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Old 05-20-2017, 11:40 PM
 
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Hi All,

I will be moving to North Carolina, and some people have suggested that I look into the Winston-Salem area based on what I'm looking for in terms of weather, terrain, and general vibe. I'll be visiting the area in about a month to see it for myself, but I was hoping to get some insight from some locals before then.

I'm moving from the Pittsburgh area. I really like where I live now, but I don't like winter and a lot of my family is or is planning to migrate south. I don't want to live in a flat place. I don't really like the beach, and I can handle a little bit of winter as long as I don't have to deal with too much snow (maybe half a foot to a foot total for the year) or extended period of temperatures below say the high twenties. Winston-Salem seems like it might give me what I want.

To people who are familiar with both Western PA/Pittsburgh and Winston-Salem, do you think someone from the Pittsburgh area would feel comfortable and at home in Winston-Salem, or would there be a pretty significant amount of culture shock?

Another thing is that I plan to start a bakery after I move. I'm planning to be mostly internet based in the beginning while doing festivals, farmer's markets, etc.. Eventually, hopefully in no more that three years, I would like to open a physical location. I specialize in cookies. Lady locks are my specialty, and I would also do all the basic cookies you think of (chocolate chip, sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, etc.). I make a pretty amazing peanut butter cookie, and I would make kolaczki too. There would also be a few non-cookie items like cream puffs, cupcakes, brownies, but mostly cookies. Do you think Winston-Salem is a good place to start a business like this? Are there other towns in the area that might work better?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-21-2017, 05:05 AM
 
Location: Greensboro, NC USA
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Your bakery would probably do very well in Winston-Salem. Just look at Dewey's Bakery......very popular in Winston-Salem. I love their moravian cookies and brownies. As far as the city, Winston-Salem may not be as large as Pittsburgh but I don't think it will be a cultural shock. The same for Greensboro next door. This is the south so you will find that people here are very nice and welcoming. Winston-Salem also has sort of a hilly terrain so it's not a flat city. There are also a number of music and holiday festivals in Greensboro and Winston-Salem so you could easily set up a booth
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Old 05-21-2017, 07:36 AM
 
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Winston-Salem will probably be a good fit. I agree with the above, probably little to no culture shock.
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Old 05-21-2017, 02:30 PM
 
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Thanks! I will be stopping there for probably half a day with a possible overnight stay on my way to Moss Lake for vacation next month. Any suggestions for places to check out to get a good sense of the place? I'll be with my mother and niece and nephew, so they would need to be kid appropriate places.
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Old 05-21-2017, 03:16 PM
 
Location: NC High Country
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThisIsATrueStory View Post
Thanks! I will be stopping there for probably half a day with a possible overnight stay on my way to Moss Lake for vacation next month. Any suggestions for places to check out to get a good sense of the place? I'll be with my mother and niece and nephew, so they would need to be kid appropriate places.
Kaleideum Downtown - Formerly Children's Museum of Winston-Salem is a good starting point.
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Old 05-22-2017, 04:47 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThisIsATrueStory View Post
I will be stopping there for probably half a day with a possible overnight
Any suggestions...
Block more time than half of a day.

Visit the competition.
See what is being sold, what isn't ...and at what prices.
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Old 05-22-2017, 08:21 AM
 
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You'll want to visit Old Salem and spend some time downtown, especially along 4th St and Trade St. Also check out some of the neighborhoods like West End, Ardmore, Buena Vista, and Sherwood Forest. What are you interested in? The arts? The outdoors? Some preferences may help us give you more recommendations.

And yes, on the whole, I see a lot of parallels between Winston and some areas of Western PA. It's not mountainous, but it is certainly hilly. There's more German/Austrian heritage and culture in Winston than a lot of places in the South (Moravian, specifically, and I go into more detail below), which is a parallel to parts of Pennsylvania. And like parts of PA, this part of NC is looking for ways to adapt to a changing economy. The main industries here decades ago were things like tobacco, textiles, furniture, etc, and a lot of that has gone away. Finance, healthcare (two massive local hospitals that serve patients throughout the region), and several corporate HQs (Reynolds American, BB&T, Krispy Kreme, HanesBrands) have helped with the transition, and there are some neat things happening in terms of downtown revitalization and innovative industries.

As for bakery competition, here's a quick rundown:

Dewey's Bakery/Salem Baking: (2 year-round locations in quasi-suburban parts of the city, plus pop-ups all over at Christmas time) They're known for cakes (especially cake squares as a grab-and-go), Moravian Sugar Cakes, and Moravian Cookies (those super thin little ginger cookies). Winston-Salem is one of the two major hubs of Moravian culture in the US, along with Bethlehem, PA, and that bleeds into the baking scene, too. (Dewey's is the local retail brand and Salem Baking focuses on national distribution.)

Camino Bakery: They have 2 locations (downtown and just south of downtown near Old Salem), plus an outpost in one of the local hospitals. They do pastries, cakes, breads, etc. They have cookies, but I wouldn't say it's their focus.

Atelier Bakery: (downtown) A French bakery through-and-through, focusing on croissants and pastries.

Tart Sweets: (downtown toward the West End) They do cookies, and are known for french macarons and (weirdly) raw cookie dough. They also do cakes, etc.

Winkler Bakery: (In Old Salem) They do breads and Moravian staples, but it's mostly for visitors to Old Salem. The employees are in period costumes and do demonstrations, etc.

I'm sure there are more, but those are most of the main ones that come to mind. There are some bakeries on the south and southwest side that cater to the hispanic market, and of course the chain places (Panera, etc) and grocery store bakeries (some of which are pretty good), but I can't think of many other local bakeries.
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Old 05-22-2017, 09:01 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
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I think Winston-Salem is a nice, small city. I am a PA native, and when I visited, Winston-Salem reminded me of central/western PA - the topography and the older buildings. Having said that, it's a smaller city than Pittsburgh. You won't have culture shock, per se. It's not like people are sporting two heads and three eyes, but adjust your expectations to smaller city amenities. There are no major league sports teams there, for example. W-S is also much less dense than Pittsburgh and becomes suburban/rural pretty quickly outside the downtown area, while Pittsburgh is still pretty urban even once you move outside downtown into areas like Oakland, Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, etc. One cultural difference is that Pittsburgh is much more Catholic than W-S, which is more Protestant, particularly Baptist. Overall, though, I think it sounds like a good choice for what you are looking for. And you will most certainly appreciate the milder weather!

Oh, and people will not know what a kolaczki is. And bring your own perogies!
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Old 05-22-2017, 08:00 PM
 
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I like the outdoors and parks. My exercise is walking, and I like to do it outside instead of on a treadmill. I'm a homebody, so not too concerned about nightlife options, but I am interested in restaurant option. Are there a lot of chains or mostly local places, and is there anywhere to get good fried chicken wings? I could eat crispy fried chicken wings every day.

I don't mind sports, but I'm not into them so that's a non-issue for me. I don't actually live in Pittsburgh. I'm a little south of it in a fairly small town. I used to live kind of on the outskirts but never actually in Pittsburgh so W-S being smaller shouldn't be a problem.

They are people around here who don't know what kolaczki are. My boss calls them grandma cookies. My speciality is really lady locks. Are those very popular in the area?
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Old 05-22-2017, 09:15 PM
 
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Lady locks are a Pittsburgh thing, I think. I don't know if most people outside of Western PA know what they are.

There are lots of local restaurants. You'll find chains near the mall and along the strip mall stretches, as is the case in most towns. Downtown and in the neighborhoods are where you'll find the local spots, broadly speaking. Wings aren't hard to come by.

As for walking/hiking, options include Salem Lake, Tanglewood, and the greenways. Pilot Mountain and Hanging Rock are good nearby options for hiking.
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