Wednesday, March 30, 2011

SBA Opens Temporary Refinancing Program to Real Estate Mortgages Maturing after December 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Small business owners with eligible commercial real estate mortgages maturing after Dec. 31, 2012, will be able to secure more stable, long-term financing through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s temporary 504 refinancing program as a result of a change that will be published in The Federal Register by April 6.

In February, SBA implemented a temporary refinancing program enacted under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, which allowed small businesses facing maturing commercial real estate mortgages or balloon payments before Dec. 31, 2012, to refinance with an SBA 504 loan. The SBA change will lift the date limitation and will allow more small businesses to secure stable, long-term financing and avoid potential foreclosure on mortgages approved before and during the recession that were based on inflated real estate values.

“With the collapse of the real estate bubble, many small business owners have found themselves unable to refinance as a result of inflated real estate values at the time they took out their mortgage,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said. “SBA’s temporary 504 refinancing program was first made available to those small businesses with the most immediate need. Today’s step opens this critical assistance to more small businesses, giving them the opportunity to restructure their debt and free up capital that will be essential to keeping their doors open and also their future ability to grow and create jobs.”

To be eligible for the temporary 504 refinancing program, a business must have been in operation for at least two years, the debt to be refinanced must be for owner-occupied real estate and have been incurred no less than two years prior to the date of application and the proceeds used for 504-eligible business expenses, and payments on that debt must be current for the last 12 months.

The refinancing loan is structured like SBA’s traditional 504 loan. Typically, a 504 project includes three elements: a loan (or first mortgage) secured with a senior lien from a private-sector lender covering 50 percent of the project cost, a second mortgage secured with a junior lien from an SBA Certified Development Company (backed by a 100 percent SBA-guaranteed debenture) covering up to 40 percent of the cost, and a contribution of at least 10 percent equity from the small business borrower.

Borrowers are able to refinance up to 90 percent of the current appraised property value or 100 percent of the outstanding mortgage, whichever is lower, plus eligible refinancing costs. Loan proceeds may not be used for other business expenses. Existing 504 projects and government-guaranteed loans are not eligible to be refinanced.

Under the Jobs Act, Congress authorized SBA to approve up to $15 billion in loans under this program ($7.5 billion in both fiscal years 2011 and 2012). Together with the first mortgage, this temporary program will provide up to $33.8 billion of total project financing. Additional fees charged to the borrower will cover the cost of this refinancing program and as a result no loan subsidy will be needed from taxpayer funds. The program is expected to benefit as many as 20,000 businesses.

SBA’s traditional 504 loan program is a long-term financing tool, designed to encourage economic development within a community. A 504 loan provides small businesses with long-term, fixed-rate financing to acquire major fixed assets for expansion or modernization.

With publication in the Federal Register, which is expected by April 6, SBA will begin accepting applications from small business owners with mortgages maturing after Dec. 31, 2012. The program will be in effect through Sept. 27, 2012.

Clayton Farmer's Market to Open Third Season This Saturday (April 2)

Farmers' market raising profile of local foods
BY PAUL A. SPECHT - Garner-Clayton Record Staff Writer
The folks at the Clayton Farm & Community Market are looking to grow the popularity of local food even more this year.

When the farmers' market opens for its third season at 9 a.m. this Saturday, Kathy Bennek and two dozen vendors will kick off their efforts to convert Clayton eateries to spending 10 percent of their food budget on local products.

"The benefit of buying locally is the freshness," said Bennek, the market's president and seller of blueberries from her land on Creekside Farm. "The produce isn't coming from Chile or China, and you can talk to the people who grow it."

Clayton's market is the first in Johnston County to sign onto The 10% Campaign, an initiative of the Golden Leaf Foundation and the N.C. Center for Environmental Farming Systems.  (full article)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Clayton Law Enforcement Center will Have Memorial

The town's new "Law Enforcement Center," now under construction downtown, will include a memorial honoring the three local police officers who have died in the line of duty over the years.

The proposed design, which shows a larger-than-life officer exiting the Cente on the exterior, Second Street side of the bulding but has the same shape in relief as a void symbolizng loss on the interior, was unveiled at last week's Town Council meeting to rave reviews.

The memorial will include the names of the three fallen officers directly beside the inset shape: Monica W. Carey, William R. Gilmore and Charles H. Lee.

"Great!" said Mayor Jody McLeod. "It really tells the story."

Others on the Council echoed his statement.

"This is truly awesome," said Mayor Pro Tem Michael Grannis. "I'm very excited. To me, this really makes a statement."

Councilman Bob Satterfield also had high praise: "Good Job. I love it."

The memorial was designed by Clearscapes, PA, the new building's designer. Steven Schuster, a principal in the firm, said the memorial will be made from North Carolina slate.

"We think it is going to be memorable," he told the Council.

The 19,000-sq.ft. brick building will feature lots of glass and high quality metal trim made of zinc. It's energy-efficient design makes extensive use of natural light and high-efficiency heating and cooling systems. A model of the complex is available for viewing at the Clayton Center.

Schuster said the structure, which includes extensive landscaping, should blend in nicely with other buildings in the area and add to the beauty of downtown. Police are currently working out of a temporary headquarters at 9933 US 70W Business.

After years of planning, town officials decided to move ahead with the project after a report from Town Manager Steve Biggs warning that the town's highly regarded police force--which two years ago became one of the few law enforcement agencies in the country to earn full accreditation--was "bursting at the seams" in their old 5,000-sq.ft building.

The slowdown in th economy also facilitated very favorable financing terms and bid costs substantially below original project cost estimates.

Town officials have been working over the last few years to strengthen the police department, adding programs and capabilities as well as encouraging officers to obtain advanced training. As a result, the town has what Biggs described as "a first-rate" police department.

Friday, March 25, 2011

"Mama, Don't Send Me to the Big Box Store" - Shop Local video

Check out this terrific new "shop local" video from Las Vegas, New Mexico - the original Las Vegas, home to a great Main Street organization. The benefits of shopping local - in Las Vegas, NEW MEXICO! But they are the same everywhere, even Clayton, NC!

Mama Don't Send Me to the Big-Box Store

The video was produced locally by Las Vegas’ Jim Terr. 

This song available to other local business alliances, to promote local shopping, only by licensing arrangement with All Rights Reserved. (c)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Main Streets may feel the impact of new Wal-Marts, yet again…

This note is from Doug Loescher, Director of the National Trust Main Street Center...

Wal-Mart plans to add hundreds of smaller stores in next three years in urban neighborhoods and rural downtowns.

According to Chain Store News, Wal-Mart Stores announced that it would open “hundreds” of smaller-format stores over the next three years. According to Bill Simon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart U.S., the ramped-up development could be augmented by some acquisition activity, although he didn’t elaborate on specifics. The retailer had said it planned to open 30 to 40 smaller units this year in rural and urban areas and that there were “thousands” of potential sites in the U.S. Earlier, Wal-Mart announced it would build its first three smaller-format Express stores, the first of which is slated to open on Chicago’s South Side this summer.

The new stores will include mid-sized Neighborhood Market locations of 30,000-60,000 sq. ft. and the rest will be smaller, Simon said at the investor conference. The Neighborhood Market concept will be renamed “Walmart Market.” Simon said the retailer will introduce more stores on university campuses, and that there are “there are hundreds, if not thousands of opportunities in the U.S.” for the smaller-format stores.


Doug Loescher
Director, National Trust Main Street Center

National Trust for Historic Preservation
1785 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20036

Phone: 202.588.6241

Thursday, March 17, 2011

CDDA Announces 2011 Town Square Concert Series Lineup

”Hip Pocket Band” will open the 2011 Clayton Town Square Concert Series on May 19 at 7:00 pm. All concert dates, except June 2, are the third Thursday of the month from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm at the Town Square at 100 W Main Street in downtown Clayton.

May 19    Hip Pocket Band
June 2      Nantucket
June 16    Johnny Orr Band
July 21     Craig Woolard Band
August 18 Central Park Band
Sept 15     The Castaways

This is the fifth year of the popular concert series, which is organized by the Clayton Downtown Development Association. The free concerts have become very popular, attracting more than 1,100 Clayton residents for each show. Debbie Romano, Town Square Concert Series chairperson, said, “The concert series has become an iconic event for Clayton. It attracts families and friends from Clayton and surrounding communities, bringing more awareness about downtown Clayton.”

Downtown businesses, especially restaurants, generally receive an increase in customers on concert nights. Ms. Romano added, “Two of the major goals for the concert series have been to connect with residents about downtown and increase foot traffic for downtown businesses. We’re succeeding on both counts.”

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 and other downtown news 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, and Lucky Chicken Peruvian Restaurant, 226 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, and the Christmas Village & Tree Lighting.

For more information on the series or how to become a sponsor contact

Monday, March 14, 2011

"The Recovery Has Finally Arrived" with Dr. Harry Davis Presented by Four Oaks Bank

Grammy Winner Dianne Reeves Performs at The Clayton Center on April 1—no foolin’

Dianne Reeves – widely considered to be one of the most significant singers in jazz today – will appear with her quartet to close The Clayton Center’s 2010-11 Palladian Series on April 1 at 8pm.

Reeves is the only recording artist in any singing category to have won the Grammy for Best Vocal Performance for three consecutive recordings: A Little Moonlight in 2003, The Calling in 2001 and In The Moment – Live in Concert in 2000. In 2006, she went on to win the award for a record-breaking fourth time for her soundtrack to the George Clooney film Good Night, and Good Luck.

Reeves’ most recent release, the 2008 CD, When You Know, is a, collection of love songs whose perspective on love ranges from youthful innocence to enlightened maturity. Produced by George Duke, When You Know is Reeves’ most commercial offering in years. Among the featured tracks are The Temptations’, “Just My Imagination” and Minnie Ripperton's "Loving You." She is scheduled to release a new album later this year.

Reeves’ was clearly born of jazz. Her singing draws upon a world of influence, and much like Carmen McRae and Billie Holiday, Reeves is tied to a powerful storytelling instinct. She was the first vocalist signed to the reactivated Blue Note/EMI label in 1987, and as a result of her unique R&B and jazz stylings, she has since captured a huge following and tremendous critical acclaim throughout the world.

Tickets for Dianne Reeves are $27.50 and can 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

The Clayton Center’s 2010-11 season also included performances by comedian Jon Reep, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Kathy Mattea, James Cotton and guitarist Tommy Emmanuel.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

From Purna Yoga East...

Who doesn't love spring? (aside from the pollen!)

You've seen it on TV: people flowing through a series of yoga postures folding and stretching the body.

Well the series of movements is called a Sun Salutation! Sun Salutations stretch all the major muscle groups in the body, relieve tension, build strength and energize the body. Its also a way to welcome the warmer weather, longer days and increased sunshine that the spring season brings!

At Purna Yoga East in downtown Clayton we're collectively preparing to do 108 Sun Salutations beginning the week of March 20th in honor of the first week of spring! Each of the 19 classes offered during the week at Purna Yoga East will do anywhere from 2 to 12 of the Sun Salutations during class.

We'll use chairs and other props to support students who have knee injuries or limited range of motion. Students will also tally the number of Sun Salutations they do at home for a studio grand total.

There are yoga students who have done 108 by themselves but we're not ready to take that on this year-maybe next spring!

Join us! Were offering an incredible New Student Special, 30 days unlimited yoga for only $30! You can purchase new student specials and gift certificates on the web.

For more information call 919-270-4892 or visit us at

Friday, March 11, 2011

Farmers Market 2011 Kick-off Event Saturday

Leaders of the Clayton Farmers and Community Market intend to ask local residents to take "The 10 Percent Challenge" in a kick-off event for the new market season at the Clayton Center Saturday, March 12.

Local farmers want a pledge from residents to spend 10 percent of their food dollars on locally grown food this year. "It would mean a lot to local farmers while enhancing the diets of local residents," said Farmers Market Board Member Kathy Tate-Hildreth.

The event, scheduled for 5 to 9 pm, features a showing of the movie INGREDIENTS, a film about the importance of eating locally-grown foods. In addition, growers from all over the area will be there to meet the public and perhaps work out personal deals for farm-fresh products during the coming year. Everyone is invited.

Kathy, whose farm has 200 bee hives and offers all sorts of honey products, said residents will get to meet and talk with a variety of local farmers---from bee keepers and vegetable growers to egg and meat producers. While fresh food is still weeks away, Saturday's event will bring residents face-to-face with the people who grow it so they can get to know each other, and their preferences, better.

"It's an important event that should be a lot of fun as well," said Kathy, who also works in Customer Services at the Clayton Operations Center. "It's a great opportunity to meet and get to know the people who grow a lot of the food you'll be eating."

The market offers food and crafts from 29 local vendors, with an average of 17 on-site each Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm during the spring, summer and fall.

INGREDIENTS will be shown at 6 pm. Tickets for the movie are $5, plus a service charge of one dollar.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Friends of the Library’s Spring Book Sale March 12

The Friends of the Library’s Spring Book Sale is scheduled for Saturday, March 12, 2011 from 8:00am until 2:00pm in the Sybil Champion Meeting Room of the Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library. We will offer a variety of used books--fiction, nonfiction, inspirational, cookbooks, textbooks and classics. There will be something of interest for every book lover. We invite you to come, browse and fill one of our provided bags for only $12.00. You won’t find a better bargain anywhere.

For our younger readers, there will also be a selection of used books. New Scholastic books will be for sale in the children’s room. Geronimo Stilton, Secret Agent, and Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus series will be visiting. Children can have their faces painted for $1.00.

If you have books you would like to donate for this sale, please drop them off at the library during regular business hours by March 9 if at all possible. Children’s books are always in demand.

"Circa" Opens in Downtown Clayton at 427 E Main Street

“Circa” at 427 E Main Street is an antique and refinished furniture store that has opened in downtown Clayton. Co-owner Brian Shirley said the furniture is “quality, American-crafted furniture at an affordable price.”

Mr. Shirley said he most recently owned a cabinet business that made outdoor kitchens. As the economy became depressed, his orders became fewer and fewer. So, with his entrepreneurial spirit, he learned how to refinish furniture in Laurinburg and began researching business ideas and saw an opportunity in the antique and refinished furniture market. He searched locations around the perimeter of Raleigh, and Clayton had a good community feel to it.

Although furniture sales are the main focus of the business, furniture refinishing and repair is a sideline. Brian said the work will be done in Laurinburg at the shop where he learned to refinish furniture.

“Circa” is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 am to 6 pm and Saturday from 10 am – 5 pm. For more information, call Brian at (910) 280-2709.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Triangle East

Triangle East Magazine is holding their 2011 Reader's Choice Awards - last year Clayton, specifically downtown, fared pretty good! So, go ahead and nominate your favorite businesses!

From Triangle East Editor Nancy Pardue:
Welcome to the 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards, where you, our in-the-know readers, have the chance to nominate your favorite people and places of Triangle East!

Featuring more categories — and a few new ones — the 2011 awards are your chance to nominate your favorites in the categories of Restaurants, Services, Lifestyle, Shopping, and Hometown Favorites.

Last year’s Readers’ Choice Awards were divided into two separate contests, for Garner-Clayton and Knightdale-Wendell-Zebulon.

Both were such a hit that for 2011, we’re combining them into one exciting, region-wide competition!

Nominate your favorite shopping, dining and lifestyle spots in Triangle East now through midnight on March 30, 2011, at Triangle East Magazine.

Your nominations will be compiled into the official Readers’ Choice Awards voting ballot. Voting will take place from April 14 through May 6, 2011, at Triangle East Magazine.

Then, look for the big announcement of winners in the Summer issue of Triangle East!

Don’t wait! The nomination period ends at midnight on Wednesday, March 30, 2011. Make sure your favorites are included!

Clayton Visual Arts/Clayton Center March Art Exhibit by NC Wildlife Artist's Society

Three area artists, Lee Mims and Duane Raver of Clayton and Sol Levine of Wake Forest, will headline the 12 artists of the N.C. Wildlife Artists Society who will show their works at The Clayton Center during March.

The other artists are Steve Brooks of Topsail Island, Chuck Carmack and Jo Hancock of Wilmington, Kyle Dixon of Beaufort, N.C., Patrick Grant of Todd, Cathy Johnson of Bolivia, Tim Larson of Hickory, Raney Rogers of West Jefferson and Robin Wynn of Havelock.

Paintings and photographs by society members will be on display in the Clayton Center’s lobby, 111 E. Second St., March 1-31 from 9 to 5 Monday-Friday.

A meet-the-artists reception will be held March 3 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the center. Everyone is invited, and light refreshments—cookies, fruit, cheese, nuts, wine, punch—will be served. The reception and show are free, and dress is casual. The show is sponsored by Clayton Visual Arts.

The statewide Wildlife Artists Society came into being recently in order to bring wildlife artists, advocates, huntsmen and art collectors together.

Charter members were chosen by invitation of the organizing committee, and subsequent membership has been juried, helping ensure a high quality of artwork in various media—oil, acrylic, watercolor, photography and some 3-dimensional works.

In addition to the three Triangle artists, six are from the coast (Brooks, Carmack, Dixon, Hancock, Johnson and Wynn) and three are from the mountains (Grant, Larson and Rogers).

Eight paint or draw in various media (Dixon, Grant, Hancock, Johnson, Larson, Mims, Raver and Rogers), and the other four are photographers (Brooks, Carmack, Levine and Wynn).

"Bald Eagle" by Sol Levine