Friday, January 28, 2011

10% Campaign

I have the good fortune to work with a variety of dedicated local farmers and their supporters. This group is working diligently to develop a sustainable regional local food community. When they are successful, it will create opportunities for new jobs, income our farmers, fresher and more healthy food, as well as the conservation of our land and natural resources.

To that end, I wanted to make you aware today of a statewide program could provide significant income to our local farmers as indicated from this quote: "Organizers say the program should be a huge benefit to more than just local growers. They add North Carolinians spend $35 billion on food each year. If just 10 percent went to local growers, the 10 Percent Campaign calculates that more than $3.5 billion would be available in the state’s economy.
“In these challenging times, buying local food will benefit our farmers and fishermen and help grow our economy,” says Dan Gerlach, Golden LEAF Foundation President

Please take a moment and visit this site and make a commitment to helping our local farmers, our environment and your health: It gives you all the information you need to get started.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Who wants to do business with a man in a grass skirt

This was a question posted in response to a photo of me taken at our 2nd Annual Business Extravaganza last evening. Now I will admit that you don't see a lot of men, especially 50 year old economic developers wearing grass skirts and trying to help build local economies, but maybe you should.

Stokes County is a very rural county located in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina, just north of Winston Salem. It faces the challenges that most rural areas in the state and the US do, loss of our manufacturing base, loss of many of our young people to more urban areas, tight budgets and more. Most days I show up for work with my coat and tie, tackle the challenges before me and do my job.

But the job in front of us as Americans and for my friends in Stokes County is not business as usual. We need to try different methods, we need to develop our local assets and play to our strengths. If it takes me wearing a grass skirt and a cheap lei to get peoples attention, I will do it. I guarantee you that the 200+ people that turned out for our event last evening will remember it longer than most of the boring rubber chicken dinners that these events normally turn in to. I also believe they heard my message loud and clear and will remember it as well.

Stokes County is moving. We have several exciting programs being developed. We have new businesses in the works and we have some of the best people I have ever had the pleasure to work with. We will continue to push the envelope, look for new innovative ideas and work to build a cohesive economy. If you missed last evenings event, you missed a good time. You missed business getting done and you missed being with friends and potential friends. Start planning now for next years event, tentatively scheduled for Jan 19, 2012. I started planning it when I woke up this morning and you never know what next year might bring.

Oh and by the way, I have the legs to pull off the look!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Follow-up from a beautiful event

If you live within driving distance of Stokes County and King and did not attend the Poinsettia display at Mitchell's Greenhouse and Nursery, you missed a beautiful affair. It is too late for this year but do not dispair, they are scheduled to have the show again in December of 2011. Please see information below provided by Judy Mitchell. If you want to see photos of this years event, visit the Stokes County Travel/Tourism and Development page on facebook. Many thanks to the Mitchells for their efforts.

Mitchell’s Nursery & Greenhouse Inc.

1088 W. Dalton Rd.

King, NC 27021


Dec. 29, 2010

A survey of 65 varieties of poinsettias was taken at our Open House on Sunday Dec. 5, 2010. We grew over 9,000 poinsettias. Approximately 213 people attended from 12:30 – 4:30. Attendance was down because of cold weather. It snowed all Saturday afternoon and snow was still on the ground until noon. Three plants of each variety were labeled for judging. Judging continued until Dec. 11th by those who wanted to participate. The form for judging contained 5 lists – novelty, red, white, marble, and pink. The top five favorites in each category were voted for. This year we also had a fill in section for people to write in their 3 favorite over all. Ads were run in the Winston-Salem Journal, Weekly Independent, Stokes News, Mount Airy News, The Pilot, Foothill Times, and Yadkin Valley Living Magazine. We were featured on the cover of The Foothill Times with an ad inside about poinsettias. It was on the calendar of events for King Chamber of Commerce, North Carolina Commercial Flower Growers Assoc., North Carolina Agritourism Networking Assoc., Carolina Gardener Magazine, Winston-Salem Journal garden page, and Winston-Salem Journal Relish. Fox 8 News WGHP did two live stories on the morning show and on the 10:00 news and ran pictures on their website. WFMY TV – Digtriad .com news from Greensboro also did a segment at our greenhouse on the evening news “Made in the Triad” and listed us on their website. The Winston Salem Journal had a color picture and mentioned it on their garden page. We sent out over 1600 picture postcards to our customers. We list it on our website, on our facebook page, and on our blog.

To get points I gave each 1st place vote 5 points, 2nd place 4 points, 3rd place 3 points, 4th place 2 points, and 5th place 1 point. Attached is a copy of a blank ballot. If you have any suggestions on how to improve it, please email them to me.

The results of our open house are on another attachment.


Judy Mitchell

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 Business Extravaganza

Economic Development Commission


For Release: Immediately

Contact: Alan Wood, Director, Stokes County EDC, 335-593-2496

January 3, 2011

RE: Stokes County Business Extravaganza II

The second annual Stokes County Business Extravaganza is scheduled to take place January 20, 2011 at YMCA Camp Hanes, 1225 Camp Hanes Rd. King NC. The “Extravaganza” is designed as a showcase for local businesses and is open to all business owners in Stokes County. Over 35 booths have been reserved by local businesses and more than 650 invitations have been mailed for the event, which promises to be even bigger than last year. The event is being hosted by the Stokes County Economic Development Commission and is made possible by corporate event sponsor NewBridge Bank.
Last years event, which was attended by over 200, was a light-hearted affair, with lots of laughs, good food, plenty of door prizes, networking and more. This year’s event is expected to be even larger and its “Tropical” theme is being developed to help remove some of the chill from a cold January evening.
The “Extravaganza” is an informal event centered abound the businesses that are participating at the affair. It is scheduled to begin at 5:30 and last until 8:00 PM. Music for the event will be provided by Josh Shelton and the food is being prepared by Stephen Doran and the Camp Hanes Staff. Door prizes will be announced all through the evening and the grand prize will be awarded just before the event ends at 8:00 PM. All guests are invited to come early and stay as long as they would like.
Bruce Younts, Chairman of the Stokes County EDC believes this event is extremely important to Stokes County and its continuing efforts to build an identity within its business community. “We have several challenges in the county, including a mountain
PO Box 20 Danbury, NC 27016 336-593-2496

range that divides us geographically. It is important for our business leaders and county officials to have an opportunity to meet face to face in a relaxed atmosphere, where they can share ideas and plan for the future. This event provides such an opportunity.”
Alan Wood, CEcD, Director of the Stokes County EDC, believes that the economic development efforts in the county must take a “holistic” approach, paying particular attention to existing businesses, nurturing start-ups and developing infrastructure for new and expanding ventures. “The “Business Extravaganza” is a centerpiece of the ongoing efforts of the Stokes County Economic Development Commission to reach out to the business community. The EDC has worked directly with over 70 businesses in the last year. This includes assistance with web building, marketing, searching for grant funding, assistance with business plan development and many other activities. The only way we can continue to help our businesses grow is by having open lines of communication. That is what this event designed to do. I also want to send out a special thanks to NewBridge Bank for sponsoring this event. They are a great partner and we anticipate their continuing support as we move ahead.
Mr. Wood asks that anyone who would like to attend RSVP by Monday, January 10—either by email to: or by phone at 336- 593-2496. Although the goal is a serious one, the atmosphere of the Extravaganza will be casual. Hors d’oeuvres, free of charge, will be served the entire time, and a significant number of door prizes will be given away, perhaps as often as every 15 minutes. Winners must attend but do not have to be present to claim their prize.

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