Published: Mar 22, 2007 07:13 PM
Modified: Mar 25, 2007 11:46 AM
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce announced its business of the year awards at its annual luncheon Tuesday afternoon.
Taking home the Business Newcomer of the Year Award for a business less than 3 years old was DSI Comedy Theater in Carrboro. The improv comedy theater, founded by executive producer Zach Ward, has entertained more than 3,000 audience members since it opened in October 2005 and taught more than 200 students in improv classes last year. It also holds the annual Dirty South Improv Festival, which draws hundreds of comedians from across the country.
Chapel Hill Wine Company nabbed honors for small business of the year. The company raised more than $30,000 for the N.C. Children's Hospital last year with its "Corks for Kids" event, and owner Todd Wielar chairs the N.C. Children's Promise Advisory Board and was active in the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's 2006 Harvest Wine Festival. The company's Hillsborough location moved into a new home in the fall and tripled its wine selection.
The Mid-size Business of the Year Award went to Lantern Restaurant, which recently was named one of America's Top 50 restaurants by Gourmet magazine. Last year chef Andrea Reusing, through her work with the Triangle's Slow Food Chapter, arranged for 13 local farmers to travel to Italy, where she spoke on behalf of North Carolina agriculture. Reusing also sat on the advisory board for the Center for Environmental Farming Systems in North Carolina, which studies environmentally sustainable farming practices.
The Chapel Hill Restaurant Group, which includes Spanky's, 411 West, Squid's and Raleigh's 518 West, was named large business of the year. The group has contributed more than $1 million in donations and service to local civic efforts including cancer research, local schools, the N.C. Children's Hospital and the American Heart Association. It carefully monitors the energy efficiency of its equipment and recycles everything from cooking-oil waste to oyster shells, cutting its total waste stream in half.
The final award of the day went to state Rep. Joe Hackney, who received the Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award, given to individuals or groups who show outstanding volunteer service and civic participation. Hackney, who was elected speaker of the House last week, is co-chair of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators and has previously been recognized as legislator of the year by the N.C. Wildlife Federation, N.C. Citizens Action and N.C. Consumers Council.
Soph launches new ad service
UNC sophomore Matt Filer has launched TarDeals, an advertising service aimed at connecting local businesses to the student market.
Filer, a double major in business and public policy from Alpharetta, Ga., came up with the idea when he was home for Easter last year. The service uses a Web site, TarDeals.com, and gives local bars and restaurants passwords to directly post daily specials, coupons or other information. Anyone can use the site, Filer said, but the target audience is students.
"I kind of had always wanted to start some sort of a business and experience entrepreneurship firsthand," Filer said. "I woke up in the middle of the night with this idea."
Filer has been hyping the site on campus. He organized a pub crawl Wednesday night that included bars participating in the service and has plans to organize an inter-fraternity hot wings eating competition at another advertiser, Buffalo Wild Wings.
Vets' valentines get free postage
The UPS Stores at Carrboro Plaza and 1289 Fordham Blvd. are providing free first-class postage for one-ounce Valentines and letters sent to military personnel overseas or to veterans in VA hospitals. Letters must be sent by Valentine's Day addressed to a specific serviceman or woman at an assigned APO/FPO address or a specific veteran in a VA hospital.
Business week ahead
- Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce: The First Friday Business Before Hours networking event will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Friday at Performance Automall, 1810 N. Fordham Blvd.
- Chapel Hill Leads Group: The Chapel Hill Leads Group, a business networking group for Chapel Hill, Durham and surrounding areas, meets from 8 to 9:30 a.m. every Wednesday at The Weathervane restaurant.
- SCORE: Volunteers from SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives, are available for free consultations with businesses in Orange and Chatham counties from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. every Tuesday and Wednesday at the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce. Call 968-6894 or 967-7075 to schedule an appointment.
- Hillsborough Leads Group: The group meets from 8 to 9:30 a.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month at Occoneechee Steak House, 378 S. Churton St.
- Pittsboro Business Women's Group: The group meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month from 8 to 9 a.m. at Chatham Mortgage, 76 Hillsboro St. Meetings include a 10-minute presentation on a member's business and offer the chance for each attendee to introduce her business.