Small Business

Ghassan's, a quick service Mediterranean restaurant  in Greensboro.
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

It's lunchtime at Ghassan's, a quick service Mediterranean restaurant  in Greensboro. Meat hits the grill,  fries drop into hot oil and ice collects in paper cups. The local restaurant chain specializes in chicken kabobs, falafel, tabouli, hummus – all the tasty Lebanese staples. One restaurant is just a block away from the Greensboro Coliseum.

People First Tourism, NC State, Chris Smith
People First Tourism

A new tourism venture aims to help travelers wander off the “beaten path” and help small entrepreneurs at the same time.

It’s called “People First Tourism.”  Duarte Morais is an Associate Professor of Equitable and Sustainable Tourism at NC State.  He is also the CEO of "People First Tourism."  He says money can be made by providing authentic experiences for visitors.

“For tourism to really benefit local communities there should be a lot of locals involved in tourism as small business owners," said Morais.

PNC Bank

A bi-annual survey of small and medium-sized businesses across the state shows signs of optimism and caution.

The PNC Bank Spring 2015 Economic Outlook Survey shows 50 percent of business owners expect to see profits improve in 2015.  That’s up from just 37 percent last Spring.

Mekael Teshome is an Economist with PNC.

Pelican's Snoball
Leoneda Inge

Economists and politicians say it’s becoming easier for most adults to get a job these days. But if you are a “young” adult, your story may be different.

Years into the economic recovery, there are still a lot of unemployed and underemployed people, which is slowing the recovery for young adults.

And in North Carolina, the jobless rate for that group is especially high. 

Extraordinary Ventures
Leoneda Inge

It is high school graduation season and most young adults are preparing for life in college or in the workplace.  Landing a job in this economy continues to be hard for millions of people.  But what if you have autism?

There’s a community in Chapel Hill that has come up with several small business models that ease young people with autism into the adult world of work and self-sufficiency. 

If you talk to a parent who has a young child with autism, the conversation will eventually lead to “The Cliff.” 

Matt Victoriano and Robin Young in front of Matt's new business, Intrepid Life Coffee & Spirits
Robin Young via Twitter / Here & Now

A Marine Corps vet is receiving national attention for his attempts to open a small business in Durham, North Carolina.

The radio show Here & Now has been following Matt Victoriano's story since last October. The program's host, Robin Young, met Victoriano at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Victoriano had served in Iraq and had been a sniper team leader. Since then he's been coping with post traumatic stress while trying to open a small business.

PNC Logo
PNC Bank

A PNC survey shows small to mid-sized business owners across the state are less optimistic about doing business than they were six months ago.  The PNC Economic Outlook survey shows 8 percent of business owners intend to add full-time employees.  Nationwide, it’s 16 pecent.

PNC Economist Mekael Teshome says  North Carolina business owners continue to report weak sales and are being extremely cautious.

Google named Cary the state's 2013 eCity for the high online connectivity of its small businesses.

Google has announced its first eCity awards, recognizing one city in every state for the strength of its online business community. In North Carolina, Google gave that distinction to Cary for the high percentage of small businesses that leverage the Internet to connect with customers. Being an eCity won’t earn Cary cash prizes or awards, but it does earn the mayor a congratulatory phone call from Google and some hefty bragging rights.

Frozen yogurt shops are being inspected by the state.
shadeofmelon via Flickr, Creative Commons

Summer is in full swing, which means it’s high season for frozen yogurt shops around the state.  But the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is urging customers to be wary: what you pay for might not be what you get. Many yogurt shops determine price based on the weight of the yogurt and toppings, but they are required to subtract the weight of the cup or package first (which is called the tare weight). According to Jerry Butler, NCDA & CS Weight and Measures program manager, not every shop is aware of that.

Three generations of women wearing clothing bought at Smitten Boutique.

Food is like a religion in the South.  It’s well-known that Durham was named the "Tastiest City in the South" by Southern Living.  But the food scene here is relatively new.  Restaurants, food trucks, and coffee shops opened up in recent years to make Durham's cuisine what it is.

Book cover of Carol Peppe Hewitt's new book.

Members of a growing movement are taking their money off of Wall Street and investing it in local food systems through small peer-to-peer loans. Slow Money lenders watch their investments used to grow businesses and farms right in their own communities. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with Carol Peppe Hewitt, the founder of Slow Money NC. She reads from her new book “Financing Our Foodshed” (New Society Publishers/2013) at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill tonight at 7.

Sutton's Drug Store in downtown Chapel Hill.
courtesy of Sutton's Drug Store

Ask any long-time Chapel Hill resident to name a few of the town’s business icons, and Sutton’s Drug Store is likely to come up. Founded in 1923, the old fashioned pharmacy has been open for 90 years and celebrates that fact today with a special deal for its customers: from 11:00 to 4:30, hot dogs, Cokes and French fries will be only a nickel, reflecting the store’s 1923 prices. They’re expecting several hundreds of customers.

Hatteras Venture Partners of Durham is having one of its biggest years yet.

Hatteras Venture Partners has raised 125-million dollars, thanks to the Small Business Administration’s Early Stage Innovation Fund Initiative.  It’s the first venture capital firm in the country to be licensed through the program, becoming eligible for up to 50-million dollars in S-B-A-guaranteed loans.  Sean Greene is the Associate Administrator for Investment at the S-B-A.

A new report takes a close-up look at Community Development Financial Institutions across North Carolina and the lending gap they have filled. 

The report was commissioned by The Support Center based in Raleigh. It’s one of 17 Community Development Financial Institutions or C-D-F-I’s in the state.   In 2010 – C-D-F-I’s financed 33-thousand consumer and business loans.  Lenwood Long is President and C-E-O of the Support Center.

The Small Business Administration visited Raleigh to kick-off a new national program to help businesses grow internationally.

Karen Mills is the Administrator for the S-B-A.  She visited "Raleigh Denim" to announce the new State Trade and Export Promotion program.

Karen Mills:  "American manufacturers can still produce world class products, even in textiles."

Entrepreneurs in the Triangle have the chance to tell the federal government how it can help grow their businesses. The U-S Small Business Administration will host a roundtable in Durham today to gather ideas for reducing small business regulations. S-B-A press secretary Hayley Meadvin says Durham is the first stop in the series of meetings called Startup America.