Boomtown: New Businesses Blossom in 2011

by Jan 27, 2016Business, North Brunswick

Economic experts and policy makers don’t agree on much, but they do agree that small businesses are the drivers of the United States’ economy. In Brunswick County, the engine of small business is running well and expanding. We sat down with a few intrepid entrepreneurs who opened businesses, ranging from a dance studio to a veterinary practice, in Leland in 2011.

Tony’s NY Pizza and Trattoria
1107 New Pointe Boulevard, Leland
(910) 383-1300
Owner: Tony Grippi

Anthony “Tony” Grippi has a passion for Italian food. When he moved to southeastern North Carolina six years ago he started working at I heart NY Pizza in Wilmington, but decided in 2011 that it was time to put his 35+ years of restaurant experience to work and strike out on his own.

Why did you choose 2011 to start your business?

“I didn’t choose it so much as I saw an opportunity,” Grippi says. “I found a great location and I knew I wanted to do it, so I jumped in.”

Why Leland?

“First off, the location is great. Despite what you see on the news about a down economy, there’s still development going on here and there are still people out shopping and eating. I wanted to own my own place and saw Leland as the right spot for me.”

What does Tony’s NY Pizza and Trattoria have on the menu?

“We’re what you think of when you envision an Italian-American restaurant. We’ve got pizza by the slice or the pie. We’ve got chicken, seafood and veal pasta dishes. We serve classic pasta and sauces, baked pastas and salads.”

How many employees do you have?

“Right now we have 12 employees and there’s no way we’d have the success we’ve seen without such great help. These people know the industry, they know their jobs and they know how to keep customers happy. That’s all I can ask for.”

Speaking of success, what’s been your biggest success this year?

“Consistency. We consistently deliver great food, and our service is always top notch.”

What does 2012 hold for Tony’s NY Pizza and Trattoria?

“We want to increase our customer base, which we’ll do by continuing to serve fantastic plates of food. We want growth, but the right kind of growth. Most of all, we want to be the place you think of in Brunswick County for great food.”

Cape Fear Consignments
117-B2 Village Road NE, Leland
(910) 383-1895
Owners: Jeff Lakeman and Robert Delano

Jeff Lakeman and Robert Delano moved to Leland in 2007 from the mountains of North Carolina. For years the pair worked as stagers for model homes, sourcing furnishings and home décor items for builders and making their models beautiful. After shopping in Wilmington at furniture consignment stores, they had the idea to open their own in Leland. This year they took the plunge and opened Cape Fear Consignments.

Why did you choose 2011 to start your business?

“You know, we grew frustrated having to cross the bridge to look for consignment furniture and we knew we weren’t the only ones who felt this way,” Lakeman says. “We found that staging budgets were getting tight but saw the consignment stores we shopped were always busy and their stock always fresh. It wasn’t long after one trip across the bridge that we decided to open our own.”

Why Leland?

“We live in Leland, we shop in Leland, we love Leland, why wouldn’t we have our business here? Could we have a bigger shop or more customers across the bridge? Maybe, but we’re only a few minutes from Wilmington and more folks from over there are making the trip to Leland to shop.”

“People have asked us why we’re on Village Road in Old Leland, but we like it over here. We have room to grow and expand and our customers still find us.”

What types of furniture do you have at Cape Fear Consignments?

“The usual furniture selection, plus some outdoor furniture and home decor items like lamps, mirrors and artwork. Most of our stock is here on consignment but we carry a few new items.”

In addition to being the owner, what else do you do at Cape Fear Consignment?

“This is a small business, so Robert and I do it all. Delivery, pickups, stocking the floor, cleaning the store, everything. It’s tiring, but it’s been good.”

How many employees do you have?

“One in addition to the two of us.”

What’s been the biggest success of your first year?

“Getting opened. It’s a juggling act to keep the store full, deliver items, pick up new stock, learn the nuances of this business and get people to come back. We’re doing that and we’re very proud of our work so far.”

What does 2012 hold for Cape Fear Consignments?

“Right now we have a warehouse we call the ‘Bargain Barn.’ We hope to upfit that with walls and drop ceilings and make it more like the rest of the store — rooms where customers can actually see the furniture in context.”

Glen Meade Center for Women’s Health
1333 South Dickenson Drive, Suite 110, Leland
(910) 763-9833

Doctors: Andrew R. Cracker, MD ~ David P. Mason, MD
Clarence L. Wilson, ll, MD ~ H. Kyle Rhodes, MD
Timothy L. Chase, MD ~ Jeffrey W. Wright, MD, MFM Specialist
G. Daniel Robison, lV, MD ~ Andrea C. Foiles, MD
Rachel Z. Jones, MD ~ Cynthia K. Pierson, MD
Pamela R. Novosel, MD

Glen Meade Center for Women’s Health already had an established practice in Wilmington, but when they noticed that a large number of their patients were coming from or through Brunswick County for office visits, they decided it was time to grow.

Why 2011 for a move to Leland?

“In 2010 we went through our patient database and found that 15 to 20 percent of our customers were from Brunswick County or had to come through Brunswick County to get to our office. In order to better serve our patients, we looked for space, found a spot in Leland and established a practice here,” says Paul Snyder, CEO of Glen Meade.

So Leland was the logical choice? Why?

“We’re still close to our Wilmington offices, they’re no more than 15 minutes away, and Leland really is the center of development in the northern end of the county, so it made sense. There’s shopping here and dining, there are many medical practices here and we thought it would be a good fit. We were right.”

What services does Glen Meade offer?

“We offer complete care for women, from OB and GYN services to annual checkups and help with fertility.”

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced with the opening of the Leland office?

“Perception was a big one. Of course our clients in Brunswick County were thrilled that we were here, but some clients in Wilmington had the perception that the new office was really far away, which it isn’t. But we overcame those perception issues and are running smoothly now.”

How many employees do you have in Leland?

“We have four employees here, plus our doctors — who rotate between offices — and we’ll be hiring one more in 2012.”

A new hire in 2012? What’s the position?

“We’ll be hiring a sonographer to operate our ultrasound unit. The office in Leland got busier much faster than we thought, so we’re expanding ahead of schedule, adding ultrasound services and adding an employee.”

Encore Dance StudioEncore Dance Center, Inc.
1725 Reed Street, Suite 7, Leland
(910) 515-6213
Owners: Linda Kalnen, Jonathan Cullipher and Katie Auletti

Linda Kalnen has spent her life dancing. As a Screen Actors Guild dancer she’s appeared in numerous feature films and television shows. She’s worked with the Miss North Carolina Pageant, appeared in commercials and served as a Master Teacher at Western Carolina University. Now she’s in Leland with Jonathan Cullipher and Katie Auletti helping prepare another generation of dancers.

Why did you choose 2011 to start your business?

“I have two partners in the business — Jonathan Cullipher and Katie Auletti — and the three of us were ready to make some changes. We saw a void in the area and decided to fill it with our dance studio,” says Kalnen.

Why Leland?

“I taught dance here in Leland a few years ago, but the business I was working for closed its satellite office. I felt that created a void in the performing arts for children and wanted to help fill that. Katie has family here and Jonathan knows many people here from college, so it was a good fit for all of us.”

What types of dance do you offer?

“Performing Arts training in ballet, Pointe, jazz, hip-hop, tap, tumbling and now Zumba.”

How many employees are there at the Encore Dance Center?

“Right now it’s just the three of us.”

What’s been the biggest success from the past year?

“That’s easy: watching the faces of dancers as they achieve new skills in the art.”

What does 2012 hold for you? What big plans do you have coming up?

“We’re planning several performances for 2012. As for big plans, we’ll be appearing in the parade on December 10 and that’s a great place for the students to perform.”

Jersey Mikes Leland NCJersey Mike’s Subs
2029 Olde Regent Way, Suite 110, Leland
(910) 523-5300
Owner: Jeff Owens

Jeff Owens knows Jersey Mike’s Subs. As the owner of Jersey Mike’s near Wrightsville Beach, he knows how popular his sandwiches are. When he saw the chance to open another eatery in Leland, he headed over the bridge to open another sub shop.

Why did you expand into Leland in 2011?

“Leland has been on my mind for a while, but I finally got the right people in place to allow that expansion to take place. This is a fantastic place for growth. The area is heavy with our core demographic, and the projected growth in the area is still one of the best around, so once I had the right people, it was an easy move.”

You’ve opened other Jersey Mike’s locations; were there any challenges with opening the Leland store?

“We were lucky that the challenges were few and far between. We had a couple of slight delays in construction, but we got those resolved and moved right along on schedule.”

How many employees do you have in Leland?

“Right now we have 11.”

What’s been the biggest success in this shop?

“We held a fund-raiser for North Brunswick High and raised $1,700 for them. That was big for us, and we were proud to support our community like that.”

What does 2012 hold for you?

“Growth. We want to grow our customer base. I think as more people try our subs and see how great our staff is, it will be easy. We also want to do more for the community, you know, hold more fund-raisers, participate in the golf tournaments around town.”

Brunswick Forest Veterinary HospitalBrunswick Forest Veterinary Hospital
1513 Brunswick Village Boulevard, Leland
(910) 777-2107
Owners: Rich Zielinski, Patrick Terry

In the early 1990s, Dr. Rich Zielinski left his home in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, to attend college. After meeting his wife, he moved to North Carolina, where he earned his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from N.C. State. For the next eight years he practiced as a vet in the Piedmont-Triad area, but his in-laws’ home on Holden Beach kept calling to him and his wife. They finally took the plunge and moved to Leland, where Dr. Z, as he’s known to his patients’ owners, and his partner Dr. Patrick Terry opened Brunswick Forest Veterinary Hospital.

Why did you choose to start your business in 2011? And why Leland?

“For a while my wife and I wanted to be on the coast,” says Dr. Z. “We visited her parents’ house on Holden Beach and thought the area had a lot to offer to us. On one trip down to visit them, our car broke down and as I was riding to Wilmington to get it fixed, I saw Brunswick Forest. I thought, ‘This is the perfect place for an office.’ So I did a little research and decided to call my partner, Patrick. Together we decided to open here. Opening in Leland was a no-brainer — it’s a growing area and the potential for more growth is huge — but opening in 2011, well, that was just timing.”

How many employees are there at Brunswick Forest Veterinary Hospital?

“Right now we have two, in addition Dr. Terry and myself. Dr. Terry is only in the office occasionally right now, but in the coming year, we’re planning to grow the practice, hire another part-time employee and get Dr. Terry here full-time.”

What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced since opening?

“The obvious challenge was the economy. With a slow economy, business was slower to pick up initially, but we’re moving over that hump. Another challenge was advertising. Where do we advertise? What do we say? How do we draw in customers? We had to learn this on the fly. Fortunately, our location in Brunswick Forest puts us close to a lot of pets and pet owners and they’ve rewarded us with their business. As our reputation grows, we’re gaining new, happy clients.”

Waterford Family MedicalWaterford Family Medical
509 Olde Waterford Way, Suite 305
(910) 383-2550 ext. 5
Owner: Dr. Joseph Roberts

Dr. Joseph Roberts has been serving the community in Whiteville, N.C., for years through his well-established practice there. But more patients from Leland made him take a look east and see an opportunity to expand. In April 2011, he opened the doors of Waterford Family Medical.

Why open Waterford Family Medical in 2011?

“It was the right time to expand the practice,” says Jim Steed, Chief Financial Officer for Waterford Family Medical. “The area is still booming and we saw a great opportunity in the 17/74/Waterford area.”

Why Leland?

“The steady growth, for sure, but we were encouraged by many folks to bring our practice here. As we looked into it we noticed we already had a number of patients from Leland, so it was a natural fit.”

How many employees do you have?

“Currently we have four employees.”

What’s been the biggest success in the Leland practice?

“Our biggest success was opening. And that was bred from the success of our Whiteville practice. Without a good reputation and patient base there, this wouldn’t be a possibility.”

What’s been the biggest challenge?

“Getting our name out. Here we need to get our name out to potential patients and to other healthcare providers who have an overflow or may be turning away the Medicare and Medicaid patients we serve.”

What does 2012 hold for you?

“We’re going to continue to grow. Like other medical providers, we’ll be attacking the challenges of new policies, regulations for coding, electronic medical records systems and other government regulations.”

A 24-hour Fitness facility
477 Olde Waterford Way, Suite 115, Leland
(910) 399-4760
Owner: Sandra Wall

Sandra Wall has had a passion for fitness since high school when she played soccer and was a cheerleader. Little did she know that this passion would turn into a career. After studying Exercise Science at UNC Wilmington, she went on to work as a personal trainer and opened 4ever24fit, a first-of-its-kind gym in Leland.

When did you open?

“We opened officially in late November 2011,” says Wall.

Why was 2011 the right time to open your gym?

“For a while I’ve wanted to open my own gym and I’d been looking for property in or around Leland since December 2010. I finally found the right space in the right place and put it all together.”

Why Leland?

“I looked initially at Hampstead and Leland. Leland was the better choice because of the potential for growth here. The town is still growing, we have new residents in the communities around here every day and more keep coming. Plus, there’s no facility like ours in the immediate area.”

What sets 4ever24fit apart from other gyms?

“We’re open 24/7. Members will have access to the full facility whenever they want with a coded keycard access system, letting them use the facility when it’s convenient for them. Our cardio machines, weight machines and freeweight area are all top-line products and that sets us apart from gyms in the various clubhouses in the area.”

Aside from cardio machines and weight training, what else will you offer?

“Personal training. I will take on a few clients, but at least two male trainers and another female trainer will be available for clients.”

Magnolia’s Bed and Biscuit
107-7 Village Road, Leland
(910) 399-3213
Owners: Angie and Bryan Ball

From the name it sounds like a nice place to spend the weekend, but Magnolia’s Bed and Biscuit is for the dogs. Literally. Magnolia’s is a luxury boarding and daycare center for dogs and cats, and owners Angie and Bryan Ball are thrilled to open their business in Leland. They think pet owners across the area will be thrilled too.

Why was 2011 the right time to open Magnolia’s?

“This business is something we’ve been thinking about for four or five years. On New Year’s Day 2011 we said that this was the time to do it. We didn’t see anything like Magnolia’s in the area so we started making plans to get it off the ground,” says Angie Ball.

When did you open?

“In December 2011.”

Why open in Leland?

“I work for a family business that’s been here for 25 years. My husband and I are both from Brunswick County and we’ve watched it grow. All of the growth makes Leland a great place for a business to thrive, so, because of the connection to the community and the potential for growth, Leland was the only choice.”

How many employees do you have?

“Right now we have 10.”

What are some of the things that sets Magnolia’s apart from other boarding facilities?

“One thing is that we are all-inclusive, so you won’t pay extra for playtime or petting. We have social play areas for pets that we’ve divided and set up a special area for small dogs. A live web cam lets pet owners check in as they want, and a ‘Bone Booth’ is available so pet owners can call their pets while they’re away. We also have the capability to take multiple pets from the same home and board them together, something we’ve not seen anywhere else.”

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