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Awards, animals and breweries: All Up in Your Business for June 1

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Dave Larsen sits at the bar for his new business venture. Photo courtesy of Vecino Brewing Co.

Vecino Brewing Co.

Vecino Brewing Co. opened in early May in Carrboro. The venture is a rebranding of YesterYears Brewery by YesterYears co-founder, Dave Larsen.

Larsen said that the concept behind Vecino Brewing is in the meaning of its Spanish name - neighbor. In its rebranding, Vecino sought to become more of a community partner. Its slogan is “Brewing Neighbors."

“It’s not only our involvement alone, but to bring the different businesses in Chapel Hill and Carrboro together to just help the community, wherever we need help,” Larsen said.

This upcoming month, Vecino is partnering with Orange County Animal Services in Pints and Paws. The benefit will kick off June 9 with a shelter animal adoption event. Also, 10 percent of the proceeds from Vecino’s Cascadian Black IPA sales will go to Orange County Animal Services.

Larsen said patrons will find a lot of other differences between YesterYears and Vecino.

According to Larsen, the taproom and bar are about triple their previous sizes, and the venue features more live music and events, including an event space that can be rented out. The bar’s taps have also increased from 12 to 20. 

“We’ve also put in a kitchen with not your typical bar food on the menu,” Larsen said. 

The menu, in the absence of the usual fried foods, includes daily made-from-scratch pretzels, a locally-sourced cheese board and loaded grilled cheeses.


Vecino Brewing Co., a new business venture opened up in Chapel Hill this May.


The Franklin Hotel 

The Franklin Hotel, which has been located in Chapel Hill for over 10 years, recently received the 2017 Curio Brand Award with the honor of the Award of Excellence. This places The Franklin in the top three hotels worldwide in the Curio Collection, which is currently made up of 50 independent hotels that operate within the Hilton Hotel Corporation.

According to the hotel’s press release, this award celebrates outstanding accomplishments of Hilton hotels and individuals who have demonstrated the highest level of quality and service.

This is the Franklin’s third year of placing in the top three hotels in the collection. According to Jay Patel, the general manager, the hotel’s unique service and hospitality experience has continually set it apart for this award.

“We’re locally owned and operated by UNC alumni, and we are really integrated in the community,” Patel said.

Patel added that a lack of employee script or strict procedures allows for an individualistic, human experience.

Jennifer Norris, director of sales, said that the hotel’s lack of rigid procedure and hierarchy is atypical in the hotel industry. He attributes the Franklin’s unique success to that flexible structure. 

She also noted the hotel’s high employee retention compared to other hotels.

“That’s pretty unique, and I think it’s a testament that we all enjoy working there so much. Usually there’s a very high turnover rate for the hospitality industry,” Norris said. 

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