Eastern

Wilmington Chamber CEO steps down after 22 years

May 23, 2016

(Greater Wilmington Business Journal)

Connie Majure-Rhett, president and CEO of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce since 1994, is retiring effective immediately, citing family-related reasons. Faye Dunaway, chief operating officer, will assume day-to-day operations while the chamber begins a search for Majure-Rhett's replacement.

Belhaven declares state of emergency to save hospital

May 23, 2016

(The Daily Reflector, Greenville)

The town of Belhaven in Beaufort County is expected on Monday to institute a state of emergency to protect the former Pungo Hospital from being torn down. Vidant Health closed the hospital in July 2014. Mayor Adam O'Neal and other hospital supporters have set up tents in front of the building, hoping to prevent the building from demolition while fighting to reopen the hospital.

Delta plant closing won't impact Fayetteville operations

May 17, 2016

(The Fayetteville Observer)

The CEO of Greenville, S.C.-based Delta Apparel says the closing of Maiden textile plant will have little impact on the company's Fayetteville operations. Delta employs about 500 people in Fayetteville, including sewing and screen-printing operations for M.J. Soffe and a distribution center for beach lifestyle brand Salt Life. Both brands are owned by Delta.

Vertex Railcar lays off 61 workers in Wilmington

May 16, 2016

(Greater Wilmington Business Journal)

Amid reduced demand for the sand hopper cars produced at its Wilmington plant, Vertex Railcar laid off 61 workers on Friday. A company spokesman says Vertex is shifting its focus to producing other types of railcars such as aggregate and foodservice hoppers and food-grade tank cars. The company announced in 2014 it would eventually hire more than 1,300 people at the 559,000-square-foot plant near Port of Wilmington. After the layoffs, Vertex has 221 employees.

Changes ahead at Port of Wilmington

May 16, 2016

(StarNews, Wilmington)

An Asian carrier is consolidating its twice-weekly call at Port of Wilmington into a single run using a larger ship. Any lost traffic will be made up with a new run to and from Mexico with European carrier Maersk, says Greg Fennell, chief commercial officer of the N.C. State Ports Authority.

Wilmington's Charlies Graingers lands franchise agreement

May 13, 2016

(Greater Wilmington Business Journal)

Charlies Graingers Hot Dogs, Brisket and BBQ signed an agreement with Disabella Partners to develop 107 restaurants in the Carolinas. Disabella's first location will open May 19 in Ocean Isle Beach. Wilmington-based Charlie Graingers is a fast-casual restaurant that serves hot dogs and sandwiches.

Fayetteville Chamber president resigns abruptly

May 11, 2016

(The Fayetteville Observer)

After only six months on the job, retired Maj. Gen. Rodney Anderson has resigned as president of the Greater Fayetteville Chamber. Darsweil Rogers, chairman of the Public Works Commission, will take over as interim CEO on Friday. The chamber has been seen its membership decline by about 20% in recent years.

Hospital supporters hold tent vigil in Belhaven

May 9, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

A group of activists has set up a tent encampment at the former Pungo District Hospital in Belhaven, a town of about 1,200 residents, worried that owners plan to demolish the building. Vidant Health shuttered the hospital in 2014, leaving some residents an hour's drive from the nearest ER. The hospital's supporters have until July 1 to give notice that they plan to reopen the hospital.

PGA officials turn focus to Eagle Point in 2017

May 9, 2016

(StarNews, Wilmington)

As the Wells Fargo Championship wrapped up Sunday in Charlotte, organizers are already promoting next year's tournament, which will be held at Eagle Point Golf Club in New Hanover County. Ticket sales have been brisk, and the Wilmington area expects an economic impact of $40 million to $60 million.

115 businesses targeted in undercover video-gaming raid

May 6, 2016

(The Fayetteville Observer)

Undercover agents seized hundreds of illegal video-gaming machines, cocaine and more than $1 million in cash from businesses in Cumberland, Robeson, Scotland, Lee and Moore counties in a raid that targeted 115 locations across the state.

Economist: Port of Wilmington will benefit from Panama Canal widening

May 3, 2016

(Greater Wilmington Business Journal)

The Port of Wilmington needs to stay focused on accommodating growing demand for imports and exports within the state, PNC economist Mekael Teshome said in a report, rather than competing with larger ports. A widened Panama Canal is expected to open June 27. The N.C. State Ports Authority is investing $100 million at the port to accommodate more than one post-Panamax ship at a time.

Wrightsville Beach solar company files for direct public offering

May 2, 2016

(Greater Wilmington Business Journal)

In an S-1 filing, Koolbridge Solar disclosed plans to make about 2.5 million shares of common stock available to third-party buyers. The company is developing a residential breaker box that uses solar energy during sunny times and pulls power from the electrical grid only when solar energy, either direct or stored, is not available. The company expects its Smart Load Center, which will retail for about $600, to hit the market in the first quarter of 2017.

ECU names former Georgia state senator as its new chancellor

April 28, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Cecil Staton, 58, is currently interim president of Georgia's Valdosta State University and vice chancellor for extended education for the University System of Georgia. He served as a Republican state senator in Georgia from 2005-2014. The Greenville, S.C., native will begin July 1 and will receive an annual salary of $450,000, making him the third highest-paid chancellor in the UNC System. Staton succeeds Steve Ballard, who is stepping down after 12 years in the position.

Loss of conference will cost Wilmington nearly $1 million

April 27, 2016

(Greater Wilmington Business Journal)

The American Institute of Architects' decision to move a regional conference from Wilmington to either Georgia or South Carolina over HB2 will cost the Port City about $1 million, according to estimates. The event was expected to bring in between 1,000 and 1,200 visitors.

Houston Astros owner tours Fayetteville

April 26, 2016

(The Fayetteville Observer)

Houston Astros owner Jim Crane was in Fayetteville on Monday, where he had preliminary talks with local officials about bringing a minor-league baseball team to the area. Crane said he hopes to have a stadium built by 2018.

Recruiter says Cumberland would benefit from CSX rail hub

April 21, 2016

(The Fayetteville Observer)

The president of the Fayetteville Cumberland County Economic Development Corp. said a controversial $272 million CSX rail hub, originally planned for Johnston County, would be good for Cumberland County and the state ports. Russ Rogerson said if the Jacksonville, Fla.-based company doesn't opt to build the terminal in Johnston, "we would certainly be interested in talking with them."
Related: Rail project would boost economy, officials said

Hunt: Recession is over, invest more in education

April 20, 2016

(The Daily Reflector)

Former N.C. Gov. Jim Hunt says a child's earliest years are "the most important years" and, speaking in Greenville on Tuesday, he reiterated the importance of early childhood education and having the best teachers. Hunt launched Smart Start in 1993 to help families with preschoolers secure resources for early childhood education programs. Hunt says now that the economy is improving, it's time to raise teacher pay. "Raise it strongly," he says.

Brunswick County has the most vacation homes in NC

April 19, 2016

(StarNews, Wilmington)

Brunwick County had 23,941 vacation homes in 2010, a 54% increase over 2000 when the county had 15,540 seasonal homes. Tourism spending in Brunswick increased to $496 million in 2014. Brunswick includes the popular vacation towns of Oak Island, Holden Beach and Ocean Isle Beach.

ECU reveals plans for $55M stadium renovation

April 18, 2016

(The Daily Reflector, Greenville)

Plans for Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium include a new press box and redesigned grandstand seating. The project will be financed through a $15 million fundraising effort ($10 million has already been committed); the remainder will come from sales of "premium" ticket plans, including club-level seats with a lounge area. Construction will begin after the 2017 football season and should be completed in time for the 2018 season.

Chiltern leasing bigger office in Wilmington

April 18, 2016

(Greater Wilmington Business Journal)

Chiltern, a contract-research organization with headquarters in the United Kingdom, is moving to a larger space in Wilmington's Barclay Center. The new office is about 10,000 square feet larger than the CRO's current space in nearby Barclay Commons.