Being Bruce -: March 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

Using Twitter in Business? Panel at Wilmington, NC SEO Meetup Group

Do you have questions about using Twitter in your business?

At last night's meeting of the Wilmington SEO Meetup group approximately 50 people listened to Moderator Ty Downing of Perspective Internet Marketing and SayItSocial and panelists Shannan Bowen of the Wilmington Star News, Steve Harrell of Sophic, and Bruce Brown of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty (hey, that's me!) talk about their learning curve, strategies, and successes using Twitter in and for their respective businesses. William Lang of Port City Color Copy handled the Ustream PC and fielded questions that came in via the Internet.

The 60 minute video on Using Twitter in Business below captures the entire event including a Q&A session.

If you can't see the video above, click this link to see the panel on Using Twitter in Business.

Contact info:

Ty Downing
Web site:
Web site:
Twitter: tydowning

Steve Harrell
Web site:
Twitter: stevenharrell

Shannan Bowen
Web site:
Twitter: shanbow

William Lang
Web site:
Twitter: port_city_color

Bruce Brown
Web site:
Web site:
Twitter: brucebrownnc

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

NBCC Ribbon Cutting - RJB Tax and Accounting Service

On Tuesday March 24th Ray Borges, owner of RJB Tax and Accounting Service, a new company in Leland and a brand new member of the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce, held a Meet and Greet and ribbon-cutting at the Chamber's offices.

In anticipation of the ribbon cutting Ray and other Chamber members and guests talked in the Chamber offices. Here Ken Schiess of HD Vest talks with Ray while NBCC Chamber President Peggy O'Leary of Premier Staffing fields a question from another member.

Marge Brown of Fat City Cards sang songs of her native land while Peggy O'Leary smiled and Executive Director Terry Grillo put up with both of them.

Chamber members Jamie Shoemaker of Symplicity Payment Solutions and Monica Clarke of PrePaid Legal talked outside the offices.

The unflappable chamber volunteer and accomplished artist Carol Koenig was on duty during the event.

Prior to the ribbon cutting, Terry Grillo spoke with Gene and Jeannie Murphy and Sue Borges, Ray's in-laws and wife.

Below Ray celebrates his successful cutting as Chamber officials, members, and staff look on.
With the ribbon cut we all retired to the chamber meeting room to graze on a great lunch. Thanks, Ray, and welcome to the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Wilmington Bloggers Ride Again! Oh, wait, I meant "Meet" Again

If you're in or within easy driving range of Wilmington, North Carolina today, come on over to Connections Cafe on Racine Drive. From 10AM till noonish we're going to have our fourth meeting of Wilmington Bloggers, a loosely organized organization of free spirited bloggers and bloggers-to-be.

Showup, Engage, Contribute, Share - wait, that sounds like Twitter! Well, it works at our Wilmington Blogger meetings, too. There's a usual cast of characters and we always have interesting first time visitors, too.

I'm declaring today Irony Day for this Wilmington Bloggers meeting. Bring a hard copy of today's Wilmington Star News Online and if you're lucky (and ask) Shannan Bowen might autograph it for you. Other Star News luminaries are likely to be there as well. So maybe we should have collector cards and give a prize if you collect the whole set!

Nah, I'm just funnin' about that (tho' Shannan did say she'd sign autographs), but seriously, we do welcome guests and the information sharing about blogging technigues and tricks is rampant.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Here's a map:

View Larger Map

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

St. Baldrick's at the Pub! Friday March 13th at Port City Pub

Ever heard of St. Baldrick? Well here's what Sarah Barbee of Fussbudget Promotions says,

"St. Baldrick’s is the world’s largest volunteer-driven fundraising event for childhood cancer research. Thousands of volunteers shave their heads insolidarity with children fighting cancer, requesting donations of support from friends and family.St. Baldrick’s affects people in an amazing way.

Those who normally shy away from the very thought of childhood cancer find themselves compelled to support this cause. One look into the face of a brave child in treatment for cancer – and one laugh at the newly shorn head of a St. Baldrick’s shavee – is all it takes!Volunteers and donors have fun supporting a serious cause. Young cancer patients and survivors see how many people care, and researchers get funds from St. Baldrick’s to help find cures!"

So that's what St. Baldrick's is all about. St. Baldrick's at the Pub is a fund-raising event being held at Port City Pub at 121 Grace Street in downtowm Wilmington from 8-11PM this Friday, March 13th. Come on down to have some fun and support a great cause.

Git yer Irish on This Saturday in Downtown Wilmington!

[Added Friday - this event has been cancelled due to prediction of 70% rain. ]

Wilmington, North Carolina's St.Patrick's Day Festival!

OK, Saturday, downtown Wilmington (corner of Water and Princess Streets) 12-6PM.

Bring the kids. Food, music, crafts, Irish step dancing, bagpipes, kids area, and, oh yeah, probably they'll have beer, too! You can also check out the tall ship on the Riverwalk.

Hey, are they going to do Riverdance on the Riverwalk? Better come check it out!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Cool modern twist on an old-timey style 'hood - Shelmore in Brunswick Forest

There's a cool new village called Shelmore in the gigundo planned development Brunswick Forest in Leland, North Carolina. There are 18 floor plans available with at least 3 possible elevations for each. Right now there are 6 furnished models to tour.

All Shelmore homes will be Craftsman style with front porches with swings, rear entry garages, white picket fences with entry arbors. Very much a turn-of-the-last-century small town look. Prices are in the high $300s to mid $400s. As usual for Brunswick Forest neighborhoods most everything one would want is standard (granite, stainless steel appliances, lots of crown molding and cool woodwork, hardwood in living areas, tile in baths, carpet in bedrooms, tile showers . . . it goes on and on.

I rode out to Shelmore yesterday on my bicycle to see what was happening during the first weekend it was open to the public. Plenty of pleased and interested people were there looking around, drinking lemonade, and dancing the shag under a special tent.

Check out these photos of street views of Shelmore. Looks like it's going to be a very cool place to live and still have access to all the Brunswick Forest amenities.

Of course, if you'd like a personal tour, please give me a call. I'm a REALTOR, after all, and that's what I do. I'm nuts about Leland, North Carolina as a place to live, work, and play.

If you like to know more about Shelmore, give me a call anytime at 910-297-8753, e-mail me at BruceBrown@SeaCoastRealty, or Tweet me on Twitter at .

Woody Hall Tells Us What Happened, What's Happening, and What May Happen

Short version -Our area is in a period of slower growth, but we are NOT in a recession.

An assembled crowd of approximately 40 members and guests of the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce gathered to hear UNCW's Cameron School of Business Professor William W. (Woody) Hall speak about the regional and local economy. For those who might not be familar with Dr. Hall, he's been the go-to guy on area economic info and projections for more than 20 years.

NBCC President Peggy O'Leary of Premier Staffing Services introduced Dr. Hall.

Dr. Hall gave us lots of facts and figures about the local and regional economy. For a good summary of years and percentages and all the numbers, see Reporter Supremo Shannan Bowen's article in the Star-News by clicking this link.

The bottom line, according to Dr. Hall, is that our area is not in a recession, by any standard economic measure. We are indeed in a time of slower growth. Also, historically anyway, our area experiences national slow downs later than most of the country and we recover sooner. Again this is based on history, and Dr. Hall isn't making firm predictions, but if by the end of 2009 or early 2010 the national economy improves noticeably and significantly, our region will likely already be ahead of the game.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hotel Status Update - March 5, 2009

OK, I took this shot at 8:30AM this morning. It's 34 degrees out (which is nuts for here in March, but whatever, we'll get over it). As you can see in the background, the brick dudes are doing bricks! May 1st approacheth (that's the planned opening date for the Comfort Suites Hotel next door to our office)!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Business After Hours - Waterford UPS March 3, 2009

We arrived just after 6 for the Business After Hours at the Waterford UPS Store and were pleasantly surprised to see how many people were already there, mostly in the back room around the food! Brooke Dyson from Logos Direct and Marge Brown from SendOutCards led the charge.

Sandy Hester, the owner of the UPS Store was our gracious and happy host. Sandy told me that he's gaining new customers daily as well as building stronger continuing relationships with existing customers.

We we headed back to the food, always a priority, NBCC Board Member and President Emeritus (is that the word) came walking out, as usual walking fast and making sure all was going well.

board member Justin Williams, the young guy on the right, was as usual telling us how as a new parent he hasn't slept since November. Sorry, Justin, we're not buying it. In this photo, Tony Vlach and Jim Tuzzeo, with the back of his head to the camera were listening, but clearly not buying it, either.

Board members George Murray and Tony Vlach were a lot of fun. Two good guys.

The group got ready for the actual ribbon-cuttingg, moving toward the front of the store.

Tony Vlach (wow he's in a lot of pictures) and Scott Reeves stood by talking about Leland Under the Lights, our huge car show that this year takes place on September 19th.

Sandy Hester stood his ground and made sure everyone continued to have a good time.

Michael Byrd of WebWright is always dapper.

Terry Grillo, Monica Clark, and Jamie Shoemaker are more great folk who were at the event.

Just after the ribbon cutting George Murray sang to us all. No, not really, when I took this picture he was telling us about The Buckinghams who will be performing on June 20 at the Odell Auditorium.

So, once again, the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce shows up in support of area merchants. I'm really proud to be part of this crowd. Thanks again for the great time!

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Making of "EVO - Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil Good for Your Skin?"

Yesterday while I was at an open house I finally had a few minutes to make a quick video I'd promised a friend on 3rd Street Plaza, our local Wilmington area social media site. Watch the 3 minute video first and then I'll tell you the story about it.

Find more videos like this on 3rd Street Plaza

If you can't see the video above, click on this link.

So here's the story. I've been experimenting with using short video clips on my blogs for listings, to say hello to folks, to impart messages that (at the time at least) I think are important, and sometimes just for fun. I'm also anticipating some questions of why I'd bother to make a video in the first place and in the second place one about skin care. Hang in with me and I'll attempt to make all clear.

I'm an active supporter and member of 3rd Street Plaza because I believe it's a good idea to have local sites as well as participate on national/international sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and so forth. Another benefit of local sites is you can actually meet the people behind the pictures and avatars either informally on the street or in coffee shops or even more formally at organized events such as the highly successful Wilmington Twestival event 3rd Street Plaza's founder, Ty Downing put together in just 11 days!

One way I contribute to 3rd Street Plaza is post videos. Here's one I made for charity: water, which as the reason Twestival was organized in the first place (the charity, NOT my video).

Find more videos like this on 3rd Street Plaza

If you can't see the video above, click on this link.

And here's another I posted recently when I was inspired to say something about what I believe to be the absolute necessity of businesses using social media in 2009:

Find more videos like this on 3rd Street Plaza

If you can't see the video (which means you don't have the right kind of FlashPlayer support on your computer), click on this link.

You might notice my videos are changing. I've started using title and credit slides, and background music. Next step for me is to improve the first slide, which right now is an un-enticing blue background with white letters. And yes, I know the EVO video audio is echo-y, I made it in an empty house - likely won't do that again. Comments and suggestions gladly welcomed and much appreciated, btw, just click on the word comment at the bottom of this post and have at it.

So that's the background to why I made the short video "EVO - Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil Good for Your Skin?" Now here's how it came about.

One of the founding members of 3rd Street Plaza is Sandy Guerriere (pronounced "Gar-e-air"). Sandy is a professional makeup artist, an environmentalist, an active blogger, and she also happens to be Ty Downing's Mom. Sandy put up a blog post about the benefits of olive oil for skin care . Here's Sandy's official release photo (used with permission):

I'm a big fan of olive oil, to say the least, so I read it and thought it was pretty neat. I forget the actual sequence of events, but I either commented on Sandy's blog post or Tweeted her on Twitter ( and said that I liked the post but had never heard of using olive oil that way but might try it. She had noticed my videos on 3rd Street Plaza and asked if I'd make a short video about my experience after a week or so. I agreed and that was that.

Now, I also have a brother-in-law who's a great guy, a minister in a small church in Connecticut, AND concocts for family and friends a wicked awesome hot pepper-infused olive oil. His name is Karl Duetzmann and I'm not giving out his contact info because he didn't say I could (I'm sure you could find him in 2 minutes or less if your Internet stalking skills are even slightly refined), but anyway Karl mixes and blends Pastor Karl's Fit to be Thai'd Hot Pepper Oil in the basement of their home. This is not a big production deal, just for family and friends and he gives the prized bottles or bagged mix as Christmas presents. He doesn't make it every year, which isn't even necessary because the cool thing is that as you use up the oil you can just refill the bottle with good quality EVO and the Thai chili peppers and whatever else he puts in there will go to work on the new oil. But every couple of years we look forward to another bottle of Pastor Karl's oil.

Here's what a the bottle looks like (photo used with permission):

So I embarked on the olive oil on the skin experiment. I figured that since I like hot pepper and especially Pastor Karl's hot oil why not combine the two, that is, use Karl's oil on my skin after shaving, etc., instead of regular oil. Well, as I mention in the video, that wasn't a great idea. No harm done, but it wasn't comfortable.

In the end, I do think EVO was good for my skin and no one seemed to notice or make comments so I don't think there was a noticeable odor - for either the plain or hot pepper infused types.

Now about the "why" I'd make this video in the first place. Social media is and can be many things. One of the best "things" it can be is an opportunity to promote and support family and friends. It doesn't have to be with full-out commercials or testimonials or stuff like that. Sometimes you can just tell a story, or make a video, or congratulate someone or tell them you appreciate them. As Marge says, quoting Kody Bateman, the founder of SendOutCards, "Appreciation beats self-promotion every time."

Here's Marge's photo (photo used with permission):

So that's the story of The Making of "EVO - Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil Good for Your Skin." I made it in support of some folks, because I'm trying to learn by doing about using video with social media, and because it was fun,

Disclaimer: I'm not selling Pastor Karl's Fit to be Thai'd Hot Pepper Oil. Nor is Karl, though he mentioned something like if he were it would have to be for $100 a bottle plus shipping or $25 for the pepper and spice "kit". But he's not selling it anyway. He is a real good guy and available for weddings and such when he can get away. He's a full-on music nut, focusing I think on Southern rock right now. If you'd like to get in touch with him, let me know.

Hotel Update - February 27th, 2009

I took the photo below Friday afternoon. As you can see, the crews are hard at work on Leland's first new hotel, the Comfort Suites Hotel at 1020 Grandiflora Drive, right next to the Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Realty office. There are now windows on all three floors and the brickwork is going up fast. I'll bet that by the end of the first week of March the entire outside will be bricked. On the interior drywalling started a few weeks ago. It's fun watching this 106-room hotel go up so quickly. Looks to me like they're still on track to hit their May 1st opening target.