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December 2010

Which way will the GOP go?

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Wine glass in hand, retail mogul Art Pope mingled with other GOP insiders, candidates and well-wishers gathered at the downtown Raleigh Marriott to bask in Election Night victory.

Under Construction

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In downtown Charlotte, the $195 million NASCAR Hall of Fame’s swooping lines evoke speeding race cars, while three hours to the west in the Smoky Mountains, the Cherokee Central Schools complex — 10 buildings, including three schools — is an earth-toned $108 million project blended into its natural surroundings.

The promise

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Doug Salkewicz has a yarn about every place he has ever worked — and he usually caps it off with a pithy lesson learned or even a moral. “What goes around, comes around,” he will conclude like a modern-day Aesop.

Small differences

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Editing this month’s Small Business of the Year package reminded me of Tolstoy’s opening line in Anna Karenina: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” That, I thought, could also describe the difference between large and small businesses.

Right place at the right price

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While other builders struggled in 2009, H&H Homes’ sales grew faster than any other homebuilder in the United States. That, according to Builder magazine.

Regional Report Western December 2010

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Asheville has long depended on the beauty of its nearby mountains and forests to lure visitors, provide jobs and occasionally help recruit a business.

Regional Report Triangle December 2010

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Carolina North is expected to showcase the UNC Chapel Hill’s research, entrepreneurship and academic capabilities, but officials have struggled to get the 228-acre campus off the drawing board and under construction.

Regional Report Triad December 2010

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With credit so tight and the economy still weak, many would-be homeowners find themselves renting instead, and Bell Partners Inc. of Greensboro is narrowing its focus on apartment complexes.

Regional Report Eastern December 2010

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In the five fall days that dying Tropical Storm Nicole dumped 22 inches of rain on parts of Eastern North Carolina, reporters grilled economists about damage to tourism and beaches.

Regional Report Charlotte December 2010

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Charlotte rose to prominence as the nation’s second-largest financial center, thanks largely to state laws that favored intrastate branching and fostered greater competition than in other states, well-timed changes in national laws and an intense rivalry between two banks that pushed them to one-up each other often.

Recycling trash into cash

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After graduating from N.C. State and working for the city of Fayetteville as a landscape architect, Bill Hester drifted into rehabbing and demolishing old buildings.

Inductive reasoning

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Confession: I didn’t know — or at best, had long forgotten — that there is a North Carolina Business Hall of Fame.

From Crumbs to a Nice Slice

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In 2008, Wendy Banks won the Small Business Administration’s N.C. Small Business Person of the Year. With her younger brother, David Van Zee, she owns and operates Carolina Management Team, which specializes in painting and repairing water- and sewage-treatment plants.

Bringing fore closure

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On a weekend night, EpiCentre lives up to its name. Men, women, girls and boys stroll among its stores and restaurants, sometimes venturing inside or stopping to chat with friends.

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