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Archive for March, 2009

Queensboro is one shirt company that isn’t folding

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

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So often these days, we’re deluged by news of what isn’t working in our economy. It can get downright depressing, but here in the Cape Fear, all is not doom and gloom.

For a business that hangs by a thread, this one is quite successful.

Set far back from Marstellar Street in Wilmington, you’d be hard pressed to find it. There are no signs outside or anything to attract your attention.

The world headquarters for Queensboro shirts is about as unassuming as you can get. And that’s quite by design.

“You won’t see any Taj Mahal marble bathrooms in any company I ever run. It’s all about trying to keep your costs down, your flexibility so you can survive any situation that’s thrown at you,” said Fred Meyers, Queensboro president.

At Queensboro, they do custom embroidery on shirts, hats, jackets and just about anything else you can put a needle through.

Success rule number one at Queensboro? “Well the main thing is you gotta take care of your customers. That’s the bottom line,” Meyers said.

“We do the small runs,” added sales manager Corey Crewswell who said their customers are often the little guy. The minimum order is four shirts.

The little guy and the big can be fiercely loyal when he’s treated well and gets good value. That’s how this business has been built — first by phone and mail order, and now online.

You won’t see any suits and ties at Queensboro shirts, not even on the boss. “I like working here. It’s kind of laid back,” said Queensboro employee Nicky Brooks.

There are 153 people that work at Queensboro, a work force that has held pretty steady.

Fred Meyers still considers this a small business, but it’s about to get bigger. By May, Queensboro will expand into this 30,000 square foot building next door.

Why in the world would you expand in this economic climate? Meyers sees opportunity amidst the dark clouds. “As the economy decentralizes, when you see these big companies that seem too be breaking into bits. These are a lot of smart people and they’re going to go out and start small businesses. And we feel these people are going to be customers for our products. They need those custom shirts. They need those custom shirts.”

And Wilmington’s Queensboro shirt company wants to be ready when they do.

Meyers said a key to Queensboro’s increasing revenue has been the company’s embrace of an internet business model.

The vast majority of business comes via the queensboro.com website.

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So often these days, we’re deluged by news of what isn’t working in our economy. It can get downright depressing, but here in the Cape Fear, all is not doom and gloom.

For a business that hangs by a thread, this one is quite successful.

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Associated poll

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Light at the end of the tunnel

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

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With an unemployment rate of 9.7% in January, North Carolina rose to the sixth highest unemployment rate in the country. With tourist season right around the corner and support from the economic stimulus package on it’s way, however, more jobs could be around the corner.

In southeast North Carolina, the construction industry has been hit particularly hard. With companies like Louisana and Georgia Pacific closing their doors, and International Paper holding a temporary shutdown, all area counties have been affected.

The bottom line in any of that is they aren’t selling. Their products or whatever they might be aren’t moving right now,” said Charles Garrett of the Columbus County Employment Security Commission.

With tourism season right around the corner and increased optimism with the economic stimulus on its way, the tide is already turning.

“Some employers that have laid some of those people off are starting to call those people back to work,” said Walker Biggs of the NHC Employment Security Commission.

With the stimulus package will come more training for workers, which should lead to more jobs.

“The more we can help prepare our workforce now, get them some additional job skills, the more we’ll thrive in the future,” said Eli Smith of the Brunswick County Employment Security Commission.

The economic stimulus will also mean a few more dollars for the unemployed. As of March first, unemployment checks will increase by twenty-five dollars. It could be some time however, before that money shows up in unemployment checks.

The state government is still organizing the distribution, but all increases will be retro active when they begin.

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videoWith an unemployment rate of 9.7% in January, North Carolina rose to the sixth highest unemployment rate in the country. With tourist season right around the corner and support from the economic stimulus package on it’s way, however, more jobs could be around the corner.

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Associated poll

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Man charged with stealing DVDs from Kohl’s

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Police chased down a man Tuesday night who they say stuffed DVD’s and video games in his pants and ran from a department store.

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Hell’s Kitchen reopens after three months

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

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A popular downtown Wilmington bar and restaurant is open for business once again. Hell’s Kitchen opened its doors Thursday after being closed for almost three months.

Fire at a neighboring business did serious smoke damage to Hell’s Kitchen on Christmas Eve. Loyal customers filled the family-owned establishment this afternoon. The managers and customers are exited Hell’s Kitchen is back.

“We’ve done our best to get it back to what our loyal friends and family has grown to love, so we’ve done our best to maintain that atmosphere,” said manager Roger Young.

Customer Mike Masone added, “We missed it for about two or three months. We had nowhere to go. Downtown is fun, but Hell’s Kitchen is the place to be at.”

Roger Young said they worked hard to open up by Saint Patrick’s Day.

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A popular downtown Wilmington bar and restaurant is open for business once again. Hell’s Kitchen opened its doors Thursday after being closed for almost three months.

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Associated poll

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17-year-old driver crashes stolen SUV into Brunswick home

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

A 17-year-old male drove away from a deputy early Thursday and crashed a stolen sport utility vehicle into a house, officials said.Massimo Campana, 17, of Leland, faces several charges including DWI and eluding arrest in a vehicle, according to a statement from the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office.

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