Representatives from Stone Brewing spent the day and night in Greensboro yesterday, and Mayor Nancy Vaughan said the visit went “very well.”
Part of the tour of the city included a reception last night at the Greenway at Fisher Park apartments on Smith Street, overlooking the Grasshoppers stadium on downtown’s growing north side. Governor Pat McCrory made an appearance yesterday in support of winning over the 10th largest craft brewer in the country as well, Vaughan said.
“The state has really been a partner in this,” she said. “We put together a very strong proposal. We are very seriously looking at a very competitive package to offer them. From a utility perspective we have everything they need, too. I think it shows that we’re really committed to doing this.”
Stone Brewing has narrowed the number of potential locations for an east coast distribution hub to less than a dozen cities, Vaughan said, adding that the company hopes to make a decision in July.
“They have a very aggressive schedule and I believe we can meet their schedule,” she said. “I can’t think of any place on the east coast that is better qualified for distribution and logistics than we are.”
Cyndi Dancy and Dan Lynch of the Greensboro Partnership, Vaughan and Susan Fleetwood, the state Commerce Department business and industry development director, flew to San Diego to meet with Stone Brewing last month, Vaughan said.
People from Red Oak Brewery and Natty Greene’s attended the reception and have been very supportive of the city’s efforts to attract the California-based company.
“It’s nice to see an industry that sees collaboration instead of competition and we are really grateful for the input that they’ve given us,” Vaughan said.
Vaughan said Cecelia Thompson, the director of Action Greensboro, “has been working very hard on this project” including organizing the reception.
Thompson, Vaughan and others in the city rallied community support earlier in the process via a Facebook page and other public outreach.
Thompson said she is hopeful about Greensboro’s chances and also characterized Stone Brewing’s visit as a success.
“I think they really fit into the culture here and they could only help make an even more robust beer culture,” Thompson said. “It’s also been really exciting how much the community has rallied around the proposal.”
Thompson said she was glad to be a part of pulling together about 50 people for the reception overlooking Thirsty Thursday at the Grasshoppers’ stadium, adding that Vaughan looked great in a Stone Brewing T-shirt. Mostly though, Thompson applauded the team effort and the hard work put in by Dancy and Lynch at the Greensboro Partnership.
“This speaks to, really, the collaborative nature of economic development projects for Greensboro,” she said, adding that she hopes success with landing the National Folk Festival will help set the bar. “Coming off of that win, it really felt good to pull in another team to show our community’s vitality.”