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Tuesday January 31st

All up in your business for Sept. 10, 2015

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New app has students 'Toast Together'

UNC alumnus Ryan Watts remembers when he and his UNC friends didn't know where to go out one night after classes.

"We’d go to one or two places. We didn’t know about any of the bar specials, who did karaoke," Watts said. "That's when Chapel Hill Bar Specials was created."

Chapel Hill bar specials was founded in 2009 and had almost 10,000 followers on Twitter and Facebook, but Watts never marketed it.

After working for IBM for three years, he got together with two UNC alumni and NFL players, Garred Reynolds and Connor Barth, to create their app called Toast Together.

"Users can easily and quickly find out who is going out and who is staying in," Watts said. "What place has a good beer special or who has live music."

The app launched in Wilmington in July, Raleigh in August and will soon be in Chapel Hill, Durham and Charlotte later this month.

"It's quite the UNC group that has gotten around this and has helped grow it in N.C., and it will soon extend out of N.C.," Watts said.

Construction to begin at Smoothie King on Franklin

The location where Campus Calzones used to be located will soon be transformed into the health-conscious chain Smoothie King.

Franchise partner Lane Trogden said he's looking forward to getting into the Chapel Hill area.

"I'm excited to get on Franklin Street — the way the health trend is, everyone is looking for healthy options and I think it’s going to be a great fit," Trogden said.

Trogden owns a Smoothie King in Wilmington, and is in the process of opening another in Norfolk, VA and the North Hills mall in Raleigh. He said he signed a 55 store contract, which means he will open 55 stores by the end of 2020.

"We're going to Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Durham, Cary, Virginia beach, Williamsburg, southern Washington D.C., Myrtle Beach, Fayetteville," Trogden said. "It's a pretty big process."

Trogden said he wanted the Chapel Hill location to open by the end of September, but that construction is running behind and will be starting on Tuesday. His set date to open is now October 12.

He said he's planning on having a VIP party the night before the grand opening where people around campus get a free smoothie.

App allows quicker and cheaper trading

Chapel Hill resident John Zou is one of the founders of Airahm Inc., a startup that is working to release a new app called Moomu.

Moomu is a real-time, distance-based local market which will allow users to trade anything from real estate to textbooks to household services such as cooking. 

"Uber set out this platform based on difference in geographic location. We actually use a similar technology in the sense that we allow the buyer to find sellers in a specified radius," Zou said.

The startup raised enough money through angel investors and had phase one testing in August. Zou said he thinks the app will be released sometime this month.

"I think there’s a demand for a trading platform like this," Zou said. "I have spoken to many people doing this in different locations and most of them feel they would use this app if it's available."

The app also incorporates video-enabled ad postings and ad watches, which notify buyers of specific ads they have been searching for.

"I do not see any other apps in the market which complete what we do," Zou said.

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