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From the Director

Fall in Elizabeth City has been a bustling season for business news, as you will read in this issue of Developments.

For starters, SPLASH week, Nov. 2-7, welcomed artists from North Carolina and beyond for a week-long immersion in creativity and collaboration, affirming our area's burgeoning reputation as a city that embraces and supports the arts. Our Jump-Start downtown business plan competition is underway. If you are an entrepreneur looking for $8,500 in start-up incentives and a great place to open a business, downtown Elizabeth City is just the ticket. Speaking of downtown, meet Wade Nichols, the new director of Elizabeth City Downtown, Inc., and learn what types of businesses he hopes to lure to our "Harbor of Opportunity."

And in the "did you hear about that" category, see which NBC news personality made an unexpected stop at the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City earlier this month. Like I said, it's been a busy autumn. Read all about it!

Wayne Harris
Director, ECPCEDC

NBC-TV's Al Roker Took Elizabeth City By Storm

NBC weatherman Al Roker breezed into U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, Nov. 11, to file a fast-paced weather update to the delight of local fans. The #rokerthon 2 gig, which aired live on NBC-TV media, was part of the reporter's attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the fastest time ever for reporting the weather from all 50 states. Arriving in Elizabeth City by plane that evening, America's favorite weatherman greeted U.S. Coast Guard employees and their families, chatted with folks including reporters from WNCN-TV and WECT-TV and reported the weather using a tablet to pull up regional maps and weather systems.

Last year's #rokerthon earned him a world record title for delivering the weather live for 34 hours straight. Did he do it again? Yes indeed, just as we in Elizabeth City forecast!

Support Small Business Saturday

Elizabeth City's shopping scene is a market place for unique and one-of-a-kind gifts, thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of the area's independent business owners. From original artwork and eclectic home décor and furnishings, to jewelry, apparel and artisan-made wares, treasures are to be found in the "Harbor of Hospitality." And the hard-working merchants who own these stores are hoping to see you on Nov. 28 for Small Business Saturday.
Held the Saturday after Thanksgiving (between Black Friday and Cyber Monday), the shopping holiday encourages seasonal shoppers to patronize businesses that are small and local. And while you are downtown, be sure to try one of the area's great independently-owned restaurants when you're ready to grab a tasty bite to eat. Supporting local businesses is a great way to embrace the spirit of the season! Downtown businesses look forward to seeing you Nov. 28

Send Us Your Business News

The Elizabeth City | Pasquotank County Economic Development Commission wants to hear from you! For the purpose of establishing our EDC Social Media Business Information Network, the Commission is gathering regional business and economic development-related news to share with readers on our Facebook and Twitter sites, and in this quarterly Developments e-newsletter. We are seeking 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 in the EDC Social Media Business Information Network to

SPLASH Success for Elizabeth City
Artists and arts enthusiasts dived headfirst into Elizabeth City's art scene, Nov. 2-7, to take part in Arts of the Albemarle's (AOA) second fall SPLASH event, a week-long series of classes, workshops and art demos with an emphasis on collaboration and experimentation. Carolyn Peel, an artist and spouse of Elizabeth City Mayor Joe Peel (seen here), came up with the concept of this creative-focused destination retreat a few SPLASHes ago, and the idea has been met with great appeal. This year, approximately 40 artists attended, traveling from as far away as away as Maine and Georgia according to AOA Director Katie Murray.   
Participants immersed themselves in their art at the SPLASH Open Studio, a communal art space in the old Super 10 store on Main Street; joined in a drawing circle led by artist Jeff Whelan; and kicked back in the SPLASH piano bar when they are ready to socialize. Other SPLASH week happenings included Plein Air workshops with Mike Rooney and an array of classes including painting with cold wax, abstract painting, monoprinting, French watercolor and a beginner's acrylic class. The week prior, organizers staged a "Kids' Splash event," through interactive learning assignments with local college students.
Murray said the artists love the synergic spirit of SPLASH - and the locale. "Once again SPLASH united the Elizabeth City area through art," said Murray. "We saw many new faces at this year's event, as well as an increased participation in our area art students of all ages. The event continues to put Elizabeth City on the map as an arts destination in a warm and welcoming community."
EC Biz Roundup
Jump-Start Downtown Biz Competition Underway
Entrepreneurs may apply to win more than $8,500 in start-up incentives and a prime location for their business by entering the second annual Jump-Start Downtown business plan competition. Applicants have until Jan. 26, 2016 to submit their business plan and other documents, and event sponsors are open to all ideas so long as the proposed business location is within the Elizabeth City downtown area and occupies a street-level, street-facing storefront. Check for details at

Tanglewood Pavilion Shops Now Open
Shop openings at Tanglewood Pavilion have been steady since the Halstead Boulevard shopping center opened Hobby Lobby, Ross Dress for Less, Rack Room Shoes and TJMaxx earlier this year. Now Dollar Tree, AT&T, Rue21, Cato, Kaye Jewelers, Sleepy's and Zaxby's restaurant are luring Elizabeth City shoppers, with Regal Nails, H&R Block and Hibbett Sports to follow soon. Thompson Thrift, based in Indianapolis, has developed the $20 million project that is generating jobs, sales tax revenue and something else locals are thrilled to have: brand-name shopping in their own backyard.
Meet ECDI Director Wade Nichols 
Wade Nichols, director of Elizabeth City Downtown, Inc. (ECDI) is a champion of small towns. The Mount Airy, N.C. native worked to promote downtown business opportunities in Lexington and Shelby, and volunteered his expertise in Mount Airy, before reporting to work in the "Harbor of Hospitality" in August. In addition to promoting the downtown area and attracting new businesses, Nichols' duties will include overseeing Elizabeth City's Main Street Program, managing the popular First Friday ArtWalk series and presenting the N.C. Potato Festival, a popular spring event that attracts thousands of visitors to Elizabeth City. Now that he's had a few months to settle in to his new job, Developments posed a few quick questions.  

What drew you to Elizabeth City to work for ECDI?

I have specialized in working with cities of 18,000-20,000, whose leaders were looking to change how their downtown districts looked and functioned. I saw Elizabeth City as a promising challenge, with great opportunities for business and residents. As a native of the mountains and western Piedmont hills, I thought this could be a pleasant change of scenery.

What makes a downtown area appealing to new businesses - and to visitors?

I particularly like the compact grid streetscape that is already in place here. It's the kind of physical layout that will encourage people to stroll around and find something new. Plus I always try to point out that the downtown was originally created as the heart of a local economy and society. It still fills that need, and with the kind of revitalization approach used by ECDI and the national Main Street America programs, we can make it an even stronger center for everyone.

Describe Elizabeth City's downtown strengths.

There are great buildings waiting to be used for new businesses, there are already many residents in the downtown district and then we must not forget the incredible waterfront setting. I think these factors come together when we develop connections with all of the stakeholders and share a desire to move forward.

ou recently launched the Jump-Start Downtown business plan competition. Ideally, what types of start-ups would complement the existing downtown business community?

There are a great many businesses that residents and visitors would appreciate. My 2016 wish list includes wood-fired pizza (a great aroma in downtowns), bakery, outdoor active clothing, distinctive burgers and sandwiches, live music venues, a couple more art galleries, bike retail and repairs, kayak retail and rentals, jewelry retailers, home furnishings, music and dance instruction, a Yoga studio and a wide range of restaurants (Thai, Italian, Indian, Mexican and others).

What do you enjoy doing in Elizabeth City when you're not on the job with ECDI?

I'm enjoying the walks I take with my dog. He seems to be appreciating the quiet historic neighborhoods as well. I will probably do some container gardening for a time to unwind quickly. 

For more Elizabeth City biz news and views, visit


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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 or call at 1-888-338-1678 or (252) 338-0169.


Elizabeth City | Pasquotank County Economic Development Commission | P.O. Box 70 | 405 East Main Street | Suite 4 | Elizabeth City | NC | 27909