WILMA - October 2020

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Fall’s Cone-ucopia Charcuterie pro tips

BBQ Queen

MeMa’s heats up in Burgaw

Kitchen Confidence

Restaurants making a go of it




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46 THE SCENE: 19th Amendment exhibit

10 HEALTH: Going strong

47 TAKE 5: To market with Katie Ryan

17 STYLE: Grocery glitz

48 MEN’S ROOM: Giving thanks from afar

Check out WILMA magazine here:





17 12 A LL A-BOARD: Build a better charcuterie board with expert help 26 S LOW SMOKED: MeMa’s means businesses with its BBQ 33 E ARLY RISERS: What’s baking at Sweet D’s 36 C AFE CULTURE: Dishing up in Carolina Beach


It’s been a tough year for local bars and restaurants. Not all restaurants have made it through, and most bars have yet to welcome back customers since shutting their doors in March. But, chefs and restaurateurs also have been creative this year in switching things up and serving diners. For our annual Taste issue, we wanted to highlight some of that creativity, such as how chef Christi Ferretti turned Pine Valley Market catering’s popular grazing tables into charcuterie to-go for home parties and Insta-worthy cones for in-person events. Myra McDuffie and her family have a growing base of new fans after their Burgaw eatery MeMa’s Chick’n’ & Ribs landed on a list of best barbecue places in North Carolina. Meanwhile, some intrepid owners didn’t put their plans on hold but opened up their places this year despite the uncertainties. Hear from Shanté Dickey, of Sweet D’s Cuisine, and LeeAnn Tluchowski and Kate Paredes, of Malama Cafe, about what it’s been like so far. Whether it in-house, curbside pickup, or to-go, consider putting an order in to support these and other restaurants in the region. Dig in! W NOVEMBER 2020



LOGAN BURKE is from St. Louis but moved

to Wilmington to get away from the busier paces of life. With a background in business, photography wasn’t always in Burke’s background. It wasn’t until his father left him with some camera equipment and curiosity to understand it all. After a few times behind the camera, he developed a motivated interest to learn what made the picture. It is the “how” that interests him most. Burke photographed this month’s cover and feature on charcuterie (page 12) loganburkephoto.com

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. She talks with Pine Valley Market chef Christi Ferretti about meet and cheese spreads (page 12).

JENNY CALLISON is a former Greater

Wilmington Business Journal reporter who continues as a freelancer with the Business Journal and WILMA. Before moving to Wilmington in 2011, she was a university communications director and a freelance reporter covering a variety of beats. Callison interviews the Dickey family about their foray into bakery ownership with Sweet D’s Cuisine (page 33).

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 through her travels around the world. Deitz photographs new restaurants Sweet D’s Cuisine (page 33) and Malama Cafe (page 36). megandeitz.com and @megandeitz_photography on Instagram

Publisher Rob Kaiser rkaiser@wilmingtonbiz.com President Robert Preville rpreville@wilmingtonbiz.com Associate Publisher Judy Budd jbudd@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 Executive Ali Buckley abuckley@wilmingtonbiz.com Office & Audience Development Manager Sandy Johnson sjohnson@wilmingtonbiz.com Events/Digital Assistant Elizabeth Stelzenmuller events@wilmingtonbiz.com 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 Tim Bass, Bridget Callahan, Nina Bays Cournoyer, Jenny Callison, Shea Carver, Shannon Gentry, Lynda Van Kuren, Lori Wilson Contributing Photographers Logan Burke, Erin Costa, Megan Deitz, Melissa Hebert Photography, 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. She talks this month with LeeAnn Tluchowski and Kate Paredes, co-owners of the new Malama Cafe in Carolina Beach (page 36).




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




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opportunity to lend capital in markets and industries that are often overlooked. Just as WILMA strives to impact our community, Live Oak is dedicated to fostering communities all over the country where entrepreneurs are creating economic success stories. We’re especially proud of the investments we've made with our female, minority, veteran, and rural borrowers making an impact across the U.S. These are the business owners who create jobs, boost their local economy, and build a brighter future for their families. We share WILMA's philosophy of developing opportunities for others, and we are proud to support all who believe in the power of the American dream.”




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: WILMA NETWORK: Members of the WILMA Network, made up of sponsors of the Women to Watch Leadership Initiative, continue to meet virtually and in person (in small groups and outside) for their monthly Second Tuesday networking. October’s meetup, shown above, was for coffee at Casa Blanca. WOMEN TO WATCH AWARDS: A scaled-down reception for this year’s Women to Watch Awards finalists took place at Cloud 9 on top of the Embassy Suites in downtown Wilmington. Check WILMAmag.com and our Facebook page for announcements about category winners. GET ON BOARD: In partnership with UNCW’s QENO, we held an online Get on Board training session on October 29. The training gives area woman information about the roles and responsibilities for serving on boards of directors as well as a chance to answer questions about how to get connected to local boards. Sign up for WILMA’s newsletters for info on future training sessions. 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

26 DINING DESTINATION: Mema's sustains itself while aiming for expansion 33 SWEET STARTUP: Couple works to perfect its recipe in this bakery’s early days 36 MELAMAS: To take care of


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


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






The Cucalorus Festival will be in a new format this year – combining online screenings and drive-in showings of nearly one hundred feature and short films. But, the annual festival plans to continue spotlighting women involved in making many of the films. One of those is Drought, shown during the filming above. Directed by HANNAH BLACK and MEGAN PETERSEN, it was shot in and around Wilmington with a local cast and crew. It screens November 14 at the drive-in venue outside UNCW’s Kenan Auditorium. This year’s Cucalorus takes place November 11-25. Info: cucalorus.org





Cape Fear CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) recently named its board of directors for 2021. GALE WALLACE (above), Clarendon Properties LLC, will serve as president next year. KAREN WIDMAYER, KW Communications LLC, will be the president-elect/CREW Network delegate. JULIE ANDREWS, Logan Homes, is the past president after serving this year. JULIE DIXON, Live Oak Bank, was named secretary/CREW Network delegate. And, JENNY MIZELLE, WithersRavenel, will be the board treasurer. At-large members on the board will be KELLY DEDEO, First National Bank, and DAVID GRANDEY, Highland Roofing Company. The group, which has nearly seventy members, is marking its tenth anniversary this year. In 2019, Cape Fear CREW held its first Awards of Excellence focused on commercial real estate in the region. The group plans to hold the awards again in the spring and will open up applications in December. Info: capefearcrew.org/about/awards



New Hanover County appointed DONNA FAYKO as the county’s Health and Human Services consolidated agency director. Fayko started in the role last month, becoming the county’s first agency director after the public health and social services departments consolidated in July 2019. “We took the past year to consolidate and ensure better efficiencies among the departments, and we determined that a director of the two agencies would help bring even greater integrated service delivery to our community,” County Manager Chris Coudriet says. Fayko serveD as the director of the Rowan County Department of Social Services. She has also served as deputy director of the Mecklenburg County DSS Youth and Family Services. She has thirtytwo years of experience in the health and human services system. Fayko earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a bachelor’s degree in probation and parole from Pfeiffer University. She has a master’s degree in counselor education from Pennsylvania State University. She is immediate past president of the N.C. Association for County Directors of Social Services.

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


Canines for Service welcomed BETHANY LEIGHTON as its next executive director. Leighton, who was the fundraising director for StepUp Wilmington, took on the new leadership role last month with Canines for Service (CFS), a Wilmington-based service dog provider in North Carolina. “Heading into our twenty-fifth year, Canines for Service needs a leader who has a forward-thinking vision to create and implement plans for strategic growth,” says Aaron DiGregorio, CFS board chair. “Bethany brings to the job an exceptional combination of energy, sensitivity, and proven leadership,” he says. “We have great confidence she will develop rich and meaningful relationships within the community, among our veteran clients, and within the service dog industry.” Leighton has worked in the nonprofit sector for the past fourteen years, with a focus on fundraising and helping organizations grow. “I’m looking forward to bringing the work of this essential organization to more people,” Leighton says. “Growing up in a military family, I have witnessed firsthand the mental health challenges that many of our veterans face after completing active duty service. I also know the unconditional love of a dog, having a rescue of my own.”

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




photo courtesy of Anchor Senior Care Advantage








AROL STEIN never dreamed she’d be a calendar girl. But, at age sixty-three, there she is, along with eleven other seniors, adorning the pages of the 2021 Wilmington 60 Strong Calendar. These twelve seniors, who exemplify fitness, achievement, and contribution, were selected from fifty nominees to serve as ambassadors for Wilmington Health’s Senior Advantage Program. The program encourages seniors to stay active and helps them address health care concerns. “We wanted to identify folks ages sixty to sixty-nine who are strong, resilient, and giving back to others,” says ALEXIS HUNTER, Wilmington Health’s community liaison. “The Wilmington 60 Strong calendar celebrates these local seniors and shows that life as a senior can be vibrant and active.” The Wilmington 60 Strong seniors are all overachievers when it comes to exercise, and they reap the health benefits of their workouts – they are fit and have few or no health problems. But, they say the advantages of staying active go far beyond fitness and health.


For Stein (above), exercise is a means to self-growth and meeting ever-more challenging goals. A competitive athlete since high school, when Stein retired she decided to re-enter competitions. She trained extensively and won both national and world meets. Stein continues to set goals for herself in track and field, and she boogie boards, lifts weights, and bikes. “Goals keep you from aging sooner than you want to and enjoying more of your life,” she says. “You’re not sitting in your living room. You are out and about and traveling.” Stein’s conviction was proven when COVID-19 put the kibosh on many vacations. Stein simply revised her plans and cycled the Great Allegheny Passage in Pennsylvania and the City Trail in Missouri. LISA IEZZI, sixty-one, finds that exercise gives her more energy. The boost Iezzi gets from her 4-mile runs helps her fulfill her many responsibilities. Iezzi is a full-time social worker who specializes in helping abused women and children. However, Iezzi’s desire to help others extends far beyond work. She carries diapers, food, and other supplies in her car to give to those in need; and she opens her home to those less fortunate at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Iezzi also has several avocations. She plays the flute, sings, and performs with the Opera House Theatre Company. She has no plans for slowing down and wants to add more volunteer activities to her schedule when she retires. “Through exercise, I stay healthy and I don’t get tired,” she says. “My goal is to always make a difference. I’m not ready to quit.” For BERNADETTE BAKER, sixtynine-and-a-half, exercise is an introduction to new worlds. Baker didn’t come to exercise by choice. She started water therapy to deal with a herniated disc; one activity led to another, and now she is an avid pickleball player, water walker, and bicyclist. In addition, Baker is an accomplished photographer, a skill she taught herself; a member of the board for Smart Start, an enrichment program for children up to the age of five; and a garden club member. Working out gives Baker the ability to participate in awesome, challenging adventures like the glacier walk she took with her son last year. “My thighs were screaming, but I did it,” she says. For Gayla MacMillan, sixty-one, exercise is the key to her independence. She says our bodies are made to move, and if you don’t keep moving, you won’t move. That’s the credo she teaches in her fitness and tai chi classes at the Senior Resource Center. In addition to teaching, MacMillan runs and takes long walks – really long walks. She plans to walk 2021 miles in 2021, a project she is undertaking with her niece. By staying active, MacMillan says she can do whatever she wants and will not be forced to stop. One task she has taken on is being a caregiver for a friend. While MacMillan is more than happy to help her friend, she says the role highlights how important it is to take care of oneself. “I stay healthy so my son or husband won’t have to take care of me,” she says. Each of these seniors urges others in their golden years to embrace exercise as a way of life. The important thing is to do something that interests you and that’s fun, says Baker. The calendars, which sell for $15, are available for preorder at Wilmington60Strong.com, which also features the other calendar subjects. Proceeds benefit the YMCA of Southeastern North Carolina. W WILMAmag.com



Congratulations to all of the finalists for this year’s Health Care Heroes Awards! Your dedication and compassion for our community truly makes a positive impact. DR. PAUL KAMITSUKA

Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine

Physician Award

DESIRAE HRYNKO Marketing Manager

Community Achievement Award JEFF JAMES

Wilmington Health CEO

Innovation in Health Care Award DR. DAVID SCHULTZ



Health Care Executive Award





Brine boost:

Pickled onions, okra, or pickles add acid to balance out the fats in cheeses and meats.


hanks to quarantine, we’re all practically experts at sitting around picking at a plate of snack food for hours now. So, why not level up and eschew the Cheetos and Oreos for something a little more elevated and a lot more delicious? Charcuterie boards were already beloved before COVID, but these days nibbling on amazing meats, cheese, fruits, and the occasional praline should be weekly and mandatory. The queen of charcuterie in Wilmington is CHRISTI FERRETTI, the owner and chef at Pine Valley Market on South College Road. (See her tips on the photo for building a board.) For years, Ferretti’s grazing tables have wowed eventgoers in town. Last year, Ferretti and her staff were serving up to 300 people from 30-foot-long tables, overflowing with everything from artisan meats and cheeses to beef tenderloin and shrimp cocktails. But, of course, in a pandemic-minded society, grazing tables aren’t exactly recommended. “We literally watched 60% of our business vanish within twenty-four hours, almost within an afternoon,” Ferretti says. “Thankfully, we have a retail outfit as well. It allows us to keep people employed and at least keep things running and moving. I do well in panic mode, even though I don’t welcome it, but I don’t stop breathing. I don’t shut down. I took a minute and then I said, ‘Okay, well what are we going to do?’” Pine Valley quickly became a general store, doing grocery deliveries by curbside and stocking up on necessities such as toilet paper and wipes. But, once they settled into a new reality, Ferretti found herself with another problem to solve, and the Charcuterie Box was born.




Cheese mix:

Balance cheeses using some soft, semi-soft, hard, and blue cheese to provide different textures and flavors.

Spice it up: Using goat

cheese rolled in spices is an easy way to jazz up any cheese display. Place dry herbs, seeds, and fruit in lines on parchment and roll goat cheese over them pressing into the cheese.

Flavor punch:

Roasted garlic, both flavorful and textural, is great for layering on crackers.

Fresh produce:

Fruit and vegetables serve as a palate cleanser and refreshing option between bites.

Jam on it: Spreadable Added crunch:

Dried nuts and fruit add both texture balance as well as an earthy and sweet flavor to go with the cheese.

fruit, such as this hibiscus strawberry preserves, provides a floral sweet note to pair nicely with salts in meats.









“The name of the game for me was how can we sell product that we don’t have to buy cause we already have it? All the cured meats and cheeses?” she says. So, Ferretti found a box online and started experimenting. The first time she posted about it online, they got fifty orders immediately. The boxes feed two-six – two if it’s dinner; six if it’s appetizers, and they’re available to order through the Market’s Toast app page. The grazing tables presented a little more of a challenge. As weddings started to trickle back, brides still had their hearts set on their elaborate tables, but guests milling around over the same tables isn’t really an option. So, Ferretti started using paper cones filled with all the favorite items that would normally appear on the table, including their famous candied bacon. This way, the bride still gets the mingling atmosphere she wanted, but everyone gets to keep their hands to themselves. That Ferretti is good at adaptation isn’t really a surprise, since building a good charcuterie board is somewhat improvisational. “I personally always start with meat and cheese; that’s your base,” she says. “I think keeping things in groups is really important. You start to lose the impact of what you have when you start spreading things out too much. You don’t want two slices of meat in twenty places. Keep them together and fan them out or arrange them, so visually it doesn’t look like someone just dropped something when you’re done. “Then, I come in with vegetables and pickled items. I’m addicted to little tiny bowls, so I like to stick those in different places and fill them with what makes sense nearby. Next, fruit, grapes, berries – those are the things you can spread out. Finally, fill gaps with crackers or breadsticks.” Her two biggest pet peeves? “Cut your grapes into small bunches. Grapes look beautiful as a whole, but then everyone has to pull at something, and you take half of it with you. I also don’t like things you wouldn’t eat – don’t use raw cranberries because they’re red. What if someone pops one in their mouth? Nothing goes with that.” Her recommendations for items? Keep it local. With so many small businesses struggling, it’s a delicious way to support the North Carolina community.W WILMAmag.com

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o it’s Tuesday (or is it Thursday?), and you’re rifling around in your closet for the cleanest pair of sweats you can find. Today’s mission? Groceries. As your hand grazes over a drawerful of tees with overstretched neckholes, something shiny catches your eye. You dig through the mountain of shoes to get a closer look – could it be? It is! That sparkly dress you bought with all those fall frolics and galas in mind. Its sleek fabric beckons you. “Aren’t you tired of threadbare cotton?” it says. “Wouldn’t you like to be fancy today?” it whispers. “Don’t you miss zippers?” it croons. You think, “Yes, yes, and surprisingly, yes!” What good are all these beautiful clothes if they’re just hanging there, staring at you longingly as you reach past them for your work pajamas? Dare you just wear them OUT? The answer is a resounding yes. Just because we’re still in pandemic mode, doesn’t mean you can’t get dolled up like the old days. So go ahead – wear your Gucci to the gas station, your Prada to the park, your McQueen to the market. Times may be trying, but style is unstoppable. W STYLED BY DREWE SMITH PHOTOS BY MELISSA HEBERT INTRO BY NINA BAYS COURNOYER

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by Shannon Gentry | photos by Erin Costa


DESTINATION Burgaw BBQ restaurant sustains itself while aiming for expansion





ustomers. Community. Smoked barbecue. It’s a notso-secret recipe for success at MeMa’s Chick’n’ & Ribs in Burgaw. In a short time since opening in a nondescript shopping center in 2017, MeMa’s has become a North Carolina barbecue landmark already too big for its proverbial britches.

The restaurant’s vast number of visitors in three years is showcased with a U.S. map filled with colorcoded pegs representing where customers come from. A rainbow of dots burst across Southeastern states, steadily expanding into new territories. Owner MYRA MCDUFFIE gestures to paper notes taped outside the map’s borders. “We had no clue there would be international visitors,” she says. “France, Germany, Canada, Ukraine, South Korea, China, all the way over to Brazil.” The proof is in the pudding, or in this case, the banana pudding pound cake. MeMa’s homemade desserts are as boundless as RUTH JOHNSON’s imagination and her catalog of family recipes for shortcakes, pound cakes, cheesecakes, and seasonal fruit cobblers. Johnson is one of two “MeMas.” The other is MARY MCDUFFIE, mother of chef JAMES MCDUFFIE. He and his wife, Myra (right), serve hundreds of pounds of smoked chicken, ribs, and Boston butts each week with housemade Southern sides, many of which are seasonal. “When corn season is in we do about thirty bushels of corn (in a week) ’cause we never do frozen,” Myra explains while walking back to MeMa’s kitchen. “Then, there’s the collard greens, when in season. (Mary) goes to the field to pick her own collard greens to bring them back (to cook) here.” MeMa’s also sources from area purveyors such as Greenville Produce, Cheney Brothers, and Carolina Beach’s Blackburn Brothers Seafood for their clams, catfish, and flounder. Any food left over from the menu each week is taken to Safe Haven of Pender on Sundays. As a transplant from Brooklyn, Myra admits WILMAmag.com

her Southern palate is not as refined as her North Carolina-native husband’s. As a Marine, James runs his kitchen like a well-oiled machine; when a plate goes to the window “it should be perfect.” His food, however, represents comfort and family. The youngest of three, James says he and his sisters took turns cooking while growing up. “My middle sister used to switch it out, and she thought we was Italian and she’d cook pasta all the time – and my older sister couldn’t cook,” he quips. “And, every time my mom was cooking, I was always the one in the kitchen. … As you do it more and more, you learn more and more. So, I just took the NOVEMBER 2020



good base that my mother gave me. And, we just turn it up a notch.” James’ barbecue earned the No. 8 spot on USA Today’s 2019 list of Best BBQ in North Carolina. He uses hickory and applewood for his indoor smokers, which can fit forty chickens, forty-two racks of ribs, or twenty-six Boston butts at a time. “And, before COVID, we were using that capacity every day,” James notes. “It’s coming back, but it’s challenging.” Pre-COVID, the McDuffies put everything they had into purchasing land for a 2,000-square-foot multipurpose facility they call “The Creek at Burgaw,” located across the street from Walmart. There, James will have three to four times the smoker capacity in his new kitchen. Two years in the making, The Creek will house a new MeMa’s restaurant with expansive indoor and




outdoor seating, three event spaces, a commissary kitchen for area food trucks, and an observation deck where visitors can see the McDuffie team make their signature barbecue sauces. “When you walk in, it’s going to be like a Cracker Barrel feel,” Myra says. “We’ll have our (signature metal) plates and Army/Marine paraphernalia; MeMa’s aprons, koozies, cutting boards, everything. Then you’ll be able to see us manufacture the barbecue sauce and have tastings.” Myra and James estimate The Creek at Burgaw will bring thirty new jobs when it opens in 2021, including two more sous chefs, waitstaff, and catering staff, as well as general employees. Recovering from its COVID closure and going from operating sixty seats to twenty-eight, MeMa’s has lost funding and time on the project. Not to mention about 50% of business comes from

catering, of which only nine of thirtysix bookings were recovered from April to September. This ultimately led the McDuffies to start a GoFundMe page to make up for lost sales. All donations go directly to The Creek at Burgaw project, which will house a “Gratitude Tree” with engraved metal leaves ($1,000), doves ($2,500), and bricks ($5,000) commemorating top-tier donors. MeMa’s family hopes to open The Creek at Burgaw by the time their current lease ends in May. “The bank is asking for $400,000, and we’ve collected over $150,000,” Myra says. “We have GoFundMe up, but a lot of people have been bringing in and mailing in checks here, and I’m so grateful to our community for contributing.” W

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keep it local WILMA’S



Break out your fall wardrobe and freshen up your closet for fall and the ever-changing Wilmington weather. Find cozy sweaters, cute accessories and more at Camillions Boutique! Shop in store, online at CamillionsNC.com or pickup curbside at the downtown location at 112 Market Street in the heart of downtown Wilmington.


Find uniquely upcycled pieces, antiques and more at Port City Peddler. Their multivendor shop offers thousands of eclectic finds for every shopper including locally made items. Visit them at 6213 Market Street. Come inside, pickup curbside or order online at portcitypeddler.com


“Keeper of the Vineyard” by Leslie Campbell is one of the beautiful pieces of acrylic art you will find at theArtWorks™. Pictured right is a pastel piece by Donna Goodman. Now open Thursdays through Saturdays 11am-5pm! Call us at 910.352.1822, or email inquires to theArtWorksWilmington@gmail.com or visit theartworks.co





Unleash your inner desire with our perfect assortment of natural fibers and textures ranging from sisal, seagrass, jute and wool. Sutton’s specializes in wall to wall carpeting, staircase installation, area rug fabrication, and more! Add personality and ultra chic sophistication to your home today by visiting Sutton Rugs & Carpets, 3520 South College Road in Wilmington or call (910) 794-8100.


Stay safe and fight against germs with the new ALL PERFP OG all-purpose cleaner by SQUEAK. A local, female-owned company, SQUEAK offers environmentally safe cleaning products, free from synthetic frangrances, bleach, and toxic chemicals. Visit their website at GetSqueakyWithUs.com and order online. Free shipping on all orders $75 or more.


Find Keto-Friendly and Gluten-Friendly sweets at Sweets and Spirits Bakery. They offer breads, cupcakes, cakes, desserts for any occassion, including weddings. Visit their website at sweetsandspirits.com, stop by their storefront at 234 E. Main St., Jefferson, NC or find their treats around town at Old North Coffee Shop, Grinders Cafe and Slainte Irish Pub.


Find boho, free-spirited style at Desert Rose Boutique. Shop their wide selection of clothes, hats, jewelry and other unique accessories. Visit their storefront open daily from 11-5pm and Sundays 12pm-5pm! at 208 N Front Street, Wilmington, NC 28401 or shop online at bloomindesertrose.com





5041 New Centre Drive, Suite 115 • Wilmington, NC 28403 910-218-0600 • INFO@PATRIOTROOFER.COM • PATRIOTROOFER.COM 32



by Jenny Callison | photos by Megan Deitz


startup Couple works to perfect its recipe in this bakery’s early days


sweet success story is unfolding on South 17th Street these days. It’s a tale of an enterprising couple, BRIAN and SHANTÉ DICKEY, and their pursuit of a dream in the middle of a pandemic. The Dickeys opened Sweet D’s Cuisine, a bakery and coffee shop, at the beginning of August. Brian Dickey, who his wife calls “the visionary and mastermind,” is in charge of the concept and the kitchen; Shanté Dickey works behind the scenes on the nonedibles: developing policies and procedures, and handling finances and other operational necessities. More than three months in, she says their business volume has been “much more than we anticipated.” The steady stream of customers who keep the counter staff busy learned about the new bakery at least partly through the Dickeys’ marketing campaign that included a preopening billboard ad, going door-to-door in the neighborhood with flyers, and posting on social media channels. The couple continues to be active with social media promotion. Customers come from the nearby hospital, surrounding medical offices, the county’s Health and Human Services offices, and any number of businesses and residential developments in the neighborhood. Other customers have told Shanté they have driven some distance to





support the new sweets shop. “It’s an honor; it’s mind-blowing,” says Shanté (above). “People want to support this business and are willing to travel to do it.” She explains that, for her husband, “The bakery idea is new; he has always wanted a restaurant. But, this is a start.” He had been eyeing the available storefront at 2321 South 17th Street for a while, as the couple weighed the pros and cons. Among the advantages, Shanté says, the location is close to 34



NHRMC and other businesses along the busy 17th Street corridor. But, there are also drawbacks. “It’s on a one-way (divided) street, there’s not much parking, and not much traffic after 5 p.m.,” she says. But, Brian, who his wife says “doesn’t see obstacles,” decided to jump in. Opening a new food establishment that must operate under coronavirus restrictions is difficult enough, but the husband and wife also have work commitments elsewhere. Brian runs

Gifted Hands Services, a local property maintenance company that he has owned for fifteen years. And, Shanté is a clinician with Coastal Horizons’ Child First program, providing therapy to young children and their families. They also have three children aged nine, seven, and six, who have adjusted fairly well to the demands of the new venture, but who occasionally like to push the limits. “Sometimes they test us, see how far they can go, but nothing outside

the norm,” Shanté says. As Sweet D’s prepared to open, Shanté says she was burning the candle at both ends, juggling her job and her family duties and devoting every possible moment to cleaning, decorating, and organizing the new bakery. She took a week off from Child First when Sweet D’s opened and, she recalls, was in the shop from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. nonstop every day. Her mother has helped hold things together. “Thank God for my mom. She’s a trouper, a big support for us,” she says. “She’s the reason we were able to devote so much time and attention to the bakery.” Shanté’s mother has helped out this fall as shuttler-in-chief, picking up the couple’s children from school and taking them home or to their new “home away from home” on South 17th Street. While her own children are at school in person this fall, Shanté has been working virtually with her Child First clients. This has been difficult, she says, because children’s therapy is done through play. Fortunately, restrictions are beginning to relax and she’s increasingly able to meet her young clients in person at their home, school, or at a park or library. Meanwhile, Sweet D’s is still navigating its shakedown cruise, testing its menu offerings and adjusting its staffing. Croissants, served up in an array of flavors and glazes, are the bakery mainstay. The glass-front cases are also stocked with cookies, pies, and cakes: some created by in-house staff, others ordered from independent bakers. Sweet D’s also offers Chuck’s Homemade Ice Cream, coffee from Java Estate Roastery, and fruit smoothies. The Dickeys monitor what sells and also ask customers what other items they would like the bakery to offer. As she watches several customers place their orders at the counter, Shanté Dickey says, “We’ll probably need a bigger kitchen soon.” W WILMAmag.com




Malama: To Take Care Of


by Lori Wilson | photos by Megan Deitz

t the beginning of

this year, longtime friends LEEANN TLUCHOWSKI and KATE PAREDES moved forward with plans to open a grab-n-go-style cafe before the summer tourists rolled in. Their healthy breakfast and lunch spot, Malama Cafe, was originally slated to open in Carolina Beach in March, but like many local restaurant projects, they experienced some construction delays. While they could plan for building setbacks, this cafe duo could not predict the news that surprised all of us this spring: a worldwide pandemic. “We were full-fledged in our build-out when it happened,” Tluchowski says. “A few times I was like, ‘What are we doing?’ … But, if you don’t have those kinds of questions or fears then you’re crazy.” After a short halt in construction, plans for Malama Cafe continued. At a time when health concerns were rampant due to COVID-19, Tluchowski and Paredes took the extra time to think closely about their menu before the restaurant officially opened on Memorial Day. They always intended to offer fresh, healthy options, but now more than ever they realized the importance of offering delicious dishes made from clean, natural ingredients. “Carolina Beach needed more healthy food with more options for people with dietary needs,” Tluchowski says. “With our background, we thought, ‘Why not us?’” Paredes studied kinesiology and sports science in college and has a background in nutrition, while Tluchowski had been working in her husband’s restaurant, Shuckin’ Shack, in various positions since its opening in 2007. Together, the friends make a great cafe team. “Malama is a Hawaiian term,” Paredes explains. “It means to take care of oneself and one’s community and Mother Nature.” Inside the restaurant, the cafe vibes feel clean and open. The blue and green hues of the island, of nature, appear throughout. “You get the CB ocean visibility,” Paredes says. With love for their local beach, the Malama team is dedicated to both the health of the body and of their environment. For example, they compost everything they can, including all their meal containers, by working with Wilmington Compost Company. They also sell box water (instead of plastic), as well as reusable bottles and straws. “We’re very particular what brands we use,” Paredes says. “Everything kind of revolves around the word malama – caring for our community and offering healthy options and being particular with what comes in our 36







store.” They’re also particular about their ingredients. “I’d rather use natural sugars because I know how it breaks down in the body,” Paredes says. “We don’t just put things on the menu because it’s requested. We make sure it reflects the name Malama.” Their whole foods menu features the expected coffees, teas, sandwiches, and wraps, as well as loaded bowls and toasts, such as the local favorite, the Malama Smash – toast with avocado, heirloom tomatoes, edamame, and sesame seeds, topped with a hard-boiled egg. “All of our items have ingredients 38


you can pronounce,” Paredes says. “We take really simple ingredients that are really healthy and surprisingly delicious together.” They offer gluten-free and vegan options. And, in their tourist town, many local food-service industry workers enjoy stopping by before a long shift for a smoothie with protein superfood powder. “I honestly have to say that we are extremely blessed to be in a beach community,” Tluchowski says. “With the beach, people flocked here during COVID. People are still coming … A lot of other areas of the country are extremely depressed right now.” Although the Malama Cafe owners


don’t have pre-pandemic numbers with which to compare, they feel they’ve had a busy season. “We have gotten feedback from regulars and locals who have come in and simply with the layout of our space say how safe and comfortable they feel,” Paredes says. “We were always a small-capacity restaurant,” Tluchowski adds. “And, we were already set up to be a grab-n-go concept.” They do, however, offer limited seating. Now that the vacation season is over, they look forward to welcoming more locals to their space, even as pandemic-style life continues. W

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Wilma readers make or influence the buying decisions for multiple generations in their families (89% of readers are between the ages of 25 and 64). They’re educated (86% attended college), successful (with household income of more than $77,000) and 69% of Wilma readers frequently purchase products or services in Wilma magazine ads!

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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.


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magine planning a funeral differently. One where the atmosphere is uniquely upbeat. While traditional funerals are somber experience for good reason, a celebration of life service is a cheerful alternative. The experience of losing a loved one is accompanied by many emotions, most of them being uncomfortable and difficult to process. A celebration of life service is a gathering where the attendees wear a smile along with their tears, intentionally focusing on all the wonderful memories that carry on after their loved one has passed. A celebration of life service is planned around the unique life and personality of your deceased loved one. The theme of the gathering is customized and centers around something that was special in your loved one’s life or something for which

they were especially known. For instance, if your loved one enjoyed cooking on the grill and was known for their delicious grilled food, consider hosting a gathering with a BBQ theme. An outdoor venue with cook out decorations, a live country-western band, and jars of BBQ sauce for attendees to take home can set the perfect tone to celebrate a passionate griller’s life. Maybe your loved one enjoyed the nightlife and was passionate about dancing. A disco themed celebration of life service might be the right fit. Invite guests to dress up in their favorite disco attire, including wigs and platform heels. A dance club venue with all your loved one’s favorite dance songs playing in the background will invite everyone to dance along and stay focused on commemorating your loved one in a joyful way.

While motorcycles are a hobby for many, for some it’s a way of life. Imagine incorporating your loved one’s motorcycle passion into a celebration of life service. With the open road being loved by all motorcycle enthusiasts, including a special ride from the funeral home to the cemetery with an urn traveling in the sidecar leading the group is a wonderful way to honor an individual who loved riding each mile with friends. Unique lives deserve unique celebrations. Each of these ideas serve to help you consider what type of celebration of life service would fit for you or your loved one. Each of us have so many gifts that we share with the world during our time and it is important that we each are celebrated – whether with a traditional funeral or a customized gathering.

The professional team at Dignity Memorial is here to help you pre-plan your unique celebration of life service. Prepanning these special services can be completed for yourself or a loved one. The Dignity Memorial team can help you navigate through all the details, ensuring your celebration of life service best reflects the individual being honored. 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.






JEFF LESLEY – CENTURY 21 DON'T WAIT UNTIL SPRING! We 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 2020 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 earlier this year in April, 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 this year. 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

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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.WilmingtsonsTopAgent.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.




ftentimes when we think of cabinets, we picture our kitchen and bathroom areas. However, media rooms are a great place to add custom cabinets to add style and organization. If you are planning on adding a media room to your home, or remodeling an existing space into a media room, here are a few inspiring ideas to help you get going with planning your design.

Create A Custom Media Center

Custom millwork can be added around your television to house audio-visual accessories and speakers. Additionally, media room cabinets create the perfect space to store odds and ends out of sight. Creating organized cubbies within cabinets for remotes, game controllers, DVDs, and books serve as a wonderful way to

stay organized while keeping everything conveniently located. Shelving space under and around your television can be open, closed, or a combination of both, depending on the style your design plan conveys. As an added bonus, lighting can be added underneath or above cabinets to create the perfect movie night atmosphere.

Keep The TV Out Of Sight

Televisions aren’t as bulky as they were in the old days, which makes them easier to integrate into your media room design plan – even including an option to keep them totally out of sight until needed. Creating a recessed nook for a television is fairly simple, and with the addition of sliding or bifold style doors, your television screen can be tucked away while it’s not in use. Concealing your tv when it’s not being used can

completely change the look and feel of your media room. A trendy sliding barn doorstyle cabinet is perfect if your design plan follows the rustic farmhouse style or bifold doors that match cabinetry around your television could be added for a more traditional design.

Consider Adding A Wet Bar

Depending on how you envision using your new space, you might want to incorporate a wet bar. If you plan to use your space for small gatherings or just want to binge watch your favorite television series, having a wet bar handy is a huge convenience. Custom cabinets and countertops are just the start of your media room wet bar design. Sinks, wine refrigerators, racks, ice makers, custom glass holders, and beer taps are all things that can be added

to your design plan. Having food and beverages handy can make watching the big game or having a cozy night in a whole new experience in convenience! When considering the possibilities of your media room, contact the professionals at Markraft today. They are excited to have the opportunity to help create a design plan that meets your needs and talk with you about how to start your addition or renovation. 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








e are all adjusting to life in a pandemic: donning a mask, working remotely, and bearing stock market volatility. 2020 has been a rollercoaster. Personally, I love rollercoasters (of the amusement park variety). The twists, drops, and turns are exhilarating. While the upside-down loops can be a bit scary, I know I’m not in danger. The pandemic has brought new twists and turns to our lives: some are scary and dangerous (a highrisk individual contracting COVID-19), and some are scary but not necessarily dangerous (juggling a career while homeschooling kids). Distinguishing between what is fear-inducing and what is truly dangerous is important and has real consequences. Fear is a dangerous motivator for financial decisions. We all know a “fight or flight” response

can help us in dangerous situations. But if we are not in danger, fight or flight reactions may be detrimental, particularly when it comes to our money. When we feel scared, thoughts like “the stock market is plunging!” or “The stock market is hitting all-time highs while our economy is crumbling!” can guide our financial choices. Fear makes us feel like we need to do something, to take action, even if we aren’t acting on sound guidance. Trying to time the market based on gut instincts to avoid market drops can also prevent us from riding the market highs. Most stock market wounds are not from companies bleeding money; “most stock market wounds are self-inflicted.” I bet your biggest financial goal isn’t to leave this earth with as much money accumulated as humanly possible. If, instead, you want to use it for the benefit of yourself and the people and

causes you care about, the best thing you can do is to plan for how you want to use it. That plan will be the driving force behind your future actions. When my dad was teaching me how to drive, we’d go to a parking lot to practice three-point turns, backing up, and parking. If my dad asked me to drive him somewhere today, I wouldn’t go to that parking lot and drive around aimlessly, I’d ask him where he wanted to go. Because I know how to drive, it’s useless to get in the car without a destination. Likewise, it’s pointless to invest your money without a plan for how to utilize it. If investing doesn’t make you feel empowered and prepared, then you need to talk to a professional financial advisor. At Pathfinder Wealth Consulting, discovering your financial goals and crafting a customized investment strategy to help accomplish those goals is our area of

expertise. All of our wealth advisors have obtained the CERTIFIED FINANICAL PLANNER™ certification and we have helped people ride the rollercoasters of the last three decades, including the dot-com bubble, 9/11, the Great Recession, Brexit, Chinese trade tensions, middle east conflicts, natural and nuclear disasters, changing politics, and the coronavirus pandemic. And we expect to face more rollercoasters in the future – but we know how to help people ride through them without danger. Almost all major life decisions, including financial ones, can be scary, but they don’t have to be dangerous. We are here to guide you forward. This Insights article is contributed by Kayla Willliford Johnson, Financial Planning Associate at Pathfinder Wealth Consulting.





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NEW PERSPECTIVES “Just like living in paradise!” is how Jim

George, a Plantation Village resident describes his life in our community. Then COVID-19 arrived, and things began to change. Personally, this experience has forced me to look at my life in a new light. The things that I have taken for granted have become the things I treasure most; family, the freedom to come and go as I please, small things that now seem so important. I have experienced some anxiety from all the uncertainty and the challenge of coping with the world as it is today. Since the pandemic started, I have noticed small ripples of anxiety in the lives of our residents as well. What are they feeling? How has their perspective changed? Sandy Rohwer and her husband Herb have lived at Plantation Village for over four years and they are grateful they chose to move to a Life Plan Community. “Our world

will never be the same as before, but we have developed relationships in this community that feel like family. Combine that with staying safe and healthy – we are very appreciative. It hasn’t been easy, and some weeks have been rougher than others, but we can’t imagine ourselves at any other place.” Rae Gosewisch, who has been a resident for less than a year, has learned to really appreciate her good health. While wearing a mask isn’t that enjoyable, she realizes that it works and has not even had a cold in the last six months. “I feel a responsibility to wear the mask to protect myself, but I see that what I am doing protects the people around me as well. I feel very positive about being here at Plantation Village, especially during this very trying time.” Myrna Wiese like many of our residents enjoys traveling. She and her husband take several big trips a year, but this year things have been different. Trips abroad and to other parts of the country were put on

hold. “Not being able to see our family members who live out of state has been frustrating. We have missed a lot of special occasions and we can’t get that back. Zoom is great and it has helped a lot, but it can’t replace a personal visit. We can’t wait to share laughter and hugs again with our loved ones.” Consensus among the residents is that the associates have played a tremendous role in keeping everyone’s spirits up. “The lengths that the staff have gone to are just amazing! They have truly shown us how much they care for every resident who lives at Plantation Village. The compassion and caring shown by everyone at this community has been extraordinary and has lifted me up with hope.” said resident Glen Pettygrove. Even though things are unpredictable right now, we are finding ways to adjust to this new climate that we live in. Together we are learning to communicate and stay connected. Our community is growing and changing. There

may never be a time when things go back to the way they used to be, but we can be grateful for the lessons we have learned during this pandemic. Stan Nawrocki summed it up best, “The last few months were not what we expected, but we are so grateful to be living here.” We look forward to our future with one another. Together is better. Becky Grogan, Marketing Coordinator 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 secondlargest senior care management company.










Will include monthly outreach programs, such as gallery talks via Zoom, concerts, and more Info: cameronartmuseum.org




ameron Art Museum’s latest exhibit, She Persists, displays works of female artists who fought for their dreams, stood up for their beliefs, and spoke out for the equal right to vote in one hundred pieces from CAM’s 3,000deep permanent collection. The exhibit, on display through March, coincides with the 100th anniversary this year of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. “We wanted to look at the ways in which the women in this exhibition persisted in their own ways – women artists have to overcome so much differently than male artists,” museum deputy director HEATHER WILSON says. “With so many female artists in our collection, I wanted to share with the public works from all walks of life, all races, and


all time periods from past to present,” curator BOB UNCHESTER says. Eighty-three-year-old AUDREY FLACK is one. The artist got her start as an abstract expressionist painter, who would often showcase objects of the female world: perfume bottles, lipstick, and Madonnas. She switched to photorealism along the way and was the first photorealist painter whose work was purchased by The Museum of Modern Art. She evolved into a sculptor and has Medea on display in She Persists. “Audrey Flack is a feminist artist,” Wilson says. “She was the first person to be in Janson’s History of Art text – both she and MARY CASSATT. Both are in this exhibition.” The exhibition features a handful of impressionist works from Cassatt (18441926), who freezes feminine moments in time, from a woman dressing at the wash bin, to holding a child, to writing a letter, to visiting with friends. “One of the things I discovered while prepping the exhibit was that Mary was an ardent supporter of suffrage,” Wilson says. “She had a suffragist friend she painted, and she was in a couple shows to raise funds for suffrage … She painted what no other artist was: the woman’s sphere. She painted women with a woman’s gaze, as they were, not as objects – as they were living their lives.” CAM has dedicated an area in She Persists to African American female artists, as well. The exhibit recognizes the ratification of the 15th Amendment, which prevents the denial of voting based on color, race, or previous condition of servitude. One of Wilmington’s most famed artists, MINNIE EVANS (1892-1987), has a multitude of works on display. “Minnie Evans is a local treasure,” Wilson says. “She was the first female artist we acquired at CAM. Art was her calling from God – who gave her visions. She had to do it. At the same time, she had all the circumstances of her life to tend to and take care of, but it didn’t stop her from making art.” Evans’ work crosses Southern folk art with surrealism, as her pen-and-ink, crayon, and wax images came to life in her dreams before taking shape on paper. “The women in this show,” Wilson says, “had to overcome so much – because of gender, familial responsibilities, and race.”W




As the recreation program supervisor for Wrightsville Beach Parks and Recreation, KATIE RYAN manages many activities for the beach town’s department. One of those is the farmers market that first opened in 2009 with just fifteen vendors – craft vendors were added during the 2013 season. Because of COVID-19, they weren’t sure whether they would have a market this year and didn’t hire an on-site coordinator. But they did open after a delay, and Ryan took on the role of coordinating on market days, which are Mondays 8 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Wrightsville Beach Municipal Grounds. “We currently have thirty-five vendors with whom I’ve been able to get better acquainted and observe their interactions with customers and each other,” she says. “They are like a family expressing concern for each other, kindness, and generosity.” WHY DID YOU WANT EXTEND TO THE FARMERS MARKET THIS YEAR TO DECEMBER 14? “Because the market was so well attended, and with the many festivals that were canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I began asking the vendors if they would be interested in participating if I was able to get approval to extend the market. The response was overwhelmingly positive. The Board of Aldermen approved the proposal to extend the market and add five more craft vendor spaces, which filled quickly. Unfortunately, we don’t have all the local summer seasonal fruits and vegetables, but there will be plenty of fall greens and we have a vendor selling oysters.” HAS IT BEEN MOSTLY LOCALS OR VISITORS TO THIS YEAR’S MARKET THROUGHOUT THE SEASON? “I believe the customers are mostly locals as I have seen many of the same faces week after week.” WHAT’S IN SEASON NOW? “Collards, kale, and other greens, squashes. And, we have apples available as well.” IS THERE A DISH YOU RECOMMEND THAT USES FARMERS MARKET STAPLES? “I’ve enjoyed bread from the market dipped in a fabulous marinara from a former vendor who started at the market and is now bottling his sauce. I’ve also enjoyed a meal of fresh grouper, with goat cheese, blueberry salsa, and roasted yellow squash and zucchini – all from the farmers market … And, I really enjoy all the hand-crafted items … I will be taking care of some Christmas shopping in the coming weeks.” FAVORITE SPOT IN WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH. “I would have to say my favorite spot on Wrightsville Beach is sitting on a beach chair with my toes in the sand!” W KATIE RYAN’s full profile will appear in an upcoming WILMA Roundup email. To sign up for daily WILMA emails, go to WILMAmag.com.






TURKEY by TIM BASS illustration by MARK WEBER


Tim Bass is coordinator of UNCW’s bachelor of fine arts program in creative writing.

“Before we eat,” I’ll say, “let’s give thanks for the many blessings on the table.” “Tables,” my nephew in Oregon will say. “I see three or four tables.” “Five,” my niece will say from her home near Asheville. “We’ve got two here – a big one for the grownups and a card table for the kids.” “Six,” her sharp-eyed daughter will say. “I see a table with a lamp on it.” “What time does the game start?” my younger brother in Florida will say. “Lamp tables don’t count,” the little girl’s older brother will say. “I can’t see any tables without my glasses,” the smallest one will say. He’s seven. He thinks glasses make him look cool, so he claims he has bad eyesight. The optometrist gave him clear lenses. “Let’s keep moving,” my mother will say from her home in Sampson County. “This turkey will get cold.” “Turkeys,” my nephew will say. “I see three or four turkeys here.” “Five,” my niece will say. “Four-and-a-half,” her husband will say. “We started eating already.” “Tables, turkeys – so many blessings,” I will say. “Bowls of green beans. Platters of dressing. Multiple mountains of potato salad. Lo, these many pies – apple and pumpkin and whatever that green thing is.” “Key lime pistachio,” my niece will say. “I’m breaking with tradition this year.” It will be Thanksgiving Day, and once again I’ll be my family’s designated emcee, doing my best imitation of what I imagine a pilgrim preacher might have sounded like. My job is to pull everybody together for a moment of calm reflection before the forks fly. But, things are different this year. Because of the pandemic,




Thanksgiving, like everything else, will move online. This year, we’re all breaking with tradition. “Key lime pistachio?” my brother-in-law will say from east Tennessee. “That’s a diabetic’s worst nightmare.” He’s diabetic. “Aw, son, my blood sugar would shoot up like a rocket. But, hey, it’s Thanksgiving.” “And, on this most special of holidays,” I’ll continue, “let’s offer our thanks.” “It’s a good thing that pie is across the state line,” my sister will tell my brother-in-law. She’ll be sitting next to him, separated by a box of Splenda and a glucose monitor. “If you got hold of it, you’d end up in the emergency room.” “I think the Lions are playing,” my younger brother will say. “They play every Thanksgiving.” “We don’t add sugar to anything in Oregon,” my nephew will say. “Everything’s organic out here. Nature sweetens it.” “In my kitchen,” my mother will say, “Dixie Crystals sweetens it.” “Let’s express our thanks for all that has been given to us by nature and the livestock industry,” I will say. “Is that cranberry sauce from a can?” my sister will say. “Mine’s the real deal,” my mother will say. “Mine’s a cranberry salad,” my niece will say. “I added bananas and marshmallows.” “That’s a diabetic’s worst nightmare,” my brother-in-law will say. “I’ll have nightmares if the Lions beat the Packers,” my younger brother will say. At some point, we’ll get around to our annual moment of silence. We’ll count our blessings and dig into our first plate, then seconds, all of us safely if strangely at a distance, not together but together, as close as ever, thankfully.






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