Salisbury festival celebrates all things Cheerwine 

May 25, 2023 Emmie Brooks ArticleBusiness

Divided by Four bring the beach to Salisbury with their classic jazz and Carolina beach music performance. (Emmie Brooks/North State Journal)

SALISBURY — Cheerwine barbeque, Cheerwine infused beers, Cheerwine cannolis, and so much more, were just the tip of the iceberg for Salisbury’s annual Cheerwine Festival. This year’s festival was May 20th from noon to 10PM, featuring shops, snacks, and shows galore to celebrate the over 100 year old family business. 

“There is always such a buzz and excitement. People come to the festival from literally all over the country,” Vivian Koontz, City of Salisbury Events Coordinator said. “Cheerwine has such a strong following that people are really excited to be here.” 

Cheerwine began in 1917 by L.D. Peeler in Salisbury in the midst of a sugar shortage. Due to the shortage, Peeler discovered a wild cherry flavoring that paired well with the other flavors in motion. Cheerwine is the oldest continuing soft drink and has been run by the same family since the start. 

“You could say Cheerwine runs through my blood,” Joy Harper, Vice President of Marketing for Cheerwine said. Harper’s great-great-grandfather, is L.D. Peeler. “I always had an interest in the family business growing up. I held summer jobs, then I went to school to focus on business and there was an opportunity to come back to work for the family business.” 

Right, North Carolina Ribs on Wheels participating in the celebration of the Cheerwine Festival by serving their southern cuisine. (Emmie Brooks/North State Journal)

The mix of the soft drink was and is today a burgundy color, bringing the “wine” reference into play. The “cheer” was added because of how the drink made people feel: cheery. 

“Cheerwine has been based here in our hometown for over 100 years, still family owned and operated, and employing over 800 people in the area” Harper said. “Our fans through generations have made it a part of their celebrations, traditions, and it’s become engraved as a part of southern culture.” 

The first Cheerwine Festival was hosted by Cheerwine in 2017 to celebrate the compay’s 100th birthday. Following that festival, the city of Salisbury decided to partner with Cheerwine to make the festival an annual event. The Cheerwine Festival itself offers activities for both children and adults to indulge in. 

“We have always had the rock wall at the festival, it’s kind of the staple piece, right in the middle, it showcases the festival,” Koontz said. “F&M Bank provides our activities, they are the sponsor of the Kids Zone and they have a lot of activities for the kids.” 

Along with the rock tower available for children to climb, F&M bank also provides balloons, sandboxes, games, and much more. Many adult activities are also found around the streetways. 

“We try to have really great food, we’re selective about our music to make sure we have a good variety that reaches all genres,” Koontz said. “The Cheerwine beer is always a driving force, and all of those Cheerwine-inspired things you can only get at the festival.” 

The four featured artists/bands ranged from everyone’s favorite country music,

Hundreds gathered in front of the Rowan County Courthouse in Salisbury to listen to the guest artists performing at the Cheerwine Festival. (Emmie Brooks/North State Journal)

performed by Ryan Perry, to New Local, a Charlotte local band, playing admired pop music. Divided by Four brought a saltwater breeze to Salisbury with their classic jazz and beach music. To end the night, the multiplatinum alternative quartet Neon Trees performed award winning songs to hundreds of screaming fans. 

“If you are new to the Carolinas, it [Cheerwine] is a great welcoming to the Carolinas,” Harper said. “It is unlike any other soft drink, and you are supporting a local business.”

Downtown Salisbury Inc. announces recipients for Supporting Existing Business Grant

Funds made possible through the Duke Energy Foundation

(Tuesday, May 9, 2023) DOWNTOWN SALISBURY, INC. (DSI) announces 27 awards totaling more than $156,000 in economic impact to downtown businesses within the designated Downtown Salisbury Municipal Service District (MSD). These grants are part of the Supporting Existing Businesses Grant Program, made possible by the Duke Energy Foundation, which focuses on strengthening and uplifting communities with vibrant economies, climate resiliency, and justice, equity, and inclusion.

“We are honored and grateful to be one of 20 organizations named as a recipient of the Duke Energy Grant in this most recent round of gifting,” said Sada Troutman, Downtown Salisbury, Inc. director.  “Allowing DSI to make awards to the business and property owners who make Downtown Salisbury a great place to live, work and play has been a powerful reminder of the good work our stakeholders continuously do for our community.”

All business owners located within the MSD, with a storefront presence, and fewer than 50 employees, were invited to apply for grants between $500 and $2,500. The funds can be used for enhanced service or commerce opportunities, furniture for expanded outdoor capacity, storefront beautification, or tools or programs to support workforce needs.

Recipients of the Supporting Existing Businesses Grant Program:

Enhanced service or commerce opportunities

  • Glass Ingenuity
  • Graceful Beauty Lounge
  • Hive                            
  • Piedmont Players
  • South Main Book Company
  • Spotlight Dance Company
  • The Fun Factory
  • Tonyan Grace Boutique
  • U Barkin At Me                                     

Furniture for Expanded Outdoor Capacity

  • Go Burrito
  • Healthcare Management Consultants, Inc
  • The Fish Bowl

Storefront Beautification

  • AnnaCraig Boutique
  • Bangkok Downtown
  • Go Ventures, Inc.
  • Greystone Spa on Main
  • Jayne Helms Group – Re/Max-
  • Kitchen Store
  • Local Focal
  • Off Main Gallery
  • Oxford+Lee
  • Plant World
  • Ruthie Darling
  • SoulFull Nutrition
  • The Lettered Lily

Tools or programs to support workforce needs

  • The Pedal Factory
  • TCW Vizionz LLC

Said Troutman, “It goes without saying, the past few years have been incredibly trying for small businesses across the country, and Downtown Salisbury is no exception. The $25,000 allowed DSI to create a grant program that provided small businesses funding to bring visions and business expansions to life. This will continue to make Downtown Salisbury a vibrant community asset and destination for tourists and residents alike.”

Downtown Salisbury serves as a central hub for existing and growing small businesses and creates a critical mass of activities where commercial, cultural, and civic activities are concentrated. As these small businesses use their grant projects to continue the progress and development of Downtown Salisbury, visit their shops, see their growth, explore Downtown Salisbury, and always, Shop Local. For more information about each project, visit

As a Main Street America™ accredited program, Downtown Salisbury is a recognized leading program among the national network of more than 1,200 neighborhoods and communities that share both a commitment to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. All Main Street America™ accredited programs meet a set of National Accreditation Standards of Performance as outlined by Main Street America. Please visit us on the web at  

A growing concern: Roots comes to town

By Elisabeth Strillacci

Marleigh Adams, owner of the new Roots plant shop on South Main Street, wanted to create a shop for rare and hard to find plants that also offers a place to sit and enjoy a peaceful moment. Photo by Elisabeth Strillacci
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SALISBURY — Growing up with parents who were both avid gardeners meant Marleigh Adams was already predisposed to love plants, but she didn’t start out thinking she would someday have a plant shop.

Now, she can’t imagine anything else.

Her new store, Roots, opened officially last weekend to a packed house, she said, and the community support has been “beyond amazing.”

The shop, though owned and operated by Marleigh, has become a family affair, with mom, Carrie Adams, and brother Travis helping out. Travis built most of the shelving and created the concrete counter tops in the store that needed almost a year’s worth of renovations.

“We spent a lot of time walking the downtown area and looking for the right spot,” said Marleigh. “This place needed the most work of any of the available spaces, but it was the right space, so we went for it.” The vibe she has created is soothing, earthy, peaceful, and the spotlight is definitely on the plants. From spotted begonias to air plants that need no soil to the carnivorous pitcher plant, Marleigh has what a house needs to add life. And she is prepared to make sure buyers understand how to care for their new purchases, though she has no real plans to offer classes.

“That wasn’t something I set out to do at the beginning, and there are other shops here that do, and I don’t want to conflict with them; I want to keep our relationships happy, and they have both been so supportive,” she said. In fact, shop owners throughout downtown have been supportive across the board, along with the city.

“I can reach out to the city at any time and they are very responsive, have offered a lot of tips and ideas and have been so good about making sure I am aware of any events going on,” she said. The most challenging thing about opening was getting the license to serve alcohol, because the shop offers wine slushies. It required an inspection of the premises, which had to wait until the renovations were complete, but it all came together in the end.

In the front of the store there is a circle of chairs with a center coffee table, surrounded by plants, that Marleigh hopes will become a gathering spot for people, where they can use the WiFi, chat with friends and even enjoy an icy glass of wine if they like. And if the attendance so far is any indication, the store is already making a name for itself.

This past Saturday, Ken Davis from Lexington, a well known singer and musician, entertained the shoppers who were so plentiful at one point that the line snaked through the whole store and back again.

One thing Marleigh does want to do down the road, according to her mother, is create a mobile greenhouse truck that she can take to events to sell plants.

“Initially she talked about just doing a plant truck, a mobile business,” said Carrie. “But eventually it became clear that she should go ahead and establish an actual shop. But I know she still wants to go mobile.”

The plants Marleigh offers come from all over the country, from Colorado, Florida and other states, but also from Statesville and Charlotte. She plans to source as much locally as possible.

“I’ve tried to source for both beginners and collectors,” she said. “And I hope that people will buy here instead of buying online, support a local business, because we do have plants that you really can’t get elsewhere except by going online. You won’t find them in box stores. I am trying to market to everyone, not a particular age group, and not just women, but to everyone.”

Plants, she said, “can completely change a space, can make a space welcoming and warm and peaceful, and that’s what I hope people feel when they come in.”

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Downtown Salisbury, Inc.


Salisbury, NC (May 4, 2023) – Downtown Salisbury, Inc. has been designated as an Accredited Main Street America™ program for meeting rigorous performance standards. Each year, Main Street America and its partners announce the list of Accredited programs to recognize their exceptional commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach™.

Downtown Salisbury, Inc.’s performance is annually evaluated by [Your Main Street Coordinating Program Name, City of Salisbury][ST1] , which works in partnership with Main Street America to identify the local programs that meet rigorous national performance standards. To qualify for Accreditation status, communities must meet a set of rigorous standards that include commitments to building grassroots revitalization programs, fostering strong public-private partnerships, nurturing economic opportunity for small businesses and entrepreneurs, and actively preserving historic places, spaces, and cultural assets.

Downtown Salisbury experienced over $30 million in combined private and public investment, with 42 projects being completed in the district. As Downtown Salisbury grew by 13 businesses and 4 expanded businesses, it welcomed 50 added full-time jobs and 24 added part-time jobs, all of which contribute to a slight increase in rental rates, a sign of a healthy market in the community.

“Downtown Salisbury is thrilled to once again be accredited as a Main Street program, working to invigorate our Main Street community using economic vitality, design, and promotion as the backbone to successful economic development, said Sada Troutman, Downtown Development/DSI Director. Over the past year, Downtown Salisbury saw amazing commitment from property owners, business owners, residents, and visitors alike to make Salisbury a better place to live, work and play. This is highlighted by the safe and successful implementation of the Downtown Salisbury Social District, as well as record attendance at many downtown events.”

“We are very proud to acknowledge this year’s 862 Accredited Main Street America programs, and their steadfast dedication to nurture economically and culturally vibrant downtown districts,” said Hannah White, Interim President & CEO of Main Street America. “The increase in the size and impact of our network speaks volumes to the power of the Main Street movement to respond to the needs of local communities and drive innovative solutions.”

In 2022, Main Street America programs generated $6.2 billion in local reinvestment, helped open 7,657 net new businesses, facilitated the creation of 29,174 net new jobs, catalyzed the rehabilitation of 10,688 historic buildings, and leveraged 1,528,535 volunteer hours. On average, for every dollar that a Main Street program spent to support its operations, it generated $24.07 of new investment back into their downtown communities.

Collectively, 2 million people live or work within the boundaries of designated Main Street America districts. An estimated workforce of 1.1 million people contributes their skills and expertise to advancing the missions of these historic downtowns and commercial corridors.


ABOUT Downtown Salisbury, Inc.

As a Main Street America™ accredited program, Downtown Salisbury is a recognized leading program among the national network of more than 1,200 neighborhoods and communities that share both a commitment to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. All Main Street America™ accredited programs meet a set of National Accreditation Standards of Performance as outlined by Main Street America. Please visit us on the web at  


Main Street America leads a movement committed to strengthening communities through preservation-based economic development in older and historic downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts. For more than 40 years, Main Street America has provided a practical, adaptable, and impactful framework for community-driven, comprehensive revitalization through the Main Street Approach™. Our network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Since 1980, communities participating in the program have generated more than $101.58 billion in new public and private investment, generated 168,693 net new businesses and 746,897 net new jobs, rehabilitated more than 325,119 buildings, and levered over 33.7 million volunteer hours. Main Street America is a nonprofit subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. For more information, visit

BellBlock1898 Apartments

Live in the heart of Downtown Salisbury in the premier historic, luxury BellBlock 1898 building. The apartments include assigned parking in a private gated parking lot with EV chargers, an elevator, quartz countertops, and original wood flooring and ceilings. Two apartments have extra large private balconies. All apartments (890-1195 sf) have 13- and 14-foot ceilings and are upgraded with all electric energy-efficient appliances and HVAC. All units have in-unit washers and dryers. Extra in-unit storage spaces and plenty of closet space. All units have large windows that you must see to believe. Conveniently located just off Fisher Street and most of the best restaurants in town as well as two blocks from the local brewery. And Salisbury’s brand-new Bell Tower Green Park is one block away.

Contact us at or 704-232-3497 for information or a tour.

116 E Council St Unit B

This beautifully renovated apartment in Historic Downtown Salisbury is conveniently located & one of the largest apartments available in the area. The property offers handsome hardwood floors. The downstairs area includes a large bedroom with a spacious closet, a full bath,& flexible space with w/built-in storage. The upstairs area has a modern kitchen, equipped w/self-cleaning oven, glass-top stove, refrigerator/freezer, microwave, dishwasher, large deep sink, bar seating area, dining area, living area, clothes washer & dryer, second full bath, & bedroom w/spacious closet; Open living concept w/skylights & large windows. One parking space. Public parking areas are located within the block. Included is basement storage space for bicycles & general storage needs (equipped with shelves). Conditioned storage space is available for an additional fee. No pets or smoking permitted. 

Call Jayne Helms at 704-870-8827 for more details or to see one of these properties.

201 E Innes Street Unit #203

City view one bedroom in up-and-coming Downtown Salisbury! This building has assigned parking behind the building & elevator or stair entry. Super cool loft look with granite counters, stainless steel appliances & washer/dryer included! Lots of luxury vinyl plank flooring for easy living. Amazing views from the 2nd floor and perfect walkability to all that Downtown Salisbury has to offer – many stores, restaurants, breweries, lounges, etc. Don’t wait – these apartments are going quickly!

Call Jayne Helms at 704-870-8827 for more details or to see one of these properties.

South Main Book Company Participating in 2023 Greater Charlotte Book Crawl – March 7, 2023 – Press Release

Salisbury, NC: The independent bookstores of greater Charlotte are delighted to announce the return of the Greater Charlotte Book Crawl!

Beginning April 1, bookstore lovers can pick up Greater Charlotte Book Crawl (GCBC) passports at any of fifteen participating bookstores. Each visit to one of the bookstores during the month of April earns the crawler a new stamp – no purchase necessary. The ultimate goal is to visit all fifteen stores, from Salisbury to Rock Hill, before the GCBC ends on April 29: National Independent Bookstore Day.

Each “Finisher” will earn a special edition GCBC decal designed by Davidson artist Lily Clark; simply show a completed passport at any participating bookstore to collect a prize. Finishers can also submit a photo of their completed passport to be entered in a drawing for the Grand Prize: a collection of gift cards from each participating bookstore (a $300 value).

Coinciding with the GCBC is a book collection for area nonprofit Promising Pages, whose work aims to end book deserts in Charlotte. Collection bins will be at each of the locations, and GCBC participants are welcome to donate brand new or gently-used books for kids into the bins.

The Greater Charlotte Book Crawl launched in April 2022 as a way to celebrate the importance of bookstores in the literary ecosystem, to celebrate Charlotte’s unique and growing indie book scene, and to offer area readers a fun, adventurous way to connect with fellow book lovers.

“Partnering with other independent bookstores has been one of the highlights of my life as a bookseller so far,” says Alissa Redmond, owner of South Main Book Company in Salisbury. “I am working incredibly hard to have our bookmobile – a Japanese fire truck – operational by April 1 so Hazelnut, South Main’s trusty shop dog, and I can visit many of the other stores in the Crawl and raise awareness around literacy promotion in the Carolinas.”

For the full list of participating bookstores, more information about the Greater Charlotte Book Crawl, or a printable passport, please visit

315 N Main St

Looking to work in Downtown Salisbury and have easy access to great restaurants, shops, and boutiques? Two office spaces are available at 315 N. Main St. Contact Jayne Helms for more information or to view these spaces.

  • Mobile is 704-798-5726
  • Office is 704-870-8827

Suite #2 – Great office space! All are on one level with a private entrance into the reception area, a large desk and waiting area, two private offices, a conference room, a bathroom, and a break room too! There is also an attractive outdoor common area for breaks and meetings. Ample parking in the rear of the building with additional parking in front of the building for your clients. The building is within walking distance of Rowan County Court House and other downtown attractions.

  • $1,200.00 per month

Suite #6 – Freshly painted and new floors in this great office space. All are on one level with a very attractive outdoor common area to take breaks or meetings. Located within walking distance of the Rowan County Court House, this property has ample off-street parking in the rear of the building.

  • $750.00 per month

Outside the box, inside the lines: Coloring book marketing concept captures Rowan County folks

Published 12:01 am Sunday, February 5, 2023

By Chandler Inions

SALISBURY — Successful marketing campaigns can stand out for humor and emotionality, but an underlying uniqueness can go a long way.

Numerous business owners around Salisbury and Rowan County participated in an unconventional marketing strategy with Coloring My Town. The organization creates coloring books featuring caricatures of figures from around the community.

When Fullers Market owner Justin Wells learned about the coloring book concept, he was immediately intrigued. “We get a lot of the same advertising things coming through the door,” Wells said. “Nothing sounds intriguing, but we saw this come through, and it looked so different. We thought, let’s try that one. It’s different from a regular advertisement or an ad on a menu at the restaurant. You may look at those, but do they stick with you?”

Tara Wallace , Coloring My Town Southeast owner and regional sales director, explained that they print more than 11,000 copies of the coloring book and distribute them throughout the school system.

“They are distributed to every student kindergarten through fifth grade in Rowan County,” Wallace said. “We give them teachers’ guides, which have ways to utilize the books in their classroom to teach all about their community. When they are done, we have the children take the books home and enjoy them with their families.

“It’s just a fun way to bring back that community pride and involve everyone in Salisbury and Rowan County, where there are a lot of different communities that we aim to bridge together.”

The books feature pages with city officials, business leaders, and academic figures, along with facts and history.

While Wallace oversees the project from start to finish, she said delivery day takes the cake. WHEN YOU SUPPORT OUR ADVERTISERS, YOU SUPPORT US. THANK YOU! “

The first day I go in to meet with the school or business, they have no idea why I am there,” Wallace said. “Delivery day is a whole other story. That is when I come in, and we see the smiles. Everyone loves seeing themselves in the book. We have built these relationships with them and it is so much fun to see their reaction and thank them in person for being a part of these books.”

Designing each page takes time, and sometimes they have to go back to the drawing board.

“We take a lot of cues from the business,” Wallace said. “We ask them what they would like their business represented in there. Sometimes, if I am there, I take pictures. I see some things. We talk about the business. Sometimes, they say I don’t have a clue, so my art team will come up with ideas. We’ll send a proof to them.”

Wallace explained that there is one overarching goal with each page. “

We make it personal,” Wallace said. “Every single page on there has a personal aspect on there, whether it is about a community event, principal, or whatever it might be.”

Fun Factory owner Marianna Riley Jarrett loved the idea as soon as she heard about it. “With my new business, I wanted to do more marketing and promoting,” Jarrett said. “This fits the perfect demographic for our businesses.”

Part of the organization’s mission is to get the coloring books into the hands of kindergarten through fifth graders in area schools.

“I think it is such an interesting and cool concept,” Jarrett said. “I absolutely loved having the custom design of the facility and the personal touch with me and my kids (Waylon and Wyatt).”

Jarrett also owns Spotlight Dance Academy. She took out pages for both of the businesses.

For the owner of Sweet Meadow Cafe, Heather Hopkins-Teeter, the concept was too tough to pass up.

“My advertising budget is not very big, so I tend to keep it grassroots. But this was such an unusual and unique way to do things,” Hopkins-Teeter said. “Incorporating it into the schools was just phenomenal, so I did find the extra money to put into this because it was such a unique project.”

Hopkins-Teeter’s daughter is in the fourth grade at Overton Elementary. The cafe owner said she was excited to hear about her daughter’s reaction to receiving a coloring book with her mom in it.

Seeing a Coloring Your Town version from his hometown of Statesville appealed to Backcountry & Beyond owner Jeff Moose.

“I saw a lot of local businesses there that I knew and had a lot of experience with,” Moose said.

Translating that to Salisbury seemed like a great plan to the outdoor goods business owner.

“Honestly, we just love being a part of the community,” Moose said.

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