Fall 2017

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From the Director

       Perhaps you've read the media reports this week, in the Daily Advance News & Observer and other news outlets, that the Historic Tax Credit (HTC), arguably the most effective economic development tool available to historic small towns like Elizabeth City, is on the congressional chopping block.
      At the national level, over the life of the program, HTC has:
  • Created more than 2.4 million good-paying local jobs
  • Leveraged $131.8 billion in private investment
  • Preserved more than 42,293 historic buildings, 40% of them in small towns like ours
      Given that track record, the repeal of the HTC would make no sense, even if it cost the federal government. The thing is; it doesn't. HTC's tax credits of $25.2 billion have generated more than $29.8 billion in federal tax revenue. In other words, HTC has generated $4.6 billion more in federal tax revenues than it has costs.
      Now let's take it down to the local level. Without the Historic Tax Credit, to highlight just one of more than half dozen worthwhile projects, there would be no Arts of the Albemarle. Think about that. No Jenkins Gallery, no Maguire Theatre. Quite likely, no Center Players and no First Friday Art Walk. And quite definitely, no $4 million centerpiece of our downtown renaissance to showcase when prospective employers and investors come to town.
      So why is a program that has created 2.4 million jobs and generated $4.6 billion more than it cost on the chopping block?
      HTC is collateral damage - along with many other worthwhile credits and deductions, like the credit for employer-provided day care, and the deduction for catastrophic medical expenses above 7.5% of income - to finance reductions in individual and corporate tax rates. Yet again, HTC does exactly what proponents of the House and Senate tax bills say they want to accomplish through tax cuts. HTC promotes economic growth, much of it in small towns where it is needed most, and helps reduce the long-term federal deficit by raising more in tax revenues than it costs. 
      Locally, repeal of HTC will kill $17 million of investment in Elizabeth City's downtown, including the rehabilitation and reopening of the Southern Hotel, and the rehabilitation and conversion of the Weatherly Building and two adjoining buildings into market-rate apartments. That is why the Elizabeth City Pasquotank County Economic Development Commission, Pasquotank County and the City of Elizabeth City have all passed resolutions supporting preserving it.
      Short of personal visits, the Trust for Historic Preservation recommends phone calls as the most effective means of registering support for HTC. Here are the phone numbers of the Washington offices of our representatives in Washington, D.C. Please let them know how you feel.
  • Senator Richard Burr (202) 224-3154
  • Senator Thom Tillis (202) 224-6342
  • Congressman Walter Jones (202) 225-3415
Wayne Harris
Director, ECPCEDC
Meet our Dynamic Retirees
      This month, we continue with our "Dynamic Retirees" story series, showcasing couples who have made Elizabeth City their choice for retirement, a relaxed lifestyle, second careers and community service. We kicked off the series in May with features on long-time volunteers Beverly and Buddy Madrin, and retirees Sally and Pete Bruderle. Now you can learn how love struck twice for Jody and Jeff McNamara when they relocated from the fast pace of Fairfax, Virginia to Elizabeth City's relaxed Riverside neighborhood. You can also meet retired U.S. Coast Guard Commander Don Campbell and his wife, Bette Lou, who opted to retire at home at the end of Don's final tour. Click here to view and read all four articles - and let us know what you like about life in Elizabeth City at  www.facebook.com/ecpcedc/  
Luxury Limo and Coach Service Rolls into Town 
        Legacy Limousine and Luxury Coaches  relocated its high-end bus and charter bus service from Hampton Roads to Elizabeth City earlier this quarter, arriving in style at the Pasquotank County Commerce Park. Founder and CEO Chris Johnson wanted a spacious, accessible location to grow his company, with ample room for designing, building, renovating and customizing executive coaches and limousines for companies and private owners. The former Stateline Builders site at the Commerce Park fit the bill. 
     Last week, Johnson's staff was hard at work for a new client, overhauling a charter bus for a Raleigh-based touring service. He's been pleasantly surprised at the business opportunities that have opened as a result of moving to North Carolina, as well as the quality of the 19 local workers he hired to fill the gap left by employees who opted out of the move. "In general, we like the workforce here better than the one we had before," said Johnson. 
     The company, with a total staff of 34, also provides rental service for limousines, limo buses, and executive coaches, and it operates a charter bus service that takes groups on organized excursions to Washington, D.C., New York City and beyond. Legacy Limousine and Luxury Coaches is located at 305 Commerce Drive.  
Eastern Women's Center Now Open
       Elizabeth City has another great resource for local entrepreneurs. On Oct. 3, the Eastern Women's Business Center (EWBC) opened in partnership with Elizabeth City State University to provide support to women entrepreneurs that will sustain high growth businesses and job creation. The first of its kind, the Business Center offers an array of services including access to capital, one-on-one business counseling and coaching, educational opportunities, group technical assistance workshops and certification assistance for federal and local programs, among others. 
     "The goal of the Eastern Women's Business Center is to help small business owners and women entrepreneurs find what they are passionate about and what they love to do in life," said EWBC Director Caitlin Davis. 
     Supported by the Carolina Small Business Development Fund, the EWBC is located in the K.E White Center on the university campus.  
Send Us Your Business News!
       For our Social Media Business Information Network, we are gathering regional business and economic development-related news to share in this quarterly  Developments e-newsletter and on our social media sites. Please send along information that would be of interest to northeastern North Carolina's economic development stakeholders, municipalities, business owners, prospective businesses and employees. We are interested in hearing about:

*  Business openings and expansions
*  Business workshops and seminars
*  Continuing education opportunities
*  Grant announcements
*  Ground-breaking events
*  Major business announcements
*  Workforce development news
*  Special events with a focus on business
*  Items of interest that would appeal to 
   those who follow local and regional
   business news

Please send your news for consideration to  kharris@ecpcedc.com.

EC's New Haunt, Ghost Harbor Brewing Co.
     Local beer aficionados can soon sip a locally crafted brew fresh from the tap when Elizabeth City's first microbrewery opens late this fall in the downtown area. Thomas and Tabitha Reese, owners of the new Ghost Harbor Brewing Co., are looking to attract those with a taste for craft beer and newcomers who may be trying one for the first time. 
       "We'll have eight taps when we open with styles ranging from Pale Ale and IPA to Porter and Stout," said Thomas, an avid home brewer and business manager. "We want to introduce really fresh, craft beer in the classic styles. Later, I'll experiment and throw in a bunch of different styles and flavors for the community to try." 
       Operating as a four-barrel brewery, Ghost Harbor Brewing Co. is located at 606-B East Colonial Ave. in a building that served as a horse stable and livery in the early 1900s. When completed, patrons can visit the indoor tasting room or take their drinks outside to the adjoining and recently renovated Palin's Alley, an Elizabeth City landmark. A selection of local wines from nearby Sanctuary Vineyards will be offered, and take-out dining from nearby restaurants is encouraged. Hoppin' Johnz New South Cuisine sits adjacent to the brewery, and a variety of independently owned restaurants are within an easy walk.  
       In addition to putting the finishing touches on the building, the couple, who resides with their family in Elizabeth City, has enjoyed spreading the word about their venture. Thomas spoke about the "Science of Brewing" at a continuing education night at Port Discover, talked up the business at a Committee of 100 meeting of local business leaders and staged a pop-up event during October's First Friday ArtWalk event. 
       "There's certainly a buzz about what we've got going on," said Thomas. "And this is a neat little spot. Our business goals are to operate efficiently, ensure our growth is sustainable and create good jobs for people here in Elizabeth City."
A Familiar Face Leads Base Elizabeth City

      During a change-of-command ceremony on June 23, 2017, Randy F. Meador was installed as Commander of U.S. Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City, overseeing six tenant commands that coordinate and provide regional mission support activities within the Fifth Coast Guard District. 
     As a kid growing up in Duncanville, Texas, Meador didn't frequent the Gulf beaches, nor was he familiar with the Coast Guard; his family came from an Army and Navy background. He aspired to work in the aviation field and once he discovered the Coast Guard's global work with planes and helicopters, he was hooked. He didn't realize the Coast Guard operated enormous cutters until he was already in boot camp at Cape May, New Jersey. 
     Meador has served 31 years and enjoyed a distinguished career with the U.S. Coast Guard, including four tours in Elizabeth City. Most recently, he served as Executive Officer at Base Cleveland, where he provided regional support to the entire Ninth Coast Guard District, encompassing all five Great Lakes and operational units from Duluth, Minnesota to Massena, New York. As Meador relays to readers in this issue of Developments, he is glad to be immersed, once again, in work and life in the "Harbor of Opportunity."  

How many years have you served in the Coast Guard? I've served 31 years, 10 of which have been in Elizabeth City. This is my fourth tour here at four different commands. My children are grown, and they really enjoyed living here. They attended school in Pasquotank and Camden counties and both graduated from Camden County High School. My son is now married with three children and lives in Fort Worth, Texas. My daughter is married to her Camden High School sweetheart, who is in the Navy and stationed in Panama City Beach, Florida, and they are enjoying my newest grandchild. My wife's youngest son just moved back with us and he is a freshman at Elizabeth City State University. 


What have been some of the highlights of your service? Exciting search-and-rescue cases are at the top of the list. Memorial Day 2000, I had a big rescue here in the Elizabeth City area, rescuing eight people off of four boats during a nor'easter. That was my very first night standing duty as a helicopter pilot in the Coast Guard and one of my more memorable events. Another highlight, I've had the privilege of serving, for three decades now, with people who perform with an incredibly impressive level of professionalism. It literally makes you want to come to work. Because of the job we do, we are the kind of people who aspire to do it and consistently do it better. We are truly blessed to have the high caliber personnel that we do.  


What are your goals in leading U.S. Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City?  My number one goal is to ensure that we meet our core mission - providing top shelf logistical support to all six tenant commands here. These include:  Air Station Elizabeth City, Aviation Logistics Command, C27J Acquisition Project Office, Aviation Technical Training Center, National Strike Force Coordination Center and the Small Boat Station Elizabeth City. We also support Sector North Carolina in Wilmington. I want to not only maintain, but increase our level of support for those folks. In addition, I want to maintain the already well established relationship between the Coast Guard and Elizabeth City. Traditionally, there has been an outstanding relationship between the two. 


Describe the relationship between the Coast Guard and the community?  Because of what we do, there always seems to be a strong bond between the Coast Guard and the communities where we serve. Depending on where we are stationed, we may be embedded with the local fishing fleet or in an area focused on tourism. In Elizabeth City, the Coast Guard is the region's top employer, and so the community is enhanced by the outstanding jobs the Coast Guard provides. When our members have additional time, after fulfilling their core duties here, they volunteer pretty regularly throughout the community at various events. In turn, the success of those events contributes to additional opportunities for our Coast Guard families. I look at it as another form of pay forward. Every time they volunteer in the community, they're paying it forward. And the community is paying it forward as well.

In your opinion, what are Elizabeth City's economic development strengths?  From experience, I've seen that this city has not sat idle and let progress pass it by. Now that I sit in a position of participating on several boards, I get to see first-hand the people who are working hard to make this city consistently a great place to live and work. It's those driven individuals who are Elizabeth City's greatest economic development strength. They keep the city competitive, making it a place where people want to relocate, live and work. 

What do you and your family like to do for fun in Elizabeth City?  We're really big boating people, into wake surfing, wake boarding and activities like that. This is a fantastic place for us because of the proximity to the Pasquotank River. We also love going to the waterfront area when we have a chance and visiting all the great restaurants in the area. Name your cuisine, and I'll tell about a restaurant to try; they're all great. I'm also very impressed with the activities that Elizabeth City Downtown, Inc. has developed to attract more people downtown. They've definitely done a great job of improving the aesthetics downtown over recent years. 


A complete bio of Commander Randy F. Meador is available here.

For more Elizabeth City biz news and views, visit HarborofOpportunity.com.


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Headquartered in Elizabeth City, N.C., the Elizabeth City  |  Pasquotank County EDC markets business opportunities in the City of Elizabeth City and Pasquotank County to prospective employers throughout the United States. It's location in the center of northeastern North Carolina makes the area ideally suited for business development, expansion and relocation. 

For information, go to elizabethcitypasquotankEDC.com or call at 1-888-338-1678 or (252) 338-0169.