There are things I never expected to see in my career at the School of Government. John Sanders dressed as a snowman would be on that list. I also never thought that one of our programs would be trying to recruit craft breweries for small towns in North Carolina. Both things have happened and, honestly, I can’t wait to see what comes next.
The School’s Development Finance Initiative partners with local communities in North Carolina on projects that include building reuse, community development, downtown revitalization, neighborhood development, and small business finance. Most of the work involves the sophisticated analysis of possible development projects, including a range of tools that might be used to finance those projects. The work also can involve helping to identify businesses interested in moving into a newly-revitalized area as an early adopter or an anchor tenant.
Last week Christy Raulli, Associate Director, and part of her team attended the North Carolina Craft Brewers Conference in Winston-Salem. Everyone wants their own craft brewery—it increasingly has become a sign that your community is vital and moving in the right direction. Plus it’s just cool. Christy and her colleagues were at the conference to encourage craft brewers to consider locating a taproom or brewery production facility in some of the towns where DFI is working.
As a service to local governments, developers, and potential retail tenants, the DFI website includes a regularly-updated list of communities that would be ideal for small-scale breweries or brew pubs.
DFI is a great example of how we are carrying out the School’s traditional mission for North Carolina in new and innovative ways. Albert Coates could not have imagined the craft brewery movement or our role in it, but he certainly would have approved and hoisted a pint to toast the success of DFI. Tyler Mulligan, Michael Lemanski, Christy and their talented team at DFI truly are revitalizing North Carolina communities one cool building at a time. [Thanks to Robby Poore for putting together wonderful marketing materials, as usual).