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A Wilson-based pimento cheese company that earned acclaim earlier this year has laid down roots in historic downtown Wilson.
OMGoodness Pimento Cheese owners Donna and James Flowers Sr. are turning a former cafe in the bus station into a manufacturing facility for the popular Southern treat.
“After the DreamFest competition in January, we started looking for a place and we considered a lot of different locations,” James Flowers said. “We connected with our agriculture inspector and did multiple pre-inspections, which helped us narrow down our options.”
The husband-wife duo has used some of the $5,000 prize to purchase equipment and get the jalapeño and original recipes ready for market. When they presented at the Upper Coastal Plain Business Development Center DreamFest, OMGoodness was hoping to build a manufacturing facility on its property, but quickly switched gears toward upfitting a location after speaking with mentors and officials.
“We looked at it, but this is a better financial fit,” James Flowers said. “The upfit for other buildings was over $25,000 and we were not looking to get into a lot of debt, so the bus station location is perfect.”
Since leasing the space and getting approval for package designs, the Flowerses hired three part-time employees to supplement Donna Flowers’ full-time role and James Flowers’ work outside of his career.
“It is a full-time and part-time venture taking both of our work,” James Flowers said. “We were thinking we’d make large batches once or twice a month, but it is every week and sometimes twice a week.”
OMGoodness sells an 8-ounce tub for $5 or a 4-ounce snack with chips for $4 at the Wilson Farmers and Artisan Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays at the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park. Customers also can order the pimento cheese through social media — @OMGoodnessPimentoCheeseLLC on Facebook and Instagram or @OMGoodnessPC on Twitter — or emailing email@example.com or by calling 252-289-9809.
Tig’s Courtyard in downtown also has added the pimento cheese to its menu.
“What really counts is the flavor and that is where it really stands apart,” James Flowers said. “It is very smooth, easy to spread and awesome on top of pizza or in chili.”
The Flowerses are testing new flavors as ways to accommodate dietary restrictions and allergies, but the downtown facility will help even though the bus station place will not include a retail shop. A portion of all sales goes toward mission work.
The Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments, Rocky Mount Mills and NC Score are collaborating for an Oct. 18 workshop to help small businesses grow by utilizing free Google online tools.
“Small businesses are the engine of local economies and when they flourish, their communities do as well,” according to a press release. “The program is designed to help businesses get on Google Search and Maps for free. Businesses that have an online presence tend to grow 40 percent faster than those that don’t.”
The workshop is $15 to attend with online registration open until noon on Oct. 17. The event will kick off at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 18 at the Rocky Mount Mills with a mixer and networking social at 5 p.m. Visit tinyurl.com/ybdagbeg to register.
“This workshop is a good example of regional partnership coming together to coordinate an event that can bring prosperity to small businesses in all of our member counties,” said Robert Hiett, executive director of the Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments.
After much anticipation, a popular downtown eatery has added Saturday hours to feed the masses beyond the workweek.
Bill’s Grill on Nash Street had its first Saturday hours this past week and customers were eager to show their support, especially for the new endless pancake Saturday special.
The diner at 119 Nash St. W. will be open from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays in addition to the same hours Mondays through Fridays. The Black Creek location at 5615 U.S. 117 Alternate also is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information, visit www.billsgrillonnash.com/.
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