Downtown Greensboro’s New Addition

Downtown Greensboro’s New Addition

26th Aug 2016 (Y)our Greensboro, Community

By: Cedric Blue II

August 8, 2016 marked the beginning of a new era in downtown Greensboro. The first to be completed in a series of major construction projects changing the face of downtown Greensboro, LeBauer Park opened to the public with one of the largest group ribbon cuttings that I have ever witnessed. That diverse crowd of excited locals simultaneously cutting the ribbon would foreshadow one of the most dynamic and important features of the park; its ability to bring people together.

Where We Met- from belwo

      Where We Met- the view from below

Art lovers will tell you how gorgeous the Janet Echelman sculpture “Where We Met” is when it is lit at night above the Price/Bryan Performance Place. Kids are prone to gush over the Children’s Garden and its innovative features that make it one of the most unique play spaces in the county. And dog lovers will tell you what a welcome addition the Downtown Greensboro Animal Hospital Dog Park is to the area. However, the most impressive aspect of LeBauer to me is its patronage.

As a born and raised Greensboro local I can say with a fair amount of certainty that the crowds flocking to the park daily are some of the most diverse that I have ever seen at a public meeting space in Greensboro. People of all ages, races, and walks of life not only share the space but interact with one another on many different levels.

All of this has given me so much more context for the park’s artistic centerpiece, “Where We Met.” Echelman’s interpretation of the converging NC rail lines that gave us the nickname “The Gate City” is a macro concept happening on a micro level right now in Greensboro at LeBauer Park. Not even two weeks old, the park is one of the strongest points of convergence in Greensboro. It is my sincere hope that this sense of unity and camaraderie continues to flourish in the park and carries on to the different other projects being completed downtown in the coming years.

And by the way, if for some unthinkable reason you’re not impressed thus far, keep your eyes on the park this winter. Chatter on the line has it that there’s a strong chance of snow…..

 

 

 

Collaborative Space, a new frontier.

Collaborative Space, a new frontier.

26th Jun 2016 Community

Written by Joe Rotondi

There has been a trend quickly moving across the globe. Collaborative spaces and makerspaces share resources in a way that makes them affordable to many who wouldn’t be able to access them otherwise. Sound like social capitalism…or capitalist socialism? Or could it be just a smart business model.

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A peek  inside Forge Greensboro; Photo by: Joe Rotondi

From  a macro perspective, these spaces are almost indiscernible from one another. They all promote open access, are made up of diverse and loyal communities which share the financial burden of resources that would be expensive for any one individual or business to bear alone.

Have a large conference space and and AV equipment, or a half ton Colchester machining lathe in the middle of a downtown, but only need to use them twice a week? Why not share that cost with a dozen or more others? Schedule to use it when you need to use it and only pay a fraction of the cost through a monthly subscription.That is just smart business.

More than just sharing the resources, these communities are about enabling each other. Exchanging ideas, networks, referring clients, bartering or sourcing skills or services are all added benefits of working in a diverse community that shares resources. “Water cooler” conversations happen throughout these, and go far beyond idle banter. These exchanges are leading to strong buzzwords: ideas, collaboration, and innovation.

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Collaboration in progress; Photo by: Joe Rotondi

Greensboro has examples of all of these spaces. On a micro perspective, they do differ, even within the same category. Our coworking spaces include Naussbaum Center, Co/Lab, HQ Greensboro. As for makerspaces we have Forge GSO, SELF Design Studio, A&T Makerspace, Public Library Makerspace, among other school makerspaces.

I have the privilege of working at Forge Greensboro. Though I give tours describing collaborative space daily, I am continually surprised by how others come to interact and utilyze them. In my next few posts, I will explore our local spaces to find out what they mean to those who use them most.

-joe

Greensboro Close Up: Hudson’s Hill

Greensboro Close Up: Hudson’s Hill

24th May 2016 (Y)our Greensboro, Community

Written by: Carlee Dempsey

photo courtesy of Our State Magazine

Photo By:  Our State Magazine

Name: William Clayton

Company: Hudson’s Hill, President

Location: 527 S Elm Street, Greensboro, NC

Opened in: 2011 (Originally under the name Civic Threads. Transformed into Hudson’s Hill after merging with Gate City Dry Goods in 2014).

How did you get into the world of clothing / retail?
My family owns StitchFX, also located in Downtown Greensboro, which specializes in embroidery, screenprinting, and embellishments. So I got a taste of the industry, both on the buying and wholesale sides, through them. Throughout high school and college, I have always been enamored with the way people express themselves. After receiving my degree in Communication Studies from UNCG, I decided to open my own company with my dad and sister, Civic Threads. From there, it steadily transformed into Hudson’s Hill.

Why did you decide to open your business in Greensboro?
After living on the West Coast for 6 months after college, I learned how much the people and the unique shops affected the atmosphere and cities of the areas I visited. When I returned to Greensboro, I noticed a large lack of these niche markets and stores. I couldn’t help but feel Greensboro was missing out on great opportunities. The history of Greensboro and its impact on the world during the days of Cone Mills lent even further to the city’s overall potential. So I saw an opportunity to create something not only new and unique but also something that would be an ode of sorts to Greensboro’s rich history.

Why did you decide to open your business in downtown Greensboro?
Much like the city as a whole, downtown was brimming with potential. That, along with finding the perfect location in the Coe Grocery and Seed Company, made the decision to open in downtown an easy fit.

How long have you lived in GSO?
My entire life, except for the 6-month stint on the West Coast.

Why did you choose to stay in GSO?
Honestly, I had every intention of moving back to the West Coast but on whim, we opened Civic Threads and before I knew it we were merging with Evan Morrison of Gate City Dry Goods Co. and now, 2 years later here we are. Hudson’s Hill has transformed from a t-shirt company into clothing and goods market, where everything is sourced as local as possible. Along, with making jeans to order, we have also started lifetime warranty denim repairs.

What is your favorite part of living in GSO?
My favorite thing about GSO is that it’s a big city with a small town feel. I feel like I have only explored a fraction of what Greensboro has to offer but I run into people I know everywhere I go. Greensboro also has a ton of potential. We are the home to numerous businesses, colleges, and events. It’s the perfect city for young professionals and entrepreneurs and I’ve loved being a part of the process of building up GSO.

What’s your favorite local spot?
I have a few spots I frequent a lot! They’re mostly unique, hole in the wall spots (like my own shop). Sticks and Stones, The Table on Elm, Gibbs & Preyer, Yum Yums, Beef Burger (one of the original Burger Kings!), and College Hill are my go to’s.

Greensboro’s Unlikely Oasis

Greensboro’s Unlikely Oasis

Written by Jeff Lail

Greensboro has some great parks, including the enormous Guilford Courthouse National Military Park and the series of connected Greenways, but my favorite is a tiny gem nestled close to the Friendly Center Shopping Center, the Greensboro Bog Garden.  Amid the hustle and bustle of one of the busier areas, the Bog Garden is filled with interesting wildlife and plants as well as the bog itself.

A walking trail runs from Northline Avenue (behind the Harris Teeter in Friendly Center) into the Bog Garden, but most folks access the park from Starmount Farms Drive by parking on the street in this residential area and finding the entrance by the statue.  A boardwalk runs around the marshier parts of the park, but there are also many walking trails to explore the ends of the park.
Barred Owl

Barred Owl

 

The wildlife is one of the best things about this park.  A large group of residential ducks live here year round, as do many other species, but this is also a seasonal stop for a variety of other species like gulls and other types of ducks.  Bring your binoculars and look out across the pond or hike down through the woods on the side of the pond and you might be surprised what you see.  I’ve personally seen several types of gulls, herons, woodpeckers, and ducks as well as a kingfisher.

One of the year round residents is a barred owl that resides in the area around the bamboo on the boardwalk.  If you’re having a hard time locating the owl, there are often some helpful neighborhood folks around who can spot him.  If you’re there around dusk, you can occasionally hear the owl hooting.
The main thing that I love about the Bog Garden is that it’s convenient to the places I live and work but still so peaceful.  You can certainly hear cars going to and from Friendly Center, but it’s an oasis in a noisy city that’s easy to get to and enjoy.
Crafted – The Art of Street Food

Crafted – The Art of Street Food

Drop what you are doing and eat: Crafted – The Art of Street Food

By: Alexa Powell

For close to a year, I followed the flurry of articles in the Triad City Beat, Greensboro Magazine, and Yes Weekly! about the opening of the new restaurant, Crafted – The Art of Street Food. Their theme was a closely guarded secret until only a few weeks before the restaurant opened. As a world traveler, I was intrigued and hopeful about the unique concept of offering street food from around the globe in a single place; I imagined that I would be transported around the world, minus an expensive airline ticket, to the sights and smells of simple, but decadent delights. The anticipation finally got the better of me and I decided it was time to check it out.

The first obvious thing we noticed about the new Crafted was the complete lack of practical parking. Fortunately, there is some, albeit limited, on street parking in the little neighborhood behind the restaurant and it’s a short walk. Suggestion Box: I wonder if Guilford County Schools would consider a joint use agreement for the parking lot just behind the restaurant (currently only GCS employees can park there and towing is enforced).

On my first adventure to the new Crafted, business was booming and the place was in full swing with more than an hour wait for a table; even the full service bar was packed. Undeterred by the wait, I did what any millennial would do; I grabbed the cocktail list! They have an amazing selection of artisan cocktails, and a modest selection of beer and wine.
While sipping a potent $9 Pomegranate Habanero Margarita (complete with Hornitos Repasado, Cointreau, fresh lime, and Habanero Bitters), on the open air porch, we enjoyed a delightful mix of conversations with other diners also waiting for a table. While engaged in people watching, I also noticed the restaurant attracted not only the expected middle aged foodies, but also various eclectic young people, and a diverse group of folks from all different age groups, and cultures. The restaurant was buzzing with conversations and laughter reminding me of leisurely evenings in Spain where friends gather to enjoy tapas. I’m not sure if it was the heat from the drink, the balmy summer air, or the warmth of the restaurant’s atmosphere, but I definitely had a sense that I was about to eat at one of the hottest restaurants in town!

After an hour and fifteen minutes, we sat down at our two-top table in the main dining room; we were ravenous and everything looked and sounded amazing. We each decided to each pick two different things on the menu from two continents Asia and South America; the idea was to create our own sampler plate to share in small plate style. I choose the Bao – a HOT spicy kimchi topped braised pork served over a Chinese steamed bun, and the Jerk Chicken – well cooked thighs served on top of traditional yellow rice and beans with a back of the throat, slow and low heat.
My dinner companion ordered the Bahn Mi sandwich – a traditional Vietnamese street food with chicken and pork belly in a crusty bread roll topped with an amazing assortment of crunchy, fresh, pickled vegetables, and the Korean BBQ – beef short ribs covered with a sweet and savory red dragon sauce, that in my opinion, was Iron Chef worthy (see below for pictures). My favorite dish of the night was the Bahn Mi. The pork was flavorful, tender, and juicy and the pickled vegetables added the perfect sweet vinegary crunch. The ample serving portion was enough to bring home leftovers had I been so inclined.

Fast forward three days, and I found myself returning to the new Crafted for the second time in less than a week (yes, I liked their food). This time I accompanied a few people I met at the non-profit board mixer hosted by synerG. The event was a great tie-in to the earlier lunch and learn session about getting young professionals involved as board members for local non-profits (watch out Gboro we millennials are coming).

Anyway, there was a 30 min wait for a table at Crafted, but we made the most of it by going next door to Preyer Brewing. If you like beer, this is totally the right move while waiting for a table at Crafted; Preyer Brewing has some very comfortable seating. I tried their strawberry wheat beer. Personally, I am not a beer aficionado, but I enjoyed it. Some of my other companions, at the bar tasting the five glass beer flight, were not as impressed by that particular combo.

Once we got the “your table’s ready” call from Crafted, we walked next-door and sat at the long, central community table. Community tables, like the one at the new Crafted, are my favorite features in restaurants these days because they encourage and invite casual dialogue between strangers in a friendly neighborhood setting.
We were served a bowl of complimentary paprika spiced popcorn which was gone almost immediately after it arrived. I wanted to try another signature cocktail, so I went with the Cackalacky Grapefruit Cosmo – featuring local NC vodka, Cointreau, lime, grapefruit, and cranberry. It was the perfect, refreshing, citrus infused drink for after a long day at work. After much deliberation, I decided on the Cubano sandwich; it was the best version of a Cubano I’ve ever had, without exception! The pork was sweet and tender, the Swiss was creamy and melted, and my favorite pickled veggies were layered on top! This is definitely my go to dish for future meals here. I shared a bit of my sandwich with my table mates, and they agreed, they would return just to order the Cubano. Before leaving, we met the chef who seemed to be both as down to earth, and just as edgy as the graffiti that adorned the restaurants walls.

My final reflection, as I was sitting enjoying the company of new friends, was how much the downtown parts of G-boro have changed in the past six months. More new restaurants and breweries have recently opened than I can recall in the past few years combined. Greensboro is going through a transformation; a transformation that is an encouraging sign of a strengthening economy as well as a much needed revitalization of our city. After listening to some of my peers, it is increasingly apparent to me that the one thing my generation is looking for most is finding diverse places to connect with other people. I’m not talking about networking events, or social media forums which are good for the less shy among us but it can be intimidating. What I mean however, is actual physical spaces where people can congregate, meet each other, and engage in organic conversations. Having a vibrant, high quality, locally sourced, locally owned, and moderately priced food scene, where people from all walks of life interact, is a vital part of the equation when it comes to keeping young, vibrant, creative, engaged and motivated professionals here in Greensboro. For this reason, we need more gathering places like Crafted – The Art of Street Food to setup shop to help sustain, and encourage the forward momentum they started.

Alexa Powell is a Planner with PART (Piedmont Area Rapid Transit) and active young professional in Greensboro.

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