Table of Contents December 2012

December 2012

Cover story

Back in bloom

In a bleak economy, our Small Business of the Year relieved its growing pains by making color count.
By Edward Martin

At Johnson Nursery Corp. in Willard — Business North Carolina’s Small Business of the Year — David and Jill Johnson and their employees will grow and sell to more than 400 wholesale customers roughly a million pots of flowers and ornamentals valued at about $5.5 million this year. Nature takes sunshine and rain to grow its plants. Here, every day, it takes a leap of faith. This, as he describes it, is controlled chaos, held in check by a tightknit team, some of whose members have worked here 30 years. At any one time, the nursery is juggling 1,000 varieties of woody plants such as crape myrtle, along with blooming annuals and perennials, from petunias to vinca. They’re known in the trade as “color.” Some, such as tiny new pansies or spindly gardenia cuttings, are beginning life in rich potting soil. Others are head-tall, rooted in heavy tubs that take two workers to wrestle. Each has its own nutrient needs, growth rate and maturity date, its own thirst, temperature and temperament.

Small Business of the Year runner-ups:

Prima Tech USA Inc. is the nation’s largest maker and distributor of animal-health applicators.
Powder-coating company New Finish Inc. is expanding in Norwood.
Fuentek LLC is based on a simple premise: Brilliant minds often have tunnel vision. Potentially lucrative findings and inventions collect dust at academic institutions and government agencies because their creators don’t envision their commercial viability.


It takes time to heal

Patients are willing to pay a premium to get it from physicians at concierge medical practices.
By Edward Martin
In 2003, Signature Healthcare PLLC became North Carolina’s first concierge practice. Nobody keeps official count, but now more than a dozen doctors engage in retainer medicine at a handful of practices across the state. Among the latest is Perspective Health & Wellness, started this year in Charlotte by Carolinas HealthCare System, the nation’s second-largest public hospital network. Even doctors’ views of this trend vary. A recent national survey of 900 by the journal Physicians Practice found nearly half wouldn’t want to be in such a practice but don’t object to those who do. But more than one in 10 question the ethics of medical care catering to the relatively healthy wealthy — though nearly that many say they’re considering forming, joining or already working in one. Here’s one reason why.

Practicing medicine this way is but a sliver of North Carolina’s $60 billion-a-year health-care economy, and only about 4,400 of the nation’s 600,000 doctors — a figure that includes surgeons, psychiatrists and other specialists — do so, estimates Tom Blue, executive director of the American Academy of Private Physicians in Richmond, Va. Called direct, private or concierge care, boutique medicine and retainer-based medicine, what they all promise is meticulous attention and quick access to doctors. To get that, patients pay a premium. In North Carolina, an individual membership fee is typically $1,500 to $3,500 a year, out of pocket, on top of health-insurance coverage for visits and treatments.

North Carolina's Best Doctors

Boston-based Best Doctors Inc. lists the state's best doctors by specialty.

Photo Feature

Beefing up business
Angus Barn has grown along with the Triangle to become the go-to place for the business crowd.

By Spencer Campbell, Photography by Bryan Regan

They built their steakhouse to resemble a big red barn halfway between Raleigh and Durham on two-lane U.S. 70, which back then was crowded with a lot of nothing. The airport was nearby, but it was little more than a glorified landing strip. So Thad Eure Jr. and Charles Winston relied on a very specific clientele: “The only people to drive out here were their friends who felt sorry for them,” says Van Eure, Thad’s daughter and  Angus Barn's current owner.


Up Front
Laws of physic.

NC Trend
How the economy turns.

Free & Clear
Another way to win tax reform.

Capital Goods
McCrory lifts the Charlotte curse.

Regional Report
Eastern Triangle Triad Charlotte Western

Special Advertising Sections and Publications

Military round table

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