Being Bruce -: May 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Shelby Sebens at first Star News MoJo in Brunswick County

Star News Brunswick County Reporter Shelby Sebens hosted the first Star News MoJo (Mobile Journalism) event at the Lockwood Folly Marketplace.

The purpose of the remote, scheduled but informal meetings is to have a chance to speak with area residents about their concerns, their stand on issues, and subjects or stories they'd like the Star News to cover.

Shelby met with folks one to one and also spoke with small groups.

The Lockwood Folly Marketplace is a one-stop combination gift shop, coffee shop, fresh produce market, and sandwich shop.

Wilmington Tweetup a Cheesy Success!!

The 3rd Wilmington Tweetup was in Wilmington Wednesday evening, hosted by Hagood Homes and sponsored by Front Street Brewery and Chris's Cosmic Kitchen. The event was well attended and perhaps because it was held in one of Hagood's beautiful model homes at Southern Oak, it felt like a house party.

Marge and I were a bit late arriving due to a fractured frammis (or something) in Marge's car, but even though we got there for only the last 30 minutes or so, it was a high-energy event. Lots of info sharing about Twitter and other social media, new acquaintances, and even some business card swapping!

Here's event planner, networker supremo, and Front Street Brewery PR person Sarah Barbee saying a few words about the evening.

Andrea West of Hagood Homes welcoming us:

Practically the first thing people said to us as we walked in the door was, "You've GOT to try the cheesecake." So I spoke with Kristin and Chris Lubben, the owners of Chris's Cosmic Kitchen and the donors of the cheesecake.

Here's Kristin:

And here's Chris:

And here's a shot of the cheesecakes. Vanilla on the left, and kahlua coffee on the right. Soon after I took this shot they disappeared.

The next Wilmington Tweetup, which the ever-busy Sarah Barbee organizes, will be on the last Wednesday of June - location to be announced - but I'd guess you can pretty much figure on another well-attended houseparty type Twitter-focused networking event. See you there!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Can You Tell What This Is?

We were on a walk in Annsdale Park in Brunswick Forest in Leland, NC and noticed something up ahead. Can you tell what it is?

Look on the ground, just off the sidewalk on the right side a bit before the tree.

A closer look, can you tell yet?

Can you see now?

Now you can see the nesting bird, right?

I was able to get very close and she (I presume) didn't move a bit.

Later in the day we came back and this is what we saw:

The mother bird and the father, who's also in the area and sometimes does a decoy act sort of on his side with his wing up and squawking like he's injured, were both around, and not very upset - I think they were feeding. The next time we walked by the mom was back on the nest.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Clif Bridgers of RBR Books in Leland, NC

If you love books odds are pretty good you also love bookstores. If you live in or travel through North Brunswick County, North Carolina, you owe it to yourself to stop by RBR Books in the Waterford Shoppes in Leland, in front of the Waterford residential community. As you can see from the sign above, many people in Brunswick County think highly of RBR Books, which recently won the Brunswick County People's Choice Award for at the #1 bookstore.

RBR Books sells both new and used books and can ship anywhere in the country. Owner Clif Bridgers is a good guy and ready to help. We have found he's great at picking out books for people, adult people as well as two-year olds.

Listen to Clif tell you about his shop in his own words:

You can find RBR Books at 511 Olde Waterford Way, Leland, NC 28451 or call the store at (910) 383-9843. Email is and the store is also on Twitter at @RBRBooks.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bruiser Plays The Irrigation Sprinkler Game

Donatella and Jay Bennett's German Shepherd Buiser loves to go on early morning walks in Brunswick Forest in Leland, NC. A great part of the appeal for Bruiser is the irrigation system water sprinklers. He doesn't hurt them, but runs from one to another leaping and playing.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Grayson Park REALTOR luncheon in Leland, NC

This week I took at trip to Grayson Park in Leland, North Carolina to a REALTOR luncheon. Grayson Park is a community of several neighborhoods, all built by Stevens Fine Homes of Wilmington.

The building below is the gorgeous community clubhouse, behind which is a super pool and tennis courts.

The photo below is me trying to be artistic with flowers, nice wooden doors, and white rocking chairs. This shot also was taken in front of the clubhouse.

On-site agents for Grayson Park at Stan Powell and Cynthia Rehberg. In the video clip below Cynthia says hello.

We were very pleased to discover that Personal Chef and old friend Lori Eaton of Eaton at Home was catering the event. Good stuff. Lori is a much celebrated local chef and caterer and has also written extensively about cooking.

I even talked Lori into saying a few words for the camera:

I'd be honored to show you around Grayson Park, other Stevens Fine Homes neighborhoods in the area, or even other new home communities in the greater Leland area. Call me anytime at (910) 297-8753 or e-mail .

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Economic Development in North Carolina's North Brunswick County: Mexico Viejo Restaurant, Leland, NC

One of the coolest of many cool features of living and working in the greater Leland area is the number of new businesses opening. It's particularly nifty that we often get to know the family members of the business owners. At this evening's ribbon-cutting at Mexico Viejo, a new restaurant in the Waterford commercial development, we even got to meet the owner's young son, Max.

Chamber members always have a good time at local events.

North Carolina New Home Communities - Bay Harbor in Holden Beach, NC

Today I wandered a bit further than normal from my usual stomping ground to see a new home community on the mainland part of Holden Beach called Harbor Bay. This attractive neighborhood is close to the southern Brunswick County beaches and some of the area's very best golf.

About equidistant from Wilmington and Myrtle Beach, Harbor Bay's 7 house plans range in size from just over 1300 square feet to just under 2,000 square feet. All include wooded homesites, three bedrooms, 2 full baths, kitchen with granite countertops (a new standard not seen in the current model, which has been sold), double vanities in the master bath, hardwood entry foyers, a gas fireplace, and two car garage.

Homes without bonus rooms range in price from $159,900 to $191,900 and three models with bonus rooms are in the mid to high $190s.

Here's a short video of on-site agent Tom Shoat saying, "Hi."

If you're in the market for a new home and want to be in the midst of Southern Brunswick County, give me a call at 910-297-8753 or e-mail brucebrown@seacoastrealty. I'd be honored to show you Harbor Bay.

North Carolina New Home Communities - Ashton Place in Leland, NC

Ashton Place is one of my favorite Leland new home communities. Conveniently located in central Leland with a nice selection of well-built and finely detailed homes under $200K, it's no surprise that Ashton Place has continued to sell well.

Today Ashton Place held a broker luncheon to discuss their newest buyer incentives.

Builder Paige Robinson:

On-site agent Brad Hunter:

If you'd like to know more about Ashton Place, I'd be honored to help you learn about the neighborhood, the various models, and the great programs available. Just call me a (910) 297-8753 or e-mail .

North Carolina Brunswick County Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis Addresses the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce

We had another fantabulous North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce speaker luncheon yesterday and it was notable for several reasons.

The first headliner was the speaker herself, of course, Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis. If you don't know her this may sound odd to say about a judge (yes, in the real NC court system, NOT on American Idol or Dancing with the Stars) but Judge Ola is a personal powerhouse, a judicial gem, and a compassionate Rockstar!

I imagine Judge Ola would be pretty tough to be up against from the wrong side of the bench (that's just imagining, no first hand knowledge), but even then there's no question one would be facing a person who combines intense intelligence with burning concern for all the people involved and for our whole region.

May sound like high praise, and it is. One measure that I'm not Judge Ola's only fan is that we had (by far) the largest crowd at a speaker luncheon all this year, with almost 60 active community members taking time from their days to hear the Judge.

In the photo below Judge Ola Lewis (in the center) laughs with NBCC Chamber members and staff before the luncheon.

The second headline of the story is where it was held! Steve Pagley of Antonio's Pizza and Pasta Restaurant has been promising to open the space adjacent to his original restaurant as a much-needed area meeting place and it was finished just in time (the C.O. was issued at 5PM Monday!) Wow, Steve, even though I'd seen the space while it was in transition from a skate and surfboard shop, it looked fabulous! I'm not sure the official room capacity, but we easily seated nearly 60 folks for a virtual panapoly of pizza selections (plus salad, of course).

Below Jay Merritt and Brenda Bozeman check in with Steve Pagley and Chamber Luncheon Chieftress Alice Razzano.

Early arrivals got the first pick of the pizza - Joyce clearly thinks that's a great idea!

NBCC Executive Director Terry Grillo in a quick video welcome:

If you look closely youo can see Chamber President Peggy O'Leary doing her best imitation of Adam Lambert.

Check out the new space. The projection system will be installed next week but the screen's already there.

Justin Williams and Marge Brown plan their personal pizza procurement strategy.

Here's a happy table.

More eager eating.

A view from the line. (My fav, btw, was the crumbled bacon pizza.)

We had two guest speakers prior to the main event, plus a special announcement of a new chamber affinity program. George Murray also showed the brand new banner created for The Buckingham concert on June 20th.

The first guest speaker was Sharon Mariaca, representing the Brunswick Community College Small Business Council. The SBC has many classes and services (many cost-free) for local business owners. In order to assess the needs and preferences of local entrepreneurs the SBC wants to survey as many local businesses as possible. To participate in the survey, contact Sharon at

The second speaker was Michael Roberts, Co-Chairman of the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization Citizens Advisory Committee. Mike spoke with us about the area's many transportation needs, proposed projects, potential funding, and timelines. The name of their overview project is Cape Fear Commutes 2035, aptly focusing on long-term transportation needs of our rapidly-growing region.

To participate in a survey of area transportation needs, go to

The photo below caught Mike in mid-presentation:

I missed the chance to grab a photo of George Murray's super concert banner for The Buckinghams, but the bottom line is there are still sponsorship opportunities available although many have already signed on. The VIP tickets ($45 for preferred seating, a party with the band the night before AND a pre-concert party) are about 2/3 sold out and there are still, to this date, plenty of general admission seating tickets for $25, but sales are moving right along for this sure-to-sell-out concert. Here's the concert poster.

I captured the video clip below to give a quick sense of Judge Ola's presence and energy (this is not the whole presentation, just the first minute or so):

The next five photos, taken as quickly as my flash would recharge, attempt to convey why Judge Ola Lewis is so well respected and loved in our region. Before you look at them, also note that she shared the speaker's position with two participants in the Brunswick County Drug Program - a proactive, very successful program that works to help people with substance issues. Both gentleman were articulate, open, persuasive, and pretty funny, too. (One guy threatened to get out his Bible and keep us there all night!)

After the luncheon Terry Grillo tried to explain the Gina and Ken Schiess and Mike Roberts that if they wanted Tiramasu for dessert they'd have to order it in the restaurant, it was NOT included in the luncheon menu.

Judge Ola's two guests speak with Chamber Ambassador Bob Koenig.

After the luncheon people didn't want to leave.

Plus Dana Fisher wanted to pose with her snazzy black and yellow ensemble (actually I asked to her to, not that she was terribly shy about it - LOL).

Leland Police Community Relations Officer Robert Ernst and Mayor ProTem Brenda Bozeman spoke with Terry Grillo.

The North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce's new affinity program offerred in conjunction with Marge and Bruce Brown of Fat City Cards, an independent SendOutCards distributorship, is a relationship marketing program NBCC members can join to simultaneously help their own businesses maintain great customer relations and help the Chamber of Commerce make money.

During the luncheon it was announced that any NBCC member who signs up as an Entrepreneur with SendOutCards through the Chamber program through June 6th will be entered in a drawing for two VIP tickets to the The Buckinghams concert!

Below Chamber Ambassador and PrePaid Legal representative Monica Clark speaks about how using SendOutCards helps her business.