Getting back to business

March 20, 2014

One of the newest features to appear in The Richmond County Daily Journal is the introduction of a Business section.

Beginning March 8, we’ve decided to devote the front, full-color page of Section C of The Weekender edition, available each Saturday, to the Richmond County business community.

That first weekend, we featured Deb Holmes-Roberts, owner of Deb’s Place, a resale boutique in Hamlet. We also had a staff-taken photo of Family Dollar’s grand opening in Ellerbe plus a news release, with photos, from the Richmond County Realty Board highlighting the top sellers.

What should stand out first to the reader is the full-color photos. All five of them. None of them are going to win a Pulitzer, of course, but the idea was sound and the stage was set.

What was initially to be a monthly offering quickly was converted into a weekly endeavor after we received a flood of positive response. Onward we marched.

Last weekend, we highlighted the city of Rockingham’s first-ever loan to a small business retailer when the City Council approved a $7,500 low-interest loan to LMO Paradise Rentals, a Rockingham outfitter providing outdoor recreation opportunities along Hitchcock Creek and the Pee Dee River.

The city used its Revolving Loan Fund, a source normally available only to large industrial projects or commercial projects in downtown Rockingham as they related to building purchases, upfits, facade improvements, equipment, etc. Loans typically ranged from $50,000 to $200,000.

But this $7,500 will allow owner Mari Bennett to almost immediately serve a larger customer base. More importantly, the actions of the City Council set precedent, and Bennett’s success could pave the way for other local small businesses to receive low-interest loans to make Rockingham a better place to live, work and play.

The other feature story last weekend focused on a $3.3 million investment at FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital in its Imaging Center. John Tucker, director of imaging, told The Daily Journal the project is intended to meet consumer demand, making it easier and more convenient for patients to park — and ensures them a little more privacy, too.

Richmond County might still be feeling the effects of an economic downturn, but there is no doubt that companies, old and new alike, and taking steps to move forward. In fact, this Saturday’s Business section highlights both old and new.

Bobby’s Furniture in Hamlet is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary, while East Rockingham welcomes a new neighbor in The Hive Recreation Center. We hope you enjoy these stories and more in the coming weeks and months.