Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chamber Ribbon Cutting - The Loft Hair Lounge

The Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting at The Loft Hair Lounge, 316 E Main Street this morning, as a new member of the Chamber. Cortney Trasti opened The Loft last August and has two other hair stylists, Dee Norris and Adi Coor. They are located on the second floor above Main Street Seafood Restaurant, with entrance in the rear of the building. 359-6246.  (photo above - l-r Jim Godfrey, Executive Director, Clayton Chamber; Cortney Trasti, Adi Coor, Dee Norris)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

October 2 - Clayton Oktoberfest Has Been Cancelled...

Please note that the Clayton Oktoberfest, originally scheduled for this Saturday, has been CANCELLED. Organizers are looking at resuming the event in 2011, but it will not happen this weekend.

JUST ADDED: Restaurants in Downtown Clayton Blog

We've just added a new blog - Restaurants in Downtown Clayton - so you can quickly check hours, menus and links to downtown Clayton's seven restaurants! The web address is but you can also access it by clicking on the link in the "Helpful and Interesting Links" column to the right!

Monday, September 27, 2010

"Cash Flow Management for Small Business Owners" - SBA Monthly Web Chat

The Small Business Administration will host their monthly web chat on Thursday, September 30, 2010, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.


The SBA’s monthly web chat will highlight advice and information on how small businesses can effectively manage cash flow. Participants can learn more about issues that impact cash flow and how to make projections that work.

WHO: Julie Brander, small busines

s mentor and coach, and past chapter chair of SCORE New Haven will host the September web chat on “Cash Flow Management.” Brander will offer tips and advice on effective cash flow management for your business, and answer questions about how to plan and prepare for the future and for changes in the market.

WHAT: SBA’s web chat series provides small business owners with an opportunity to discuss relevant business issues online with experts, industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs. Chat participants have direct, real-time access to the web chats via questions they submit online in advance, and during the live session.

WHEN: September 30, 2010,

1 p.m. ET

Brander will answer questions for one hour.

HOW: Participants can join the live Web chat by going online to, and clicking “Online Business Chat.” Web chat participants may also post questions before the September 30th chat by visiting

To review archives of past web chats, visit online at

Blinson House Makes Way For Clayton Law Enforcement Center

For the past year, the Town of Clayton has tried to save the Blinson House, 317 E Second Street by offering incentives for private property owners and developers to move the house to an empty parcel within Clayton's Historic District. There were no takers.

The house was on property the Town purchased some years ago in anticipation of expanding the Clayton Police Department. Design of the new Clayton Law Enforcement Center was completed recently, and construction is getting ready to begin. Because the initial financing arrangement for the CLEC was with US Department of Agriculture, which is federally-funded, the State Historic Preservation Office required the Town to preserve the building. The Blinson House was a contributing structure to the Clayton Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. If the Town could move the house to another site within the historic district, then everything would be fine. The problem was limited inventory of appropriate vacant property, where a relocation and renovation would make sense.

Town staff worked agressively to find a property owner interested in the building and consulted with Preservation NC to help develop a package and locate potential owners to no avail. Recently, the Town Council approved a financing package through a local lender which would actually help pay-off the project sooner and cost a little less than the USDA financing.

So, last week a demolition crew arrived and took down the Blinson House to make way for the Clayton Law Enforcement Center.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Town Lot Project Update

For the latest update and some photos of the Town Lot Project at Lombard & Main Street, visit the project blog at

Friday, September 24, 2010

All-Star Park Dedication Ceremonies Oct. 3

Official dedication ceremonies for the upgraded All-Star Park and Pavilion on Front Street have been scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 3 from 4 to 6 pm, and everyone is invited.

Mayor Jody McLeod, Parks & Recreation Director Larry Bailey, Town Councilmen and other community leaders will be on hand for formal ribbon-cutting ceremonies. Festivities will also include performances by local youth, activities on the basketball court and refreshments. (MORE)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Just What Is A "Small Busineess"? and Other Frequently Asked Questions

What is a small business? How many small businesses are there? What share of net new jobs do small businesses create? These are questions the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy receives on a daily basis. To respond to these and other pressing queries, Advocacy has updated its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).  The Frequently Asked Questions is located at

The one-pager, front and back, is begging to be push-pinned to workspaces for anyone who wants a quick reference guide on the status and role of small businesses in America.

But not to leave you hanging. . . Advocacy usually defines a firm as small if it has fewer than 500 employees; 27.5 million businesses were estimated for 2009 and almost all were small; and smalls create 65 percent of the net new jobs.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Town Seeks Volunteers to Staff Information Desk at The Clayton Center

Town officials are looking for volunteers to help staff the Town Hall Information Desk at The Clayton Center left vacant by budget cuts.

Primary responsibilities include welcoming and directing visitors to the proper departments in both Town Hall and The Clayton Center and providing general information about the community.

"There's a need to have somebody there during the day," said Parks & Recreation Director Larry Bailey. "There's still a lot of new people coming into town who don't know much about the town or where things are. Once we get a group of volunteers, we'll try to match their schedules."

Already, members of several arts related and civic groups have come forward to volunteer. Officials hope to be able to staff the Desk with volunteers from 10 am to 2 or 3 pm each weekday.

Those interested should complete this form and submit to Larry Bailey, Parks & Recreation Director at Volunteers should plan to attend a volunteer training on Monday, October 18 from 3-5pm.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Perfect Day for the Clayton Harvest & Music Festival

The Clayton Harvest & Music Festival, sponsored by the Clayton Chamber of Commerce on Saturday was a bit different than in the past, but retained a lot of the same activities. The Farmers Market was moved to W Main Street, adjacent to the Town Square where the market usually resides on Saturday mornings, while a stage, beer garden and vendors were located on the Town Square. 120 or more antique cars were on display on Main Street from Fayetteville Street to Church Street and up the side roads.

School bands, athletic performances and other activities took place in the Clayton Mart parking lot and then the more than 150 vendors of all types lined both sides of Main Street almost to Smith Street, where there was another stage with performances all day. A petting zoo with Noah's Ark Ministries was a great hit, and there were contests such the Hot Dog Eating Contest across the street from Jone's Lunch Cafe. Music was also ongoing at The Flipside all afternoon and evening. Of course, the carnival rides are always a big hit and they were locatred behind HTR/Main Street Seafood/Avent-Permenter Group building next to the Town Lot which is under construction. No official estimate of the number of attendees is yet available.

Of course, the Clayton Idol Competition, emceed by WQDR's Marty "the One Man Party" Young was a great hit at the West Stage (Town Square) with 10 finalists - 5 in the 5-11 year old age group and 5 in the 12-18 year old age group. Taylor Leopold, a 16 year old singer songwriter, is the 2010 Clayton Idol. She performed an original song "Missing You". Jordan Hines won the younger age group competition; Mackenzie Roberts won the older group competition.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

2010 Clayton Harvest & Music Festival Schedule & Map

DDA To Present Near-Final Draft of Updated Downtown Master Plan to Town Council September 20

The Town Council will get a first look at the "near-final" draft of the updated Downtown Master Plan to incorporate their comments in the final version. Boo Carver, Design Committee Chair for the Downtown Development will introduce the presentation. In a letter to the Council, Ms Carver said, "The DDA has reviewed this document and feel this is a good, useful tool to move downtown Clayton forwwrd with public and private investment."

The Downtown Master Plan concentrates on the commercial district of downtown from Robertson Street to US 70 Business. Downtown Development Coordinator Bruce Naegelen said, "The master plan provides a general framework for the development of downtown and to provide reasonable certainty and predictability for investors." He added, "The architectural and design guidelines are also being updated and will help shape growth in a way that preserves Clayton's character."

This past spring about 25 downtown business and property owners, as well as others attended two workshops to provide input into updating the 9 year old plan. Mr. Naegelen said there aren't many significant changes in the layout, but the feedback was very helpful.

DRAFT MAPS 2010   Section 1 Design    Section 2 Architecture

Stuff 4 Office Expands to Larger Space on Main Street

Ben Griffin opened Stuff 4 Office in the spring of 2008 at 417 E Main Street. Two and a half years later he was bursting at the seams in his 500 square foot storefront and needed more space. That opportunity presennted itself recently when the space at 421 E Main became available and he moved in.

Stuff 4 Office, 421 E Main Street has computer supplies, computers, repairs and Fed Ex mailing. (800) 383-9043.

Monday, September 13, 2010

From The Flipside...

FlipSide Lunch and Dinner Specials...

Michael Angelo Pizza with Ham,Salami,and pepperoni with Mozzarella and shaved Parmesan cheeses.Your choice of sauce Pesto,Garlic oil,or Marinara.$8.50

$5 Angus 1/4 lb. Burger with lettuce,tomato,and onion on a Kaiser with reg. F.F.

Turkey Panini-Sliced Turkey breast with Gouda cheese and fresh sliced tomatoes on a hearty white bread toasted in a panini press.Served with choice of side.$7.50

Caribbean Glazed Seared Tuna-8 oz steak of Yellowfin Tuna seasoned and seared then topped with a Caribbean glaze. Served with Coconut Basmati rice and fresh veg.$14

Maple BBQ Ribeye-12 oz. Ribeye steak seasoned and grilled to your liking then topped with a Maple BBQ glaze.Served with beer battered onion rings and fresh veg.$14

Sherry Cream Angel Hair with Grilled Chicken-A Sherry cream sauce with shallots,fresh cherry tomatoes,and thyme.Tossed with Angel Hair Pasta and Grilled Chicken.$13 Served with side salad and bread.


9/14 - Open Mic w/Tracy Wiebeck - 9:00 PM

9-15 Open Mic Coffee Mill

9/16 - Karaoke, DJ Ray - 9:00 PM

9/17 - Mister Mustard Band - 9:00 PM

9/18 - Harvest Fest
       1-4 PM- 50/50 Band
       6-8 PM Johnny Orr
       9 PM Till Close - Will McBride Band

9/20 - We are having a special St. Jude's Benefit
      6- 8PM Johnny Orr
      8-10 PM Brad Benson
     10 - Close Under Lair Band

Living Legends Headline Eighth Palladian Series at The Clayton Center - Tickets Now Available!

Tickets for individual shows to the 2010-2011 Palladian Series went on sale September 8 at 10am. The upcoming Palladian Series promises to rival even the most successful of The Clayton Center’s past seasons.

Heidi Stump, executive director of The Clayton Center, said, “The 2010-2011 lineup is an exciting assortment of entertainment. This year’s artists are truly legendary, and we are thrilled to offer our audience the opportunity to see them perform locally.”

The eighth Palladian Series opens on Saturday, Oct. 23, with the “Hemi Guy,” comedian Jon Reep. Winner of NBC’s Last Comic Standing and star of the popular Dodge hemi commercials, Reep fashions himself a “Metro Jethro” – a small-town Southern man who lives a big city life and who delights in the humor he finds in both worlds. Reep is presented by Music City Artists.

The world renowned Blind Boys of Alabama perform on Saturday, Nov. 6. The five-time Grammy winners are praised for their remarkable interpretations of everything from traditional gospel favorites to contemporary spiritual material by songwriters such as Tom Waits, Ben Harper and Eric Clapton.

The 2010-2011 Palladian Series also brings back to Clayton audience favorite Kathy Mattea in her holiday show, Songs and the Season, on Friday, Dec. 3. The show – an intimate, acoustic reinvention of Mattea’s hugely popular Christmas albums – is a spiritual performance that brings joy and reverence to the holiday celebration.

“Kathy Mattea performed a sold-out show here in spring 2009,” Stump said. “Our patrons loved her, and she was very impressed with The Clayton Center audience. We are extremely fortunate that she is returning to perform her special holiday presentation.”

The Palladian Series continues in 2011 with the sixth annual Blues Bash on Friday, Jan. 21. Blues Bash VI: Superharps showcases legendary blues harmonica player James “Superharp” Cotton. Sixty-five years into his career, Cotton continues to thrill audiences with his own, high-energy brand of blues harmonica. Appearing with Cotton is the Tad Walters Trio.

Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanual – one of the greatest living acoustic guitar players – comes to Clayton on Saturday, Feb. 26. Recognized internationally as the elite of the elite, Emmanuel’s unforgettable showmanship, flawless guitar skills and voluminous repertoire dazzles audiences worldwide.

The 2010-2011 Palladian Series wraps up on Friday, April 1, with the incomparable vocal stylings of Dianne Reeves. The multi-Grammy Award winning Reeves is just as comfortable singing jazz standards as she is crooning contemporary pop favorites. Her clear and powerful voice is reminiscent of jazz greats Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.

The Clayton Center also presents a bonus show on Sunday, March 13. Colin Hay, former frontman for ’80s sensation Men At Work, has garnered a new generation of fans in his two decades of solo work. Hay’s performances intersperse his classics — “Down Under,” “Overkill” and “Who Can It Be Now?” — with recent releases and with stories drawn from his often unbelievable experiences over the past 30 years.

All shows in the 2010-2011 Palladian Series begin at 8 p.m. in the renovated and historic 600-seat auditorium at 111 E. Second St. in downtown Clayton, located about 15 miles east of Raleigh.

Season tickets for the Palladian Series are $135. Tickets to individual performances are Jon Reep, $25; Blind Boys of Alabama with John Dee Holeman; $27.50; Kathy Mattea, $29; Blues Bash VI with James Cotton and Tad Walters Trio, $25; Tommy Emmanuel, $25; Colin Hay, $22; and Dianne Reeves, $27.50.

Tickets may be purchased by phone at 919-553-1737, at The Clayton Center Box Office from 10 a.m. until noon and from 1 until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or online at

Other popular artists presented in past seasons at The Clayton Center include Ricky Skaggs, Johnny Winter, Jesse Cook, Jim Brickman, Doc Watson, Eileen Ivers, Riders In the Sky, the Harlem Gospel Choir and David Sedaris.

Clayton Harvest & Music Festival Sept. 15-19 Has New Look

The annual Clayton Harvest Festival, coming up Sept. 15-19, has a new name and a new look this year. The event is sponsored by the Clayton Chamber of Commerce.

The new name is Clayton Harvest & Music Festival. The new look includes live music at various locations, an additional event stage, a petting zoo and a beer garden. But, one thing that should remain the same is the huge crowds the Festival brings downtown. Last year's Festival attracted more than 18,000 people, and even larger crowds are expected this year.

"The Festival is always the biggest event of the year, and we look forward to it all year long," said Mayor Jody McLeod. "This is shaping up to be the best one we've ever had."

The carnival comes to town Wednesday, Sept. 15 ushering in a week of games, music, the annual Clayton Idol competition, an antique car show and the huge Saturday Arts & Crafts Fair downtown.

"The Clayton Harvest and Music festival is a place where you can stroll and be happy, where you can listen to music, look at art, find a one of a kind masterpiece, catch up with old friends and enjoy traditional carnival games and rides," said Festival Committee Chairman James Lipscomb."Our focus for this and future festivals is to promote inclusiveness and celebrating the talents and diversity of our community. We have retained all the beloved features of past festivals and added several new venues."

A new addition this year that's expected to draw a crowd is the Gospel Sing Friday evening which features music from eight local congregations. This year's Festival will also feature a hot dog eating contest, pet trick demonstrations presented by the Johnston County Animal Protection League, a martial arts demonstration and beer and wine gardens at the East and West stages.

Though not officially part of the Festival schedule, beach music greats The Embers will be in concert Thursday evening, Sept. 16 at Town Square as part of the Town Square Concert Series. The Coffee Mill and Flipside will feature both indoor and outdoor performances on Saturday, Sept. 18, adding to the abundance of musical options.

Festival Schedule:

Wednesday, Sept. 15
• Carnival from 5 -11 pm

Thursday, Sept. 16
• Carnival from 5 -11 pm

Friday, Sept. 17
• Carnival from 5 -11 pm
• Gospel Sing at 6:10 pm at the West Stage

Saturday, Sept. 18
• Carnival Rides & Games – All Day
• Vendor Craft Show – 9-5
• Antique Car Show – 9 -5
• Clayton Idol Finals Competition – 1-3 – West Stage
• Hot Dog Eating Contest –Earp’s Stage
• Hot Dog “Dog” Toss Contest – Earp’s Stage
• Pet Trick Contest – Earp’s Stage
• 50/50 Raffle
• Petting Zoo
• Beer Gardens
• Food of all types
• Music & Entertainment All Day (See schedule below)

West Stage – (Main & Fayetteville Streets)
10:00 Clayton School of Dance
10:15 Carolina Dance Productions
10:30 Bruce Naegelen (Folk)
11:30 Crossroads Church Youth Performance
11:45 Paul Bomar Quartet (Jazz)
12:45 Signs of Victory
3:00 Dance Art
3:15 Vintage Fresh (Rock)
4:15 50/50 Raffle Drawing
4:30 Mary Selvidge (Country)
5:30 Rhythm with A Reason
5:45 Addison Prophet (Acoustic Alternative Christian)
7:00 Central Park

East Stage – (Main Street IFO Kristoff Law Firm)
10:15 Fashion Show by Maurices
1l: 30 DPM Dance Show
12:15 Greg & Rodney (Classic Rock)
1:30 Sayer McShane (Motown/Blues)
2:45 The Will McBride Group (Funk/Pop/Latin)
4:00 Clayton Youth Theater

Clayton Mart Parking Lot (Main Street)
9:00 CHS Marching Band & Color Guard
9:30 Clayton Middle School Band
10:00 Riverwood Middle School Band
10:30 Revolution Self Defense Demonstration Show
11:00 Premier Athletics
11:30 Corinth Holders HS Band
12:00 Nicks Flippin’ Kids
12:30 World Taekwondo
1:00 W. Johnston HS Band

Sunday, Sept. 19
• Carnival from 1 - 5 pm

For more information, call the Clayton Chamber of Commerce at (919) 553-6352 or

2010 Oktoberfest in Clayton Has Been Cancelled

The 2010 Oktoberfest scheduled for October 2 at Town Square in downtown Clayton has been cancelled due to financial considerations.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Business Destination Marketing Workshop with Jon Schallert Oct 13

The Clayton Downtown Development Association is participating in a workshop with marketing expert and small business strategist Jon Schallert on Wednesday October 13 from 8:30 am – 3:15 pm in downtown Wake Forest. The workshop is being hosted by The Wake Forest Downtown Revitalization Corporation.

The topic of the workshop will be ”Increasing Sales and Profits As A Destination Business” It’s not about tourism, but rather how to make your business a destination for customers.
According to Clayton Downtown Development Coordinator, Bruce Naegelen, the Denver-based Schallert is an engaging speaker with a proven record of helping turn a single-owner business into a destination for customers. Mr. Schallert was a keynote speaker at the 2010 NC Main Street conference and, Naegelen said, ”he had small business owners and those of us who work with small business absolutely mesmerized with his methods, process and results.”

There will be a three-hour presentation followed by a 90-minute marketing roundtable for participants. Althought the cost of the workshop is $125 per business and includes breakfast, The Clayton Downtown Development Association is offering to bring up to10 downtown business owners to the workshop for just $50 each including transportation.

Ed Knight, Chairman of the CDDA said, ”We feel Mr. Schallert’s presentation will provide important guidance to help our downtown businesses succeed and that is why the CDDA is willing to subsidize the registration fee.”   REGISTRATION FORM

For more information and to sign up, contact Clayton Downtown Development Coordinator Bruce Naegelen at (9190 553-1545 or Deadline for signing up is October 1.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Embers to Close 2010 Town Square Concert Series Sept 16

Beach music legends, The Embers will close out the final performance of the Clayton Town Square Concert Series on Thursday, September 16.

This will be the first Clayton appearance for the Embers.

Sponsors of the 2010 Town Square Concert Series are: The Town of Clayton, Clayton Downtown Development Association, Clayton Glass & Mirror, Time Warner Cable, Clayton News Star, Clayton Steakhouse, Four Oaks Bank, Hometowne Realty, and Talecris Biotherapeutics.

Residents of Clayton are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets for this “free” public concert. There are several local vendors to provide light refreshments and food. The Clayton Downtown Development Association, Inc. will once again serve beer and wine. Concert Series updates can be found by visiting

Several downtown restaurants offer pre-concert dinner specials, including The Flipside at 408 E Second Street, Clayton Steakhouse, 307 E Main Street, Mulberry on Main Italian Restaurant, 217 E Main Street as well as Festejos Mexican Grill, 905 E Main Street, Lucky Chicken Peruvian Restaurant, 226 E Main Street and Main Street Seafood Restaurant, 312 E Main Street.

The Clayton Downtown Development Association, Inc. is a non-profit organization formed to coordinate revitalization work in the historic downtown district. The Clayton DDA advocates and provides business improvement services in the downtown district, administers incentives for downtown improvements, and organizes several special events, including the Town Square Concert Series, Millstock Music & Art Faire, Oktoberfest and the Christmas Village & Tree Lighting.

For more information on the concerts and downtown news and events, visit Or by calling (919) 553-1545 or

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Jewelry Design Studio Expands to Storefront in Downtown Clayton

John & Jovi McFadden opened a work space for their jewelry business in an upstairs office in downtown Clayton last January waiting for the perfect storefront to come along. That opportunity came when Stuff 4 Office moved to a larger space just a couple of strorefronts away. John and Jovi sealed the deal and opened their new shop on September 7.

Jewelry Design Studio, 419 E Main Street offers handmade designs in solid gold, silver and other semi precious metals and gemstones.

They are excited to be in their own storefront and John said they have already experienced great walk-in traffic.

Hours are Monday-Saturday 11:00 am - 6:00 pm. (919) 553-7582 and on the web at

Sugar Pea Boutique Opens in Downtown Clayton

Sugar Pea Boutique at 227 E Main Street in downtown Clayton opened this past Saturday. Owners Crystal Braxton and Holly Lee said opening day was terrific with a lot of people visiting the store and buying things. The store features boys and girls clothing from infant to 7 years old along with a selection of accessories and gifts.

Here's what the ladies have to say about their new store: video

You can contact Holly and Crystal at or by calling (919) 359-1610. Be sure to visit their website at

Downtown Clayton Still A Draw - (Garner Clayton Record)

Despite the recession, downtown added eight businesses in a year.

BY SARAH NAGEM - Staff Writer  (Garner/Clayton Record)

When James Fawcett decided to open a restaurant, he scoped out spaces in downtown Apex and downtown Raleigh. But in the end, he chose the heart of Clayton for his eatery, Main Street Seafood. "We liked the small-downtown feel of the place," said Fawcett, 43, of Durham.

Fawcett isn't the only small-business owner who has recently set up shop in downtown Clayton. The town gained eight new downtown businesses between July 2009 and June 2010, according to the Clayton Downtown Development Association. Some say the growth is a sign that Clayton's core is weathering the storm of the recession that has shuttered many small businesses.

Along with Fawcett's restaurant, the new downtown tenants include three hair salons, two computer stores, a dance studio and a batting-cage company, said Bruce Naegelen, the downtown development coordinator.