Table of Contents April 2013

April 2013

Cover story

What's in a name?

Donald Trump says his brand is worth billions. And the value it creates for his golf courses is priceless.
By Spencer Campbell

There’s a winter storm warning in effect till 6 tonight, the temperature is in the 30s, and specks of snow keep floating across the sky. The mid-February sun is stuck behind the clouds, the grass is washed-out brown, and every now and then, it starts to sprinkle. A handful of golfers still brave the elements, teeing off along the shore of Lake Norman, but one of them is not Donald Trump, which is too bad because he’s a terrific player. Last time he was here, a member, reputed to be scratch, challenged him. Trump came home in 2-under 70 using a set of rented TaylorMade clubs. “I’m a golfer, I’ve won many club championships,” he says. “I know a lot about golf. What’s your course? Quail Hollow? This is a better course than Quail Hollow. I know Quail Hollow. This is a superior course.” Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, by the way, will host the 2017 PGA Championship, one of golf’s four major tournaments.

Trump had flown into Charlotte Douglas International Airport from Palm Beach, Fla., in his private Boeing 757 to speak at a convention at Time Warner Cable Arena. The event was held by ACN Inc., a Concord company that has been accused of being a pyramid scheme. Trump has endorsed it for years, twice featuring it on The Apprentice, the reality television show he hosts on NBC, and his appearance at the arena attracted a local TV station and The Charlotte Observer. But after espousing entrepreneurship to the nearly sold-out crowd, he turned his attention to the Mooresville country club he bought a year ago, telling the newspaper, “It’s got to be one of the hottest places around. I think we have the best golf club in North Carolina. I don’t think there’s anything as good.”


Prepping Pinehurst

No stranger to big tournaments, No. 2 will make history in 2014 with two U.S. Opens in two weeks played there.
By Lee Pace

Golfers try to keep their hands warm and backs limber while waiting out a 90-minute frost delay on Pinehurst No. 2, site of two U.S. Opens, two U.S. Amateurs, one PGA Championship and one Ryder Cup Matches over its century-plus existence. As the temperature inches into the 40s, Don Padgett II — the president and chief operating officer of Pinehurst LLC, which owns The Carolina Hotel, Pinehurst Country Club and eight golf courses — inspects work on the Member Clubhouse, which overlooks the 18th green. Built in the 1970s, this appendage on the north side clashes with the original clubhouse’s early-1900s look, and the club is spending $3.7 million to renovate and update its interior and rebuild the façade to harmonize with the columns and arches seen behind Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Billy Joe Patton as they collect victory checks or trophies in the old black-and-white photos.

The restoration is not being done specifically for Pinehurst’s next major event — the U.S. Opens for men and women on consecutive weeks in June 2014. A more ambitious project of demolishing the addition and starting from scratch was on the drawing board in 2008 before the recession scuttled it. But the Opens provide a deadline for getting the smaller-scale project done. “You’ve never seen a really good photo of the 18th hole from the fairway because the Member Clubhouse in the background didn’t fit,” Padgett says. “This is going to have an iconic look; it’s going to look like it would have 50 years ago. It will be spectacular — for our members any day of the week and for spectators and TV viewers the week of the U.S. Open.”

List: North Carolina's top golf courses

Runs in the family

Mac Jordan spends decades reviving the mill in Saxapahaw his grandfather resurrected.
By Katherine Archer
The phone rings in the office on Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Road. Sherry Graves, wearing lavender eye shadow to match her scarf, picks up the receiver. “Hello, Rivermill Village Apartments, how may I help you?” She listens. “Honey, I wish I had something to show you, but we’re all full.” She pulls up a spreadsheet on her computer. “Uh huh, it’s possible we could show you something in the fall, but right now we have 40 people on a waiting list.” She hangs up and points to a pile of papers on her desk. “I haven’t even put these in the computer yet. We’ve had a waiting list for more than a year. Some people still pay the application fee and are on file, just waiting.” She shakes her head. “I feel so bad for them.” The secretary for Rivermill Village Apartments is used to delivering bad news. The phone rings a lot, and it doesn’t look like any of the 75 units she helps manage will be vacant anytime soon.

Completed in 2005, the apartments are another chapter in the history of Saxapahaw, a village on the Haw River in southeastern Alamance County. Eighty-six years ago, B. Everett Jordan, who would one day be a U.S. senator, and his family bought the mill there. Workers shopped at the company store, went to the village school, prayed at the village church. In 1994, the mill, no longer owned by the family, closed. That’s when the senator’s grandson began trying to revitalize the place. With his father and brother, Mac Jordan, 51, has spent nearly two decades and more than $10 million turning the spinning mill into apartments and its dye house into a general store, charter school and pub, plus 29 condos slated to open later this year. Together, the mixed-use development is known as Saxapahaw Rivermill, and it’s received acclaim from locals as well as The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Photo Feature

Cleaning up
Why some shoppers are all in a lather about Charlie’s Soap.

By Edward Martin, Photography by Chris Keane

It’s a yarn that began with yarn. In 1976, Charles Taylor Sutherland III’s grandpa ran a division of Madison Throwing Co. in Mayodan that developed an oil that made boxcar-size spinning machines twirl like tops. But the lubricant accumulated lint and grime that gummed them up. He was told to find something that would clean them. His son, Charles Jr., and his son’s brother-in-law, Ron Joyce — both worked for him — retired to the barn on his farm and, after tinkering with formulas, came up with one that worked. When the mill owners finally figured where the soap was coming from, they promised to keep buying it but demanded it be sold to the public. Employees liked what they called Charlie’s soap so much that they had been pilfering the mill’s supply. It seemed to clean almost anything.


Up Front
Being Trumped.

NC Trend
How the economy turns.

Free & Clear
Time to tend to family business.

Capital Goods
Will shale gas lift the economy?

Regional Report
Eastern Triangle Triad Charlotte Western

Special Advertising Sections and Publications

Eastern North Carolina round table


Buy this issue