Biz Roundup: Rowan County unemployment rate improves in September

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 14, 2021

SALISBURY — Rowan County’s unemployment rate improved from 4.4% in August to 3.8% in September, according to data released by the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

Unemployment rates showed improvement in all 100 of North Carolina’s counties in September, with all 15 of the state’s metro areas experiencing better rates as well. The statewide unemployment rate for September was 3.8%, which decreased 0.6 of a percentage point from August’s revised rate, and declined 3.3 percentage points over the year before. Scotland County had the highest unemployment rate at 7.8% while Orange County had the lowest at 2.8%.

The September unemployment rate is not seasonally adjusted, meaning that seasonal hiring patterns have not been taken into account.

Rowan County’s September 2021 unemployment rate was down 3.7 percentage points from its September 2020 rate of 7.5%. Rowan County’s 3.8% unemployment rate in September of this year ranked 54th in the state. Out of a labor force of 65,900 workers, only 2,496 were unemployed.

Rowan County’s unemployment rate was higher than its neighboring counties in September. Davie County had the lowest rate at 3.3%, with Cabarrus County was at 3.4% and Stanly and Davidson counties both had 3.5% rates. Iredell had a 3.6% unemployment rate.

Chewy, Atrium Health Ballpark receive awards from Charlotte Business Journal

Salisbury’s Chewy Distribution Center and Atrium Health Ballpark and the West Avenue Streetscape were recently announced as winners at the Charlotte Business Journal’s Heavy Hitters Commercial Real Estate Awards program.

Finalists were selected based on their contributions to the Charlotte region business community, the design and execution and the economic impact.

In Chewy’s profile, CBJ stated, “there aren’t many hotter areas for industrial development in the Charlotte region right now than Rowan County. And market observers point to the project as one that opened the door for a barrage of industrial activity for the county.” Chewy was named the winner for top warehouse/industrial development.

In the spotlight of Atrium Health Ballpark, CBJ noted, “Kannapolis embarked on a plan to remake its downtown almost a decade ago as the N.C. Research Campus secured the town’s commercial future. The center of the revitalization plan was a ballpark for the city’s minor-league baseball team. In 2021, that vision became reality…The park, along with the renovated streetscape, has drawn more people and investment downtown.” Atrium Health Ballpark earned the award for top public/private development.

Rowan County improves in talent attraction rankings

SALISBURY — Rowan County made a jump of more than 50 spots in the sixth annual talent attraction scorecard released by EMSI Burning Glass Labor Market Analytics.

The county improved from No. 332 to No. 285. The rankings are based on IRS migration data, job growth, educational attainment, regional competitiveness and job openings per capita. Rowan is included among large counties with more than 100,000 residents.

“It’s a positive sign to see such a large step in the right direction for Rowan County,” Rod Crider, Rowan EDC president, said in a news release. “These numbers show that our labor pool is growing and incoming businesses will be able to hire the staffing they need to be successful.”

Dewey’s Bakery holiday pop-up shop returns to Salisbury

SALISBURY — For the second year in a row, Salisbury residents won’t have to travel to Winston-Salem to get their hands on baked goods from Dewey’s Bakery.

A Dewey’s Bakery holiday pop-up shop will once again be located 317 Faith Road. The shop returned to Salisbury last year after an eight-year hiatus. Funds from the shop will once again benefit Helping Athletes Navigate Dreams, a nonprofit organization that supports adolescent athletics programs.

The shops are temporary extensions of the Winston-Salem Bakery that carry fresh baked goods such as ginger spice Moravian style cookie thins and sugar cake. There will also be a number of vendors featured in the Salisbury shop, including jewelry makers, potters and bakers. Christmas decorations will be on sale as well.

The pop-up shop will open Thursday and remain open through Dec. 23. There will be a grand opening for the shop on Nov. 27 with a ribbon cutting and pictures with Santa Claus.

The shop’s hours are from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday. More information can be found on the shop’s Facebook page.

Registration deadline approaches for Rowan Chamber’s November Power in Partnership

SALISBURY — Tuesday at 5 p.m. is the deadline for participants to sign up for the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce’s Power in Partnership program on Thursday.

The program will be held at 7:30 a.m. at Trinity Oaks (728 Klumac Road) and will feature speakers Eric Tillmon and Sylvia Jones, who will present on the importance of apprenticeship and internship opportunities in the business community. The program is sponsored by Atrium Health.

Tillmon serves as the apprenticeship consultant for the Southwest Prosperity Zone of North Carolina for Apprenticeship NC. He also leads staff development and apprenticeship sponsor training programs for the organization.

Jones is the apprenticeship coordinator for the Southwest Prosperity Zone of North Carolina, which covers 10 counties in North Carolina. She has been a part of workforce development for more than 20 years. She enjoys helping companies and job seekers accomplish their needs within workforce development and obtaining career goals

The program is open to the public and is $15 for Chamber members and $25 for non-members.

Registration for the event is online at

Rowan Chamber will host Business After Hours networking event at Salisbury Eyecare and Eyewear

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Chamber of Commerce will host a Business After Hours event at Salisbury Eyecare and Eyewear on Monday at 5 p.m. 

There will be food, drinks and networking opportunities. The event is being held at Salisbury Eyecare and Eyewear’s new location at 228 W. Council Street. Attendees are encouraged to bring their business cards for networking and to be entered for door prize drawings.

The event is free for members and open to non-members for a $20 fee payable at the door. Dress is business casual.

More information about business after hours is available at

Nazareth Child & Family Connection names new director of development

ROCKWELL — Hugo Crigler has been named director of development for Nazareth Child & Family Connection.

“We are so fortunate we were able to land someone like Hugo for this position,” Vernon Walters Jr., CEO of Nazareth, said in a news release. “Hugo has worked with nonprofits throughout the region in his previous job. He understands the needs of a nonprofit, the needs of Nazareth. Because he’s a life-long resident of our area, it seems like everyone knows him. His connections to the community are going to be invaluable to Nazareth. We are excited to have him aboard.”

Based in Rockwell, Nazareth provides a number of services including family foster care, adoptions, transitional living services for young adults, Level II therapeutic residential, short term care, individual and group outpatient therapy, psychiatric services and outpatient substance abuse therapy in Rowan, Davidson and Stanly counties. 

In his role as director of development, Crigler will create and oversee the implementation of a strategic approach to fundraising and community awareness which may include major gifts, capital campaigns, corporate donations, grant solicitation and in-kind resources. 

The director’s duties also include the development of an awareness campaign for Nazareth through personal contacts, community events and social media/technology to increase the overall visibility of Nazareth in the local community and surrounding communities.

“I think I can bring maybe a bit of a fresh look at donors, maybe use my connections of living in Davidson County my whole life and broaden the donor base,” Crigler said in a statement. “Hopefully I can help bring more attention to Nazareth and make them more visible in the three counties.”

Crigler, who holds a bachelor of art in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, has been involved in sales for most of his career. For the last decade or so, he sold almost exclusively to nonprofits. That’s where his first direct contact with Nazareth occurred.

“About two years ago I came to Nazareth and did a presentation to the board. That was when I got the first sense of the people here, how great the employees were, how great the board was,” Crigler said. “I had worked with Nazareth for years, but when I made that presentation, I found out even more.”

When Crigler discovered there was an opening at Nazareth for a director of development, he immediately contacted Walters.

“I had always told my wife, when I retired, I wanted to go into a nonprofit and make a difference in the community,” said Crigler. “It just happened a little sooner than I thought. A door opened and it turned out to be a great opportunity.”

High on Crigler’s list of priorities in his new role is to better inform the community of the range of services offered by Nazareth.

“I don’t believe everyone knows the wide array of services we offer, not only to children, but to families,” said Crigler. “Not only do we help children in need, but children that are having difficulties, children and families who have substance abuse problems. I don’t think people realize all the ways Nazareth helps the community.”

The children’s home, which opened in 1906, remains at the heart of Nazareth’s work.

“The children’s home is at the crux of what we do,” Crigler said. “Helping these children and these families and helping them be reunited is huge. The children may get off to a rocky start, but with our influence and help, they become valuable members of the community.”

Cheerwine celebrates return of holiday punch

SALISBURY — Cheerwine is celebrating the return of its holiday punch to Carolina shelves by partnering with 16 Carolinian chefs, bakers and mixologists to release a recipe suite of sips and sweets.

Each chef/baker created a dessert featuring the soft drink or Cheerwine syrup, while the mixologists incorporated Cheerwine Holiday Punch into their crafty cocktails.

The punch combines Cheerwine’s cherry flavor, pineapple juice and ginger ale to create a unique seasonal taste. It is now available online and in grocery stores while supplies last.

“Cheerwine has been part of family traditions across the South for generations,” Joy Harper, the great-great granddaughter of Cheerwine’s founder and vice president of marketing for Cheerwine, said in a news release. “We’re thrilled to share these brand new recipes people can incorporate into their uniquely southern holiday celebrations for years to come. And we’re grateful to the talented Carolinian chefs and mixologists who created delicious sips and sweets using Cheerwine and Cheerwine Holiday Punch.”

Here are the locations where chefs, bakers and mixologists will be making punch creations:


Cynthia Wong (Life Raft Treats): Cheerwine Monkey Bread 

Jessica Olin (Butcher & Bee): Cheerwine Fruitcake 

Laura Costa (Lenoir): Christmas Gift! 

James Bolt (The Gin Joint): Cheer of the Century


Anthony Denning (Another!? Food Truck): Cheerwine Blondie With Cheerwine Butter Cream  

Chris Coleman (The Goodyear House and Old Town Kitchen & Cocktails): Chocolate Cheerwine Buche de Noel

Jossie Lukacik (Sweet Spot Studio): Chocolate Cherry Bundt Cake

Sam Allen (Wentworth & Fenn): Chocolate Chip Cheerwine Banana Bread 


Jolene Bailey (Buttercream Dreams): Chocolate Cheerwine Whoopie Pies 

Mesha Wilson (Mesha’s Sinful Cakes): Mesha’s Gourmet Cherry Cheerwine Pie

The Triad 

Eric Snow (GIA): Upside Down Cheerwine Cake (cocktail) 

Sara McCarthy (Easy Peasy Decadent Desserts): Cheerwine Holiday Punch Upside Down Cake

The Triangle 

Spring Council (Mama Dip’s Kitchen): Cheerwine Bourbon Balls 

Steven Bull (The BullTender): Cheerwine Manhattan

Annalee Johnston (The Southerly Biscuit Company): Simple Cherry Cheerwine Pie 

Lynn Damron (Spoonfed Kitchen): Chocolate Cherry Cheerwine Trifle 

Ten of the partners will serve their Cheerwine creations at their establishments through the holiday season while supplies last, including The Gin Joint, Butcher & Bee, Another!? Food Truck, Wentworth & Fenn, Buttercream Dreams, Mesha’s Sinful Cakes, GIA, Easy Peasy Decadent Desserts, Spoonfed Kitchen & Bake Shop and The Southerly Biscuit Company.  Please call ahead to confirm the Cheerwine desserts and cocktails are available.

Cheerwine is also unveiling its 2021 holiday gift line, including the Cheerwine Holiday Punch Kit.

For more information about Cheerwine Holiday Punch, visit

Salisbury resident launches career as an author with publication of first book

SALISBURY — A Salisbury resident and Livingstone College graduate published her first book earlier this month.

Tamara Buchanan-Martin, who uses the pseudonym Y.L.G.U. (Young Lad God Understands), published “Putting It All in Words.” The inspirational book was published by HOV Publishing.

Buchanan-Martin was born and raised in a small town in Pennsylvania, but later moved to Salisbury. She holds a bachelor of arts in psychology from Livingstone College and a masters in business administration in human resources from Columbia Southern University.

Buchanan-Martin has been a salesperson in the automotive industry for more than 20 years and is now hoping to launch a career as an author. Buchanan-Martin is also a foster parent. Buchanan-Martin said she enjoys spending time with those who truly allow her to mentor and help.

“Putting It All in Words” can be found on

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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