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Category Archives: Keep it Local

The Chamber’s Keep it Local initiative promotes community support for local business ventures. Spending locally creates a strong economy and a sense of place which gives our town its unique lifestyle.

Forsyth Tech Fall Semester Preview | Keep it Local

Looking forward to the fall semester at Forsyth Technical Community College will be a mixture of reflecting on the past with gratitude to President Gary Green, while anticipating the fall semester with excitement.

Earlier this year, Dr. Green announced he will retire in December 2018. This semester will conclude his seventeen-year tenure at Forsyth Tech.

Tremendous expansion and growth occurred at the college since 2001 under Dr. Green’s esteemed leadership. In addition, the college developed several additional center locations and programs, along with hosting two visits from sitting U.S. Presidents: President George W. Bush in 2003 and President Barack Obama in 2010.  

The college is now in the process of a Presidential Search for his replacement.

Co-Admission Agreements

New this fall, Forsyth Tech is pleased to announce two new co-admission agreements: one with The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and another with Gardner-Webb University. These agreements will make college transfer more seamless into these two institutions. Forsyth Tech will continue to pursue co-admission agreements to ease student transition between schools.

Welcome Week 2018

Beginning the first day of classes, Forsyth Tech gives a warm welcome back to new and returning students by hosting Welcome Week 2018, which begins August 20. Students will start the fall semester with a new program sponsored by Student Life and Engagement to help students find their way around campus and feel more at home at all eight Forsyth Tech locations.  Several programs, open houses, socials, and events will provide students with resources, along with introductions to administrators, clubs and extra-curricular activities. Forsyth Tech wants students to survive and thrive in and outside of the classroom. 

Forsyth Tech Works

To give back to the community, the staff and faculty of Forsyth Tech will participate in the second annual Forsyth Tech Works in September. Employees receive eight hours of community service to volunteer at non-profit agencies and help with special projects.

Community Events

Forsyth Tech will also put the community back into the college by offering free speaking events for students and the public:

  • The Humanities Enrichment Series provides educational lectures that are engaging and informative about global and cultural issues.
  • The SciTech Lecture Series, sponsored by the National Center for Biotechnology Workforce, combines the best of science and technology with speakers offering insights into the latest research and development from business and healthcare to academia.

Pulitzer Center Campus Consortium Network

In addition, as part of the Pulitzer Center Campus Consortium Network, Forsyth Tech is one of 30 national universities and community colleges to connect reporting on global issues with students, faculty and communities across the country. Forsyth Tech will host speakers from the Pulitzer Center during the fall semester.

Take Another Look at Forsyth Tech

This is only a preview…if you haven’t seen or heard about the programs at Forsyth Technical Community College lately, you might be surprised at what is available. Take a look at our website. Even if you haven’t been back to school in a while, you may find something that will draw you back this fall.

The Chamber’s Keep it Local initiative promotes community support for local business ventures. Spending locally creates a strong economy and a sense of place which gives our town its unique lifestyle. The Keep it Local campaign will feature a different segment of businesses each month in 2018. August is Education Month.

WSSU Fall Semester Preview | Keep it Local

For Keep it Local in August, we’ll be focusing on all things Education. I’ve reached out to our colleges and universities for a Fall Semester Preview. Here are some of the highlights happening this fall at Winston-Salem State University.

New Residence Hall

H. Douglas Covington Hall, a new $24 million living/learning community, a residence hall for freshmen, is opening for the first time this Fall semester. Increasing enrollment over the past five years and an on-campus residency requirement have created the demand for more housing. The facility features innovative common areas and rooms for about 300 students, plus additional spaces for RAs and faculty-in-residence. 

WSSU boasted 52% participation by HUB businesses (historically underutilized businesses) in the construction of the residence hall.


There have been a number of new leadership positions filled this year. This includes:


Two academic centers are beginning to make a difference in the communities around Winston-Salem:

The Center for the Study of Economic Mobility will premiere a new documentary next month that details the obstacles a worker faces taking public transportation to work. The center also has launched a new entrepreneurship program for students, and the first faculty fellows are wrapping up their research, which will be presented this fall.

The Center of Excellence for the Elimination of Healthcare Disparities at WSSU has received nearly $600,000 in grant funding recently to support health equity research. The programs directly impact the communities around the university. This includes the expansion of the Rams Mobile Unit and an HBCU model diabetes prevention program.

The Chamber’s Keep it Local initiative promotes community support for local business ventures. Spending locally creates a strong economy and a sense of place which gives our town its unique lifestyle. The Keep it Local campaign will feature a different segment of businesses each month in 2018. August is Education Month.

Collaboration Builds Social Capital Through the Arts

Although school is out for the summer, a collaborative group is making sure that children have a full schedule of enrichment opportunities to enjoy. The following feature on Happy Hill Arts is shared with permission from the UNC School of the Arts. For more content and photos, click here.  

One by one, about a dozen children file into the multi-purpose room for a dance class at Willows Peake Apartments in the Happy Hill neighborhood. This dance class is part of Happy Hill Arts, a place-based arts initiative aimed at strengthening community pride and cohesion in the historically African American neighborhood adjacent to UNCSA. Collaborators include the Happy Hill Neighborhood Association, the UNCSA School of Dance, the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts and other partners.

DigiStar Photo Group/ Bruce Chapman–04/26/18– during a recent afterschool program session at the Happy Hill community center in Winston-Salem, N. C., Thursday, April 26, 2018. DigiStar Happy Hill Afterschool Program CHA

Artists of color lead a variety of cultural arts activities for Happy Hill youth to enhance their educational opportunities, from dance and drumming to photography and storytelling.

The founders of Happy Hill Arts, Amatullah Saleem and Rebecca Bryant Williams, recently won The Winston-Salem Foundation’s prestigious ECHO Award, which honors people and organizations in the city who are instrumental in building social capital. Both women are artists who helped revive the Happy Hill Neighborhood Association in 2015 and now serve as officers. And both are passionate about breaking down the barriers that have separated the neighborhood from the arts school for decades.

 “It is important that people understand the history of Happy Hill is every bit as important to the history of Winston-Salem as Old Salem is. Your history tells you who you are and what your value is. If you don’t have that foundation, you are not rooted in anything.” Williams says.

 By all accounts, last summer’s program was a success. Williams says that organizers noticed a significant transformation in the behavior of the students: “It was really eye-opening to see how the children changed in just six weeks. They were able to increase their focus, and they got a greater appreciation for the importance of discipline and paying attention.”

Such positive outcomes are supported by research. A 2012 large-scale, longitudinal study by the National Endowment for the Arts found that children who are exposed to intensive arts experiences not only perform better academically than their peers who are not, they also become more socially active citizens.

All of the partners in Happy Hill Arts supported adding an after-school component to the program this year, which has expanded the neighborhood’s ability to interact with the UNCSA community when school is in session and the campus is alive with programming opportunities.

Exposing children to the arts, Williams says, is an effective way to tap into their potential. “For African American children in particular, it is important to be able to see people who are successful and who have the same color skin as yours, to realize that that is not a barrier, it is actually an asset.”

The summer program culminated with a well-received performance for families, neighbors and friends during which the children’s work was showcased and celebrated.

Summertime in the City

A Winston-Salem Staycation

What’s your ideal day in Winston-Salem? As part of our Keep it Local series, we asked Lynette Matthews-Murphy, Founder and Partner of Spring House Restaurant and Quanto Basta Italian Eatery and Board Member of the Forsyth County Tourism Development Authority. Lynette’s perfect staycation includes nods to more than 25 individually or family-owned places to eat, shop, and enjoy Winston-Salem! 

On those rare occasions that I find myself with a free weekend away from our busy restaurants, Spring House and Quanto Basta, there’s a strong temptation to hop in the car for a quick getaway from Winston-Salem.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a long-standing love affair with my adopted hometown for over 25 years now.  But…it’s a weekend, in the middle of a steamy summer!  So the question becomes ~ should we escape to the beach or mountains…or are there enough fun and exciting things to do right here that will make this stay-at-home weekend a true “staycation?”  My answer, these days, is a definite “Yes!”   

Winston Salem Staycation

For me, one of the best ways to start the weekend here is with an early morning visit to Cobblestone Farmer’s Market in Old Salem.  Just walking through the historic site brings such peace, and the farmers and producers are so friendly and eager to share their stories.  Pack your bags with the summer’s first garden tomatoes for classic tomato sandwiches (slathered with Duke’s Mayo!) and peppers and mushrooms for a fresh pasta dish, and yummy baked breads from Camino Bakery.  Stashing a cooler in the car keeps everything nice during the adventures to come. 

Next, consider indulging in one of my favorite retail experiences ~ strolling down Reynolda Road at Hanes Park, where the quaint shops and shopkeepers offer the coolest and most original home goods, clothing and artifacts.  Starting at Elizabeth’s with an irresistible selection of candles, pillows, and small furniture pieces; to the great consignment clothing at Yours Truly, and of course, the super-eclectic mix of treasures at Cookies Shabbytiques ~ it’s more exploration than mere shopping.  As you wind your way around the curve, the shop that started the consignment craze back in the 1970’s ~ The Snob Shop, is moving to a larger space to keep up with demand for their beautifully curated selection of clothing, vintage jewelry and accessories. 

Famished and ready to relax, the decision for where to go for lunch is a tough one.  With all the new choices like Trade Street Diner, Crafted: The Art of the Taco, and Local 27101; and old favorites like Mozelle’s, West End Café, and The Carving Board, a true Tex-Mex delight on a summer day is The Porch Cantina, right around the corner. 

Refreshed and re-energized, add the new indie Bookmarks Bookstore in their lovely new space behind Foothills Brewing on 4th Street to your itinerary ~ they often have visiting authors and book-signings in-store, and the new Footnotes Cafe is perfect for an afternoon coffee or Foothills-crafted beer.  Then, with Aperture Cinema only a quick stroll up 4th Street, a movie matinee may be the perfect way to escape the afternoon heat. 

After the matinee, finally ~ it’s the cocktail hour, and the choices are endless here in our beautiful town.   For beer-lovers, new breweries like The Fiddlin’ Fish, Wise Man, and Joymongers are like a magnet for joining up with friends…and kids, and dogs!  Tate’s Cocktails is a terrific place to enjoy creative artisan spirits, and if I may say so myself, we make a perfect summer cocktail here at Spring House called the White Grapefruit Cosmo in our cozy and cool Library Bar…and please plan to stay for a light supper afterwards on our outdoor patio alongside the Chef’s Garden ~ it’s a little oasis in the middle of the bustling downtown. 

I’m thrilled that our city has become quite the dining destination, with new places opening weekly.  Whether you crave a juicy steak at Fratelli’s Italian Steakhouse, to French-inspired dishes at Meridian, robust Irish pub-fare at Finnegan’s Wake, or soul-inspiring Southern fare at Sweet Potatoes ~ you could spend several weeks trying out all the uniquely W-S dining options. 

After dinner, the cool evening beckons folks from all over town to enjoy the free and fabulous outdoor concerts or outdoor movies at Summer On Liberty and in Bailey Park in Innovation Quarter.  In my mind it’s the perfect way to end your fun staycation adventure in our fair city!

As I was writing this, the main reason I absolutely adore this city has made itself clear: every place I’ve mentioned is individually or family-owned!  It’s this community of entrepreneurs, producers, chefs and makers who add such incredible vibrancy and authenticity to Winston-Salem ~ and it’s this originality that makes our town worthy of being a vacation destination for visitors and locals alike. 

Here’s to enjoying your very own Winston-Salem staycation soon! 

Volunteering on the Construction Industry Council | Keep it Local

Being part of the Chamber’s Construction Industry Council is a natural fit for Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County. After all, Habitat has been nurturing the next generation of tradespeople for years — right in line with the goals of the Council, which seeks to recruit more young adults for construction jobs.

Each year the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools’ Career Center builds a Habitat house as part of its curriculum, giving high school students the chance to learn valuable skills in carpentry, masonry, plumbing and electrical trades. At the Chamber’s Construction Career Days field trip, students from WS/FCS and surrounding counties experienced hands-on learning by building the framing for the home of Wevell Valentine through a partnership with Habitat.

Many of Habitat’s youngest volunteers encounter Joe Brown, Habitat’s director of construction and land development. “I really enjoy working with young people, and I have met college students from everywhere, from as far away as India and Korea. I like to say I have ‘grandchildren’ all over the world,” Brown said.

Joe Brown – Habitat for Humanity

After spending the better part of 30 years running his own general contracting business, Brown has been enjoying a second career at Habitat since 2009, putting his skills to use guiding volunteers on construction sites. He is particularly excited that, thanks to connections made through the Construction Industry Council meetings, an official Boy Scouts Explorer Post for youth ages 14 to 20 is being established at the Habitat construction warehouse.

“Young people who enjoy working with their hands are ideal for the construction trades, and there will be many job opportunities for them in the near future as current tradespeople are retiring,” Brown said. 

Construction Career Days 2017

Habitat’s membership on the Council is also invaluable for forming relationships with construction companies and potential vendor partners, said Mike Campbell, Habitat Forsyth’s executive director. As one of the Triad’s most active residential builders, the organization generally builds or remodels 15 homes a year for Habitat partner families. And, as part of its overall Neighborhood Revitalization strategy, Habitat also performs critical repairs on another 25 houses owned by other families in its target communities.

“The Chamber recently helped us secure an in-kind donation of materials for a wall build from 84 Lumber,” Campbell said. “Gifts like this, as well as the volunteer time committed to Habitat by many of our local builders and tradespeople, allow us to do our work of providing badly needed affordable housing for local working families.” 

Learn more about Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County

Learn more about the Chamber’s Construction Industry Council 

The Chamber’s Keep it Local initiative promotes community support for local business ventures. Spending locally creates a strong economy and a sense of place which gives our town its unique lifestyle. The Keep it Local campaign will feature a different segment of businesses each month in 2018. May is Real Estate/Home Services Month.

Apartment Market Overview for Forsyth County | Keep it Local

The apartment industry continues to be the “not so little engine that could” in the real estate sector, both nationally and locally. Due to a confluence of factors, including a tight single-family home market, strict lending standards for mortgages, and young professionals’ desire to retain mobility at a time when job changes often mean moving hundreds or thousands of miles, demand for apartments remains higher than supply so apartment managers are enjoying an extended period of low vacancy and rising rents.

Lofts at Little Creek (Hanes Mall Blvd)

Real Data, a company that surveys market-rate apartments in metro areas throughout the southeast, recently released it’s April 2018 report and the numbers show that the local apartment industry remains very strong. (It’s important to note that we are referencing market-rate apartments with 5+ units only and a relatively few apartment communities that accept housing vouchers; the data does not include the housing authority, SFH rentals or senior housing).

According to Real Data’s survey results, average rents in the Piedmont Triad have grown 4.2% in the past 12 months and vacancy has fallen from 6% to 5.5% in the same time frame. Average rents across all apartment types – class, and number of bedrooms – are now $842 and the average rent per square foot is up from $0.844 to $0.888 in the last year.

Lofts at Little Creek (Hanes Mall Blvd)

In Forsyth County, Real Data reports 23,035 apartment units with a vacancy rate of 4.8%, an average rent of $827 and an average rent per square foot of $0.867. The strongest submarket in Forsyth is downtown, with vacancy there at 4.5% and average rent at $962 and rent per square foot at $1.107.

Downtown is also where a large majority of apartment construction is happening, with 573 of the 813 apartment units under construction in the county being built there. While that could lead to a short-term spike in vacancies and a flattening of rent growth as those units come online, it should not have a long-term negative effect on vacancies or rent.

One relatively new change to the local apartment industry is the entry of companies from outside the region. The Triad apartment market has traditionally been dominated by “homegrown” companies, but now that the larger metro markets like Charlotte and Raleigh have been saturated with new development, apartment investors and developers are looking at smaller markets like Winston-Salem because they are finding greater returns here. As a result, our rent and occupancy rates are expected to outperform those of the rest of the southeast, which is a change from the past.

Overall, the local apartment market is expected to remain strong for the foreseeable future. In 2017 the National Apartment Association released a study that showed the Piedmont Triad will need to add over 19,000 new apartment units in the next 12 years. Combine this increased demand with our currently well-balanced supply and the future looks bright for the local apartment industry.

Jon Lowder is the Executive Director of the Piedmont Triad Apartment Association, a trade association that represents 140 companies that own and manage 65,000 apartments throughout the Triad, and 20,000 units in Forsyth County alone. Contact Jon.

The Chamber’s Keep it Local initiative promotes community support for local business ventures. Spending locally creates a strong economy and a sense of place which gives our town its unique lifestyle. The Keep it Local campaign will feature a different segment of businesses each month in 2018. May is Real Estate Month.

Selling a Home in Today’s Real Estate Market | Keep it Local

Your friend sold her home the second day it was on the market. Your cousin had multiple offers on his home – some above listing price. Your co-worker had interested buyers for her home – and it wasn’t even listed for sale.

So if homes are in such demand today, why do some stay on the market for months – or longer?

While buyer demand is outpacing the number of homes for sale at many price points, that doesn’t mean buyers aren’t particular.

“Most buyers today are looking for move-in ready homes that have been updated, repaired and in excellent condition. Buyers simply don’t want to do the work. Even something as simple as paint color can cause a buyer to choose a different home,” said Angela Kalamaras, branch leader of the Allen Tate Realtors® Winston-Salem Cherry Street office.

Kalamaras offers the following tips to sell a home quickly at a fair price in today’s market:

Price to sell. Many sellers make the mistake of initially pricing their home too high, thinking they can reduce it later. Your home will receive the most exposure within the first week of listing. If the price causes a potential buyer to turn away, you might not have a second chance.

Keep your home updated. Today’s buyers are not looking for yesterday’s trends, designs or colors. Modern appliances, fixtures, countertops, and carpet are expectations – not just luxuries – for many buyers. Even if you are not looking to sell for a few years, start making updates today so your home will be ready when the time comes. Important: Talk to a Realtor for advice before making updates.

First impressions matter! Make sure your home has excellent “curb appeal.”

Stage to sell. You want a potential buyer to imagine themselves living in your home. Create a neutral environment that is extremely clean, decluttered and free of personal items like photographs. Remove excess furniture to make rooms appear larger. Don’t forget that buyers will also open closets and peek in cabinets. Add a fresh coat of paint throughout and repaint all rooms to a neutral color. If you’ve already moved, invest in some staging furniture to make your home more appealing.

Modern appliances, countertops and fixture are expectations for today’s homebuyers.

Create a spacious atmosphere with neutral colors, tasteful accessories and well-placed furniture.

Negotiate a fair offer. Today’s buyers are willing to move quickly, but only for homes priced fairly for the market and condition. And buyers are likely to make more demands with a higher offer. Your Realtor can help you price your home by looking at comparable home sales and market conditions.

Use a Realtor. A professional Realtor has the expertise, knowledge, and connections to help you price and market your home, evaluate and accept an offer, and most importantly, get to closing without difficulty or delay.

“Even in a seller’s market, it’s not easy to sell your home without the help of an expert. Accordingly to the National Association of Realtors, the typical FSBO (For Sale By Owner) home sold for $190,000, compared to $249,000 for agent-assisted home sales,” said Kalamaras.

Allen Tate Realtors is the No. 1 real estate firm in the Carolinas and is ranked No. 4 in the country among independent real estate brokerages. Allen Tate has 47 local offices in North and South Carolina, including two in Winston-Salem at 147 South Cherry Street, Suite 100 and 3884 Oxford Station Way (Hanes Mall Boulevard).

To contact an Allen Tate Realtor in Winston-Salem, call 336-722-0331 or 336-722-0331.

The Chamber’s Keep it Local initiative promotes community support for local business ventures. Spending locally creates a strong economy and a sense of place which gives our town its unique lifestyle. The Keep it Local campaign will feature a different segment of businesses each month in 2018. May is Real Estate Month.

3 Blind Dice Expands Cafe, Plans Ribbon Cutting | Small Business Month

3 Blind Dice is in the heart of Winston-Salem – joining the Porch and Hoots as part of the
vibrant and growing West End Mill Works. It is a gathering place for people to relax, meet new friends, and become part of a community of people who love board gaming and a good cup of joe. It was founded last year by Connor Doten, a graduate of UNCG’s Bryan School of Business.

Connor has recently launched a line of customized coffee brews that complement the store’s gaming theme. “We’ve been working with our small-batch local roaster to develop three unique offerings; a rich, dark roast called Ace of Spades, a decaf option named Dungeons and Decaf, and of course our signature house blend, Homebrew.” Homebrewing refers to the making of your own set of rules when playing a game. 

The atmosphere at the store is fun, comfortable, colorful and happy, featuring up-cycled doors, windows, and game boards as the decor. Soft, comfy seating, free wifi and plenty of baked goods, snacks, and sandwiches make it a place you can linger for hours. Other perks include an incredible selection of board games and accessories for sale, and a vast library of games you can play free of charge, or rent and take home. Store hours are Monday through Saturday noon to 11 p.m. and Sundays noon to 8 p.m.

With the new coffee line now available, Connor felt it was the perfect time to celebrate his growing business with a Ribbon Cutting celebration. The event will take place Wednesday, May 2, 2018 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 1151 Canal Dr. Suite 103. City officials will commemorate the celebration with a ribbon cutting at 4 p.m., followed by board games, demos, giveaways, gourmet coffees and refreshments.

Connor is thrilled about the ribbon-cutting. “The store has quietly been here for a year. We were waiting until we established ourselves and had our food and beverages in place before our official ribbon-cutting. It is a milestone we are truly excited about and we look forward to sharing it with the community.”

3 Blind Dice is Winston-Salem’s home for games and gatherings. If you would like more information, please call Connor Doten at 704-728-6522, email [email protected] or visit 3 Blind Dice at 1151 Canal Dr #103, Winston-Salem, NC 27101.


Decorating for Spring with Casual Furniture World | Small Business Month

Ahead of National Small Business Week (April 29-May3), we’re learning about some of the small businesses that offer a variety of goods and services around Winston-Salem. Casual Furniture World is sharing some advice on creating your perfect outdoor space this Spring. Come see all they have to offer at Business Before Hours on May 4th. 

What trends are you seeing in outdoor furniture for 2018? 

Outdoor kitchens are more popular than ever; firepits; sectionals, including wicker/woven, aluminum, or composite.  Accessories are more important than ever, with lots of fun & funky pillows. People are really embracing the idea of their outdoor living area being as large as the indoor area. 

What is important to know before buying outdoor furniture? 

Before shopping for outdoor furniture, plan out your space and consider which types of seating you would like. Take measurements of the area ahead of time-it will save a lot of headaches when you get to the store. It is also important to consider how much direct sunlight your furniture will be exposed to since some furniture can stand up to the sun exposure better than others. 

It seems like a lot of local businesses now have outdoor seating; do you sell commercial outdoor furniture as well as residential? 

We do have a commercial division in addition to our retail stores.  Many of our lines can be used in either application, but we offer some that are specifically designed for commercial use.  When considering furniture for a business, it is even more important to invest in quality since it tends to be used (and abused) more than in a residential setting.  We anticipate opening a commercial showroom at our Winston Salem location in May. 

There are lots of stores in the Triad that sell outdoor furniture, as well as online options; why should someone come to Casual Furniture World?

At Casual Furniture World, we provide an experience as well as a product that is different from the big box store.  Our sales staff is extremely knowledgeable, and we have a wide variety of furniture as well as umbrellas, grills, and firepits in stock.  Our customers appreciate quality and value; they know the furniture they purchase will last for many years.  We frequently have customers who bought furniture from a big box store a year or two ago, and now it’s broken or the cushions are worn out.  Our furniture typically has warranties from 5-20 years, and we’ll take care of any warranty issues you may have.  We provide white glove delivery service, so the furniture arrives fully assembled and our drivers will place it to your specifications.  We also offer complimentary design services to help create the look you want.

The Chamber’s Keep it Local initiative promotes community support for local business ventures. Spending locally creates a strong economy and a sense of place which gives our town its unique lifestyle. The Keep it Local campaign will feature a different segment of businesses each month in 2018. April is Small Business Month.

Oakes Animal Hospital | Small Business Month

Doctors Rocky and Jessica Oakes are a husband and wife team who opened Oakes Animal Hospital last year after many years as associates in another practice. They are taking part in Small Business Month as they embark on their own small business journey:  

What made you decide to be a veterinarian?

Dr. Rocky Oakes: All my life I have always felt a special bond with animals and have loved learning about them. However, I have also always felt called to help people.  The great thing about each animal I see is that they also come with a person! I went to medical school to become a physician. During my senior year, I worked in a human medical center. It just wasn’t a good experience for me. After considerable thought, prayer and discussion with friends and family, I went back to my childhood vision of a job working with animals. I took a job at an animal hospital and loved it. It was clear that in this way I could help people by caring for their animals.

Dr. Jessica Oakes: I have always found animals fascinating.  Growing up on a small farm I had the privilege of caring for many animals through the years.  Nothing filled me with more satisfaction and awe than nursing one of my animals back to health after an injury or illness.  I love the thought that I can contribute to the health and quality of a pet’s life, and in return that animal can bring joy and laughter to their family. 

Why start your own business?

For many years we worked together in a rural animal hospital in the mountains of Georgia.  There we made many friendships and met many great pets.  Once our first child was born we felt it was time to move on to the next stage in our lives.  However, after experiencing cooperate big business veterinary medicine personally, I was left feeling a bit jaded.  Not only did I miss the time that I could spend with my clients at a smaller locally owned practice, but I also felt like the “one-size-fits-all” care pushed by corporate did not meet all the specific needs my patients had.  I felt then that it was time to open our own place where we could bring back that personal connection with clients while still focusing on quality care. It is a privilege to join this community, and we hope to provide a valuable service to families here for many years to come.

Why is serving the community so important?

During veterinary school, we were able to participate in a few mission trips- offering low cost/free spay and neuter procedures to the Navajo Nation in Arizona and giving wellness care to the herds of nomadic people groups in Mongolia.  These experiences left us feeling blessed and humbled.  Now that our young family and work commitments keep us closer to home we are still trying to find ways to give back and help our community locally.  Since opening our doors we have been able to work closely with the Forsyth Humane Society.  We offer medical care and surgery at a reduced cost to the Humane Society.  We have been rewarded in seeing many of these special animals find forever homes after receiving needed medical attention.

The Chamber’s Keep it Local initiative promotes community support for local business ventures. Spending locally creates a strong economy and a sense of place which gives our town its unique lifestyle. The Keep it Local campaign will feature a different segment of businesses each month in 2018. April is Small Business Month.