Biz Roundup: Downtown Salisbury plans holiday shopping events, festive activities

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 21, 2021

SALISBURY — Downtown Salisbury will get into the holiday spirit by hosting several upcoming events and activities.

The city will host Holiday Night Out on Black Friday, inviting the community to peruse the shops, boutiques and restaurants near the downtown Salisbury from 5-9 p.m. In addition to shopping, there will be decorations, lights, live music, snow and sounds of strolling carolers.

Just hours after the shopping spree is over on Black Friday, downtown Salisbury will celebrate Small Business Saturday. To encourage shoppers to check out local retailers, Downtown Salisbury Inc. will give customers a chance to win $50 in Downtown Dollars or other prizes. Downtown Dollars are vouchers that can be used at any participating business in the place of cash and then are turned into DSI for a full cash exchange. After someone makes a purchase at a participating shop on Saturday, they can fill out a simple form provided at each location or scan a QR code. The more purchases a person makes, the greater chance they have to win. Winners will be announced on Dec. 1.

Starting on Wednesday through Dec. 20, there will be a mailbox located in front of Rowan Cellular Repair at 100 S. Main St., giving children a place to put their letters to Santa Claus. Santa will write each child back and could even send a “special gift” from Downtown Salisbury Inc. if participants include a clearly written return address.

Rowan EDC adds Hamblin to Board of Directors

SALISBURY — Gary Hamblin, director of operations for Henkel, is set to join the Rowan Economic Development Council’s Board of Directors in January.

“We’re excited to have Gary join our Board of Directors,” Rowan EDC President Rod Crider said in a news release. “His experience and leadership in Rowan County will be a significant asset to our business community in this role.”

Hamblin is the first of up to five new nominees appointed by the current board following updates to the Rowan EDC’s bylaws passed earlier this year.

The board was previously limited to 10 individuals, seven of whom are appointed by the Rowan County Board of Commissioners, two appointed by the Salisbury City Council and one by the other towns in the county. The chairperson of the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce also serves as an ex-officio member. The five additional board members would be appointed by the board of directors rather than municipalities.

Hamblin is in his 18th year working for Henkel, with the last seven of those years in Rowan County. He is also an active member of the Rowan County United Way, contributing to the nonprofit’s current fundraising efforts.

“I enjoy working with the EDC team and was honored to be chosen as a new Board member,” Hamblin said in a news release. “I hope to bring my insight in running a company and the opportunities and challenges in Rowan County to the Board.”

Hamblin has also assisted in the Forward Rowan campaign, in which Henkel is a Gold Sponsor. The Forward Rowan campaign kickstarted the Rowan EDC’s shift to a private-public funding model, as opposed to being solely publicly funded.

“Henkel is big in community outreach programs, and we benefit when Rowan County is successful and prosperous,” Hamblin said. “Forward Rowan helps to attract and develop a strong workforce, which helps Henkel succeed.”

Concord airport adds new non-stop flight to Florida

CONCORD — Travelers who fly out of Concord-Padgett Regional Airport now have a new destination to pick from.

Allegiant on Thursday introduced a new nonstop route to Melbourne, Florida via the Melbourne Orlando International Airport from Concord-Padgett Regional Airport. To celebrate, the airline company is offering one-way fares on the new route as low as $33.

“Melbourne provides a variety of attractions and activities to cater to any traveler’s itinerary and we’re excited to provide Concord residents with convenient, low-cost flights to get there,” Drew Wells, Allegiant’s senior vice president of revenue and planning, said in a news release. “We think vacationers will enjoy our brand of air travel: nonstop flights without the hassle of layovers or connections.”

The new route will operate twice weekly. Flight days, times and the lowest fares can be found at

“Concord is one of the region’s fastest growing cities and we are excited that Allegiant continues to grow along with us,” Dirk Vanderleest, aviation director for Concord-Padgett Regional Airport, said in a news release. “With this new nonstop service to Melbourne Orlando International Airport, Allegiant will now serve nine destinations from Concord-Padgett Regional Airport. We look forward to welcoming new visitors to Concord and we are thrilled to expand the choices for low fare travel available to our community.”

Biden appoints new SBA regional administrator to oversee North Carolina, other southern states

President Joe Biden recently appointed three regional administrators for the U.S. Small Business Administration, including a new administrator for the southeast region.

Allen Thomas will now oversee SBA programs, offices and operations in North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee. 

Thomas is a former three-term mayor of Greenville, North Carolina, and is a businessman and entrepreneur. As mayor of Greenville, Thomas led the post-recession recovery, rapid expansion and robust economic growth. He was recognized by the White House during the Obama Administration for community engagement in law enforcement and public safety.

Thomas co-founded healthcare technology startup IQMax, which grew to service 160 medical facilities in 36 states, processing 18 million patient records per day.  Thomas was appointed Executive Director of North Carolina Global TransPark by Gov. Roy Cooper to revitalize the state’s global multimodal transportation and logistics hub, spearheading growth in advanced manufacturing jobs, innovation and investment. 

Biden also appointed Mike Vlacich as regional administrator for the New England region and Elmy Bermejo as regional administrator for the Pacific region.

“America’s 32.5 million small businesses and innovative startups deserve experienced champions to make sure we’re delivering first-class customer service and support that makes a real difference,” SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in a statement.Mike, Allen, and Elmy are talented leaders ready to hit the ground running, leading our dedicated regional teams to deliver the on-the-ground guidance and impactful services that will help our entrepreneurs survive, pivot to new opportunities, grow and thrive as we turn the page on this pandemic.”

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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