Monday, December 22, 2008

KEEPING HOLIDAY MAGIC AND LOCAL BUSINESSES ALIVE

By Elizabeth Shugg

No matter how hard we plan for the perfect holiday home, party, dinner or gift list, chaos often rears its complicated head. We say yes to one more responsibility than we have time for, add a few more gifts to our list, and pencil in one more party. We find ourselves thinking back to our childhood and longing for that magical, responsibility-free holiday experience. How did it slip away so quickly?

The truth is, we can experience holiday magic again through a child’s eyes. The Triangle hosts a wide range of holiday events you can do with your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews or family friends. Visit Triangle TRACKS and click on the “Calendar” page to access a list of holiday events planned for the area. Take a break from the shopping, baking and volunteering to help shape memories your children will cherish for the rest of their lives.

You can also create holiday magic for a child who won’t experience it without your assistance. Even during tough economic times, communities answer the call to help our brothers and sisters in need in various ways during the holiday season. From the Salvation Army’s comforting collection bell, to coat drives and grocery bags filled with holiday foods you can purchase and then donate, there are many ways to make this special time of year a little brighter for those in need.

A new local organization, Dream-2-Reality, collects “Dream Tree” holiday gifts for at-risk children and hopes to help make their dreams come true year-round, since need doesn’t end during the holiday season. Visit the Triangle TRACKS Charity page for a list of local charities you can contribute your time or treasure to.

Bright Horse Farm & Art Studio in Pittsboro is still accepting applications for half-day and full-day winter break camps being held Dec. 22-Jan. 2. Because Bright Horse Farm & Art Studio offers all-weather facilities for year-round experiences indoors and out, campers are able to enjoy the horses and take art lessons during the winter months. Call Kim at (919) 929-1568 to reserve your child’s seat.

Recreationally speaking, several Chapel Hill swimmers under the age of 18 attended the Junior National Swimming Championships at the University of Texas Aquatics Center in Austin, Texas Dec. 10-14, which showcases the fastest youth swimmers in the country. “The time standards are extremely fast,” says Mike Hoffer, owner of Chapel Hill-based Carolina Closets Plus who also volunteers as a local referee and sponsors the New Resident Solutions swimming page.

Chapel Hill girls attending the meet were Carly Smith, Zoe Gan and Dania Marinshaw. Luke Hoffer represented the Chapel Hill boys. All of these swimmers attend Chapel Hill High or East Chapel Hill High and come from two of the local year-round swimming teams: North Carolina Aquatic Club and Duke Aquatics. You can view the meet results at this link.

For more information about year round swimming in Chapel Hill, visit the teams’ websites:
North Carolina Aquatic Club
Chapel Hill YMCA
Duke Aquatics

LOCAL BUSINESSES PERSIST

Carolina Closets Plus recently introduced new “soft close” hinges from the Blum Blumotion Hinge System for all doors. These hinges are typically used on high-end kitchen cabinets. "This is just another way for us to show our mission of detail perfection for our customers,” Owner Mike Hoffer says. “We’re making this a standard feature on all installations because it makes the job turn out just that much better. The best part is that it doesn't cost anything extra."

A soft close feature slowly closes your door when it approaches the cabinet frame. It operates hydraulically so there is no slamming sound when the door shuts. You can see how these hinges operate in the Chapel Hill or North Raleigh showroom. “This new hinge is fabulous! It really makes a difference. It works much better than the little bumpers that always fall off of the cabinets,” says Beth, a Chapel Hill resident.

Our country’s current economic troubles haven’t prevented several new businesses from opening in the Triangle. Bikas Building of North Carolina, LLC recently completed construction of a new Massage Envy in Apex’s Beaver Creek Commons. Pete Bikas and his team also started construction on a Raleigh Massage Envy in mid-December, and should finish it by the end of February. Bikas Building of North Carolina, LLC worked on projects for University Mall, The Family Doctor and Durham Pediatrics in December. Give Pete a call at (919) 493-9452 if you need to update or improve your commercial space.

Speaking of University Mall, the management there recently selected 16 artists to participate in the 2009 Scrapel Hill Art contest. These artists have until Jan. 15 to present their proposals, which must outline how they will create 2D or 3D works made from clean scrap and non-recyclable materials. Three top place winners will be announced during a gala ceremony April 23, 2009, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

And speaking of Massage Envy, a massage is just what you’ll need as you wind down your holiday shopping, then pick it up again in January when everything goes on sale! One great gift idea—whether you’re shopping for this year or next—is Mieles' New Upright vacuum cleaner, available at Vacuum Cleaner Hospital in Chapel Hill. Miele’s new upright features excellent suction control, an attachment hose that stretches for easy reach, a 38-inch cord and seamless transition from bare floors to carpet. The body swivels so the vacuum can reach any angle. Come by the store to check out Vacuum Cleaner Hospital’s special introductory pricing on the Miele upright, and be sure to ask about the FJM canister bag special while you’re there!

Holiday cheer-turned-chaos doesn’t stop the traditions we uphold, the parties we attend, and the time we cherish with family and friends. New Resident Solutions’ member businesses wish you a holiday season and 2009 filled with memory-making experiences and friendships. Be sure to visit us again next month for a fresh edition of 2009 community-connecting news.