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[SCUTTLEBUTT]

by Jeff Sykes

Items from across the Triad and beyond

POWER OUT, HOTELS BOOKED

Power crews came from across the Southeast to help get the Triad back up and running. Crews from South Carolina were working along the back roads of Alamance and Caswell counties.

Duke Power brought in more than 3,000 people to help restore power when freezing rain caused about half-a-million customers in the region to lose electricity.

With that many crews in the Triad, hotel rooms were at a premium as workers competed with homeowners seeking a warm place to stay for limited hotel rooms a week before the ACC Tournament comes to town.

As the week began, power was being steadily restored but incoming basketball fans with reservations began to move utility workers off the books.

Mayor Nancy Vaughan said on her Facebook page that D.H. Griffin was helping to house the workers. We couldn’t catch up with David Griffin but he told local television stations that he was putting the workers up at a warehouse for as long as needed. The company expected to assist between 400 and 800 utility workers.

HOME AT LAST

Entrepreneur Eric Robert was obviously happy last month when he told us about his coup d’état to land Gerbing Heated Clothing and Duck Head corporate offices to his impeccably remodeled North State Milling Co. building on South Elm Street.

City officials had tried to lure the companies to a space downtown using economic incentives to entice the company to move its corporate offices from Stoneville and create 25 jobs. But that deal fell through.

Robert has spent years and a personal fortune to turn the once dilapidated flour mill into a world class example of reclamation. Using salvaged windows, doors, staircases and other bits of metal and wood, he has transformed the building into something of a marvel. Prospect Brands, the parent company of Gerbing and Duck Head, will rent 4,000 square feet for offices and a potential retail space in one part of the old mill.

Robert swore us to secrecy when he told us about the deal, but it’s refreshing to see someone rewarded with financial success after so many years of hard work and risk taking.

Bravo.

NOT SO FRIENDLY AFTER ALL

After months of wrangling over how and where to bring Trader Joe’s to Greensboro, things came to sudden halt last week after community activists emailed the company president, expressing their opposition to the proposed location.

Hobbs and Friendly has been talked about around town for months as the potential location. A rezoning request of that currently residential area was approved and it looked like passage at the March 18 city council was a done deal.

But an active group of citizens, Friendly Coalition Against Commercial Encroachment, raised vocal opposition to the move.

On March 4, reporter Catherine Carlock broke the news in the The Business Journal that Trader Joe’s was no longer interested in opening a location in Greensboro. Carlock reported that area residents emailed Dan Bane, chairman and CEO of Trader Joe’s, expressing their opposition. Bane immediately instructed his real estate people to stop all activity related to Greensboro. He was quoted as saying that the company doesn’t need to go where it’s not wanted.

The fate of the rezoning request for the six-acre tract is still undecided. !

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