Business roundup: Whittington elected president of professional insurance agents of North Carolina

  • Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2013 1:15 a.m.
    UPDATED: Sunday, March 17, 2013 1:16 a.m.

J. Jay Whittington, president of Central Carolina Insurance Agency, has been elected president of the Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) of North Carolina.

Professional Insurance Agents was first chartered in 1935 and is an affiliate member of National PIA located in Alexandria, Va. It is an agents’ association run by agents and offers insurance and related support services to its members.

Whittington is a 38-year insurance veteran. He is a past president and assistant district governor of the Rotary Club of Salisbury, a past president of the Salisbury YMCA Board, and has served as an elder and deacon at First Presbyterian Church in Salisbury.

Whittington is a Catawba College graduate and is married to the former Sharon Wagoner. They have two sons and five grandchildren.

Central Carolina Insurance Agency has 28 employees with offices in Mooresville and Salisbury.

Free health care for children

Wee Care Clinic is offering free health care for children between birth and 12 years old with no insurance or insufficient coverage.

The free clinic starts Tuesday, March 19, and will operate the third Tuesday of each month from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Revolution Church in Kannapolis, 310 Brookdale St.

Contact Dr. Eric Troyer or Rebecca Benton at 704-855-2101 for more information.

Brady honored by Thrivent Financial

SALISBURY — Eric Brady, a financial consultant with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, has qualified for the Pinnacle Council conference. Of Thrivent Financial’s nearly 2,300 financial representatives, 165 qualified for this honor.

 Brady is with Thrivent Financial’s Eastern Regional Financial Office, serving Lutherans and their family members in Salisbury and surrounding communities. He will be recognized by his peers from across the country at the annual conference. Brady has been with Thrivent Financial for 22 years and has been recognized for his performance 17 times.


Belk celebrating 125 years

Belk is celebrating its 125th anniversary with 125 days of service dedicated to improving conditions at 250 Title I schools in low-income communities in 16 states.  

The first event took place in Charlotte on March 11, as more than 200 employees gathered for a makeover of two area schools.

Belk will invest $2 million in its first companywide service program, engaging all 23,000 of its employees.  Points of Light, the largest organization in the world dedicated to volunteer service, will help lead the effort.

Belk at the Salisbury Mall will move this fall to an expansion under construction at Wallace Commons, a shopping center on Julian Road at Interstate 85.

Curves holding food drive

ROCKWELL — Curves International’s 15th annual food drive, “Feed the Need,” includes a challenge to club members to meet a goal of 100,000 donations before March 23.  

Curves of Rockwell is asking its members to donate bags of non-perishable food or cash to support the local food bank. It will waive the joining fee for new members who bring in a bag of non-perishable food or donate $30 to their local food bank during the two-week period.

Curves of Rockwell os at 229 E. Main St., Suite 101, and can be reached at 704-279-4936 or  

Panera Bread opening set for late June

SALISBURY — The new Panera Bread under construction on East Innes Street in Salisbury should open this summer, according to the marketing manager for the Panera Breads of the Triad area.

Ashley Ketner said the store, which is going up next to Cookout, should open by late June or early July.

Business show May 2 at Event Center

The Rowan County Chamber of Commerce’s annual business show is May 2 at the Event Center. The show allows more than 60 exhibitors to showcase their products and services at an event open to the public with free parking, free admission and door prizes.

Booths are 70 percent sold out for the show that runs from 11 a.m. -4 p.m. at the Event Center, 315 Webb Road  (Exit 70 off Interstate 85).

Photos of previous shows are available at

Basinger completes week at diamond grading lab

SPENCER — Debbie Barnhardt Basinger, owner of Barnhardt Jewelers in Spencer, has completed a week at the diamond grading lab with the Gemological Institute of America in Atlanta.

She originally earned her certification for diamonds and diamond grading in the 1990s but went back to refresh and make sure her skills were up to the institute’s standards.  Basinger scored 98 percent on all grading.  She also attended the Atlanta Jewelry show for ideas on new lines out this summer.

Visit or the store at 314 S. Salisbury Ave. in Spencer, or call 704-633-0618.

Concord Mills aquarium construction set to begin

CONCORD — The company behind Madame Tussauds attractions will begin construction of a $10 million aquarium in July at Concord Mills, the largest tourist destination in North Carolina.

The Sea Life aquarium will be completed in spring of next year, according to Merlin Entertainments, which operates  Madame Tussauds celebrity wax attractions in New York, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas and Hollywood, as well as Lego attractions in Florida, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City and Atlanta.

“North America is a very important development market for Merlin, and we are delighted to be able to move forward with this exciting project in North Carolina,”  said Glenn Earlam, managing director of Merlin Entertainments’ Midway Attractions group.

February real estate sales up for Charlotte region

 CHARLOTTE — Charlotte Regional Realtor Association reported that based on Carolina Multiple Listing Services Inc. data, closings in February were up 26.6 percent compared to February 2012. Sales totaled 2,043 compared to 1,614 for the same period last year.  

 Both the average and median sales prices continued to post increases. The average sales price in February 2013 ($194,900) was up 5.5 percent compared to February 2012 ($184,766), and the median price ($150,923) was up 3.8 percent over February 2012 ($145,450).

 The average list price in February 2013 ($267,708) increased 8.1 percent over February  2012 ($247,736), bringing the percent of original list price received measure to 92.6 percent compared to 90.7 percent last February. Demand across the region was still strong; pending sales totaled 3,089, an increase of 52.7 percent over the previous period when contracts totaled 2,023.

New residential listings totaled 4,207, which is up 4.7 percent over February 2012. Inventory continued to fall, decreasing 28.9 percent compared to February 2012, leaving the CarolinaMLS region with a five-month supply of homes for sale.

“With new listings up nearly 5 percent we’re hopeful that this is an early sign of seller confidence being restored throughout the region,” 2013 Association/CarolinaMLS President Eric Locher said. “Sellers should still be mindful that homes need to be priced right for the current market.  Buyers need to understand that we’re edging closer to a seller’s market and in some situations, we’re seeing more multiple offers and sales price exceeding list price.”

 The average number of days a property was on the market from the time it was listed until it closed (list to close) was 147 days, which is a decrease of 12 days compared to February 2012. 

Foreclosures and short sales within CarolinaMLS continued to fall, with distressed properties accounting for 10.2 percent of new listings compared with 13.8 percent last February. 

First Bancorp’s 8-cent cash dividend matches last year’s

TROY — The board of directors of First Bancorp, parent company of First Bank, has declared a cash dividend on common stock of 8 cents per share payable April 25 to shareholders of record as of March 31.

The per share dividend rate is the same as the rate declared in the comparable period of 2012.

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