Featured photo: Aerial view of downtown Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem is ever in a state of flux, especially now.

In January, CVS left its downtown location at 201 W. Fourth Street, a space which has yet to be filled. February opened the doors of the Kaleideum, a new children’s museum that came with a $48 million price tag, paid for by Forsyth County, the state and gifts from donors. Harvest Market, a co-op created to address food shortages downtown, closed in February. Slappy’s Chicken is back.

Now, a power player who influenced the area’s economic landscape for more than two decades is retiring from one of his roles to focus on another.

Since 2000, Mayor Allen Joines has led the Winston-Salem Alliance, a pro-business league aiming to facilitate development in the area. Some of their projects have included lobbying the state’s Dept. of Transportation to include the city on a line for passenger rail. They raised $45 million for the Millennium Fund and invested more than $50 million in targeted projects and programs. 

In this role, Joines raked in more than $200,000 annually, according to 2022 tax records.

On Monday, Greater Winston-Salem Inc., another economic development organization, which is headed by Mark Owens, announced that the group would merge with the Alliance and take on their projects and responsibilities. Owens makes nearly $300,000 as president and CEO of the organization. The city contributed $150,000 to GWSI in last year’s budget.

Mayor Allen Joines

The move will allow Joines to “devote full time to his work as mayor,” a role he’s held since 2001, according to a press release issued by GWSI on Monday. Joines secured the Democratic nomination in March’s primary election and faces no opposition in the general election in November. The city’s budget allotted $34,120 for Joines’ salary this year. However, according to the city’s Budget Director Scott Tesh, Joines gives his salary back to the community agencies throughout the city instead of taking it.

Monday’s press release noted that Joines is “incredibly proud” of the Alliance’s accomplishments. 

“I am grateful to all our partners and stakeholders, past and present, that have worked tirelessly to energize the economy and create upward mobility for our residents,” Joines stated.

Joines added that he’s “fully confident” that these efforts will continue to grow under the stewardship of Greater Winston-Salem, Inc.

GWSI Board Chair Cathy J. Pace stated that the Alliance has “laid the groundwork for future innovation in Winston-Salem” and generated “enormous economic potential.”

“Because of those efforts, Greater Winston-Salem, Inc. can now take the reigns [sic] and realize this potential,” Pace added.

Joines is a board member of GWSI and will retain his seat, according to reporting by the Winston-Salem Journal. GWSI board members include leaders with Duke Energy, Truist, Reynolds American, Quality Oil Company, Novant Health, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton, Wake Forest University, Hanesbrands and more.

The board of the Alliance includes Board Chair Don Flow, CEO of Flow Companies. He donated $5,000 to Joines’ campaign, to which many Alliance board members contributed as well. GWSI’s Director of Marketing and Communications Ethanie Good told TCB that there is about a 70 percent overlap of represented companies on the two boards, and that there will be no changes to GWSI’s board as a result of the merger.

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