Carrboro Commons

Carrboro clothing line combats bullying

Posted on March 24th, 2011 in Business,Carrboro children,Uncategorized by jock

By Megan Walker

Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

In the midst of rising national concern about bullying, two Carrboro moms recently launched a clothing line with the goal of raising funds and awareness for bullying prevention.

“It is an incredibly important issue,” said co-founder Melissa Weiss.  “Even people who think that bullying doesn’t affect them or that it doesn’t affect their children, I can guarantee that it affects every student in every kind of school.”

Melissa Weiss, with partner Meredith Weiss, launched the “Be a Friend” custom clothing line a few months ago.  All items have graphics of animated friendships.  The line currently features t-shirts, sweat shirts, hats and pins, which can all be purchased on their website.

Melissa Weiss poses for a photo next to some of the "Be a Friend" clothing she sold at a booth in University Mall on March 18. (Staff Photo by Megan Walker)

Melissa Weiss, who serves as spokesperson for the partners, said, “We sell these shirts and donate a significant portion of our proceeds back to an organization that works on bullying and special needs as a way to give back.”

According to their website, one dollar from every item sold is currently donated to the PACER National Bullying Prevention Center.

In March, President Barack Obama held the first ever White House Conference on bullying prevention.  He said, “A third of middle school and high school students have reported being bullied during the school year.  Almost 3 million students have said they were pushed, shoved, tripped, even spit on.”

He said, “If there’s one goal of this conference, it’s to dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up.  It’s not.”

Melissa Weiss said, “I think it [bullying] is getting more attention and publicity than it ever has before. It is being acknowledged as a problem.  I don’t think when I went to school anyone even talked about it.  It just happened.”

In his address, President Obama said, “It’s also more likely to affect kids that are seen as different, whether it’s because of the color of their skin, the clothes they wear, the disability they may have, or sexual orientation.”

Melissa Weiss said she was motivated to start the line because she has a son with speech delays and heard stories from other parents about bullying at speech therapy.

“Finding a safe environment for your child to go to school, most people don’t even have to think about that, but if you have a child with special needs, that’s in your thought process all the time,” said Melissa Weiss.

She sold merchandise in University Mall on March 18 and was enthusiastic to see the clothing line starting conversations.

“I’ve just seen these spontaneous conversations happening with the parents and the kids explaining about bullying and what kids with special needs are,” she said. “They just had these really wonderful conversations.”

She also said the clothing line is geared toward smaller children. “I think it needs to start in the elementary school.”

Principal Emily Bivins of Carrboro Elementary, and principal Amanda Hartness of McDougle Elementary, said their schools have an anti-bullying curriculum. The schools’ programs are called Second Step for preK to 2nd grade and Steps to Respect for grades 3 to 5.

“It is the number one job of the district and school to make sure that students feel safe and secure at school,” said Hartness.  “I encourage my teachers to take time in class to build a sense of community within the classroom.  Taking the time to build this community helps decrease bullying and teasing.”

Bivins said she had not heard of the clothing line, but would be interested in their goals.

Melissa Weiss said her goal for the clothing line is to use it as a fundraiser in schools with the proceeds going to fund the bullying prevention programs.

“If people start responding to it differently instead of being afraid of the bully or thinking the bully is cool, it’s going to happen less,” she said.

President Obama said, “No child should be afraid to go to school in this country.”

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Carrboro music store plays a different tune

Posted on March 3rd, 2011 in Business by jock

By Trevor Kapp

Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

In a town in which trendy new stores, apartments buildings and restaurants move in by the week, The Music Loft of Carrboro is a throwback.

The shop—which has been at its 116 W. Main St. location since the mid 1980s—has four employees, does extensive non-profit work for the town, does not sell any of its products online and offers discounts to loyal customers, nearly all of whom store owner Jim Dennis knows by name.

Music Loft of Carrboro Store Owner Jim Dennis plays one of the store’s 150 guitars and basses. Staff photo by Trevor Kapp

“Our philosophy is the most important thing that we have to sell is service,” Dennis said. “The people who work here know about this stuff, and you can ask us questions on lots of different music topics and recording or guitar setups.”

Dennis, 48, said that when he purchased the 2,600-square-foot store in 2002, he made several adjustments to adapt it to Carrboro’s increasingly younger community.

He added additional lighting, changed the location of where the instruments were inside the store and removed the dozens of posters that covered the front windows, which prevented potential shoppers from seeing inside.

“I wanted to make it so a soccer mom could come in or somebody who never played (music) before could come in and not feel intimidated,” Dennis said.

What sets the store apart, customers and employees agreed, is the combination of the music services and supplies it offers and the employees’ hands-on approach.

“That’s part of the only reason we’re still here,” said 22-year-old employee Cody Anderson of Carrboro. “We’re kind of the small business that knows your pain.”

Anderson said that unlike many other shops, this one allows customers to come in and actually play the instruments.

“We have instruments you have to ask for, but we don’t mind you playing at all,” he said.

One customer, steel drummer Mickey Mills—who has performed with Mick Jagger and Kenny Chesney, among others—enjoys looking at the store’s drum sets and keyboards.

“I get all my equipment from here,” said Mills of Carrboro. “I buy everything from here because they are wonderful people. They will take time to give you what you need.”

Musician Mickey Mills tests one of the keyboards inside the Music Loft of Carrboro. Staff photo by Trevor Kapp

The Music Loft of Carrboro offers everything from swabs for a tenor saxophone for $13 to a 200-year-old Czechoslovakian violin for $580.

The store’s true calling card is its guitars.

Dennis said it currently has about 150 guitars and basses, ranging from basic Takamine models to a Fender Stratocaster from 1962, which is on sale for $23,800.

Over the past two and a half years, customer unease about the economy has led to a decrease in sales, Dennis said.

Instead of spending money on a new guitar or amplifier, people are using the shop’s repair and restringing services.

Bill McKellar, 74, said that he immediately brought in his Takamine Guitar when he noticed it was not working properly.

“I’ve always got what I’ve paid for,” said McKellar, a Hillsborough resident.

Dennis said that the key to running a successful music store is to be flexible to customers’ tastes and to listen to what shoppers say.

“If (a new artist) is real hot and is playing the guitar, then people will want that,” he said.

The Music Loft of Carrboro is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Asked whether he would ever consider moving the shop to a different town, Dennis said, “I just like this community. It’s the only place I’d want to have a music store.”

A place of the flow

Posted on February 17th, 2011 in A&E,Business,Lifestyles by jock

By Megan Walker
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

What do a Quaker meeting house, a teen center, a magic shop, an auto dealership and a recording studio all have in common?  They were once all located at 100B Brewer Lane in downtown Carrboro, but this space will soon be reincarnated as a movement and music studio called the Flowjo.

Co-owners Julia and Scott Crews pose for a photo outside of what is soon to be the Flowjo in downtown Carrboro. The movement and music studio is set to open at the beginning of March. Staff Photo by Megan Walker

Carrboro residents Julia and Scott Crews said they will open the Flowjo at the beginning of March. The Flowjo will have a hoop focus, but classes in aerial dance, poi, staff, fire spinning, circus fundamentals, music and other arts will also be offered.

Hooping is a form of dance or meditation using larger, more durable hula-hoops.

“Carrboro has turned into what is known as a hooping mecca amongst the global hoop community,” Scott Crews said. “It has given Carrboro notoriety.”

Several pedestrians and surrounding business owners stopped in to see the work taking place at the soon-to-be Flowjo on Saturday, Feb. 12.

With a dusty floor, a busted drinking fountain and graffiti on the walls, the place may not look like much yet, but Scott Crews said things will soon change.

The Crews’ landlord just got the building brought up to code, and they will be working in the coming weeks to install a dance floor, paint, clean and build a stage.

Carrboro is the ideal place to build the Flowjo, as the town is home to many originators of the modern hooping movement.

“I’d say that per capita there are more people hooping here than anywhere in the world,” Julia Crews said. “For being a small town, it’s got a lot of hooping that’s going on, so it seems like a perfect spot for one of the world’s first flowjos.”

The idea behind the name is based off a dojo, which translates to “a place of the way.”

Chris Hall, an employee at neighboring business Aventine woodworking, welcomes Julia and Scott Crews to Brewer Lane. Hall tells the two about the many businesses the space has housed over the past several years including a recording studio and teen center. Staff Photo by Megan Walker

“The Flowjo is a place of flow,” Scott Crews said. “When you go to work, and you get into the flow, and you’re cruising along, and it feels good. Well, that ain’t nothing compared to this artistic creative expression that is flow.”

Julia Crews said she decided to pursue hooping as a career after seeing and then talking to a circus performer hooping in New York.

“She told me she was making her whole living off of it,” she said. “It was just a splash of wow. You can do what you love for your job.”

Scott Crews met his wife, then Julia Hartsell, in 2005 when she hired him to play the drums for her at a wedding. He said, “We ended up falling in love and have been working together ever since.”

Scott Crews will be overseeing the musical side of the studio. He has been drumming since he was 13 and currently teaches lessons out of their home.

“One of our biggest challenges has been that our art forms in practice are big, and it’s not easy to practice an act of that zone in my home space,” Julia Crews said. “And I know that other people struggle with this.”

The Flowjo will have a large open dance floor, a shop for flow art paraphernalia, a stage and a lounge area.

The Crews said they are also planning to use the building for events space, summer camps and weekend workshops, including the fourth annual Hoop Convergence in May.

Julia Crews said that hooping and the Flowjo will appeal to a broad audience.

“When you think of classic hula hooping, it looks a little awkward, kind of frantic to keep the hoop up,” she said. “These hoops are different … people are coming to them for different reasons. It is a really good core exercise and a good, moving meditation for people like me who don’t have an easy time sitting and meditating.”

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Roulette Vintage closes its doors; but isn’t going away

Posted on February 17th, 2011 in Business by jock

By Megan Gassaway
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

A tray of handmade, heart-shaped pins sits on a table near the entrance of Roulette Vintage, while a box of vintage cards stands near the cash register. Customers and friends mingle among sparkling dresses, plaid button-downs and flannel lingerie.

Kara LaFleur and Rebecca Moore, co-owners of Roulette Vintage, stand behind the counter at the Roulette Vintage’s Valentine’s Day party. On Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011, they closed the doors of their East Main Street shop for the last time. Photo by Megan Gassaway

It is Friday, Feb. 11, the date of this year’s Roulette Vintage Valentine’s Day party. The annual party welcomes old friends and customers, as well as new faces. On Sunday, Feb. 13, the store will close the doors of its East Main Street location for the final time and the building will be emptied of its vintage treasures.

“We are closing because the economy is crap,” said store owner Kara LaFleur. “We’re just not making ends meet with our space.”

Roulette Vintage has occupied the space of 118 1/2 E. Main St. for four years. The store sells vintage clothing and accessories dating from 1930 to 1980, as well as local band T-shirts, textiles, clothing and accessories by local designers, according to Roulette Vintage’s website. The store has held a prominent location in Carrboro by offering an affordable option to “the mass production of mall clothing,” but can no longer afford to maintain the East Main Street shop, LaFleur said.

“The retail economy has totally collapsed,” LaFleur said. “People just aren’t shopping. You can see it when you walk around town.”

Instead of working out of the East Main Street location, LaFleur and co-owner Rebecca Moore will continue to sell vintage clothing online through Etsy, an online “marketplace for crafters, artists and collectors to sell their handmade creations, vintage goods and crafting supplies,” according to the Etsy website.

Riverbasin Outfitters designer River Takada-Capel stands by lingerie that she crafted from recycled fabrics and vintage clothing. While Takada-Capel made the lingerie exclusively for the Valentine’s Day party, she used to sell her handmade creations at Roulette Vintage throughout the year. Photo by Megan Gassaway

“We’re going to focus on our online store and focus on locals,” LaFleur said.

LaFleur hopes to find an office or small house out of which to run Roulette Vintage, a place where she and Moore can host events like trunk shows and parties like the annual Valentine’s Day celebration.

Until they find a new space, LaFleur hopes to cater to the local community while selling accessories and clothing online. LaFleur plans to eliminate shipping costs to locals and jokes that instead of shipping goods she will meet customers with their purchases at Carrboro haunts like Open Eye Café or the Carrboro Farmers’ Market.

While LaFleur hopes to accommodate local customers, closing the doors of 118 1/2 E. Main St. will have a ripple effect on local artists such as River Takada-Capel.

Friday’s Valentine’s Day party featured unique designs by Takada-Capel, who grew up in Carrboro and is the designer for Riverbasin Outfitters. Takada-Capel’s Riverbasin Outfitters sells clothing and accessories made from recycled materials, including lingerie made from recycled flannel shirts.

Takada-Capel crafted her lingerie line especially for the Valentine’s Day show, but sells her clothing and accessories at Roulette Vintage throughout the year.

“It’s one less paycheck,” Takada-Capel said about the store’s closing. “I depend on this store for a large amount of income.”

Riverbasin Outfitters will now rely entirely on craft shows and the company’s website, Takada-Capel said.

“It’s kind of like I lost a job,” Takada-Capel said. “People have part-time jobs and it’s like I lost one of mine.”

But Roulette Vintage is more than just a business.

“It’s nice because I’ll go to Weaver, come here, say hello, then go to the Station after this place closes,” Takada-Capel said about the shop. “It’s definitely a neighborhood spot.”

“It’s not necessarily a bad thing for the business,” UNC-Chapel Hill student and Roulette Vintage intern Grace Joyal said about the store’s closing. “But it’s bad for the town because it’s like losing a friend.”

“It worries me that places like this can’t survive,” said Katie Schuler, an artist living in Chapel Hill. “I hate to think what could replace it because whoever replaces it will not be as supportive to the local community and artists.”

When Joyal stopped at the light at the intersection of Roberson and East Main Streets, she used to look forward to seeing dresses in the window of Roulette Vintage. After Sunday’s closing, there will be neither vintage dresses nor paper hearts decorating the windows of 118 1/2 E. Main St. in Carrboro.

Shop Roulette Vintage online: http://www.etsy.com/shop/RouletteVintage

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Pop a wheelie; Will and Pop’s food truck rolls into Carrboro

Posted on February 17th, 2011 in Business,Food,Uncategorized by jock

Allison Russell

Co-Editor, Carrboro Commons

Parked deliberately on the corner across the street from Wendy’s, Will & Pop’s food truck makes a statement.

“Everyone’s hooked on fast food,” said Kenny Pettis, 46, the “Pop” of Will & Pop’s, “but I’ve got a sandwich that’s made-to-order, and I’m keeping it in the community, unlike big corporations.”

Will Pettis holds a “Gangsta”—a grilled cheese sandwich filled with pulled pork—that’s ready to be served. Kenny, Will’s dad, sits by the window in Will’s usual seat for taking customers’ orders. “It’s because he’s prettier than I am,” Kenny said. (Staff photo by Allison Russell)

Kenny and Will Pettis, the father-and-son duo who opened their truck for business on Dec. 30, 2010, are making their alternative to fast food business as local as possible.

Their staple ingredients come from the heart of Carrboro: sourdough bread from Weaver Street Market and meat, cheese and produce from Cliff’s Meat Market.

Even their truck is local. The Pettises bought the food truck from Glenn Boothe, the owner of Local 506. It was formerly used to drive a candy-delivery route and included tall sets of shelves across the interior.

Will and Kenny gutted the truck of everything but a few shelves and a small stool by the window. They then installed all of the appliances — a refrigerator, deep fryer, grill, potato-cutter and battery-heated hot water dispenser — on their own.

Kenny, who has 30 years of mechanical experience from his time in construction, said Will is a quick study. But Will, 24, is even quicker to divert the credit.

“Google knows how to do everything,” Will said with a laugh.

The father and son first hatched the idea to open a food truck after watching “The Great Food Truck Race” on Food Network.

“When Will first mentioned the idea, I was like, ‘Huh…There are taco trucks in Carrboro, but we need something different in this town!’,” Kenny said.

Open for lunch and late-night dining, the cash-only food truck alternates its menu to better serve the customer demands of each mealtime.

Will, who lives in Greensboro, works the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. lunch shift on Monday through Friday at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Hillsborough Street in Chapel Hill. He has more time to cook each order because the shift is less populated, and hamburgers, hot dogs and freshly cut fries are customers’ favorite lunch choices.

“I make a mean hot dog,” Will said.

Kenny, often with the assistance of Will, stations the truck at Cliff’s Meat Market on 100 W. Main St. on Fridays and Saturdays for the 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. “Late Nite” shift, an dining time created by Will and Kenny that centers its menu around grilled cheese sandwiches.

“I chose grilled cheese because of its convenience,” Kenny said. “It’s quick to cook and goes out fast. That sourdough and cheese makes for the prefect late-night snack,” Kenny said with a relishing smile.

“When I leave a bar drunk, I don’t want [something like] soup — I want something greasy and meaty,” Will added.

The quintessential Late Nite meal at Will & Pop’s combines both meat and grease to create “the Gangsta,” a grilled cheese sandwich layered with spicy, salty pulled pork.

“If you eat a grilled cheese with pulled pork, you’ve gotta be a gangsta,” said Kenny with a wide grin from under his hooded maroon sweatshirt.

The Late Nite menu also includes “the Hippy” (grilled cheese with homemade guacamole), “the Mother Clucker” (grilled cheese with chicken), and “the Stoner,” which combines homemade pumpkin bread, peanut butter, bananas and marshmallow fluff.

“When I was younger I used to love toast with peanut butter,” Kenny said in reference to his inspiration for the Stoner. “When it melts, it’s pure deliciousness.”

From peanut butter to cheese and butter, every item on Will & Pop’s Late Nite menu offers a melted sensation.

“We use at least a pound of butter each night,” Will said.

The Pettises are beginning to notice customers who have become regulars. Based on feedback, Will and Kenny are growing more confident in the made-fresh, friendly business model they have strived to build.

“Last night someone told me it was the best grilled cheese she’d ever had,” Kenny said, pausing to look up from the Hippy he was grilling. “When someone says something like that, it’s like, ‘Damn!’”

Carol Small, a small-business owner from Chapel Hill, ordered a Late Nite meal of grilled cheese and fries on Saturday night.

“The fries are amazing — they actually taste like potatoes! As opposed to that fake fast food stuff,” Small said.

In hopes of broadening their fan base, Will and Kenny will soon be extending their Late Nite menu to the students of UNC-Chapel Hill.

“When it gets warmer we’ll start a bike-delivery system that has a texting-only ordering system,” Will said.

On Monday, they established a new lunch location at the Dead Mule Club at 303 W. Franklin St.

The truck will continue to change locations for lunch and Late Nite until Will and Kenny find the places that draw the most customers. Their daily and weekly locations can be found by checking their Twitter account.

“We’re trying to build a brand from the ground up,” Kenny said. “A lot of this is a labor of love, man.”

H.O.P.E. coalition looks to repeal law

Posted on February 3rd, 2011 in Business,Employment by jock

By Michael Bloom
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

Only North Carolina and Virginia have a law like this. And North Carolina’s has been around since 1969.

North Carolina General Statute 95-98 makes contracts between levels of government and labor unions, trade unions or labor organizations concerning public employees illegal, according to the North Carolina General Assembly’s text of the law. In other words, collective bargaining between public employers and their employees is prohibited.

Marchers walk down Franklin Street during the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day rally and march in Chapel Hill on Jan. 17. (Photo by Lydia Wilson)

The Hear Our Public Employees coalition – H.O.P.E. – and its 11 core partner organizations is trying to repeal the law.

“With the law in effect, it creates very few avenues for public employers and employees to share common interests and ultimately resolve them,” said Tom Harris, a member of the steering committee of H.O.P.E. “It just makes things less collaborative.”

Harris questions why private employers are allowed to bargain collectively with their employees while public employees are denied the same right. He said repealing the law would provide the option for a more formal process between colleagues where they could iron out differences.

H.O.P.E. says that the law has denied public employees such as teachers, firefighters and police officers the ability to use traditional methods to improve their working conditions and benefits – or maintain them.

Fireplace Editions showcases energy efficient products

Posted on October 19th, 2010 in Business by jock

By Mary Withers
Carrboro Commons Co-editor

Rebecca Carnes had no intention of being in the fireplace business.

Carnes, a former nurse, and her husband Dann, were planning to build an addition onto their house. They realized that there weren’t a lot of local energy efficient fireplace options.

Dann Carnes, owner of Fireplace Editions in Carrboro, stands next to a Tulikivi radiant soapstone fireplace in the store. (Staff photo by Mary Withers)

They began a business to change that.

Fireplace Editions, which moved to Carrboro two years ago, offers a wide range of gas stoves, wood burning ovens and fireplaces. Their fireplaces draw buyers from all over the Southeast, Rebecca said.

The couple focuses on selling efficient, high quality products that promote clean air and are also aesthetically appealing.

“A lot of people are not clear about what clean technology can do,” Rebecca said. “People’s concept of a wood burning stove tends to be very old-fashioned. The types of products available now are much more interesting and architecturally appealing than what they used to be.”

Promoting Energy Efficency
New wood-burning stoves like those at Fireplace Editions release  2 to 7 grams of smoke per hour, compared with old stoves that release 50-70 grams an hour, Rebecca said.

One of the featured fireplaces at Fireplace Editions is the Renaissance Rumford, the first EPA-certified open-burning fireplace. With its door closed, the Renaissance Rumford emits 93 percent less smoke than a typical fireplace.

Fireplace Editions is the only store in North Carolina that carries the Renaissance Rumford, Rebecca said.

Businesses hopeful despite construction challenges

Posted on October 19th, 2010 in Business,Town government by jock

By Stephanie Bullins
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

Even with the approach of the busiest shopping days of the year, many local business owners say they are worried about losing sales because of the Weaver Street reconstruction project.

Carrboro Raw owner Nice Polido is optimistic, even though the Weaver Street reconstruction is forcing her to relocate her business. “I believe that things happen for a reason,” she said. “Hopefully, there’s a better, brighter future for me somewhere else.” (Staff photo by Stephanie Bullins)

DeeDee Lavinder, who owns The Red Hen, a resale boutique for mothers with young children, said the reconstruction could have negative consequences for her business.

“Construction always alters people’s normal patterns,” she said. “I know that we will have decreased traffic during that time, and we will definitely run promotions like sales, raffles and giveaways to entice our customers to visit.”

Though construction will be an inconvenience, Lavinder said her business will not be completely shut off from customers.

“Thankfully, the town revised their original plan, which would have left us completely unreachable for eight to 10 weeks,” Lavinder said. “With moms who have children and things to sell us, it really wasn’t realistic to think that they would park and walk several blocks.  Now we will have continuous access amidst the construction, and we are very thankful for that.”

The Town of Carrboro Public Works Department plans to minimize interference with any particular set of businesses by scheduling the reconstruction in phases, according to a release written by Public Works Director George Seiz. Businesses will be encouraged to use alternate entrances and share driveways with neighboring businesses so that customers can maintain access to buildings.

But for some businesses, that won’t be enough.

Johnny’s: Preserving history and a hangout

Posted on October 6th, 2010 in Business,Features by jock

By Meredith Sammons
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

In the ’40s people knew it as Bill & Tillman’s.

For about 30 years it was known as Johnny’s Sporting Goods.

Today Johnny’s of Carrboro sells local goods from all over the state of North Carolina. Though different products stock the shelves—the same old country-store charm translated throughout the decades. It’s a local hangout, and that’s never changed.

Long-time customers like Steve Williams show their support through regular trips and pit stops to the old store. For 20 years Williams has delivered mail on Main Street. Wearing a United States Postal Service uniform and holding a cup of coffee, Williams said, “This is one of the few places that’s been consistent.”

Brandon Newtson stands behind the counter and shares a laugh with a Johnny’s customer. (Staff photo by Meredith Sammons)

Part of the allure of Johnny’s is the connection it has with local vendors and customers. The atmosphere is relaxed—locals sit on the front porch steps drinking coffee, some sit on the patio enjoying live music, others visit food trucks parked in Johnny’s front lot. The old country store is a showcase of Carrboro culture; Johnny’s brews its own coffee, hosts local bands and supports local food trucks like Parlez Vous Crepe.

The present day Johnny’s is stocked up on wine, beer and locally produced goods. Its inventory is a far cry from Bill & Tillman’s bait and tackle shop that began in 1947, and much different than the Johnny’s Sporting Goods store that occupied the same building from 1977-2007.

Although all three of the businesses differ, Brian Plaster, the present-day owner of Johnny’s, wanted to maintain the store’s Southern roots. Plaster kept the name Johnny’s and created an atmosphere that supports local food, music and beverages.

Festival brings together community, local artists

Posted on October 6th, 2010 in A&E,Business,Events by jock

By Stephanie Bullins
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer

There are a few ways to tell autumn is beginning in Orange County — the days get shorter, the temperature drops, Halloween decorations fill store shelves and Festifall closes down West Franklin Street.

Katelyn Mitchell of Chapel Hill gets her face painted by Valerie Cameron at the Paint Savvy booth. (Staff photo by Stephanie Bullins)

The event — an annual arts festival — celebrated its 38th year Sunday, Oct. 3, with a record 118 vendors and three performance stages. The festival’s theme was “Immerse yourself in the arts,” inviting people to come out and enjoy shopping, entertainment, food and community.

“This festival today is about getting everyone involved,” said event coordinator Chela Tu. “We have arts of all media to engage all of your senses. Art makes everything beautiful.”

Vendors exhibited and sold a variety of art, including handmade jewelry and clothing, pottery, sculptures, paintings, blown glass and even guitars made from recycled license plates. Two stages featured music and dancing, while a third focused on youth performance and entertainment.

“Kid’s Canvas,” an interactive program meant to attract children and families to the festival, was also part of the event. Children of all ages could climb a rock wall, paint pumpkins, make crafts and get their faces painted, among other things.

The festival was put on by the Town of Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department, with the help of the Carrboro ArtsCenter and many local artists, who volunteered to serve on a jury to help find artists for the event.

The jury was looking for a diverse selection, and artists were selected by a review of six images of their work, Tu said.

The ArtsCenter assisted in planning stage performances and finding artists from their extensive database of contacts, said Edward Camp, executive director of the ArtsCenter.

“We really wanted to increase the number of artists and increase the quality of the event this year,” he said.

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