Friday, October 29, 2010

Watch the Blue Devils, Benefit the Emily K Center

On Wednesday, November 10, basketball fans have a rare opportunity to get a glimpse inside the Duke Men’s national championship program as a part of a special evening to benefit the Emily K Center.

Guests at Inside Duke Basketball will observe team practice in Cameron Indoor Stadium in the company of former players Jay Bilas (now ESPN analyst) and Chris Carrawell; tour the new Duke Basketball Museum and Athletics Hall of Fame; dine in Scharf Hall along with Coach Mike Krzyzewski; and participate in a question and answer session with the basketball experts.

Tickets are available for a donation of $250 per ticket at the Emily K Center by calling (919) 680-0308, ext.1006 or buying online here.

Durham’s Creative Vitality Index

Learn about Durham’s Top Ranked Creative Economy on Thursday, November 4. Presented by the Durham Business Committee for the Arts and the Alpha Zeta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the event includes a breakfast with Linda Carlisle, NC Secretary of Cultural Resources, workshops, and a luncheon with Dr. Margaret Stover Mertz, Executive Director of the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts.

The breakfast will include a presentation of results of the Creative Vitality Index study from 8:00-9:45. Tickets for this event only are $15. Following the breakfast, there are several Art of Business Workshops. For $35 attendees can participate in all events.

For more information, to get event tickets, and to see a list of speakers, click here.

Free Admission for Durham County Residents

On Sunday, November 7, the Museum of Life and Science is hosting “Durham Appreciation Day” from noon to 5pm.  For free admission, each adult must show a photo ID that shows a Durham County residency. Everyone wanting to experience the tropics of the Magic Wings Butterfly House, go back in time on the Dinosaur Trail, or see other new exhibits, is encouraged to visit the museum. Donations are appreciated.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Durham's Image Continues to Rise

For 17 years, DCVB has commissioned studies to look at Durham's image and a variety of other important community issues.  This is the first of several stories that will talk about what residents of Durham, Orange and Wake County think about Durham, Orange and Wake counties.  A full State of Durham's Image with the full report will be published in December.

In 1993, when DCVB hired researchers to do a public opinion poll about image, Durham's image was very strong - but only in Durham.  Neighbors to the east and west had a very different perception of the Bull City.  At that time in Wake County, for every one person with a positive image of Durham, there were 5 people who had a negative image.  Orange was only slightly better with a 4 to 1 negative to positive ratio.

Fast forward to 2010.  Durham's image is still high with its own residents (it always has been) but Wake and Orange residents have a decidedly different view of Durham.  In Orange County 86% of the people have a positive image of Durham and in Wake County, 74% have a positive image of Durham.  These are dramatic improvements.

This study was performed by a firm in Wake County on DCVBs behalf.  Its based on a randomly selected sample of 400 individuals 18 and above for each county.  The results are generalizable to the full population with a margin of error of +/- 5%.

Durham Gets MORE Entrepreneurial

Durham has always been a hotbed of entrepreneurialism - even the Great American Indian Trading Path ran through this place; a route that was an early manifestation of entrepreneurial activity.  In other words, Durham's brand can claim the spirit of entrepreneurialism at the genetic level.

Duke University announced a major move forward for those
interested in starting businesses in Durham.

Today, Duke University announced a major leap forward that builds upon Durham's previous successes in this area.  Duke alumna Kimberly Jenkins will assist Duke in its efforts to promote both entrepreneurship and innovation at Duke.  Click here for a story that more clearly addresses start ups in Durham.

"Durham continues to rise as a hub for start ups in a way that few communities can compete with regionally or nationally," said Shelly Green, the President and CEO of the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau.  This sentiment echoes repeated national rankings and recognition of Durham's promienence as a dynamic place to live, work, play and retire.  "This news is great for Duke and great for Durham," Ms. Green noted. 
Click here for more information about Duke's new initiative.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bulls In the Running

The hometown favorite Durham Bulls baseball club is in the running for most popular Triple A team in the league for the 2010 MiLBY Awards.  They finished the season at 88-55, topping all other team performances.  The vote is tabulated by raw volume and is largely a popularity contest.  There is no reason why the Bulls shouldn't top the list.

"The Durham Bulls are beloved by their fans," said Shelly Green, President and CEO of the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Durhamites, in particular, are fiercely proud of their team and will likely get out the vote to show their pride," she added.

Voting in the contest continues through Monday, November 1st.  Vote here.

Local Business Leader on South Park?

Turns out that the folks at the TV cartoon series South Park have an affinity for the Nationwide Insurance ad campaign created by Durham powerhouse ad agency McKinney.  In the most recent episode of the show, the agency head, Brad Brinegar, and the Nationwide campaign are spoofed...or so it seems.  Hit the links and be the judge.

Friday, October 22, 2010

2011 Annual Tribute Luncheon Theme Set

Each year DCVB produces Durham’s Annual Tribute Luncheon, honoring individuals and groups who have helped shape and preserve Durham’s unique sense of place.  This year it celebrates three Durham institutions and some of the individuals associated with them who have worked tirelessly and artfully to achieve greatness.  Their organizations have become synonymous with Durham and they have made even richer the tapestry that comprises the fabric of Durham.

For 2011, the theme is "Great Rhythm.  Great Blues." and will showcase three of Durham's most enduring organizations: the African American Dance Ensemble, the American Dance Festival and the Bull Durham Blues Festival.

The African American Dance Ensemble expresses the rhythm of life and is more than a dance troupe.  The ensemble is an agency of positive social change and reinforcement of the human values of peace, love and respect, as well as a world-renowned arts education organization.

The American Dance Festival has its hands on the pulse of modern American Dance.  Relocating to Durham in 1978 from Connecticutt, the festival floods Duke's campus each summer with about 500 dancers, choreographers, musicians, critics and scholars from around the globe.

Durham loves to sing the blues, but not the kind that speaks of bad luck, hard times and lost love.  Showcasing an art form that is reflective of Durham’s rich musical heritage, the Piedmont or Carolina Blues style is upbeat, and just as likely to make listeners jump up and dance as shake their heads in reflection.  For more than two decades, the Bull Durham Blues Festival has been held in Durham as a showcase of some of the finest contemporary blues artists today. 

This event is produced annually and in the past has recognized the culinary arts, architecture, authors and civic organizations.

Held at Bay 7 at American Tobacco on April 27, 2011, the event is always a "who's who" of Durham and of the respective community being celebrated.  Sponsorship opportunities are available and more information is available by

Serve Food? Get a Permit

Durham has one of the most vibrant food cultures that anyone could hope to find - from fine dining restaurants to mobile food vendors, there is great variety and quality of food available here along with a population that exudes enthusiam for its culinary traditions.  Including churches and non-profits that apply for permits in order to prepare and serve food, there are more than 550 permitted food service operators in Durham.

However, business climates that are this successful also draw operators who don't alway play by the rules. The Durham County Health Department now has some bite to its bark when it finds those operating outside the they can, and will, be working with the Durham Police Department to ticket illegal food vendors, requiring a court appearance with a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Despite the fact that there are more than two dozen permitted mobile operators in Durham, there are some who try to fill the demand without going through proper channels; some intending to skirt the law and others simply uninformed.  For example, many non-profit groups raising funds for various causes aren't always aware they need a permit to sell food.  This is major concern as proper food handling practices are critical to maintaining the public's health.

"Durham is a place that thrives on exciting food and authentic preparation," says Shelly Green, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau.  "Mobile food service has fewer barriers to entry, therefore lets more people through the door.  That's a plus and a minus, and this initiative by the Durham County Health Department looks like it has the right ingredients to make the scene in Durham approachable and enticing for everyone," she added.
Billing this initiative as education as much as enforcement, the DCHD is using this as an occassion to let citizens know how to report violators and also to inform those operating without permits how to obtain them and serve a safe product.  The number to call is 919-560-7800.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Brightleaf Square is again open for business. 

Restaurants Without Gas

A result of the gas leak is that some restaurants are without gas for their equipment.  One restaurateur siad that they are without gas and that they were told "30-40 minutes," but there was a heavy measuure of uncertainty in the estimate.

Upon calling, most of the properties in the Brightleaf District were not answering their phones.  Below is a list of what the Durham News Service has been able to learn so far.  The list will be updated as more information is collected:

Devine's is closed for lunch and will be open for dinner.
Domino's is open for both lunch and dinner.
Fishmonger's has a limited menu and will serve the full menu as soon as they have gas service.
Parker and Otis is open with their full menu.
Pop's is open for both lunch and dinner today.
Rainbow Chinese is closed for lunch and unsure about dinner service.
Torerro's is open for both lunch and dinner today.
604 West Morgan Italian Eatery featuring Cinelli's is open for both lunch and dinner today.


The ruptured gas line in Durham has been capped and is no longer leaking and therfore minimizing potential danger.  Crews will remain on the scene to repair and monitor the broken line.


According to news reports, parents are being directed to West Peabody Street and South Gregson to pick up children evacuated from Durham School of the Arts and a daycare center in the area. 

It is believed that a work crew ruptured the gas line and PSNC has been dispactched to the area along with a Durham Hazardous Materials (HazMat) team. 

No reliable estimates are available as to when the situation will be rectified.  Please check back for additional updates.


According to reports, Durham School of the Arts has also been evacuated at this point.

BREAKING NEWS: Gas Leak in Durham on Main Street

A gas leak in Durham has shut intersections of Main Street at Buchanan Blvd, Gregson and Morgan Streets.  Brightleaf Square has been evacuated.  A gas line was severed accidentally according to police.  More details will be posted here as they become available.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Farmhand Foods - Another Chef-Driven Food Truck in Durham

Durham is widely lauded as having an incredible food scene and as the state's hot bed of mobile food service operators.  Durham's most famous truck, OnlyBurger, has a bigger following then even LA's famous Kogi BBQ when viewed as a per follower/truck calculation with a group equal to 1.7% of Durham's population following their actions on Twitter vs. Kogi at just more than 25% of that number.

Well, the crowd gets a little bigger on October 28th with the launch of Farmhand Foods truck.  Drew Brown, former owner of Piedmont, will be at the helm of the truck offering sausages made from pasture-raised livestock from North Carolina.  The company seeps Durham brand values in its FAQ's released by their PR firm.  Pledging "respect" "transparency" and "partnership" the company feels like it was made to be in Durham.

The launch is happening at another of Durham's new hot spots, Fullsteam Brewery - across the street from Motorco Music Hall at the intersection of Rigsbee and Geer Streets.  The occasion will be an opportunity to have a bite, a beverage and a chat with like-minded folks who seek to immerse themselves fully in the Durham experience.

Scratch Makes The List

In the event that an occassion for pie arises, Durham's newest bakery, Scratch, can fill the need.  That they are being nationally recognized - again - for the quality of their product is not really a surprise.

Travel and Leisure magazine posted a ranking of America's Best Pies on their website, and sitting tasty at number four is the Shaker Lemon Pie created by Phoebe Lawless and her crew at their downtown location on Orange Street.

Open for breakfast and lunch with coffee and baked goodies available until 4 PM, the store has generated quite a buzz in its short tenure.  It has been nationally recognized before...and it hasn't been open a year.

A long-time Durham chef, Lawless is a chef's baker using as much local product as possible and crossing the line into the savory realm more than most pastry chefs do.  With savory sandwhiches involving house cooked meats, their own pickled vegetables and fresh made condiments, the shop is a place for those with and without sweet toothes.  There's even a sandwich called the Hot's open-faced, it has a poached egg on it.  Get extra napkins.

Scratch also returns to the Durham Farmers' Market each week.  The place where the bakery really got its start, the thousands of Lawless' fans that came there each week also make up some of the customer base at her store.  The now famous donut muffin is available in both locations each week.

One of Durham's more than three dozen nationally celebrated restaurants, Scratch joins Guglhupf, another Durham bakery and restaurant that has received significant national praise most recently in Cooking Light magazine.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Durham Wayfinders will soon number 1,000

It’s not all that uncommon for destination marketing organizations like DCVB to have a team of volunteers who help with needs in the community such as manning information tables at conventions, helping customers in the official Visitor Information Center or providing assistance at local festivals and events.

What’s highly unusual is the depth and breadth of DCVB’s core group of volunteers called Durham Wayfinders. Currently there are more than 940 volunteers registered in the program which enjoys unparalleled participation compared to peer programs nationally. Based on current growth patterns, it will likely top 1,000 volunteers by early 2011.

The secret to DCVB’s success? “It’s all in the scheduling,” according to Shelly Green, President & CEO. Keeping up with even as few as 100 volunteers while matching organization’s needs to people’s availability can be a full time job – and a nightmare for organizations that have to rely on email and/or telephone to manage the program. Not surprisingly, DCVB adapted technology in a very creative way and came up with a way to manage the program using only about 10 hours of staff time each month.

“We use a software program that allows event organizers to post available opportunities into an online schedule system, said Carolyn Carney, Director of Visitor Services at DCVB. “Then volunteers, who choose how they want to receive notifications – either by email or to their phone, sign up for available shifts.” Wayfinders can also decide which “groups” they want to receive notifications of available volunteer opportunities from such as DPAC, Museum of Life and Science, World Beer Festival or all of the postings.

More than 25 organizations are using Wayfinders, to the tune of almost 4,000 volunteer hours a year.

Interested volunteers can enlist at Visitor features, performance venues and festival and event organizers desiring to tap into the Wayfinder volunteer program should contact Carolyn Carney at

Durham Gets Second Census Research Data Center Lab

Durham's prominence as a research center is well known around the world.  With the release below, that position gets even stronger.  Durham will now have not one, but two Census Research Data Centers.  In addition to the Triangle Census Research Data Center (TCRDC) located on Duke University's campus--one of only nine centers in the U.S. and the only one in the Southeast--the Census is opening a new laboratory in Research Triangle Park in Durham. 

Below is a portion of the media advisory released minutes ago:



New Census Research Data Center Lab to Open in Research Triangle Park

What: Officials from the U.S. Census Bureau, RTI International, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open a new Census Research Data Center (RDC) laboratory. The new lab, the Triangle Consortium Research Data Center, is actually a branch of the existing Triangle RDC at Duke University in Durham, N.C. RDCs are secure Census Bureau facilities where researchers from academia, federal agencies and other institutions with approved projects receive restricted access to unpublished Census Bureau demographic and economic microdata files.

When: Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010; 1 p.m. (EDT)

Who: Robert Groves, director, U.S. Census Bureau  and Victoria F. Haynes, president and chief executive officer, RTI International

Where: RTI International, Building 7, 3040 Cornwallis Road, Research Triangle Park, N.C. 27709

Note: Videography and photography will be permitted. Directions to the RTI.  International campus and a campus map can be found at

Zift Solutions: Turning Information into Impact…IN DURHAM!

Created for the marketing communication professional, Zift Solutions “helps companies improve communications with their resellers, distributors, and customers” with an information management environment that is simple and easy to use. Following a round of financing in which Zift Solutions raised $1.5 million, the company has moved its headquarters and innovative approach in marketing program syndication to Durham on Emperor Boulevard.
“We've more than tripled our work space as we expand to accommodate hiring new support and marketing staff to work with our customers worldwide,” said Scott England, Vice President of Business Development for Zift Solutions.

Always on the forefront of what’s new, DCVB reached out to Zift two years and established a strategic partnership with them to organize clippings from local and national news sources.  The “Durham in the News” widget on the right hand side of is powered by Zift and pulls from DCVB’s online library of media clippings making it easy to share with stakeholders.

Durham Central Market

It’s just so Durham. A group of volunteers have formed the Durham Central Market, a non-profit cooperative grocery store planned in the Central Park District downtown. Considering all the residential growth happening there, and Durham’s continued and undying commitment to great food and local produce, this store was a natural next step. That it is cooperative and that shares are selling quickly is part of what makes it just that much more Durham.

The market will stock high-quality foods and other products with a focus on sustainability and local producers. Using the Weaver Street Market as a model, Durham Central Market will have a community focus but with a uniquely Durham flair for community involvement, healthy alternatives, and entrepreneurial spirit.

Organizers have secured an option on a location on Mangum Street between Hunt and Broadway to build a 10,000 square-foot store. The location will include a parking lot and 3,500 square feet of green space.

Anyone interested in joining the project is encouraged to become a member or owner by purchasing an individual or business owner share. For more information on the effort to make this market a reality, go to

$100 Bill Gets Makeover, Delayed

Attention retailers!  There is a new $100 bill coming...and it uses a lot of cutting-edge anti counterfeiting technologies.  But, rest easy, production delays recently announced mean it won't be here until well after the 1st of the year.  Learn more about it at the link below and be ready when they start showing up.