Category Archives: Local Businesses

Raleigh was ranked the best city in the state to start a business due to its labor market.

Entrepreneurs and business owners need look no further than the Tar Heel state to set up shop — North Carolina came out on top in a new study of the best states to start a business.

The study, conducted by Fit Small Business, cited the state’s labor market and taxes as driving an ideal environment for business owners. Fit Small Business, out of New York City, says it provides research to help small business owners make wiser decisions.

The researchers used data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Kauffman Foundation and the Small Business Administration to rank states on seven categories — access to capital, startup activity, taxes, cost-of-living, labor market, quality of life and cost of starting a business.

The study took corporate, individual income, unemployment insurance, property and sales taxes into account, ranking North Carolina 11th nationally for tax rates. At 3 percent, North Carolina’s corporate tax rate is the lowest of any state levying a corporate tax, according to the Tax Foundation, and is set to be reduced to 2.5 percent beginning in 2019 after to the North Carolina General Assembly’s latest budget.

Raleigh’s educated population and its high-quality research facilities earned it the top spot among cities statewide for starting a business. More than 40 percent of Raleigh’s population over 25 held at least a four-year degree, compared to just over one-third of Americans nationally.

The state’s startup activity also ranked highly — a category that took the rate of entrepreneurs and the survivability of business into account.

But those looking for venture capital investments and small business loans may turn their attention elsewhere. The state was ranked 34th in “access to capital.”

The cost of starting a business, based on per capita income and median commercial rent per square foot per year, fared worse for North Carolina than a majority of states as well. Data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis reveals North Carolina’s 2016 per capita income of $42,002 lags behind the national average of $49,571.

In addition to North Carolina, Utah, Texas, Indiana and Montana rounded out the top five states for starting a business.

by:, triangle business journal

USA Today names Cary’s Bond Brothers best new brewery

Several thousand new breweries opened nationwide in the last three years. Bond Brothers Beer Co. in downtown Cary is the best one of them all, according to a new poll from USA Today.

“We’re super-excited,” said Whit Baker, the brewmaster and co-owner. “ I’m so glad that people like us.”

A panel of craft beer experts picked what they said were the 20 best new breweries – defined as breweries that opened in 2014, 2015 or 2016 – so even being named to the list initially showed some insider credibility.

Then people could go online and vote for their favorite. Bond Brothers whipped up community support and beat out breweries from cities like Atlanta, Chicago and the craft beer mecca of Portland, Ore.

See the full list here.

Brothers Jay and Jeremy Bond own the brewery along with Baker and Andy Schnitzer. And although the brewery has only been open for about a year, they had years of experience homebrewing before they decided to turn their hobby into a business.

“We knew we had a good, solid product,” Jay Bond said Friday, after their win was announced. “We did years and years of (homebrewing). We had done festivals, won awards and given away lots and lots of beer over the years.”

They don’t have to give it away anymore. The brewery at 202 E. Cedar St. in downtown Cary is often crowded.  In fact, Bond said, people who show up in the next few days might find a more limited selection than usual since the brewery has been unexpectedly busy.  “We’re actually quite low on beer at the moment,” he said. “We’ve had some really good weekends lately.”

But there’s already lots of new beer brewing for a festival April 1 at the brewery, which Bond Brothers has been planning for a while. Now it’ll turn into a celebration for this new accolade, too.

There will be special beer releases and a show by Durham folk rockers The Mountain Goats. The party will last from noon to 11 p.m. and the Mountain Goats will take the stage at 5 p.m.


What’s on the horizon for the Triangle’s dining scene in 2017? Food halls, and much more

Across the Triangle, 2017 will be the year of the food hall.

Two food halls are slated to open by the spring, and two more are in the works. By early 2018, each of the Triangle’s major cities will be home to a food hall or market.

In downtown Raleigh, Niall Hanley, who owns the Raleigh Beer Garden and Hibernian pubs, hopes to open the Morgan Street Food Hall & Market by late spring in the former Jillian’s space on West Morgan Street.

So far, Hanley said, potential vendors could offer sushi, burgers, poke bowls, coffee, cheese, charcuterie and more. He also noted that they are looking to partner with a local co-op or market to manage a retail area that would offer local and regional food products.

Also in Raleigh, developer Jason Queen is converting the old Stone’s Warehouse on East Davie Street, near Moore Square, into Transfer Co. Olde East. The 42,000-square-foot building will offer production and retail space for local food businesses as well as a test kitchen, grocery store, cafe and urban farms. Queen said the first tenants are to expected to start building their spaces this fall, and the entire space should be open by March 2018.

Chapel Hill’s Blue Dogwood Public Market is closer to opening and will likely open this spring in a part of the old Fowler’s grocery store between Franklin and Rosemary streets.

Kelly Taylor, one of the owners, said the market will be home to several businesses, including her Italian bakery, Pizzelle. Others include former Carolina Inn executive chef James Clark’s seafood stall, Hook & Larder; Left Bank Butchery in Saxapahaw; a juice and smoothie bar from Cold Off the Press owner Amir Sadeghi; Chocolatay Confections, which sell at the Durham and Chapel Hill farmers’ markets; Vegan Flava Cafe, which already has a Durham location; and Soul Cocina, which will sell Latin American vegan foods.

In Durham, the Durham Food Hall will open in the Reuse Arts District at the Shoppes at Lakewood this fall.

New projects

Beyond food halls, 2017 will see expansions or new projects by a trio of established bakery owners.

Most exciting is the news from Phoebe Lawless, owner of Scratch Bakery in downtown Durham. This spring, Lawless will open The Lakewood, a full-service, 90-seat restaurant and bar with a rooftop terrace serving lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. The Durham building, at 2022 Chapel Hill Road, eventually will house a second Scratch Bakery cafe and a wholesale production bakery to supply baked goods to restaurants and retailers.

This new restaurant gives Lawless, a four-time James Beard Award semifinalist, a chance to stretch her culinary muscles in a way that the Scratch kitchen did not allow.

“I wanted to create a neighborhood restaurant that essentially extends what we’ve been trying to do at Scratch, but we haven’t had the space there to do it,” she said. “We’ll take advantage of the proteins and fish that we really can’t do out of the small Scratch kitchen, while being more vegetable-forward and continuing to embrace what we can source locally and regionally.”

Guglhupf’s Claudia Kemmet-Cooper, who has owned the German bakery and restaurant in Durham since 1998, is expanding to Chapel Hill. She hopes to open the 1,250-square-foot retail bakery in the Eastgate Shopping Center by April. This is what Kemmet-Cooper always had envisioned for her business: a main production bakery with satellite retail spots.

“The big thing is we’re finally doing it,” she said last week.

Cary’s La Farm bakery is opening a production facility at 220 W. Chatham St. in downtown Cary this year, which eventually will include a small retail bakery and cafe. Until then, the La Farm Bread Truck will be parked outside from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, serving coffee, hot chocolate, pastries, sandwiches, soups and breads.

This is far from a complete list of new restaurants opening in the Triangle in 2017. But here are some highlights on the horizon for the dining scene:

Raleigh, Cary

On Jan. 23, Vidrio, a stunning Mediterranean restaurant owned by Lou Moshakos, the longtime Triangle restaurateur who founded the Carolina Ale House franchise, will open on the first floor of Raleigh’s 500 Glenwood Ave.

By the end of January, the Busy Bee Cafe in downtown will be transformed into Trophy Brewing Tap and Table, which will offer meats cooked on a rotisserie and a selection of tacos. Despite the #savethetots social media campaign, the tater tots will not be on the menu, co-owner Chris Powers said.

Sean Degnan and Tony Hopkins, the owners of Raleigh’s bu.ku hope to open Soca, a new Caribbean and Central and South American restaurant, in the former Faire space in Raleigh’s Cameron Village shopping center by early February. The pair also plans to open a second bu.ku restaurant in Wake Forest, near Rogers and Heritage Lake Roads, by June.

Tulum, a new Mayan restaurant, will hopefully by late January or early February in downtown Raleigh, on the first floor of the Duke Energy building on Fayetteville Street.

Bida Manda’s owner Van Nolintha will open Bhavana, a combination brewery, florist, bookstore and dim sum restaurant, in the former Tir Na Nog location on South Blount Street by the end of February.

Chef Sunny Gerhart said he hopes to convert the former Joule space on Raleigh’s Wilmington Street to St. Roch Oyster + Bar by early March.

Over on Hillsborough Street, Bob Jewett, owner of Bocci Trattoria and Pizzeria in Cary and Durham, is opening a third location in the former spot for Porter’s Tavern and later McDaids. Jewett, an N.C. State University graduate who got his start in the restaurant industry at the beloved Two Guys Pizza, said he hopes to open by early April.

By May, the owners of Pho Nomenal Dumpling food truck hope to open a brick-and-mortar location: MOFU Shoppe, a 3,000-square-foot space at 321 Blount St. in Raleigh’s City Market.

Coleen Speaks, owner of Posh Nosh Catering, had to move her catering kitchen to the Dock 1053 complex at the corner of Whitaker Mill Road and Atlantic Avenue. Beyond the catering kitchen and an urban event space, Speaks also plans to add a small cafe offering sandwiches and to-go food. In 2018, she hopes to turn a nearby steel building into a bar and restaurant.

In Cary, Pizzeria Faulisi is slated to open by mid- to late February. This project is the work of Zach and Amber Faulisi; Zach most recently worked as chef de cuisine at The Durham Hotel.

Next door, chef Richard Procida is planning to open Pro’s Epicurean Market and Cafe, a market, cafe and wine bar, by mid-April or May at 211 E. Chatham St.

Chef Regan Stachler, who owns Little Hen, a farm-to-table restaurant in Apex, plans to open a fast-casual eatery in downtown Raleigh this spring.


Maybelle, the new barbecue and biscuit restaurant from the folks behind Tyler’s Restaurant & Taprooms, is expected to open by mid-February at the American Tobacco Campus. Co-owner Tyler Huntington said he and business partner, Daniel Kulenic, who put on the annual Bull City Food & Beer Experience at Durham Performing Arts Center, are also considering doing more special food and beverage events in Durham this year.

Over on Chapel Hill Street, Shannon Healy, owner of Alley Twenty Six, expects to open the expanded part of his cocktail bar to add a full kitchen by the end of January. Healy, the longtime bar manager at Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill before he opened this Durham cocktail bar more than four years ago, is working with chef Carrie Schleiffer to produce a food menu with cocktail pairings. The expansion also doubles the space of the bar, adds table seating and provides a space for private events and cocktail classes. Previously, bar patrons enjoyed charcuterie, cheese plates and bar snacks that didn’t require a stove, oven or fryer to prepare. Now Schleiffer says she will use that kitchen to produce upscale bar food. Healy said: “We want to offer more things that our customers want.”

Gray Brooks, owner of Durham’s Pizzeria Toro and Littler, is opening a diner, the Jack Tar, named after the former motor lodge that is being transformed into the Unscripted Hotel in downtown Durham. Brooks hopes to open the 75-seat food-focused diner serving breakfast all day, as well as lunch and dinner by late spring.

Chef Matt Kelly, owner of Mateo and a partner in Vin Rouge, is hoping to transform the former Fishmonger’s restaurant into Saint James, a seafood and oyster house, by June.

Chef Michael Lee, who owns M Sushi and M Kokko, has plans to continue his M restaurant franchise. By the end of the year, he is trying to open M Kogi and M Taco. Unlike most Korean restaurants, M Kogi will not have tables with grills; instead it will offer counter seating with a long continuous sandpit on which live wood fire will be used to cook the meats. Beef and pork will be served with traditional Korean sides and pickled vegetables. Meanwhile, M Taco will offer simple tacos – and only tacos – with various meats and fermented vegetables with soft corn tortillas.

Cocoa Cinnamon is adding a third location near the Lakewood shopping center. The 2,900-square-foot building at 2013 Chapel Hill Road be a coffee shop and roastery. Owner Leon Grodski Barrera said they hope to open by the end of the year. One highlight: they will serve made to order churros.