Thursday, December 30, 2010

Five Downtown Business Owners/Managers Attend “Destination Business” Workshop

Five downtown business owners spent a day recently in Wake Forest learning how to make their business a ”destination business.” The Clayton Downtown Development Association was a community sponsor of a workshop with marketing expert and small business strategist Jon Schallert in downtown Wake Forest.

John McFadden (Jewelry Design Studio); Joyce Blackley (Blackley’s Printing); Michelle McCullen (Pizazz); Debi Austermuehle (Main Street Jewelers); and Debbie Hammond (Fancy That Gifts) attended the workshop and learned how to market their business as a destination. Schallert provided attendees with some very good tools and resources to use to help businesses in that process.

Michelle McCullen, manager of Pizazz, a clothing resale shop associated with Harbor Inc, said she considered the workshop with Jon Schallert to be very resourceful and thinks some of the lessons learned will help downtown businesses succeed and make Clayton itself a "Destination" town. She said, “It enlightened me on ways to strengthen our sales and get Pizazz out into the public eye as a "destination" business, and be seen as more than just a resale shop with the right attitude and the simplest of changes.”

Joyce Blackley, owner of Blackley’s Printing, and a former DDA Chair said, “The program was a great motivator and brought out a positive attitude in all of us.”

Since the workshop, the DDA has subscribed to Schallert’s “Destination University” and will provide opportunities to share information with downtown businesses.

For more information, contact Downtown Development Coordinator, Bruce Naegelen at 553-1545 or

In Photo: From left to right: John McFadden (Jewelry Design Studio); Joyce Blackley (Blackley’s Printing); Michelle McCullen (Pizazz); Debi Austermuehle (Main Street Jewelers); Debbie Hammond (Fancy That Gifts); Jon Schallert.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Downtown Plaza Called "Beautiful, Inviting"

It's cold outside, and the trees have no leaves, but the new Downtown Plaza at the corner of Main and Lombard Streets is still attracting a lot of attention.

And, it's getting praise from some downtown merchants.

"I've already seen people enjoying it--families, kids," said Vincent Walsh, owner of a downtown jewelry store. "My wife and I think it's a beautiful park. We're really surprised it came out as well as it did."

Tracey Taylor, who works in an office downtown, says the new Plaza "is very inviting." "That's something we needed, something that looked inviting," Taylor said. "I like it."

The Plaza, a tree-covered sanctuary with beautiful sidewalks, benches, greenery and design, includes 30 premium parking spaces. The $300,000 project, designed by Ashley Grady of G2 Design, is being funded through a $310,000 easement fee for a communications tower at the Operations Center property.

"We were pleased to use a one-time revenue to fund a capital project, because diverting such revenues to operating expenses can create future year financial stress," explained Town Manager Steve Biggs. "We were also able to avoid the debt service that would have been associated with borrowing funds to perform the project."

Pat West, a technical writer who rents office space directly across from the Plaza, says the beauty of the new downtown "centerpiece" is sure to boost downtown business.

"I wanted to let you know I am very pleased with the design of the parking lot," he said. "Although the construction period was very trying sometimes, I got through the noise and the inconvenience by thinking how nice it would be when it was done--and it is! Although more parking spaces might have been provided by a more austere design, I believe that beauty itself, that making downtown a nice place to be aesthetically, will reap more foot traffic for our downtown businesses and more investment in the downtown area in general in the long run."

The Plaza incorporates granite installed on the site more than a hundred years ago as part of the old Ashley Horne home that once stood there. The project was long championed by Biggs and Mayor Jody McLeod as a way to help with downtown revitalization.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dance Lesson Deals from DPM Studios

Gotta check out this Thriller video from DPM Studios... produced in downtown Clayton - and check out the dance lesson deals from DPM Studios!

ARTCLE: "Tiny Art a Big Hit"

BY PAUL A. SPECHT - staff writer Garner-Clayton Record
To hit a big target audience, the folks at Eye of the Eagle Art are aiming small - 6 inches by 6 inches small.
Since it opened in October 2008, the gallery in Clayton has held several exhibitions to bring out local art connoisseurs, said Bonnie Light, who helps her daughter, Donna Light-Pfledderer, run the gallery.

But even with a variety of paints, oils, sculptures, mixed media and other art on display, the duo say their most popular exhibit has been their "World's Largest Tiny Art Show." "It's really been a hit," Light said. "We've seen people of all types."

Nearly every piece in the tiny art show is smaller than 6 inches by 6 inches, costs less than $50 and is the work of a local artist. "We just wanted to do something different for people who can't afford larger pieces," Light-Pfledderer said. "This is for those people who like art and want something original but don't want to spend too much." (Tiny Art A Big Hit cont.)

New "One-Minute" Videos Promote Clayton

The Town of Clayton, with its constantly updated news and information, has become an excellent way for residents to find out what's going on around town and learn more about Clayton.

The same is true for potential new residents as well as business and industrial executives looking to Clayton as a potential site.

With that in mind, town officials are putting the finishing touches to a series of one-minute video presentations for the web site that promote everything from Clayton's quality of life to its top-ranked schools and real estate opportunities. They replace a series of older presentations that need updating.

"This is an excellent way to tell the world about Clayton," said Deputy Town Manager Nancy Medlin. "Every day, the web site gets hits from all over the region, from states all around us and even from other countries. People are interested in us and want to find out all they can."

The presentations should be added to the web site within the next few days.

Mayor Jody McLeod starts it off with a short "Welcome to Clayton" presentation that outlines some of the reasons that Clayton has become one of the nation's most interesting small towns. Other presentations talk about our quality of life, our real estate opportunities, our top-ranked schools, opportunities here for industry and our growing and vibrant arts and leisure opportunities.

The town also has a new Facebook page--Town of Clayton, NC--that is getting more and more attention.

"Communicating well with our residents, as well as those who might want to relocate here and those considering Clayton for a new business or industry, is one of our top priorities," Medlin said. "This is an excellent place to live and raise a family, as more and more are finding out, and we're an excellent place for business and new jobs-producing industry, too."

To take a look at the new video presentations, just go to the town's web site by clicking here.  (if the page doesn't launch, wait a day and come back!)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Clayton Parking Enforcement to Begin January 1

Beginning January 1, the Town of Clayton will begin to enforce parking regulations, and issuing fines, especially in the downtown area and in the vicinity of Clayton High School and The Clayton Center. According to Mayor Jody McLeod, “Because of the amount of growth in downtown there needs to be control over the parking to ensure safety.”

Violations include parking:
• Further than 18 inches from the curb
• With left side of the vehicle to the curb, except on one-way streets headed in the direction of traffic
• In a municipal parking lot between 11 pm Sunday – Thursday and midnight – 5:30 am on Friday & Saturday
• On the sidewalk
• In front of a public or private driveway
• Within an intersection
• Within 20 feet of an intersection (Council amended the distance from 30-feet to 20-feet in October, 2010)
• On a crosswalk
• Within 30 feet of a stop sign, traffic signal or flashing light located at the side of a road
• Within 20 feet of the driveway entrance to a fire station
• On the roadway side of any vehicle stopped or parked at the edge or curb of a street (“double-parking”)
• On any bridge or other elevated structure or within any underpass structure
• Within an officially designated fire lane
• Within five (5) feet of a private road or driveway
• At any place where official signs or markings prohibit stopping or parking
• Parking in “no parking” areas

The most common violations are parking on the sidewalk and within 20 feet of an intersection.

Violators will be assessed a civil penalty rather than a fine, which enables the Town to retain all funds collected from parking tickets and seek civil judgment in court against offenders who do not pay the fine. The amendment to the Town Ordinances was adopted by the Town Council at the beginning of October.

A first notice of violation will be subject to a $25.00 penalty and second and subsequent notices of violations will be $75.00. Additional penalties will apply if the fines are not paid on time.

Although enforcement will be stepped up, there has been no change to the parking ordinances which were adopted by the Town Council in 1987, other than the penalty sections. There are some existing visual aids, such as signs, to help drivers comply with the law. For example, “Wherever you see a yellow curb, you shouldn’t park there,” said Bruce Naegelen, Downtown Development Coordinator. “The yellow curb indicates a no parking zone. You may not legally park your car adjacent to a yellow curb. Another point to understand is that a “No Parking” sign generally means parking is prohibited on the whole block – not just the space in front of the sign,” he added.

As part of the public awareness process, police officers will issue a warning to most first time offenders, unless it is a flagrant violation that compromises public safety, but after that, offenders will receive the penalty.

The Town of Clayton Parking Ordinance is available online by visiting the Town of Clayton website, and clicking on “Government” then “Code of Ordinances.” In the Quick Search box, type “Chapter 73” then on the list click “Chapter 73: Parking.”

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sunshine Health Expands with “Sunshine’s Déjà vu-Treasures”

Sunshine Health, a natural health herb shop and holistic center at 419 E. Main Street, has expanded with a new retail space in the rear of their building. It’s called “Sunshine’s Déjà Vu Room –Treasures Revisited” and was designed to offer unique, used items artfully displayed, with a number of collectibles. It is Sunshine Health’s way of helping the planet by promoting re-cycling, re-using, & re-newing. “We search and scour to find the pieces that may be that special treasure to you. The pieces are cleaned, repaired, or crafted into something different and made ready for your home,” said owner Deborah Brown. Some of the collectible items include Madame Alexander dolls, Santa’s, dishes, retro pieces and more.
Ten percent of sales will go to three local charities. Call Sunshine Health at 919-550-8555 for more information and visit their Facebook page at Déjà Vu-Treasures Revisited. For class schedule visit us at

ARTICLE - Clayton Council Restricts Roadside Vendors

Council gives vendors the boot
- Change leaves merchants with few places to go
BY PAUL A. SPECHT - Garner-Clayton Record Staff Writer

After continued complaints from townsfolk and brick-and-mortar shops, the Town Council last week essentially banned roadside vendors.

Since 2006, Clayton has required street vendors to obtain a temporary business permit, and the number of complaints has fallen since then, said Town Manager Steve Biggs. "Before we had any ordinance, [the calls] were constant," he said.

Biggs described last week's council action as "just a refinement to the existing ordinance."

But the council banned so-called "stop and plop" merchants from using undeveloped land, and they cannot operate within 200 feet of a residence. Also, a merchant may not occupy the same spot for more than 30 days.  (VENDORS - Full Article)

HOLIDAY MARKET by Clayton Farm & Community Market - Dec 18

Shop Local, Shop Fresh

The freshest ingredients for your Holiday meals. One-of-a-kind local crafts and prepared foods for holiday giving and enjoying.

The Clayton Farm & Community Market will feature their regular craft and food vendors, as well as other invited vendors. Tents will be set up at their regular spot-- the Town Square--during regular market hours: 9:00 am - 2:00 pm

Come by this Saturday to stock up for the holidays.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Cultivating Entrepreneurship" by Stephen Barrington

Entrepreneurship comes from within and yet like learning a foreign language, it must be cultivated. I imagine we all know those individuals that have always seemed to stand out in an ‘entrepreneurial’ type of way, through work and life itself. I am also quite certain that we know many more that have taken the business ownership plunge and yet are entrepreneurial-challenged. Entrepreneurship is less about change and risk-abundance and more about “seeking better, seeking new” and calculated risks. It is not about being a business owner, it is about the individual.

Let’s cultivate our future employees and employers - today’s younger student. Capital Area (Johnston and Wake counties) have 207 public schools and 175,563 students. The student population alone would be the 7th largest municipality in NC based on 7/1/2009 figures. These students make up not only our future workforce, but future employers as well. It is incumbent upon us to collectively provide education and training necessary to strengthen Capital Area, be engaged in curriculum development, provide internships, mentorships, and more. Many of these students will be employed in new occupations that do not exist today. Are we cultivating an environment conducive to entrepreneurship for our students?

It is evident that business ownership is strong in Capital Area. Between January 1, 2010 and November 30, 2010, 13,520 businesses incorporated via the NC Secretary of State’s Office in Capital Area while 1,787 filed for withdrawal or dissolution of their incorporated status. Capital Area has a net 11,733 new incorporated businesses (for-profit and not-for-profit). It is essential that we nurture and cultivate business owners to compete in our global economy and to further develop the area’s brand as a significant global player in education, training, and innovation.

Let’s challenge ourselves to do two things: 1. Become more knowledgeable about other organizations that serve the business community; and 2. Be more inclusive and entrepreneurial in developing and furthering partnerships to benefit and strengthen businesses in Capital Area.

Stephen R. Barrington, MPA
Business Services Manager
Capital Area Workforce Development Board
2321 Crabtree Boulevard, Suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27604
(919) 856-6046

Monday, December 13, 2010

JCC Small Business Center Holds Free Business Seminars in January

The Small Business Center at JCC provides free seminars and counseling to support the development of new small businesses and the growth of existing small businesses. The following free seminars will be held in January.

10 Steps to Starting Your Own Business
This seminar will give you an overall understanding of the steps you need to take to make your dream venture a reality. It includes topics such as researching your market; defining your business structure; determining the needed local/state taxes, fees and licenses; developing a marketing strategy, setting up your record keeping system and writing your business plan.
Course Code: SBC 3601 01P
Dates/Days: January 10, 2011 (M)
Course Times: 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: Workforce Development Center 1032
Instructor: McLamb
Registration Fee: Free

Improving Workplace Relationships
This course will explore the common dynamics of workplace relationships. Through candid lecture and interactive exercises, participants will discover effective ways in which people can improve behaviors that support healthy relationships and boost desired performance. Concepts to be addressed include personal styles, values, communication, conflict, and respect. Participants are urged to ask questions or share real-life success stories where they succeeded in turning a negative interaction into a more positive and productive one. The course will provide participants with a no-nonsense approach in working more harmoniously with others to successfully meet and exceed workplace goals.
Course Code: SBC 3601 29P
Dates/Days: January 12, 2011 (W)
Course Times: 11:00am - 2:00pm
Location: Workforce Development Center 1034A
Instructor: Tarantino
Registration Fee: FREE (You may bring your lunch.)

Web to English Translation: Effectively Communicating with your Web Developer
Does talking to your web developer leave you questioning whether they learned English in high school? Are you left unsure of whether the language barrier challenges will eliminate any hope of getting the online image you are hoping for? Get familiar with some of the common terms and concepts in the web design industry. Learn where to find answers to become an educated consumer of these services. Explore some of the different types of web sites and marketing approaches used online and how these can be aligned with your business plan.
Course Code: SBC 3601 23P
Dates/Days: January, 20 2011 (Th)
Course Times: 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: Workforce Development Center 1032
Instructor: Schmieder
Registration Fee: Free

Are You Ready to Start Your Own Business?
This seminar is a hands-on way to learn more about entrepreneurship. It encourages participants to think like an entrepreneur while learning about small business management. By the end of the seminar, each participant will have analyzed their reasons for considering entrepreneurship and will have assessed their capabilities to successfully create a business.

Course Code: SBC 3601 03P
Dates/Days: January 24, 2011 (M)
Course Times: 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: Workforce Development Center 1032
Instructor: Cockrell
Registration Fee: Free
Book: None

How to Raise Your Credit Score to Over 740 Points
A good credit score is now considered to be 740 points or higher. Should you have one credit card or four? Should you pay off your balances every month or carry a balance? Should you carry a credit card even though you have not used it in years? The answers to these questions may surprise you when it comes to increasing your credit score. Now more than ever, having good credit is important in being able to obtain a loan. Your credit score is also important in determining the interest rate of your loans, your insurance premiums and deposits required for phone and utility services. As of October 1, 2005, every adult in North Carolina has been able to receive a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting. Do you understand these reports and how to read them? In this three-hour seminar we will discuss the history of credit scoring, how to read a credit report and what factors are used in calculating your FICO or Beacon score. You will learn the legal tricks credit bureaus do not reveal on how to raise your score simply by the way you use your credit cards, treat inquiries, make your payments and carry balances. This seminar will also include information about the importance of maintaining good credit and the positive financial consequences it produces. Using several proven methods, your credit score could increase by 50-100 points or more within 60 days. Make plans to attend now!

Course Code: SBC 3601 04P
Dates/Days: January 25, 2011 (T)
Course Times: 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: Public Safety Services Complex J1510
Instructor: Moore
Registration Fee: Free

Selling in a Tough Economy – NFL Style
Jim will help you learn effective sales processes and skills for today’s difficult times. He will share tips on how to uncover (sometimes-hidden) opportunities and how to benefit from this “newfound” sales knowledge. Jim has over 25 years of successful experience in Sales/Sales Management/Sales Training/Customer Service and has helped hundreds of companies and individuals improve their sales productivity, grow revenue, and enhance customer relationships.
Course Code: SBC 3601 05P
Dates/Days: January 26, 2011 (W)
Course Times: 11:00am - 2:00pm
Location: Workforce Development Center 1032
Instructor: Joyce
Registration Fee: FREE (You may bring your lunch.)

How to Write a Business Plan
A strong business plan is a critical part of business success. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. This workshop covers the basics you need to put together a business plan that will assist you with start up and funding your business.

Course Code: SBC 3601 06P
Dates/Days: January 31, 2011 (M)
Course Times: 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: Workforce Development Center 1032
Instructor: McLamb
Registration Fee: Free

To register for these seminars, contact Rosa Andrews at 919-209-2015 or or register through the SBC website at

Friday, December 10, 2010

Clayton Christmas Parade Tomorrow - Main Street Closure Info

The holiday spirit comes to downtown Clayton this Saturday - December 11th, with the 2010 Christmas Parade, sponsored by the Clayton Chamber of Commerce.

The parade, which begins at 3 PM on Main Street, will feature floats, local marching bands, area businesses, civic and church organizations and OF COURSE - a visit from the jolly man in red - SANTA CLAUS! ! !

11:00 am - 6:00 pm: E Main Street (US 70 to Smith St.)
1:45 pm - 6:00 pm: ALL of Main Street to Atkinson Street will be closed.

For additional information, please feel free to contact the Chamber at 553-6352 or email
Eye of the Eagle Art Center is hosting 14 year old Rebecca Brown tomorrow (December 11) between 12-3pm to do a book signing. She is presently a freshman at Princeton High School and has been writing since she was 13. They have already sold a couple of her books, so be sure to stop by before the Christmas Parade!

NEWS ARTICLE: Record Crowd Kicks Off Christmas in Clayton

BRIAN RAPP• 12.08.2010 (Clayton News-Star)

The weather outside wasn’t frightful Thursday night – as Clayton Downtown Development Director Bruce Naegelen commented later, “it was seasonably chilly.”

And the atmosphere on Main Street was absolutely delightful as a throng estimated to be in excess of 4,000 turned out for the 19th annual Clayton Christmas Village and Tree Lighting festivities. (Full Article)

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Competitive Training Grant Applications Being Sought by Businesses in Johnston and Wake Counties

Capital Area Workforce Development Board (CAWDB) is accepting applications from businesses that seek a training grant up to $25,000 for their current employees. Signed and completed applications must be received no later than January 14, 2011 at 5:00 PM.

Incumbent Workforce Development Program (IWDP) provides funding to North Carolina businesses for educational and occupational skills training for current employees. The goal is to help businesses give their employees the training they need to take their business to the next level. Businesses may apply for grants up to $25,000 per year with a $40,000 lifetime limit.

CAWDB is responsible for administration, oversight, reporting, and monitoring IWDP for Johnston and Wake counties. We accept grant applications several times per year.

For more information or to request an application, please contact Stephen Barrington at or (919) 856-6046.

30-Minute Parking Signs to Come Down Today

The 30-minute time limt signs in the 300 block of East Main Street will come down today. They were installed to provide some customer considerations in front of the businesses immediately impacted by the closing of the Town Lot Project while under construction. The Clayton Town Council last night officially took action to allow the removal of those signs. The businesses which had the time limited parking were Fine Jewelry by Vincent, Awards & Engravables, Esquire Barber, Beddingfield's Pharmacy, Connie's, and Flowers by the Neuse.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Thousands Attend Clayton's Christmas Village & Tree Lighting

More than 4,000 people attended Clayton's Christmas Village & Tree Lighting event on Thursday, December 2 in downtown Clayton. In his welcoming remarks during the Tree Lighting ceremony, Clayton Dowtown Development Association, Inc President Edward Knight announced it was a "record attendance" for the event.

91-year old Clayton native and WWII veteran, Bill O'Neal was the Grand Marshall for the event and rode with Santa in the horse and carriage all evening and provided the count-down to light the tree itself. The tree was lit a few beats earlier than Mr. O'Neal's count, but a large cheer went up when it was lit and the countdown ended. Here's a video of the countdown and lighting.

The event included student performances from local schools, local musicians and a live nativity. Downtown businesses reported good activity during their open house and the Doggie Christmas Costume Contest & Parade was well attended. The contest winner was a Papillion mix, "Missy" who came as a Christmas present; 2nd place was chihuaha "Halo" who came as Rudolph in a sleigh and 3rd place was "Oliver, a Yorky dressed as a snowflake.

Stroefront Decoration Contest winners were presented with plaques which they will display in their business for a year:
Best Overall: City Florist

Most Creative: The Coffee Mill

Most Traditional: Lipscomb's Learning Center

Grinch Award - SignAge of the Carolinas. Mayor Jody McLeod holds up this year's "Grinch Award" and noted that, "the bar has been raised and you'll have to see why at 218 W Main Street." 
218 W Main

The event was organized by the Clayton Downtown Development Association, Inc. with DDA Promotion Committee members, Debbie Brown, owner of Sunshine Health Wellness, and Lorraine Perri as event co-chairs. They did a marvelous job with the help of about 35 volunteers, including the Clayton Youth Council from Clayton Parks & Recreation.  

Sponsors of the event are Town of Clayton, Clayton Glass & Mirror, Talecris, Clayton News-Star and Time Warner Cable.

See you next year on Thursday, December 1, 2011!!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Taylor Leopold, 2010 Clayton Idol to Perform at Christmas Village & Tree Lighting

Among the musicians and performers at Clayton's Christmas Village & Tree Lighting, will be 2010 Clayton Idol winner, Taylor Leopold. The 16-year old singer-songwriter picked up the guitar for the first time when she was 10 years old. She has written dozens of songs over the past few years and is now working towards releasing them on a self-published album, with an expected relase date in late 2011.

She was the 2010 Clayton Idol winner this past fall at the Harvest Fesitval, sponsored by the Clayton Chamber of Commerce.

Taylor will be performing in front of Fancy That at 120 E Main Street from 6:15 pm - 7:00 pm.

Doggie Christmas Parade - Register Now!

Contestants in the Doggie Christmas Costume Contest & Parade will gather at Doggie Do'z, 113 E First Street at 6:00 pm Thursday, Dec 2 and then start the parade down Main Street toward Jone's Lunch where the costumes will be judged and prizes awarded.

The contest and parade is a popular activity of the Christmas Village & Tree Lighting which takes place in downtown Clayton from 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm, with the Tree Lighting Ceremony starting at 8:15 and ending with the Tree Lighting Countdown at precisley 8:30 pm.

Participants are asked to bring a small donation for the Johnston County Animal Shelter. For more information, call Doggie Do'z at (919) 553-5959.

Christmas Village & Tree Lighting Schedule & Map