These business owners and businesses are well known: Elliott's on Linden, Sly Fox, The Roast Office, Kirk Tours & Limousine, Curt's Cucina. These three individuals share the unbelievable financial pressures and the pain of letting staff go in this time of shutdown in Moore County due to COVID19, and what the recovery after the fact may look like.

This letter from Mark Elliott to Tim Moore eloquently expresses their position:

Dear Tim Moore:

I live in the small North Carolina town, Pinehurst. It’s predominantly built on tourism, and where I have built up 3 restaurants from scratch, employed over 100 people, and actively brought economic growth to my community for 20 years. Governor Roy Cooper’s pandemic closure mandate has crumbled the foundation of my businesses, and threatens to force me into bankruptcy along with hundreds of small businesses in Moore County alone. My name is Mark Elliott, I love this town and I need your help.

My ordinary life with family and friends has turned upside down. Perhaps you’ve not witnessed the invisible disaster upon us, as there is no viewable physical damage. I’ve furloughed 80% of my employees. I’ve lost $190,000 in revenue in 14 days. The take-out model fails to cover my fixed costs, forcing me to charge payroll to credit cards. At the current rate, I’ll be forced to cease operations completely within the month or file bankruptcy. Maybe if my building burned to the ground, or a tornado ripped through our downtown businesses, state leaders would better understand the scale of our devastation. The hospitality business as you know it has been targeted single-handedly, and will not survive this pandemic.

The truth is, our situation worsens with every passing day. Estimates show 3 million restaurant workers were immediately laid off, and another 5 to 7 million people face job instability – a staggering number. North Carolina’s hospitality industry generates $23.5 billion in sales to support the state’s economy and employs 13% of the state’s workforce.

My dire situation is amplified a thousand times across the restaurants, hotels, breweries, and other service businesses who provide those billions. We see progress with the CARES act, but its measures will not sustain my town for another month, let alone the entire nation. Because individual states are handling the nuances of closures, we are looking to you for action. Call back the house to pass realistic measures for our state’s economy and protect your workers.

Consider deferring sales tax payments. Forgive payroll matching, grant filing date extensions, or at the very least promise zero penalty and interest for payroll tax payments. We have obligations to the state and federal government and basically zero income.

Hold insurance companies accountable. After 20 years of paying into business interruption coverage, I’m denied when I need the funds most. Work with the financial services industry to encourage them to defer business related loan payments for at least 30 days, if not more, without penalty. This deferral should include landlords as well as tenants, who are both under strain from this order. Provide financial assistance directly to actual operators (i.e. business or franchise owners) to cover ongoing fixed costs.

The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (NCRLA), Independent Restaurant Coalition (IRC), and National Restaurant Association (NRA) are aligned with our mandates. Unlike other small businesses, the hospitality industry is completely dependent on current business to stay afloat. We are the backbone of the tourism industry and the spirit of our communities. When we’re gone, what will be left?

I have often wondered if I would hesitate, should I be standing on a bridge and saw someone drowning. Where is my industry’s lifeline? Can you honestly tell me you’ve done everything? I urge you to take action now for restaurants, cafes, hotels, wineries, farmers, grocers, caterers, and other food vendors. Every day, my ability to rehire furloughed staff withers. Every day, my small business inches toward closing forever.

Mark Elliott

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Our Retailers’ Plight in the era of Coronavirus

Betsy Saye of Eloise Trading Company, Leslie Habets of Jack Hadden Floral & Event Design and Lily Rose, Amanda Jakl of the Purple Thistle and Haley Sumner of Pink in the Pines represent a good cross section of retailers in the So. Pines, Aberdeen and Pinehurst areas.

They speak about the unspeakable damage this virus has done to their businesses during what would normally be the strong spring selling season.

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Southern Pines native, Annelle Staal is releasing her new single, Record on Replay this weekend.  Her new EP, Heart on my Sleeve, is due to be released this April.

Annelle is joined by her 18 year old sister, Adria, who accompanies Annelle on “The Girl I would Be” from her new EP.

Annelle Staal

Artist Biography

Singer-Songwriter Annelle Staal was discovered in Southern Pines, NC, where her dad was stationed in the military. After being a finalist in the GMA’s 2015 Immerse Songwriting competition and winning the 2016 Dogwood Festival Solo-artist competition, Annelle signed with Redline Entertainment in Nashville. She released her debut Pop EP, “Mars,” in 2017. The songwriter has composed, musically and lyrically, over 200 original songs, performed over 300 live shows and raised over $4,000 through benefit concerts.

Currently working as an independent artist, Annelle has partnered with Grammy-awarding winning producer Andrew Bergthold to release an acoustic musical project in March of 2020. Lyrically intimate and story-driven, the EP takes the listener on an emotional journey through the process of self-acceptance and love.

Annelle has a passion for the youth in her communities, and has led multiple workshops addressing music business and composition for elementary and middle school kids. With a passion for mental wellness and counseling programs, Annelle has partnered with Blue Ridge Hope and holds monthly concerts to raise money and awareness about mental illness.

The songwriter is currently touring North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Michigan and Tennessee.

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West Pine Middle School’s upcoming production of Frozen Jr.


The Kirby Real Estate Group and Premier Real Estate Company spend a lot to time building and selling homes.  Carrie’s story has changed a bit now that the home she and her husband are selling is their own.


The Boy’s & Girl’s Club of the Sandhills recently honored Brianna Brewington as their Youth of the Year. CEO Fallon Brewington returns to give us a recap of the event held last week.



Torin Wright is the producer and director of the West Pine Middle School’s upcoming production of Frozen Jr to be held at the Owens Auditorium on March 6th – 7th.His longevity in his role as mentor, coach, and counselor has left lasting impressions on 100’s of students during his tenure in Moore County Schools.


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MATILDA, the Musical

R.E. Lee Auditorium 

Friday, March 20th at 7:00 pm
Saturday, March 21st at 7:00 pm
Sunday, March 22nd at 2:00 pm. 


Adam Faw – Theater Teacher at Pinecrest and Director of the show
Kirsten Foyles – Vocal Director
Lindsay Douglas – Stage Manager (student)
Grace Robinson – Matilda (student)
Malachi McCaskill – Ms. Trunchbull (student)
Haley McLaurin – Properties Designer, Artistic Director, and plays “Bruce” (student)
Adam Caliri – Tech Director and Scenic Designer (student)
Austin Aponte – Orchestra Pit Player (student)
Jade Baker - "Lavender" and Costume Design Assistant (student)


The musical follows the general storyline of the Matilda movie with Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman that most people have seen.

The musical is based on a book by Roald Dahl.  It is set in England and focuses on the character, Matilda, a brilliant and spunky child who is born into a family that is a bit less brilliant.  Her Dad is a used car salesman who has a “flexible” take on honesty.  Her mom is an amateur ballroom dancer more into looks than intelligence.

Matilda is sent to a school run by Ms. Trunchbull – a terrifying former hammer throwing champion.  She also meets a wonderful teacher who understands her, Miss Honey.

The message of the story is that everyone has the power to change their own story, and that being “little” is no excuse for not standing up for yourself.  One of the best lyrics is “Even if you’re little you can do a lot, you mustn’t let a little thing like little stop you.”

The musical is both hilarious and touching as it follows Matilda and her friends as they stand up for themselves against some wayward adults in their lives.

Go Fund Me Site

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