Biz Roundup: ‘Forward Rowan’ continues to draw support, raise money

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 25, 2020

SALISBURY — Even after officially coming to a close at the end of September, the Rowan Economic Development Commission’s “Forward Rowan” campaign continues to draw support from local businesses.

Wallace Realty and Miller Davis Agency committed to being Silver level investors while Hotwire Communications has made a Bronze level commitment. Allen Tate Relocation, North Carolina Railroad, DH Professionals LLC, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and Universal Forest Products-Salisbury have been added as Stakeholder level investors. Individual commitments were received from David Post, Steve Fisher and Dyke Messinger.

“Since the announcement that we had exceeded our fundraising goal for the Forward Rowan campaign, more organizations have demonstrated interest in joining this growth effort,” EDC President Rod Crider said in a news release. “They recognize the value it brings to them and to the community as a whole.”

The Rowan EDC is projecting that 2,500 new jobs and $350 million in new capital investments will be added across the county over the next five years, in part due to the “Forward Rowan” campaign.

Steve Fisher, the chairman and CEO of F&M Bank, served as co-chair of the campaign with Rowan County Board of Commissioners Chairman Greg Edds. Fisher said in a news release that the continued interest from local businesses indicates a pent-up demand for a strong economic development program for the county.

“They hadn’t been invited to the table before and with the new energy and leadership they bring, Rowan County will become even more competitive for new jobs and investment,” Fisher said.

More information about the “Forward Rowan” campaign can be found by reaching out to Crider at or by calling him at 704-637-5526.

Michael Jordan, Novant open another healthcare facility

CHARLOTTE — A year after Michael Jordan teamed up with Novant Health to open a family medical clinic in west Charlotte, the NBA legend and Novant Health have opened another healthcare facility in the North End community.

The two medical clinics, made possible by a $7 million grant by Jordan, offer comprehensive primary care, including behavioral health and social support services. The aim of the two facilities is to directly address health equity gaps.

“We are thrilled the North End community of Charlotte will have access to the same comprehensive care that is transforming lives at the Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinic in west Charlotte,” Carl Armato, CEO and president of Novant Health, said in a news release. “The impact of the first clinic has been measurable and if COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is the importance of having accessible, safe and quality care in communities that need it most. Michael Jordan’s commitment to improving the health of our communities, and society, is deep-rooted. We’re so grateful to be his partner in bringing care and resources to those who would otherwise be without.”

In its first year, the Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Clinic in west Charlotte has seen more than 3,500 patients, including more than 450 children. Of those over 3,000 patients, nearly 700 were assisted by the clinic’s social worker with nearly 80 patients being referred for additional behavioral health care.

In April, the clinic transitioned into a respiratory assessment center to meet the communities’ need for COVID-19 screening, testing, treatment and education. During that time, the clinic performed nearly 14,000 Coronavirus tests.

“When we came together to mark the first clinic’s opening last fall, no one could have predicted we would be facing a global pandemic just five months later,” Jordan said in a press release. “I’m so proud of the positive impact our clinic has had on the community so far, especially during COVID-19. Our second clinic will provide critical services to improve the health and lives of more Charlotteans, which is so important to me and to Novant Health.”

The new North End location is a 6,800-square-foot clinic equipped with 12 patient exam rooms, an X-ray room and space for physical therapy. It will implement the same integrated services model as the clinic in west Charlotte, to identify, treat, and support social determinants of health. This model includes embedding a full-time licensed clinical social worker on-site to help address those social determinants of health.

“When this clinic opened, I said ‘We’re here for the long haul. Not just in a crisis’,” Armato said. “In fact, the first clinic enabled us to better respond to the COVID-19 crisis. It gave us the infrastructure to set up walk-up testing — no referral needed. It gave us a platform to educate and treat patients — close to home. It even gave us a distribution point for our universal masking initiative, where we provided free masks to anyone who needed them. This second location is critical, as it expands our impact and reach.”

The Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinic is open Mon.-Fri. from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Patients can schedule appointments online, including same-day, or learn more about providers and available services online at Walk-in visits are also available.

Catawba alumnus receives award for social justice activism

SALISBURY — A Catawba College alumnus was recently awarded for his social justice activism.

Mike Wiley, who graduated from Catawba in 1995, is the recipient of the 2020 Ann Atwater Theater Award, which was presented by Manbites Dog Theater of Durham. This year, the award recognized six area theater artists and companies whose bodies of work reflect and honor Ann Atwater’s commitment to activism for social justice.

The award came from an unrestricted cash grant of $4,000 from the Manbites Dog Theater Fund, along with an original sculpture created by artist Andrew Preiss. Nominations for the award were solicited from the public in February and March 2020 and were evaluated by the Manbites Dog Theater board of directors who selected final recipients.

Wiley, a Pittsboro-based playwright, actor, director and educator, founded his own theater company called Mike Wiley Productions. He is attempting to bring educational theater to young audiences and communities by shining a light on key events and figures in African American history. Along with graduating from Catawba College, Wiley has a master’s of fine arts from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Wiley has led theater workshops for students, teachers and aspiring actors at Catawba’s Hedrick Little Theatre. He was inducted into the Catawba College Blue Masque Hall of Fame in 2013.

Salisbury Eyecare and Eyewear to host fall trunk show

SALISBURY — Salisbury Eyecare and Eyewear will host its fall trunk show on Thursday, Oct. 29.

This year, due to COVID-19, there will not be any walk-in availability and patrons must reserve their spot by booking an appointment. A $20 deposit is required to book a spot and will be applied to the customers glasses purchase as a discount.

The trunk show will feature frame lines from Orgreen and Etnia Barcelona.

To reserve a spot, call 704-310-5002 or email The event will be held at the Salisbury Eyecare and Eyewear office at 205 E. Council St. Suite B.

Study shows Rowan’s cost of living lower than national average

SALISBURY — The cost to live in Rowan County in the third quarter of 2020 was lower than the national average, according to a report from the Council for Community and Economic Research. 

Rowan County’s average cost of living index for that period was 93.5, below the average of 100. The cost of living index measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures. In Rowan County, data on 60 goods and services is collected each quarter by students at Catawba College under the director of Eric Hake, the dean of the Ketner School of Business. 

The composite cost of living index is based on six components: housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods and services.

“The cost of living study is important because it documents the affordability of Rowan County, which is a major factor in attracting new residents,” EDC President Rod Crider said in a news release. “It is particularly useful to companies in their talent recruitment efforts. For instance, our housing costs are 22% below the national average, which is an important factor in attracting young persons in the early stages of their careers.”

About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at

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