Axios Charlotte

Picture of the Charlotte skyline with CLT written across it.
December 20, 2021

Hello, Monday. It's Bri.

⛅️ Weather: 50° and partly cloudy.

🥳 Happy birthday to Axios Charlotte members Madelon Capozziello, Leah Grace, Ramona J. Suris and Brittany Whitlock.

🎁 Situational awareness: Christmas is this week. If you still need to buy last-minute gifts, check out these gift card deals.

Today's Smart Brevity™ count is 932 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Pandemic money failures

pandemic money in charlotte
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As the coronavirus caused economic ruin for some, financial assistance programs were created for small businesses, the entertainment industry, restaurants, foster youth, renters and others.

Why it matters: The economic harm would have been far greater without those funds, but the rapid pace at which aid was distributed often meant it failed to reach those who needed it most, Axios' Danielle Chemtob reports.

Here's how some of the pandemic money is being used in Charlotte — and a recap of where those efforts stand now.

Rent relief: The federal government sent money to cities and states across the U.S. to distribute to renters to help prevent a wave of evictions and homelessness.

  • Just under 3,000 households are still waiting on funds.

Foster youth: The stimulus package Congress approved last December allocated $9 million to states for direct payments to young adults currently or formerly in the foster care system.

  • But Mecklenburg County ran out of money to help all 813 youth who were eligible.
  • As of November, only 155 were able to receive checks.

Arts and culture: The city of Charlotte gave out more than $800,000 to independent music venues like the Neighborhood Theatre and Evening Muse to cover rent and mortgage payments.

  • Others faced difficulties getting money altogether.
  • Larry Farber, owner and founder of Middle C Jazz, told Axios in October that his application was denied without explanation. He wound up getting it after a lengthy appeal process.

Full story: 5 ways pandemic money helped, and failed, those in need

2. ☕️ Wildroots coffee truck to open storefront

wildroots coffee truck opens a permanent shop
Photo: Brianna Crane/Axios

Wildroots, a popular coffee truck known for its giant iced latte pouches, will open its first brick-and-mortar location in South End this week.

Why it matters: Owner Jasmine Koch launched Wildroots just before the pandemic.

  • She managed to grow a devoted following during a time when many small businesses struggled and had to shutter.

What to expect: The shop will have a more expansive menu than the coffee truck. Expect the same iced latte pouches and hot coffees you love, with more pour-overs, teas and other options on the permanent menu.

  • A portion of the menu, including drip coffee and hot chocolate, will be pay-what-you-can, Koch told Axios. She wants coffee to be accessible, whether you want to take yourself on a date or bring your kids in for a hot chocolate.

The space: The shop has a bar, handmade by Koch's dad, where you can order, and several cozy seating options. There's also a roll-up garage door and small outdoor space.

What’s next: The soft opening is 8am Thursday.

  • 📍 1430 Winnifred St., next to Sweat Method.
  • Expect giveaways, and good coffee.

Full story: Wildroots coffee truck is opening a storefront in South End

Cool jobs around town

🔥Fresh openings from our Job Board.

  1. Sr. business intelligence developer at OrthoCarolina.
  2. Nurse aide – health care tech at Atrium Health
  3. Digital marketer at Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region.
  4. Social media specialist at Union.
  5. Land planner at The Durban Group.
  6. Outreach assistant at Myers Park Presbyterian Church.
  7. Product analyst at U.S. News & World Report.
  8. Program support specialist at United Methodist Foundation of Western North Carolina.
  9. Business development associate at Healthgram.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board. Hiring? Post a job

3. What to do this week

ice skating at the whitewater center
Ice skate at the Whitewater Center through mid-February. Photo: Axios Charlotte archives

If you're still in need of holiday cheer, Axios' Symphony Webber has you covered as usual.

Here are some festive happenings this week:

🎄 Charlotte Christmas Village at Truist Field (now through Dec. 23)

🎄 Winterfest at Carowinds (select days through Jan. 9)

🎄 McAdenville Christmastown (now through Dec. 26)

🎄 Holiday Cheeseboard Creation with SkillPop (Dec. 20)

🎄 Gingerbread House Making at Free Range Brewing (Dec. 22)

🎄 Holidays at the Garden at Daniel Stowe Garden (select nights through Jan. 2)

🎄 "Nutcracker" at Belk Theater (select nights through Dec. 23)

Full story: 25 things to do in Charlotte this week of Christmas

4. Holiday decor debate

Data: Axios survey; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

Our readers prefer traditional Christmas decorations, according to the results of a survey we sent out last week.

Of the 654 respondents, twice as many decorate their homes with white/clear lights compared to colorful bulbs.

  • A small percentage of you go wild with a mix of both.

Some households are split, leaving the losing opinion disappointed.

  • "I like colored lights, but my husband feels strongly about white only. Classy Christmas for me only 😔," one reader shared.

Yes, but: No matter what color of preferred glow, respondents are anti-inflatable.

  • 86.5% said they don't put up blow-up adornments.
  • And only 34% said they enjoy seeing inflatables in other peoples' yards.
  • Many survey respondents cited a lack of effort as their reasoning for the blow-up hate. Some just think "inflatables are trash."

White/clear lights and wreaths are the most-loved decorations:

  • 89% of our respondents enjoy seeing wreaths, and 88% enjoy seeing white/clear lights.
  • Lights of all varieties were also popular, though a few wrote in to say blinking lights are a no-go.

Here are a few other holiday hot takes shared by readers:

  • "Sometimes it's okay to be tacky. Also the more lights the better."
  • "Houses that play music win the prize."
  • "I love calm, tasteful, traditional holiday decorations. Don't hate multicolored lights, but prefer white ones. No inflatables or programmed light shows for me!"

And my personal favorite: "I love it all. This time of year is sh***y with cold weather and no sun and stressful work. I'll take any glimpse of joy I can get."

A new medical plaza in Birkdale 🏥

Atrium Health Birkdale Landing Medical Plaza
Photo: Atrium Health

Atrium Health Birkdale Landing Medical Plaza is now open on Birkdale Commons Parkway. 

  • You can receive primary care, specialty care and urgent care in one convenient location.

Make an appointment.

5. Speed reads

Illustration of a pattern of checkered flags.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Police shot a man in Ballantyne this weekend after they say he broke into his ex-wife's home and stabbed her 13-year-old daughter. The girl was transported to Atrium Health with life-threatening injuries. (WSOC)

📰 The obituary for the "plus-sized Jewish lady redneck" who lived in North Carolina continues to go viral after it was published in the Fayetteville Observer last week. Her family shared more details with the paper in a story published Saturday.

💲 David Tepper's LLC purchased 4.63 acres for $15.5 million on Morehead Street, Jason Thomas first reported.

6. Chart du jour

Data: Climate Central; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

The latest numbers from Climate Central, an independent organization of scientists and journalists, show that Charlotte has 11 more days of above-normal temperatures each winter than we did 50 years ago.

  • That's almost two more weeks annually.
  • Early forecasts show it could be in the 60s on Christmas Day here.

🌀 The loop (we're keeping you in it)

News you can use from our partners.

  • ♻️ To further develop a workforce trained for a green economy, Northwood Office is contributing to the city’s RENEW training program on behalf of its tenants in Charlotte.
  • Joy to the Carolinas: In collaboration with the Carolina Panthers and Charlotte Motor Speedway, Coca-Cola Consolidated was able to give 1,500 deserving people a drive-thru experience through Speedway Christmas where they picked up toys, food, winter items, shoes and more. Learn more about the event.
  • DYK what a Perfect Peel is? We tried out the popular chemical peel at Criswell & Criswell and were blown away by the results

If you're not a member already, considering joining us.

  • Membership revenue helps keep our journalism free and available to the entire community.