by Jordan Green

The city of Greensboro issued 102 privilege licenses in the month of February to companies or individuals planning to operate inside the city’s corporate limits.

Four licenses were issued to business officially described as “peddler/itinerant/solicitor.”

The city has not exactly rolled out the welcome mat to these enterprises.

District 5 Councilwoman Trudy Wade said last year that her constituents have complained that solicitors appear at residential homes hawking wares and services as an apparent cover for casing the homes for future burglaries. Two of the entities listed as “peddler/itinerant/solicitor,” Curtis Neal and Felix Gutierrez, list addresses on High Point Road, a thoroughfare that runs through the heart of Wade’s district.

One local entrepreneur, panhandler Dennis James Lunz, apparently did not receive the memo. At the resolution of District 3 Councilman Zack Matheny, the city council unanimously approved an ordinance change to curtail panhandling in September. The ordinance makes it a misdemeanor to beg or solicit alms within 20 feet of the entrance of a commercial establishment or private residence, within 20 feet of the visible barricade of a sidewalk caf’, within 20 feet of the entrance of a bank or ATM or in a parking deck.

Now the city is seeking state legislation to prohibit solicitation on any street or sidewalk from the driver or occupant of a car. The busy intersection of High Point Road and Holden Road frequently accommodates two panhandlers at any given time.

Another business sometimes frowned upon is the variety of video poker establishment euphemistically described as “internet sweepstakes/cafes” as reported in this and past issues of YES! Weekly, NC Rep. Earl Jones is sponsoring legislation to regulate and tax the businesses. Underscoring his point about their proliferation, four more received privilege licenses in February, evenly divided between the northeast and southwest quadrants of Greensboro: High Rollerz on East Cone Boulevard and Internet Station on East Bessemer Avenue; and Giot Nang Sweepstakes and Lucky 777, both on High Point Road.

Personal fitness studio opens in Greensboro Runnerdudes Fitness LLC opened at Northwestern Plaza near the intersection of West Cone Boulevard and Battleground Avenue in Greensboro on March 1 and will hold an open house on March 21 from 2 to 6 p.m. The location is near a planned greenway designed to eventually connect Bur-Mil Park with the Downtown Greenway, and the city is currently building a tunnel under Cone Boulevard.

The recession necessitated Thad McLaurin’s decision to go into business for himself. His small personal training studio will focus on running, general fitness, senior services and healthy living.

“My downturn started a year ago when I was laid off,” McLaurin said. “I was in educational publishing for 13 years. About a third of our company was let go. Because of a non-compete agreement I was unable to pursue that career any longer.”

McLaurin commuted to Raleigh four days a week for six months to earn certifications in personal training & nutrition from the Nation Personal Trainer Institute., and obtaining certification as a running coach from Runners Club of America.

“I took the time to build my credentials and knowledge,” he said. “I decided the big-box gym wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted more of a personal experience.”