Where to see the Oscar-nominated movies before the awards ceremony ââ GO TRIAD
GREENSBORO — Thanks to a partnership with eBay, someone on the other side of the globe may soon open a bag of fruity, peppery Vineyard Red Wine Nuts made right here.
“It opens up avenues that we had not envisioned,” said Melissa Wallace of Hops and Nuts, which manufactures the nuts.
Wallace founded the Greensboro-based company four years ago. It makes craft-flavored snacks that pair with beer and wine. With a new eBay program called Retail Revival, Wallace hopes to sell those snacks to consumers around the world.
The city on Wednesday announced the online marketplace eBay selected Greensboro as a partner for the program, which is designed to boost small- and medium-size businesses to a global market.
“We know that small local businesses are the backbone of our local economy and 80 percent of what local businesses make stay in the local economy,” Mayor Nancy Vaughan said at the announcement at the International Civil Rights Center & Museum.
Small businesses can apply to participate in the 12-month program. EBay will provide participating retailers with a free e-store front and ongoing assistance and training, dedicated customer service and promotional support, such as feature articles, to connect Greensboro retailers to eBay’s 179 million active buyers. EBay will also match up businesses with similar, successful businesses as mentors.
“They’re going to be that kind of liaison that helps people get it up and running in the best possible way,” said Luck Davidson, the chair of Triad Local First, a nonprofit advocate for Triad-based independent retailers.
“To my knowledge, that is just not done on any other platform,” Davidson said.
Triad Local First, along with Action Greensboro, East Greensboro Now, Downtown Greensboro Inc. and the city of Greensboro worked with eBay to bring its Retail Revival program to Greensboro.
EBay targets cities in which a diverse, local retail base struggles to fill the void left by big manufacturers. Greensboro is the third city with which eBay has partnered. The other cities are Lansing, Mich., and Akron, Ohio.
“I think Greensboro had some leadership that understood that they had to do something else,” Wallace said.
Davidson said that once eBay expressed interest in Greensboro as the next city for the program, Vaughan lobbied hard for the company to choose the city over others. Representatives from eBay spent a day touring the city with Vaughan.
According to Liz Crabill, the chief deputy secretary of the N.C. Department of Commerce, retail accounts for about 1.2 million jobs in the state.
“Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, driving communities and jobs across the country,” Crabill said at Wednesday’s announcement.
EBay came to Greensboro in November and met with business owners who were interested in expanding into a digital global marketplace.
Suzy Deering, the chief marketing officer of eBay Americas, said at the announcement that the company has more than 200,000 active sellers in North Carolina.
“We want the diverse inventory. We want that special selection,” Deering said.
Lansing and Akron each have about 50 businesses that took advantage of the program. Vaughan hopes 100 Greensboro companies and businesses will do so.
“We’ve targeted about 40 businesses who are on board,” Davidson said.
She said eBay is looking for businesses that are a good fit for the program.
“They are very interested in the vintage stores that have a very unique product,” Davidson said of eBay.
Boutiques like Vintage to Vogue and Antlers and Astronauts said they are interested in the program.
“It’s a huge shot in the arm for our retailers,” Davidson said.
For information about the Retail Revival Greensboro program, visit www.ebayinc.com/impact/retail-revival-greensboro/
JAMESTOWN Over the years, the warehouse building way out on Gate City Boulevard has turned out refurbished buses and new kayaks.
These days, the refurbished building, now owned by Guilford Technical Community College, is producing welders, machinists, mechanics, and automotive and collision repair technicians.
The Center for Advanced Manufacturing — GTCC leaders call it CAM for short — is the college’s newest and most modern building. The $35.5 million facility
that opened last year covers nearly 6 acres and gives significantly more space — and more state-of-the-art equipment — to five college programs.
“Vocational careers are absolutely essential to our economy,” Randy Gunter, the dean of the college’s industrial, construction and transportation technologies division, said during a tour of the building last month. “Bottom line, (CAM is) helping to drive economic development for the county.”
Earlier this decade, GTCC searched for more room for its welding and transportation programs, which had outgrown their spaces on the main campus in Jamestown. GTCC had planned to build a second building on its Cameron Campus, on N.C. 68 between Colfax and Oak Ridge. When construction bids came in too high, the college looked for a plan B.
College leaders ultimately settled on a 250,000-square-foot warehouse building at 6012 High Point Road (now known as West Gate City Boulevard) just up the road from the Jamestown campus.
Burlington Industries built the distribution warehouse in the late 1960s. The building was later shared by Daimler Buses, which refurbished vans and tour buses, and a kayak manufacturer.
GTCC bought the building in 2013 for $7.3 million. It completed renovations in 2018, moved in $4.5 million worth of new equipment last summer and fall, and opened the building in August. The welding program moved in over winter break.
The improvements are stunning.
The welding program has four times as much space as it once had. The 76 new welding booths — more than twice as many as the program formerly had — are top of the line, said Don Ellington, a welding instructor and the chairman of the manufacturing department.
The new, larger space means GTCC can enroll more welding students and still have room to hold training programs for companies that pay to use college facilities, Ellington said.
He compared the college’s old welding building to a maze. He helped design the new welding area for maximum efficiency. That’s why grinding machines are 10 steps from the welding booths instead of 100 as they once were.
“Anything I could do to give them more ‘arc-on time’ — welding time — that’s what I tried to do,” Ellington said.
Over in the computer integrated machining lab, machining instructor Derek Seeke said he walks at least 6 miles a day as he goes between students working at the manual and computer-controlled mills and lathes spread throughout the new space.
Even better, Seeke said, all the machines are in one room. That makes it easier for an instructor to keep watch over students and equipment. In the former setup, equipment was divided between two rooms.
Seeke said the new machining area is three times larger than before.
“We play Marco Polo,” he said. “That’s how we find each other.”
CAM’s auto body repair area — twice as big as its old space — has two drive-in classrooms that let instructors bring a vehicle into class for a quick demonstration en route to the paint booth.
Because the new space has room for more vehicles, instructors can assign one or two students to the same project instead of the usual three or four, said Jim Brown, who directs GTCC’s collision repair and refinishing technology program. More hands-on work, he added, means more learning.
“We can get more work done, and we can do everything twice as fast as we used to,” Brown said. “We can get things in and out.”
CAM remains a work in progress.
GTCC is still working on renovations in CAM to make a permanent home for the college’s information technology staff. Next the college will create temporary offices in CAM for the college president and other senior staff members, who will be displaced later this year by upcoming renovations of the Medlin Campus Center in Jamestown.
A robotic welding machine and a 3D printing lab are in the works. A tunnel underneath Guilford College Road that connects CAM to the Jamestown campus is scheduled to open in June.
GTCC hasn’t yet decided what it will do with about 90,000 square feet of the building’s original space. Nor does it have immediate plans for the building’s new second floor. That second story — added between the building’s floor and its roof — gives CAM another 100,000 square feet of space to grow into.
“It’s going to be a showpiece,” said Ellington, the welding instructor. “We need our talent to stay here. With a facility like this, we’ll be able to attract a lot of (students) here.”
Virtual reality: More companies are offering telemedicine, but it has been slow to catch on. Page B3
GREENSBORO — There was a time when the section of South Elm street just south of the railroad tracks was lined with antiques stores and an eclectic assortment of other shops.
It’s an area affectionately known as Old Greensborough, where a close-knit group of merchants were like a family.
That family lost two beloved members in late January.
Lisa Rhyne, a familiar face at Mary’s Antiques and Rhyne’s Corner Cupboard, died Jan. 22 — 16 days shy of her 50th birthday.
Charles Gibson, who co-owned and operated The Browsery Antiques and Books for 43 years, died on Jan. 26. He was 14 days away from his 75th birthday.
Gibson wasn’t always into antiques. That changed in the early 1970s, and he started selling them at the old Sedgefield Flea Market.
The High Point native particularly liked collecting Southern furniture, Christmas ornaments, North Carolina pottery and American pattern glass.
“Glass was his first love and his last love,” said Ben Mathews, Gibson’s longtime business partner and friend.
In 1976, Gibson and Mathews opened The Browsery Antiques and Books at 516 S. Elm St.
The store featured antiques and a selection of unique books culled from Mathews’ used bookstore on Mendenhall Street near UNC-Greensboro. He later moved the bookstore downtown.
Gibson was known as a fair dealer, which, as he liked to say, earned him more friends than money.
Mathews recalled one time when Gibson bought a clock from a woman. After doing some research, he realized the clock was worth over 10 times the amount he paid for it. When Gibson sold the clock, he mailed the woman a check for nearly half the profit.
“That’s how honest he was,” Mathews said.
During a memorial held at the store last week, others remembered Gibson’s generosity.
“Rather than take a dime from you, he would give you a dollar,” said Virginia McMath, who knew Gibson for 20 years.
Longtime friend Cynthia Schoonover agreed.
“He was wonderful,” she said. “He had the best, kindest heart.”
Mathews eventually sold his bookstore, downsized his inventory and moved into the antiques store.
People would often drop by, as much to chat with Gibson or Mathews as to browse the goods.
“He was a character and he knew all the other characters,” said Jim Hinson, another friend.
When Gibson wasn’t dealing in antiques, he loved to garden.
He also liked to cut a rug, Schoonover recalls.
“Charles Gibson could dance better than anybody on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ I’m talking jitterbug king,” she said.
He loved dogs and was frequently seen walking the pets of downtown residents.
Mysterious symptoms would begin to rob Gibson of his vitality. About six months ago, doctors discovered the cause — AL amyloidosis, a rare cancerlike disease that attacks organs and tissue.
The diagnosis came at a painful time. Gibson and Mathews had decided to close and were in the process of a liquidation sale.
On Jan. 26, Gibson died from an infection.
While relative newcomer ReAligned on Lewis Street continues the antiques tradition, the death of Gibson brought an end to a respected era of antiques dealers in south Greensboro.
Mary Malisa “Lisa” Rhyne practically grew up on South Elm Street.
Her parents, Mary Wells and Richard Rhyne, were in the antiques business and operated stores at the intersection of South Elm and Lewis streets for decades.
For more than 40 years, Lisa Rhyne was as much a part of Mary’s Antiques and Rhyne’s Corner Cupboard as her parents.
“She grew up there,” said Joyce McNeil, Rhyne’s stepsister.
Rhyne died Jan. 22, not long after being in an automobile accident.
She was born with special needs. Though Rhyne couldn’t talk, she had a loving personality and enjoyed greeting customers with a big smile, those who knew her say. If you were a friend, you got a bonus hug.
She loved to see the downtown Christmas parade. And when the Fun Fourth Festival and other street fairs spilled over the tracks into Old Greensborough, Rhyne could be found on a bench eager to make friends.
“She loved to give her heart,” McNeil recalled.
McNeil said Rhyne would often play hide-and-seek among Mary’s Antiques’ nooks and crannies or in the cavernous warehouse. McNeil recalled one time when she and Wells were about to close and couldn’t find Rhyne. She suddenly popped out from an armoire.
Another thing Rhyne liked to do was fasten all of the nuts and bolts together in the shop’s hardware section. She also doodled on sticky notes and gave them to customers.
Artist Dawn Ashby knew Rhyne when she had a studio near the antiques shop. Ashby said if Rhyne was in the shop with customers or at an event like an art show, she was always bringing strangers together.
“She would go up to anybody if they were alone and grab your hand and join it with somebody else’s hand,” Ashby remembered.