WDI Weekly Newsletter
January 13, 2022
Warm-Up Wilmington Collection Drive
Wilmington Downtown, iNC (WDI) has been elated to receive such great community support for its Warm-Up Wilmington Collection Drive. We have received six truckloads of donations from folks around the Wilmington area and beyond.

Our Downtown Street Outreach Specialist, Jack Morris (pictured right) has already distributed many items to downtown's unsheltered during this cold week.

We would like to remind the community that we are only accepting NEW AND UNUSED items. We have received mainly used items, and have managed to distribute them to other organizations serving our community who need them most.

WDI will continue to host the collection drive through Friday, Jan. 21 but is limiting donations to items that can be utilized and distributed easily by our Ambassador team downtown to help our homeless population weather the current winter temperatures.

WDI continues to seek the following NEW AND UNUSED items from the community to distribute to downtown’s unsheltered.

  • Handwarmers (this is WDI's greatest need)
  • Hats
  • Gloves 
  • Coats
  • Ponchos
  • Sleeping bags
  • Socks
  • Backpacks 
  • Toothpaste (no mouthwash, please)
  • Toothbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Hand sanitizer

WDI has already donated $250 worth of new items from the list above to begin distributing to those in need along with the items that have been collected through the drive over the past week.

The Warm-Up Wilmington Collection Drive is part of our Downtown Street Outreach Specialist Pilot Project. 

Downtown Street Outreach Specialist Jack Morris was hired in November through Block by Block, a national MSD operations organization contracted with WDI to manage our MSD services and the Ambassadors Program within our Central Business District.

Morris is a full-time staff member on the MSD Ambassadors team dedicated to establishing relationships and building trust with people living on the streets of downtown Wilmington. 

Through his work, WDI’s Downtown Street Outreach Specialist Pilot Project aims to identify those individuals who are willing to receive assistance and get them connected to the region’s network of social services. The position also supports balanced and peaceful relationships between downtown’s homeless population, our local business and law enforcement community, and visitors to the city. 

While Morris continues to help connect our unsheltered to the right social services, part of the Downtown Street Outreach mission is to help improve their quality of life.

Morris will hand out these items as needed while building relationships with our local homeless community. The items will also go to other social services agencies WDI is collaborating with through the Downtown Street Outreach initiative.

Items can be dropped off at a collection bin inside Common Desk – Wilmington located at 226 N. Front St. in downtown Wilmington. Again, WDI does not have washing machines or the capacity to handle used donation items in bulk.

We encourage the community to take used items, including clothing and blankets, to a local shelter or nonprofit organization, or feel free to call WDI so we can help direct you to the nearest organization in need as we work with our partners in this outreach initiative.

We greatly appreciate your warm kindness during this cold season!

For more information, please email Wilmington Downtown, iNC at office@wilmingtondowntown.com, or call us at 910-998-7744. If you need assistance from our Downtown Street Outreach Specialist, please email Jack Morris at jmorris@blockbyblock.com or call him at 910-409-2483.
WDI Awards Three Additional Façade Improvement Grants
WDI has awarded three Façade Improvement Grants (FIG) to downtown businesses in the second round of grant funding for the 2021-22 Fiscal Year.

The city's MSD Advisory Committee approved a budget adjustment in November to allocate another $10,000 to our FIG program. The previous budget only left WDI with one remaining $2,500 grant to issue the remainder of the fiscal year after five grants were approved in the first round of applications last year.

The FIG application process and approvals are on a first-come, first-served basis. All facade projects must receive approval from WDI's grants committee and then our executive committee prior to funding.

Two businesses received a $2,500 grant, and WDI awarded its first $5,000 grant to a business that was improving both a street-facing facade and alleyway-facing facade.
WDI has one $2,500 grant remaining to fund a facade project this fiscal year.

If you have a new or ongoing project within downtown's MSD and would like to apply to our FIG Program, click here for more information, including terms and conditions and an online application form.

See below for information about each project that received funding through the FIG Program in the latest round of approvals.

WDI is proud to support these businesses through our grant program, which is aimed at helping spur investment within the MSD as an economic incentive for businesses to renovate their building facades, encouraging quality design and construction that enhances the revitalization and beautification of Downtown Wilmington.
Michael Lavigna, owner of Michael’s on the Waterfront, applied for a $5,000 grant for major renovation work to the restaurant's street-facing facade and alleyway-facing facade. With the most recent work on the two facades, the owner has invested more than $20,000, not including estimates for structural repairs to the aging brick and stucco walls. In the past two years since taking ownership of the property, Lavigna says he has invested more than $1 million into this property in ongoing renovation, restoration, and repairs. The work has received approval and support from the Historic Preservation Commission.
Falcone Group LLC
21 Market St.
The owner of 21 Market LLC, Thomas Falcone, applied for a $2,500 grant for renovation work to the facade of the old Atlantic Paint and Varnish building built-in 1910. This ongoing renovation work includes fixing structural issues and replacing windows. Renovations and restoration work are also taking place inside the building. The cost of the project - between structural work, brickwork, and window replacement - is an investment of over $95,000. The project has received approval and support from the Historic Preservation Commission.
121 Grace St.
Joseph Sena, co-owner of RUMCOW restaurant applied for a $2,500 grant to support ongoing work to the building’s facade. The work includes removing aluminum and repainting the facade and replacing the awning, which has been damaged by hurricanes. The costs of the ongoing project, including labor, paint and awning replacement total just over $5,600.
Ponysaurus Brewing Co. Announces
Second Location in Wilmington
Durham's Ponysaurus Brewing Co. has announced plans to open a second location in Wilmington. The building, located at 214 Market St. in the heart of downtown Wilmington, will be home to a pizzeria and terraced garden restaurant.

In the new space, Ponysaurus Brewing Co. will keep the building's existing charm while transforming the back parking lot into an outdoor garden space to offer outdoor seating, drink, and food. The restaurant will offer an extensive list of Ponysaurus Brewing Co. beers, including their core, seasonal, specialty, and barrel-aged beers.

Ponysaurus Brewing Co. has not set a firm opening date but hopes to open by summer 2022.

"We're more than just beer and pizza," said Ponysaurus Brewing Co. co-owner Nick Hawthorne-Johnson. "Our Durham taproom is a community gathering space that hosts everything from fundraisers and run clubs to local artist pop ups, trivia nights, and more."

Though this is Ponysaurus Brewing Co.'s first location outside Durham, they aren't new to the Wilmington scene; their beers can be found on draft and in cans at local businesses such as Manna, Cape Fear Wine and Beer, Brewer's Kettle, and more. Ponysaurus Brewing Co. beer is available throughout the Carolinas and Tennessee.

Established in 2013, the brewery began as a nanobrewery in the attic of The Cookery, a Durham culinary incubator and event space. Ponysaurus Brewing Co. opened its Durham brewery, taproom, and beer garden in the Downtown East neighborhood in 2015.

Its 6,000-square-foot brewery specializes in a combination of traditional and experimental American, Belgian and European style beers. Operating from a fifteen-barrel brewhouse, the production facility is equipped with a state-of-the-art lab, a full-time lab technician that carries out a comprehensive sensory analysis program, advanced fermentation technology, and a Wild Goose canning line. 
More announcements and an official opening date will be released on Ponysaurus Brewing Co.’s website at www.ponysaurusbrewing.com and on their social media platforms!
Bottega is a wine bar and art gallery located in the Brooklyn Arts District. The shop carries many local artists’ work, along with jewelry and other unique items. The space is a live music venue for local artists, musicians, and poets. Bottega has a wonderful atmosphere where anyone can just come hang out!

Owner Addie Wuensch had worked for Bottega for 2 years before opening her own spot. She chose the Brooklyn Arts District because of the potential the space had. She has been in the district for over 5 years.

Every Tuesday and Wednesday, the space has open mic for poets and singer/songwriters. Every Friday there is open mic for everything, but usually focuses on rock n’ roll or hip-hop. Every Thursday there is a drum circle from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and karaoke from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. 

Be sure to visit this great establishment next time you're in the Brooklyn Arts District!
If you're an artist, musician, or have a business downtown and would like to be featured in an upcoming WDI SPOTLIGHT, please contact us via email at office@wilmingtondowntown.com.
The Business Recovery Grant Program will issue a one-time payment to an eligible North Carolina business that experienced a significant economic loss due to COVID-19. The N.C. Department of Revenue is accepting applications until Jan. 31, 2022.

Two types of grants will be available to an eligible business that suffered an economic loss of at least 20 percent during the pandemic:
  • A hospitality grant 
  • A reimbursement grant 

The grant amount is a percentage of the economic loss demonstrated by the eligible business or $500,000, whichever is less. NCDOR will reduce grant amounts if the total amount of grants requested exceeds the maximum amount of funds authorized for the Business Recovery Grant by the state of North Carolina. 

For more information, click here!
Get a $1,500 check with a Microloan!
Wilmington Downtown, iNC is offering $1,500 checks as part of our Microloan Assistance Grant (MAG) for businesses that secure a loan through our Microloan Program.

WDI is able to provide these $1,500 grants to the first 15 businesses that secure a loan through our organization's loan program.

Businesses can apply for the Microloan Program to receive up to a $20,000 loan. Closed loans allow for payments to be deferred for the first 6 months.

Eligible business loan expenditures include: inventory; furniture, fixtures and equipment; up to 3 months of rent or mortgage payments; equipment and equipment repairs; equipment to provide a safe/healthy environment for employees or customers; and adding or expanding e-commerce capabilities.

This revolving loan program is open and available to commercial businesses within the Central Business District, established commercial districts, and downtown’s emerging districts: Brooklyn Arts, Cargo, Castle Street, Central Business, North Waterfront, Northside, South Front, and Soda Pop districts.

For more information about our Microloan Program and to fill out an intake form, visit the WDI website.

Show starts at 6:00 PM, March 11

Show starts at
6:00 PM, March 27

Show starts at
6:00 PM, March 31

Show starts at
7:00 PM, April 2

Show starts at 6:00 PM, April 14

Show starts at
7:00 PM, April 15

Show starts at 7:00 PM, April 16

Show starts at
6:00 PM, April 26-27

Show starts at
6:00 PM, May 1

Show starts at
7:00 PM, June 30

Show starts at
7:00 PM, April 12

Show starts at
7:30 PM, May 17

Show starts at
8:00 PM, May 22

Show starts at
7:00 PM, Sep. 3
January 14
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Live at Ted's

January 14-15
Shows at 7:00 PM & 9:30 PM
Dead Crow Comedy Room

January 15
9:00 PM - 12:00 AM

January 15
Flytrap Brewing
January 15
11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
MLK Community center
January 21
9:00 PM - 2:00 AM
January 21-22
7:30 PM
Wilson Center
Art in Bloom
The art gallery will have two new art exhibits starting Friday, January 14. For more information check out their website!
226 North Front Street, Suite 130
Wilmington, NC 28401
Phone: (910) 998-7744