with a mix of uses and diverse housing types. And she has a keen focus on community engagement and collaboration that will serve our county well.” Roth led the county’s long-range planning team’s implementation of the 2016 Comprehensive Plan and managed the Unified Development Ordinance project to update the county’s development regulations, completed in 2020.

 Before working for New Hanover County, Roth served for more than nine years with the town of Burgaw, where she was planning administrator.

ant more WILMA? Check out our daily emails, which include even more profiles and stories for Wilmington’s successful women. To sign up for the free emails, go to WILMAmag.com

PLEASURE ISLAND CHAMBER NAMES NEW OFFICERS

The Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce announced its new board members and officers for 2021. The chamber serves Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Fort Fisher, and southern New Hanover County. The board’s officers are DEBBIE ELLIOTT (chair), Realtor with Nest Realty; STEVE STEFANOVITCH (vice chair), founder of GO Automotive; LYNNE WILLIS (treasurer), CFO of CMS Tool & Die; LEEANN TLUCHOWSKI (secretary), co-owner of Malama Cafe and Shuckin’ Shack; and LYNN HALTERMAN (chair emeritus), owner of Seacoast Consulting GroupICW Boat Rentals LLC. “The Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce is different from other local chambers in that we act as both a chamber and a visitors center,” says Elliott (above). “This year’s board represents a wide range of businesses, and we are all dedicated to strengthening and expanding our local economy while also improving the quality of life on Pleasure Island.” New board members this year are KED COTTRELL, Pleasure Island Animal Hospital owner and Nauti Dog restaurant co-owner; CINDY WASHINGTON, C.A.W. Management owner; ANDREA WILSON, Southern Sign Co. co-owner; and FRED ZAYTOUN, FredCo Accounting Solutions owner.

Have a suggestion for a local woman or group to spotlight? Email us: wilma@WILMAmag.com WILMAmag.com

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FLIPPING THE

CONVERSTAION EQUITY IS THE FOCUS FOR SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY PROJECTS

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by BETH A. KLAHRE photo by LOGAN BURKE

t takes time and energy to create a space where everyone feels welcome. FRANCHON FRANCEES, a licensed clinical mental health counselor, certified trauma practitioner, and founder of Wilmington-based Healing Your Almond, knows this all too well. She is right in the middle of advancing safety and equity through workshops on diversity, inclusion, and authentic leadership; business consulting; and certified trauma training. In January, with the COVID-19 pan-

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demic still raging, some students at Myrtle Grove Middle School were struggling like at many schools around the country. Parents were frustrated and overwhelmed by virtual learning. Students who were originally participating started to drop out. There was a sense of anxiety. It was, and still is, a lot for anyone to manage. Sparked by an idea from the school’s principal, CINDY BLISS, to open the cafeteria a few hours a day for individual tutoring, a team of school associates started to challenge one another to not make assumptions about what the families needed. The discussions blossomed into four deliberately planned re-engagement nights – safe gatherings for families to have conversations with educators and community experts about barriers impacting academic success. There were separate parent and student sessions followed by family dialogues. “Our lens for improvement is one that

centers on equity and inclusion through a multi-tiered support system. Attendance and engagement come first in that framework,” says KACEY SMITH, the academic and behavior success coordinator/coach at Myrtle Grove. The re-engagement sessions included a Spanish interpreter and mental health experts matched to the diverse demographics of the school. Francees was one of those experts. “Because I am not employed by the school and am well-known in the community as a mental health specialist, I became a facilitator of the conversation between parent and educator building trust, inclusion, and comfort. What is really encouraging to me is that the re-engagement nights were completely designed by teachers and support personnel at the school,” says Francees, shown above in the middle with her team from Healing Your Almond and Smith. Results of the re-engagement nights are already apparent. Families were offered a hybrid schedule and socially distanced, two-hour study halls in the school cafeteria. “Instead of allowing the combination of the pandemic and an already inequitable system’s tendency to push out these


students, we continue to see the impact of our intentional efforts to push them back in,” Smith says. Francees is not stopping here. Healing Your Almond was recently awarded a grant from Duke University in partnership with the New Hanover County Resiliency Task Force to address and create equity in the community. Francees states the goal of the threephased approach to the complex topic: to obtain an authentic, sincere, and true understanding of where New Hanover County residents are in terms of equity. “This program will consider both physical and emotional safety. People of color don’t go to certain places in Wilmington. We will expose and process systemic intentional oppression as well as equitable access to resources in the county, like education,” Francees says. “It’s easy to dismiss microaggression, blatant racism, and inequalities by saying it’s all in the past,” she adds. “But, because of trauma and the study of brain science, we know it’s not all in the past. It’s living, breathing, and alive today.” The program’s first phase invites New Hanover County residents to attend one of three information sessions. The second phase separates participants into two groups, an all-white group and a people-of-color group, each led by two certified and licensed health professionals from the Healing Your Almond team. After meeting four times throughout April, the cohorts will come back together to share learnings. The final phase will be an in-person community presentation in June, pending COVID-19 restrictions. “Studies have shown that interacting with people who do life differently than you benefits all ethnicities and all economic statuses,” Francees says. “The more interactions you have with people who look, think, and act differently than you, the more you grow. Everyone needs to feel welcomed and safe. It’s not too hard, and it’s definitely not impossible.”W

UPCOMING DATES

For more information about upcoming online information sessions for New Hanover County residents to discuss equity: healingyouralmond.com/upcoming.

ONLINE SESSION DATES: March 9 at noon • March 12 at 8 a.m • March 13 at 12:30 p.m. (including both English and Spanish sessions)

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AROUND THE

TABLE

ITALIAN FOOD WITH A FAMILY ATMOSPHERE by JUSTIN WILLIAMS POPE photo by ARIS HARDING

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hether it is the spaghetti Bolognese, the lasagna, or the chef’s signature pasta puttanesca, the menu at Rosalie’s Trattoria offers a full course of delicious and then some. At the center of this Port City favorite is husband-and-wife team ROSALIE and AL CERVINI, and both want a good time to be had by all when dining at Rosalie’s.

“We both grew up in the kitchen with Italian grandmothers, and so we learned from the best about Italian cooking,” says Rosalie Cervini, who opened the eatery in November 2019. She says she believes Italian family food is a blessing, and cooking became a passion and a tradition – so much so that the couple had toyed with opening a restaurant for years before actually doing it. “We had always dangled the idea of opening a restaurant. I have worked in restaurants since I was a teenager from hostess to server, so we finally decided to take the leap and here we are,” she says. A schoolteacher by day, Rosalie Cervini switches gears at the end of the day. Al and the team hold the fort down until she gets to the restaurant. Her love for Rosalie’s shines through, and she is proud of what the restaurant brings. “I love the family-feel atmosphere. We strived for that in the beginning, and it has grown. We have many repeat customers, who have become like family,” she says. Rosalie’s Trattoria, 5031 Market Street, is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday and has space for outdoor dining. Rosalie Cervini says she believes what makes the food so delicious at their restaurant is because it is like they are at home. “Just what we have on our table at home is also what we have here,” she points out. “The quality of the food is top, fresh ingredients, and that’s what makes food is the ingredients.” Rosalie Cervini says that if she had to choose, her favorite dish on the menu would most likely be the linguini in white clam sauce, but the other pasta offered aren’t far behind. Originally from New York, the Cervinis met while in college, and the couple says they quickly realized their similar Italian backgrounds made them a match. Keeping it in the family, their daughter Hailey, a college student, also works at Rosalie’s. You will find Al in the back running the kitchen, while Rosalie is with diners. “He is more back of the house, handling the kitchen and the business, while


I’m up front, working with customers and staff. I really do a little bit of everything and work wherever I am needed,” she says. Rosalie Cervini says she loves getting to know customers as many locals and tourists come to the restaurant. Something that matters to her is her customer’s experience, and she says what is most important is that everyone is comfortable and feels at home. “Some of the best memories for me and so many others growing up are from around the kitchen table. That is what we want for our customers: good memories and good food,” she says. The Cervinis are certainly not afraid of hard work, sometimes having two jobs, working through the summer months, and still balancing family life. The family’s hard work at the restaurant, Rosalie Cervini, and what it brings to them makes it more than a job, but rather something they love.

And, she says even though the restaurant is something that holds her heart, she still loves her career as a teacher as well. “I have been in the classroom for twenty years, and I am grateful to still be there,” she says. An English as a second language teacher for elementary school students, Rosalie Cervini says it’s nice to switch gears at the end of the day and take on a different role. “I love teaching children during the day, and I love to serve quality food when I’m not teaching,” she says. And, what does Trattoria mean? Defined as an Italian restaurant serving simple food, Rosalie Cervini adds to that. She says it is an Italian restaurant that is made up of family, friends, and great food. “It’s the people that make the place,” she says. “We want our customers to feel like family, and we want them to feel at home – more than just good food in the belly.”W

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Blue, pleated MIDI SKIRT and back-button BLOUSE with brush stroke plant print, both available from Second Skin Vintage

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R

Retro

floral

revival

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Photos and Styling by DREWE and KATE Intro by NINA BAYS COURNOYER

t’s not often that we look into our kitchen cupboards for style advice, but this month that’s exactly what we did. Pushing aside those Le Creuset collections and various Williams Sonoma gadgets, we come upon America’s grandmama of cookware, CorningWare. Best known for its floral patterns (namely the cornflower blue-and-white motif ), these staple serving dishes came into popularity in the late 1960s and could very well have been the inspiration for that big-blossom wallpaper that overtook your grandparents’ kitchen. But don’t worry, you don’t have to go that far to bring the retro garden vibe to your wardrobe. Instead, look for delicate patterns in muted shades of blue (see the beloved cornflower!), plus pops of yellow (insider tip – This jives nicely with Pantone’s 2021 color of the year: Illuminating). Early spring hemlines are demure and echo petal-like sentiments of ruffles or pleats. A darling of the pantry, vintage CorningWare pieces remind us that be it food or fashion, there is always elegance in simplicity. World, take note. W

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1950s baby-blue strapless prom DRESS, leather mesh GLOVES, 1950s floral rhinestone NECKLACE, and 1950s oversized flower earrings, all available from Jess James + Co.

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1960s green and blue floral DRESS with swirl detail on front, and rhinestone and pearl NECKLACE, both available from Second Skin Vintage

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1950s pale yellow tulle DRESS, 1950s CHOKER with flowers, lavender HEADPIECE, and lavender CLUTCH, all available from Jess James + Co.

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WILMA

MAG MODELS: Jarin Simmons & Julia Willett (Directions USA) HAIR & MAKEUP: Meraki Beauty FLORALS: Designs by Dillon WARDROBE: Jess James + Co. and Second Skin Vintage

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LOCATION: The Keith residence

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BIT by BIT TRANSFORMING A HOUSE INTO THEIR HOME TOOK THE MATTIS FAMILY PLENTY OF PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE

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by Shannon Rae Gentry photos by Micheal Cline Spencer & Amanda Holloman with Millie Holloman Photography

ove can make a house a home. The amount of love (and sweat equity) ABIGAIL and MICHAEL MATTIS put into their 313 Nottingham Lane property also made a much sought-after investment.

This 3,727-square-foot dwelling sits atop 0.65 acres and was customized over the course of three years. They decided to put their beloved family home on the market in February, and that day –within minutes even – had multiple offers. There is a timeless character to the home, circa 1989 (nottinghamlane.com). With brick veneer and traditional Southern subtleties, such as a haint blue archway over the front entrance, it is a classic family home. Yet, inside, it is modern, stylish, elegant, and most importantly, inviting. “We just took what was given to us and what we had the capability of doing, and then we were really creative with it,” Abi Mattis explains. “I love to hang my hat on that and say, you know, we put in a lot of love and effort and didn’t just come through with a bunch of money to make the space beautiful, but we were really intentional.” This wasn’t the first time the couple flipped a house, though, the first was more by chance. They bought their first home six years ago on

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Masonboro Loop Road and made it into their “dream cottage.” “I actually probably would have stayed there forever,” Abi Mattis says. “We had hydrangeas planted, and it was on an acre of land with a farmyard fence. We did whitewash on the brick outside, and we really just put a lot of love into that home.” Nevertheless, the couple quickly realized they were ready to grow their family. Enter: old family friends ready to part with their brick home on Nottingham Lane. “(Michael) actually grew up going to that house, spending the night at that house, and just great family friends with his parents in Wilmington. So, it was this perfect situation where we were selling our home and they were moving,” Abi Mattis says. Though Abi is an artist and once part of Salt Harbor Designs, she doesn’t consider herself a professional home designer. Nevertheless, she has an eye for adding charm and character while Michael is handy enough to help execute most projects. Bit by bit, room by room, they tackled each of the five bedrooms, four baths, multiple living and office spaces one at a time. However, the most daunting challenge by far was the original trim of the house. “I know this sounds silly, but we had a very dark cream trim painted on every window, and there’s a ton of trim in the whole house,” Abi Mattis remembers. “So, it played with us with color and how we could decorate it for a long time because we couldn’t have someone come paint $10,000 worth of trim in our house.” While Michael and his dad slowly but surely updated each space to a crisp white trim, Abi continuously made micro-changes – her personal secret to transforming and flipping a house. Meaningful updates do not always have to be


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grandiose, like knocking down walls, but rather simple cosmetics: updating light fixtures, replacing doorknobs and hinges rather than whole doors, or repurposing/refurbishing furniture rather than buying new. It’s all about working with and not against whenever you can. “We actually just elevated what was and made it new again,” Abi Mattis says. They also made the most of the spaces the house came with. Upon first moving in, for example, Abi Mattis admits to wanting an open floor plan rather than two separate living rooms. “What we found is we don’t want to be with everybody all the time,” she says. “We want a place where the adults can go sit in a separate space from kids and actually have some privacy.” Rather than fill it in with sheetrock, Michael Mattis also took a somewhat awkwardly placed shelving area in one living room and filled it with a built-in wine rack.

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JUST TAKING IT ON BIT BY BIT AND NOT RUSHING, LETTING THE HOME ACTUALLY TELL THE STORY IT NEEDS TO TELL.

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Abi Mattis

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“I think what’s the most fun about our situation in our home: anybody can do this,” Abi Mattis notes. “Just taking it on bit by bit and not rushing, letting the home actually tell the story it needs to tell. Because every home is different, and you highlight the things that need to be highlighted.” Abi and Michael Mattis made their final renovations about a year ago, right before COVID-19 made almost everyone homebound. Having finally settled into their space with a toddler and new baby, they decided to enjoy their home for a bit before selling. “It’s really just been a safe haven for us,” Abi Mattis says. “And, we’re really excited for the next family to come through and make it their safe place and their safe haven. … I think that’s what we want to do with every home that we put on the market: be really proud of it and really feel confident in the next family coming to live there.”W

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Elizabeth Bradford

Elizabeth Bradford, New Year, Stone Mountain, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 48 in. Courtesy of the artist.

A House of One Room March 12 - October 17, 2021

CameronArtMuseum.org • (910) 395-5999

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OUTSIDE

BOX

the

by Bridget Callahan photo by Megan Deitz

The Cargo District gains momentum and brings female entrepreneurs along the way

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successful business is rarely a thing that comes out of nowhere. More often, it’s the result of years spent collecting skills and experiences, combined with the ability to sense a moment of opportunity. For ELIZABETH CARDAMONE, the beginning of the COVID lockdown was one such moment. Last year, finding herself in lockdown with her thenfiancée Christian and both of them working from home, she says it felt like the right time to jump into Christian’s burgeoning property management business. The now-married couple owns Aloha Wilmington Real Estate, and Elizabeth Cardamone’s found herself at the heart of the up-and-coming Cargo District close to downtown Wilmington. “It’s definitely been interesting,” she says. “Taking on something so new during the pandemic just forced us to both think outside the box and operate totally out of our comfort zones, which I think is something I needed. “I think The Cargo District is full of people like that, who had to think outside of the box, and I think COVID was just the push everyone needed. We all have these ideas of maybe one day I’ll do this or maybe I one day I’ll own something of my own. That’s definitely the case for a lot of people in the District.”

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Elizabeth Cardamone is a Wilmington native who has spent a lifetime getting to know this city, from her early days as a bartender at Elijah’s to wedding coordinator to her last position at local nonprofit WARM, Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry. Now as a partner with her husband, she finds herself managing almost 75,000 square feet of retail and office space in The Cargo District, an opportunity to put all those hard-earned organizational and networking skills to use. Developed by L.S. Smith Inc., The Cargo District rose in the past couple of years, growing around an initial cluster of unique apartments at 1602 Queen Street built from shipping containers. It now expands over several blocks and includes stores, professional offices, eateries, a coffee shop, a distillery, and more. “I love the concept of the shipping containers for something new and different,” Elizabeth Cardamone says. “I’m a big fan of minimalism, and I think downtown that’s what we need – affordable rental spaces. It’s one of the reasons we have these young, firsttime entrepreneurs coming to our area because it’s not these sprawling office spaces or a giant strip mall.” Just as the neighborhood isn’t standard, the Cardamones have a unique approach as well.

WOMEN-OWNED OR CO-OWNED BUSINESSES IN THE CARGO DISTRICT THE PLANT OUTPOST Sarah Mertz HALF UNITED Carmin Black AUGGIE & ZO Zoe Jurusik MISSIO HAIR Lorin Van Zandt HAIR BY VANESSA Vanessa Grant Teasley PETALS TO THE PEOPLE Erin Ellsworth ROSE + HONEY STUDIO Kat Christian OUTPOST COFFEE CO. Kourtnie Souders NOURISH NOSH Kendra Burgon TAY LIFESTYLE MANAGEMENT Lynne D’Eramo WHOLE WATER SOLUTIONS Nory Simoneaux SALT + CHARM Abbye McGee LETTERS FROM AFAR Shawnee Mills SOUTH CASTLES Caroline Castles END OF DAYS DISTILLERY Beth Faulkner ALOHA WILMINGTON REAL ESTATE Elizabeth Cardamone TRANSCEND BOOKKEEPING & FINANCE Jenna May SHERRY BLACK DESIGNS Sherry Black MEREWIF (coming soon) Savannah Watson JEAN PALMER HOME (coming soon) Rebecca Milligan MARCH 2021

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Pender County Humane Society’s 12th Annual

FORE Our Furry Friends Golf Tournament Hosted by Suzanne Jalot of SUNNY 103.7

Saturday, May 15th, 2021

Olde Point Country Club Hampstead, NC

Captain’s Choice Registration 8-9:15 am Shotgun start at 9:30 am | Rain or Shine, No Refunds Breakfast: Fruits, Donuts, milk, coffee, juices, soda & water from Coke and Pepsi, on course food Free Beer from Broomtail Craft Brewery (for on-the-course only) Awards Lunch served after the round . Provided by 19th Hole Restaurant at Olde Point! Gift Bags . Raffle Prizes . 50/50 Raffle . Golf Contest Prizes . Silent Auction $10,000 for a Hole in One on #9 . $50,000 SHOOTOUT for FOUR select golfers on #18 post round Pender County Humane Society’s on other Par 3’s for Golf Equipment & Electronics 12th Annual FOREHole-In-O Our Furry ne Friends Golf Tournament Hosted by Suzanne Jalot of SUNNY 103.7

$85 per person/$340 per Team RESERVE a Foursome TODAY!!! Register at www.2021FOFFgolf.com Deadline for Reservations: May 1, 2021 For additional information: Email ForOurFurryFriends@gmail.com

Saturday, May 15th, 2021

Olde Point Country Club

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Hampstead, NC

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Registration 8-9:15 am Shotgun start at 9:30 am Rain or Shine No Refunds

“The one thing we like to highlight as the property managers is we’re not a cookie-cutter management company. We’re not a one-size-fits-all,” Elizabeth Cardamone says. “We are boutique, we’re a small team, and we collaborate daily. We want to find local, innovative creative owners and companies to come into the community and work with this synergy we’ve already got going on. We want to find the right space for everyone. Everyone doesn’t need 1,000 square feet. Some people just need one shipping container.” The businesses in the District are diverse, including popular favorites like The Plant Outpost and burger mecca Mess Hall. There are stylists, private chefs, and retail boutiques. NORY SIMONEAUX is a local real estate broker and co-owner of Whole Water Solutions, a company that installs reverse osmosis systems. She and her husband, Paul, picked The Cargo District because of its proximity to different neighborhoods and their belief in the area. “I think this area will continue to see consistent growth,” she says. “People are attracted to the energy, and The Cargo District has created a destination area. People come for plants and stay for coffee or come for a burger and end up remote working all day. It truly is unique, and we feel fortunate to be a part of it.” ZOE JURUSIK, owner of boutique Auggie & Zo, echoes that optimism. “There is an aura around The Cargo District that is energizing, refreshing, and inspiring. You can feel it when you’re around here. It’s a community that strongly backs one another as it continues to grow and develop, and that kind of support can be rare. I just knew this was the place I wanted the store to be and to be a part of that communal growth,” Jurusik says. That sense of togetherness definitely struck Elizabeth Cardamone, who says she’s impressed by the businesses’ willingness to embrace newcomers. “That’s one thing I’ve brought to Aloha: helping these younger female entrepreneurs who have this vision of what they want but don’t know how to get there,” she says. “One thing we really pride ourselves on is sitting down and saying, ‘Tell me your dreams; tell me what you want,’ and we’ll tell you how to get there.” W


keep it local WILMA’S

SPONSORS’ CONTENT

DINING DÉCOR

Antiques, vintage items, and home décor are just a few things you can find at Port City Peddler. Their multi-vendor shop offers thousands of eclectic finds for every shopper including locally made items. The storefront is now open at its new location at 6213 Market Street! Come inside, pickup curbside or order online. Follow them on Facebook @PcPeddlers.

KINDRED SPIRIT

Kindred Spirit by Shaw Lakey. Wilmington’s own, sculptor Shaw Lakey. For over 20 years Shaw has translated his nautical experiences into unique, one-of-a-kind sculptures. Adding copper, bronze and megaladon teeth for eyes to driftwood of oak, cedar and cypress. His creations come alive as dolphins, whales and tur tles to name a few. 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.

HAND-CRAFTED VASES

Enliven your space with bold, hand-crafted vases. These vibrant designs are perfect for exuding subtle modernity, while becoming a unique focal point of the room! Find these striking vases and other unique gifts and home decor in store at Big Sky Shop + Studio or online at www. bigskyshoponline.com!

SPONSORS’ CONTENT WILMAmag.com

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the

GREAT

Outdoors

by Lynda Van Kuren | photos by Terah Wilson

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photo c/o Low Country Landscaping

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hen ANDIE and PHILLIP REID want to escape the bustle and tensions of the world, they need go no further than their backyard. The couple has created three outdoor living spaces, plus an outdoor shower, in their 60-by-120-foot backyard, and that’s where they go to unwind as well as entertain family and friends. In short, the Reids’ backyard has become their private oasis.

photo c/o Low Country Landscaping

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“The climate in Wilmington is so conducive to outdoor living,” Andie Reid says. “We had a big yard, and it seemed like the natural thing to do.” The Reids are like many homeowners in the Cape Fear region who over the past year logged more hours relaxing and entertaining outside during the pandemic. “Mostly people are really nesting; they’re vacationing at home,” says SCOTT HINSON, owner of Low Country Landscaping, which has worked on a number of outdoor living space projects in the past year. Hinson, who started the company in 2000 and specializes in poolscapes, has been taking on requests for glammed-up firepits, water-and-fire features, and pavilions that create a sense of an outdoor

room in the backyard. Resort vibe has been the overarching trend this past year. Outdoor kitchens, Hinson says, are another area that has taken off in recent years. “It’s definitely become more popular. More of the components are not as expensive as they initially were ten years ago, twelve years ago,” he says, pointing to the increase in stainless steel grill manufacturers as one reason why. For the Reids, the renovation of their 23rd Street home’s outdoor space is a labor of love. Over fifteen years, the couple took on one project after another, doing all the work themselves except for the sun patio, until they created a yard they use and enjoy.

photo c/o Low Country Landscaping

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Throughout the process, the Reids took advantage of their yard’s mature foliage to guide landscaping and provide natural boundaries. As a result, each outdoor living area is distinct and feels as if it is an integral part of the environment. For example, the dining pavilion – the Reids’ preferred eating spot – is surrounded by lush foliage. Chinese fringe flowers, gardenias, azaleas, and a magnolia tree give the space a warm, island ambiance; and the clear roofing keeps the pavilion dry but open and airy. A table for six invites family and friends to join the Reids for a casual meal as well as for special dinners. The outdoor patio, which is filled with a comfortable sofa and two easy chairs, is a favorite place to read or simply gaze into the interlocking sweetgum and red maple tree branches above and

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watch wildlife – birds, bees, and butterflies – at work and play. The space has a 5-foot gas fireplace with an adjustable flame, keeping the area toasty on cooler days. In the summer, the fireplace is easily replaced with a coffee table. The three-tiered sun patio is another prime area for the Reids and their guests. While soaking up the sun’s rays, sunbathers can enjoy a fountain’s burbling, dancing water. Across from the patio is a small pond, made of large river boulders and slate, that’s graced with water lilies in the summer months. Not to be forgotten is the roomy, 6-by-12-foot outdoor shower with a natural gray slate backsplash. It gives a resort-like touch to the Reids’ outdoor living area that is appreciated by both family and guests. To further enhance their outdoor

living areas, the Reids wired their entire backyard for sound and installed oil torches and electric lights so the yard’s lit at night. For easy navigation, the Reids also connected each outdoor section with a slated or pebbled pathway. Another essential addition is the privacy fence – a feature that turns the Reids’ outdoor living space into a personal urban paradise, according to Phillip Reid. The Reids have found that their outdoor living areas have greatly expanded their living space – Phillip Reid says their home feels three times larger with these outdoor living areas. But, the Reids say, the biggest advantage to having outdoor living spaces is the pleasure they get out of being in an exquisite outdoor environment throughout the year.W Editor Vicky Janowski contributed to this story.


5041 New Centre Drive, Suite 115 • Wilmington, NC 28403 910-218-0600 • INFO@PATRIOTROOFER.COM • PATRIOTROOFER.COM

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WILMA ONLINE

Keep up with WILMA all month long, through our website, daily emails, and social media.

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.

FRIDAY IS WILMA DOWNTIME, where we give you a backstage pass to upcoming shows and events in the community. You can also expect profiles and Q&As with local artists and highlights on the latest entertainment and leisure activities around town to get ready for the weekend.

RECENT EMAIL STORIES

Read about how BETSY KAHN of Copycat Print Shop learned about and grew her business.

FOLLOW US AT:

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As part of the DWELLINGS ISSUE, check out even more home features online.

@wilmamagazine

JENNIFER PAN opened her dental practice, becoming the first female prosthodontist in the Port City. @wilmamag


ACHIEVING

HOMEOWNERSHIP

Get That Deed helps first-time homeowners attain financial stability

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by Megan Corbett photo by Terah Wilson



ear after year, Wilmington is listed as one of the top places people are moving to, and with the rate of growth, demand for real estate is at an all-time high.

Homeownership is a huge part of the American dream, but for many, that dream seems so far from an attainable reality. BRENDA DIXON felt the same way, and in 2013, a middle-of-the-night revelation left her excited about the future for those with aspirations to own their homes. She is now the founder of the first-time home-buying initiative known as Get That Deed. “Our mission is to help the essential worker, retired, and disabled families break long-standing generational tenant cycles in their family,” Dixon says. “We currently have helped eighty families to become homeowners with this initiative, and most have rented for more than ten years, and some had rented for fifty-plus years. We have more than 1,600 families in our Get That Deed Facebook community where they get continued inspiring and informative information to keep them working towards homeownership.” The free program for families has been going strong since 2013; so strong in fact, that even 2020 could not stop it. “Despite all of the pandemic unrest with layoffs, cut down payment assistant funding, strapped first-time buyer loans, increased credit scores requirements, and more, twenty-two of our Get That Deed families still became first-time homeowners in 2020,” Dixon says. “They really worked for it, but it was so worth it.” It can be easy to understand why homeownership is seen as out of reach. In many WILMAmag.com

cases, however, mortgages are lower than rental payments, can offer more freedom to the buyer, and result in an asset of property ownership. “Homeownership is the No. 1 way working families achieve financial stability, wealth, legacy, and inheritance,” Dixon says. “After being in the real estate space in our area full time for the last thirty

years as the owner of Dixon Realty, I have seen many families struggle to keep rental housing within their budget. In our coastal area especially, the affordable housing plight is great.” Dixon explains that rental amounts have increased yearly, but wages have not offset the increases. For the majority of the eighty families that Get That Deed has MARCH 2021

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helped, their mortgages were cheaper than the leased unit they were leaving. “Purchasing a home sooner versus later will help families position to build equity with the payments they make versus throwing money away month after month,” she says. “Our Get That Deed families that purchased in 2014 and 2015 have homes that are now worth a minimum of $50,000 more than what they paid for it. That is very impactful.” Get That Deed’s process is simple through the acronym DEED: Decide they want it for their family. Evaluate their current finances and get a plan of action to get it from where it is to where it needs to be. Educate themselves from A to Z on the homebuying process. Do it, just do it, according to Nixon. “Families need to do it not just for themselves and not just because it will set their family on the road to financial wholeness but also because it is a fact that when Daddy and Mama own, so do the kids,” she says. “Studies have shown that kids that grow up in homes that were owned by their parents are more likely to seek homeownership for themselves when of age.” Dixon’s goals for Get That Deed include expanding the program’s reach statewide and nationwide to assist more families through “forming relationships and partnerships with employers, community leaders, and organizations to get the information to the families they are connected to so they can gain homeownership with less stress and fewer mistakes,” she says. Another goal for the program is to find real estate investors who will see the value and rewards in making a dollar and a difference at the same time. “Lastly, our goal is to also partner with other Realtors locally and across the U.S. that have a heart of service and want to see every family in their community achieve homeownership. Truth is, there are so many families that just don’t know how to get started and how to get to the finish line,” Dixon says. “We have a proven blueprint for Realtors to follow that will enable them to help many of these families in the most effective way within their perspective areas.” W Brenda Dixon’s profile ran in a recent WILMA Leadership email. To sign up for daily WILMA emails, go to wilmamag.com/ email-newsletter.


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DIGNITY MEMORIAL

PLANNING AHEAD IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER

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eeping up with personal and professional obligations can be a daunting task sometimes. Between remembering to pay bills, maintaining social connections and meeting deadlines at work, there are often a lot of items on that old ‘to-do’ list that fall by the wayside. The pandemic has strengthened the notion that planning ahead and being proactive is critical. In a time when going shopping in person can seem like a risky proposition, planning ahead can feel like an effective way to stay safe. But shopping online takes planning; having groceries or a medication delivered does too. Some of our favorite businesses are busier than ever, and the immediate gratification of walking in a store and buying something may not feel like it is worth the risk. If nothing else, the

pandemic has also taught us that things can change in the blink of an eye, that our grip on life is tenuous at best. Sitting down to pre-plan funeral arrangements, outline a service or pick a burial plot might seem overwhelming or morbid, but the bottom line is, death comes for us all. Planning for funeral arrangements may be one of the most important tasks on anyone’s to-do list, and with many of us having more time on our hands than ever as a result of the pandemic, now could be the best time to finally cross it off the list. Doing so is an effective means of ensuring your final wishes will be met and your family won’t have to deal with the stress of making important financial decisions during their time of grief. The staff here at Coble Funeral and Cremation Services at Greenlawn

Memorial Park can help you decide which service is right for you. There are no hard and fast rules pertaining to arranging a funeral, and with advanced planning, everything can be totally up to you. Basically, our focus here is on being as flexible as possible, so that we can adapt our services to the requirements and preferences of our clients. Generally, the word “funeral” simply refers to a gathering of friends and family, who come together to mourn and pay tribute to someone they have lost. Some may opt for a memorial without a casket. Some may want a visitation or a wake the night before. A funeral can be formal and follow traditions or it can be an informal celebration that focuses uniquely on you and the memories that were made with family and friends…or a combination of both. Whether you only want to

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have one service or several, the plans are basically up to you. One of the aspects of our services that I am particularly proud of is that we allow you to arrange your service in advance without paying for it now. This is something we developed in response to the idea that some may procrastinate with pre-planning because they think there is an added expense involved. 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.


MARKRAFT CABINETS

A FRESH, CLEAN LOOK FOR YOUR LAUNDRY ROOM

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ypically, when homeowners think of remodeling their home, the first thing that comes to mind is a kitchen or bath renovation. While these two areas are impor tant to continuously update, other hardworking spaces in our homes often don’t get the attention they deserve. Our home’s laundry room can be overlooked as much of our focus is pushed toward the gathering areas of our home like the living room and kitchen. But the truth is, we spend quite a bit of time in our laundry rooms and as most of us would probably agree, the mundane task of managing laundry isn’t always the most exciting. A thoughtful facelift to this space, however, would make your clothes-cleaning experience much more inviting and efficient. Smaller laundry rooms

provide an excellent oppor tunity for the creative professionals at Markraft to find ways to maximize available space. Lacking a dedicated space in many laundry rooms leads to our kitchen tables and living room floors becoming the laundryfolding area. But adding some folding room to your laundry space is easy! If you have a front load washer and dryer, consider having a counter top installed over them. A long counter top above your appliances would provide that perfect, clean, and convenient space for sor ting and folding. Over time, we all accumulate more laundry products than just detergent and dryer sheets. Perhaps all your laundry items are taking up that valuable real estate on top of your washer or dryer. Installing custom cabinetry above those appliances provides all the storage

space you need for detergent bottles, dryer sheets, ironing supplies, and many more of the household supplies that you’d prefer to have stored out of sight. Laundry room cabinetry can be customized to meet the design needs of your space. Colors, style, and hardware can all coordinate to fit your desired design plan. By adding some of these things into your design plan, your space will feel complete and truly reflect your own personal style. If you’re working with a larger laundry room, it might suit you to add a cabinetry wall with a separate folding area. Laundry room cabinets can be fitted with rods for hanging clothes, storing ironing boards, and even laundry baskets, which are ideal for pre-sor ting. Even if you’ve missed a laundry day or two, this added storage can conceal piles of clothes that

are already perfectly sorted for when you do get around to the chore. Ensuring that every room in your home functions to meet your needs – all while being aesthetically pleasing – is top of mind at Markraft. Their talented designers know how to make your space work for you and are excited to create a customized design plan for your laundry room or any room of your home! 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

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MCKEE HOMES

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MCKEE HOMES OFFERS NEW FLOOR PLANS

he homebuilding industry and landscape of the real estate market saw major changes in 2020, and as we move fur ther into 2021 it looks like they are here to stay. Low Interest Rates The recent recordbreaking decline in interest rates is helping first-time homebuyers and current renters make their decision to buy! For the first time in a long time, the housing market has experienced an entirely different buyer profile. McKee Homes is making every effor t to reach more families, star ting with the release of the brand-new line of open-concept floorplans, the Espree Series. This new series of single-family homes range from 1,512-2,186 square feet, feature 3-4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths with either one or two car garages, starting in the mid $200’s.

The Rise in Suburbs The highly soughtafter destination town of Wilmington is experiencing a trend of homeowners flocking towards the suburbs. As the normalcy of working from home continues to rise, homeowners are seeing less and less of a need to live in the big city areas. Those who aren’t quite ready to make that big move are realizing it might be the perfect time to buy their second home, and there’s no better place than this beautiful coastal town. Importance of Flex Space A home was just a home, until it became a classroom, an office, a gym, a restaurant and a daycare. Multi-functional floorplans support this new way of living, by allowing homeowners to transform their home to fit their needs. Our new multi-functional floorplans that come in

all shapes and sizes give homeowners ample flex space, with additional rooms, spaces, and outdoor courtyards perfect for this new normal. Outdoor Living Space With outdoor living spaces becoming more and more an extension of our home, we realized the need for resortstyle courtyards. Our Epcon floorplans are thoughtfully laid out with these features, highlighting outdoor living areas, with spacious courtyards and covered patios. High Demand With such high demand in the homebuying market, the availability of homes is diminishing. McKee Homes is continuously expanding its footprint in the coastal region of Wilmington, to build homes that are more affordable and accessible to homebuyers across all budgets. As the demand for coastal dream homes increases, McKee

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Homes continues to expand into other Wilmington areas, such as Supply, Bolivia, and Leland. Design Your Space McKee Homes features a design studio in the Wilmington area, where our Design Consultants take new homebuyers through today’s trends in cabinets, flooring, lighting, fixtures, etc. McKee Homes looks forward to building Life Changing Moments for all of our of wonderful coastal homebuyers.

Patty Sloan Director of Sales and Marketing


PATRIOT ROOFING

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PRESERVING THE PAST, BUILDING THE FUTURE

he owner of Patriot Roofing, Stephanie Bolton, believes in the message and work that the Historic Wilmington Foundation lends to our community. Stephanie and her husband, Bill, have made it a priority to give back to our community by donating their time and resources to the nonprofit over the years. Most recently, Stephanie has become a member of the Historical Wilmington Foundation Board and is looking forward to contributing to the greater effort of saving and protecting historic structures. Stephanie and Bill find it equally important to educate the community and their clients about the proper care and maintenance of historic buildings, as such care is vital to the preservation of those structures. For more than half a century, the Historic Wilmington Foundation has been preserving the built history of

New Hanover county and, over the years, extending its reach to Pender and Brunswick counties too. The member-supported nonprofit hosts events, workshops, and programs in an effort to maintain historic architecture in our area and educate the community about the importance of these irreplaceable structures. By bringing awareness to the value historical buildings provide to our area, the Historic Wilmington Foundation has gained support from local businesses and community members alike. And while support in the form of dollars is always nice, the Historic Wilmington Foundation gladly accepts donations in the form of old buildings or their reclaimed parts. Often when land and lots are purchased, the buyer has other plans for the space. If a vintage structure is located on one of these plots, the Historic Wilmington Foundation will

be happy to salvage what they can from the structure or even make arrangements to move the entire building to another location. This adaptive reuse is what keeps our community’s history rich and still allows for the natural flow of growth within our city. Stephanie and Bill are continuously adapting and growing Patriot Roofing to meet the needs of our ever-changing community. In an effort to deepen their already extensive knowledge of historical preservation work, the two have enrolled in the Historic Preservation Construction program that Cape Fear Community College just started to offer this year. The new certification aims to provide students with the knowledge to maintain and preserve historic structures not only in our community, but across the nation too. Understanding that our historic structures require specialized

maintenance and care to be preserved will ultimately help the effort of keeping these buildings standing tall for years to come. If you own a historic building and have questions about proper care and maintenance of its roof or exterior, give the professionals at Patriot Roofing a call today. They welcome the opportunity to talk with you about the needs of your historic home and how they can help. 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. Visit them online at, PatriotRoofer.com or call 910-218-0600.

910.218.0600 | PATRIOTROOFER.COM

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T UP

BUILDING HOUSING BUILT FOR WOMEN, BY WOMEN

by LORI WILSON photo by STEPHANIE SAVAS PHOTOGRAPHY

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his May, teams of women will join forces to help two single moms achieve a great dream just in time for Mother’s Day: to own a home.

“Women are particularly empathic to the various barriers we experience in life,” says LAUREN MCKENZIE, currently the director of finance and operations for Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity. “This is about doing something for a member of our community.” Each year, Cape Fear Habitat hosts the Women Build project to mobilize women throughout the region in partnership with a local female homebuyer, for whom the organization provides access to an affordable mortgage. The Women Build initiative elevates the for-women-by-women concept. The Cape Fear Habitat female-friendly project empowers women to learn new skills and take on leadership roles on a traditionally male-dominated work site. “Like any Habitat for Humanity site, you

MARCH 2021

don’t have to have any previous skills,” says McKenzie (shown left). “You can just learn something new and help us do what we do, which is build homes, community, and hope.” In 2018, with the help of coworkers, McKenzie relaunched the Women Build project for Cape Fear Habitat. “I just got really excited about it,” she says, “and I knew it was something we could get a lot of excitement around.” The organization usually looks to build one home with a group of ten teams raising $50,000 each year. The 2020 Women Build, however, was canceled in the wake of the pandemic. So, McKenzie and others have doubled the goal to make up for last year’s loss, with strict COVID-19 boundaries in place. Indoor activities are limited to ten masked builders and twenty for outdoor activities. “I think that we are fortunate because a lot of folks who participated in our first year are still there,” McKenzie says. “I’ve been pleasantly overwhelmed with a lot of interest in women coming together to take on new roles that may not have been in before.” Although McKenzie cites a different element as one of the most “powerful things about the Women Build.” Cape Fear Habitat encourages folks to make a donation for the project in honor of a strong woman in their life. A $50 donation pays for 1 square foot of space, and, in exchange, celebrates the named person with a special key that is literally placed inside the walls of one of the 2021 homes. “In the walls, you’re seeing the women who are being honored and supported by this build,” McKenzie says. “It’s also very special for the homeowner as well – you can see the direct impact this will have on their life.” Both homes will be built side by side as part of Cape Fear Habitat’s twenty-seven affordable home development in Ogden. McKenzie and her female staff look forward to the build each year. “We have female construction staff members,” McKenzie says, “but we have a lot of admin staff who are predominantly female.” In fact, Cape Fear Habitat will soon be women-led by McKenzie herself, who will take over for Steve Spain as executive director when he retires in April. This will be McKenzie’s first Women Build in the new head role. W




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by JENNY CALLISON photo by TERAH WILSON

The re-established New Hanover County Commission for Women began meeting last summer. It’s composed of five members appointed by Wilmington City Council, five by the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners, and one member who represents the YWCA Lower Cape Fear. Its mission, according to chairwoman KATHRYN WANDLING, is to bring awareness to issues faced by the women of New Hanover County. “I like to think of the commission as a megaphone for the women of our community, drawing attention both to issues that need solutions and resources that are already available,” Wandling says. WHAT ISSUES AND PROBLEMS HAVE BEEN AT THE FOREFRONT SO FAR? WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES? “Health care issues have been at the forefront of our work. Our Healthcare Subcommittee is hosting a virtual town hall on Medicaid expansion in March along with the League of Women Voters, Women’s Issues Action Team, and the YWCA, and we are partnering with other women’s commissions throughout the state to address vaccine hesitancy among other issues brought to the forefront by the pandemic.” WHAT’S YOUR BACKGROUND, AND WHAT EXPERIENCE DO YOU BRING TO THE GROUP? “My automatic answer to that question is ‘I’m a lawyer,’ but my experiences as a mother, a daughter, and a friend influence my policy standpoints so much more. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to lead a life surrounded by strong women, including those who are serving on this commission with me, and I feel we all have an obligation to lift each other up.” WHAT ATTRIBUTES DO THE OTHER COMMISSION MEMBERS ADD TO THE GROUP? “I wish I could go through our membership and give everyone a different superlative! Overall, this is a dynamic, thoughtful, and solution-oriented group – three things that I think are essential for public service work. I think our strongest attributes are our abilities to brainstorm and think outside the box and, perhaps most importantly, laugh together and regroup when the challenges seem unmanageable.” WHAT DOES THE COMMISSION HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH IN THE NEXT, SAY, THREE TO FIVE YEARS? “That’s a question that I don’t have an answer to. A year ago, I would’ve told you we’d have some kind of a comprehensive plan. Right now, I can say I hope we continue to provide organized forums for issues at the forefront for women in the community. I hope that whatever the next three to five years bring, we respond in a way that supports all the women of our community.” WHAT HAS SURPRISED YOU MOST IN HELPING TO IMPROVE THE STATUS OF AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN IN THE AREA? “How much work we have to do. It can seem pretty bleak and overwhelming – particularly in 2020 – when you think about the issues women still face in this country, particularly women of color and women in lower socioeconomic classes. However, I want us to remember that women are tough as hell. We’ve overcome so much, and I have faith that we will continue to do so. Especially after the past year, I feel so much hope and inspiration from watching the women of this state and this country knock it out of the park.” W KATHRYN WANDLING’s full profile will appear in an upcoming WILMA Roundup email. To sign up for daily WILMA emails, go to WILMAmag.com.

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HOUSE OF PAIN by DYLAN PATTERSON illustration by MARK WEBER

Dylan Patterson is a writer and filmmaker who teaches English at Cape Fear Community College.

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My parents’ house doesn’t look like a killer. The manicured lawn. The Japanese maple. The big, welcoming front porch. Despite appearances, however, it’s clear the house has been hellbent on doing my father serious bodily injury. To be fair, it appears he has been to some degree complicit. Not due to any morbid desire for self-harm, but as a consequence of a hazardous mix of an unearned bravado, an inflated sense of his own dexterity, and a fierce streak of independence. Fortunately for my father, he’s also lucky. Lucky enough, at least, to avoid a mortal wound. So far. My father’s first fall took place in the garage. He was in a rush as he slipped into his favorite “shoes,” so worn and misshapen, they were, by that point, shoes in name only. Topsiders purchased sometime during the Carter administration. Laces rendered useless by weather and age. Soles with neither tread nor grip. By some irrational impulse (I blame the house. A possession?) and despite owning many handsome pairs of barely worn shoes, my father refused to throw them away. So, as he leaped from the steps, he slid on the slick garage floor, and, by my father’s account, his feet slipped out from under him and were over his head momentarily before he landed hard on the concrete. He was bruised but, miraculously, otherwise okay. Later, my mother and I successfully conspired to make the offending footwear disappear. The second major spill occurred during a period when most seniors were painstakingly careful to avoid hospitals. My father,

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ignoring my mother’s protestations, attempted to navigate the slick wood stairs from their TV room down to the kitchen while in socks and carrying two trays with their dirty dinner dishes. My father’s account goes something like this: “After a couple of steps, I lost my balance. I squatted to keep a low center of gravity, then figured I could just kneel on the trays and ride them like sleds straight into the kitchen.” True to my father’s luck, this tactic actually worked for six or seven steps until, due to either a navigational miscalculation or a cruel combination of angle, momentum, and torque, my father’s luck ran out, and his skull connected with the door jamb. “One inch to the left, and I would’ve made it!” he brags. My mother was left to contend with the resulting mess of spilled pasta, leftover salad, and her husband’s sanguinary head wound, but true to form, other than needing a few staples in his scalp, my father was otherwise fine. Despite my father’s seemingly earnest resolution to finally start acting his age, I’ve been vigilantly dad-proofing their house by, among other things, applying a grip coating to the hardwood steps, tossing out tripping-hazard throw rugs, and gifting my dad a pair of laceless sneakers with a nonslip sole. It’s been months since the last fall. Has my father finally become more careful? Have the new safety measures made the difference? Or has the house’s bloodlust finally been satisfied? This is a mystery too complex for a man of my limited insight to unravel. I’m just glad my dad’s okay.


COASTAL ENTREPRENEUR AWARDS

2021

W R IG H TSVIL L E BEACH BR EWE RY

WORKTOK

NOURISH NC

END OF DAYS DISTILLERY

ELECTRONIC LAB LOGS

CONNECTED HOME

COASTAL PET HOSPITCE

LIGHTHOUSE FILMS

WHO WILL JOIN THESE PAST CEA WINNERS?

NOMINATE OR APPLY TODAY!

UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Greater Wilmington Business Journal have joined together to shine a spotlight on up-and-coming entrepreneurs in the Cape Fear region.

Deadline to apply or nominate a business for the 2021 Entrepreneur Awards is MARCH 8!

AWARD CATEGORIES

BIOTECH

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WILMA March 2021  

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