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Gourmet ice cream parlor coming to MoRA

A few months ago, Charlotte Agenda covered different trendy desserts available in the Charlotte area. The first was rolled ice cream from Jolly Rolls, a family-owned gourmet ice cream shop in Waxhaw.

First off, what is rolled ice cream? It’s a little tough to explain, but it includes a frozen slab and a scraper. Fresh ingredients are mixed together and topped with some delicious ingredients. This video from Jolly Rolls should help explain it a bit better.

Fresh, gourmet ice cream? I’m in. Luckily there won’t be a need to drive down to Waxhaw for the signature ice cream. Jolly Rolls is opening a second location on Monroe Road in MoRA, right between Deep Sea Seafood Market and the coming soon City Barbeque. Here are a few of the tastiest looking creations we found on their website.

We reached out to the owners, and they said they were expecting to open by February in The Commons. Jolly Rolls has a number of premium ice cream flavors, like:

• The Best Tasting S’More (graham crackers, chocolate fudge, marshmallow cream, and a toasted marshmallow)
• Berry Fusion (fresh strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries)
• Pink Snow (raspberry, white chocolate fudge, and white chocolate shavings)
• Chocolate Thunder (chocolate fudge, chocolate shavings, chocolate chip powder, brownie, and chocolate chips)

We can’t wait until they open! The area doesn’t have an ice cream shop, and to get something as creative and fun as Jolly Rolls is exciting! With all the restaurants popping up at The Commons, it may turn into a great foodie destination.

MoRA needs YOUR help! VOLUNTEER with us on important community projects. Can’t volunteer? DONATE to help make our public art dream a reality. Even a $20 tax-deductible donation will help give the neighborhood a beautiful, defining sculpture that residents can be proud of.

Spotlight on The Southern Gourmet

“We looked everywhere — and found this perfect space.”

The Southern Gourmet’s Crystal and Randy Provance outgrew their NoDa catering business about ten years ago. “We looked everywhere – and found this perfect space,” Crystal says of her catering shop on Monroe Road, in the Greylyn Business Park.  It’s where they also have a lunch café that serves gourmet salads, sandwiches, burgers and paninis in a style described as “Southern meets gourmet.”

They’ve been a thriving catering business, serving 100+ people a day everything from boxed lunches to cookouts to dinner parties – they even grew during the recession.  So when in 2014 they decided to add an event venue to their list of offerings and the space next door became available, things really fell into place.  Southern Garden Events is a banquet space with a garden motif for weddings, cocktail parties, and other gatherings for those who want an outdoor feel without the outdoor weather.

While they cater throughout Charlotte, Crystal says that “the town of Matthews has totally embraced us,” and she even led the Matthews Chamber of Commerce as president in 2013 and served on its board for four years.  She’s a big supporter of small businesses, particularly throughout the MoRA area.

It was a terrible loss when Randy unexpectedly passed away a year ago.  Not only was Crystal shocked and grief-stricken at the loss of her husband, but Randy had been her business partner who handled the financial side of the operation.  Crystal admits that she couldn’t have carried the business forward without her longtime employees – her work family, who also loved Randy – stepping in to take on additional responsibilities as she found her way.

MoRA’s Kathy Hill and Crystal Provance of The Southern Gourmet

The Southern Gourmet sources their menu items locally, and supports sustainability.  See for yourself by stopping in for lunch — and trying their mac and cheese cupcake (?!) or one of their new sandwiches:

  • chicken caprese club
  • texas ruben
  • strawberry turkey brie panini

While you’re there, ask to see their catering menus, or visit their garden-themed banquet venue right next door.

MoRA needs YOUR help! VOLUNTEER with us on important community projects. Can’t volunteer? DONATE to help make our public art dream a reality. Even a $20 tax-deductible donation will help give the neighborhood a beautiful, defining sculpture that residents can be proud of.

Alt.Biz brings coworking space to the MoRA area

“A startup company comes here with a great idea. They are working on some kind of concept for a technology platform or some type of food business, and we can come alongside them and maybe provide counsel, maybe provide some capital, maybe become partners. Jason Tuttle, Nova Capital

Coworking is a new phenomenon. With coworking, people who work from home can go into an office and sit around other people working. Thanks to computers, internet connections, and eventually flexible bosses, more and more people have been living the dream working from home.

I work from home. I can confirm I no longer deal with traffic, I sleep in later, I can catch up on my laundry in the middle of the day, no one steals my lunch, and I wear shorts. Every. Single. Day. Why would I ever pay money to deal with all of those problems again? It is a great setup… for awhile. Until your only personal contact throughout the day is with whoever works the register at your lunch place. There becomes no divide between work and home, finishing up work on Sunday night isn’t out of the ordinary, you are running out of shorts, and you are becoming stir crazy from being at home all day, every day.

Coworking solves this problem. Anywhere from a few hours to five days out of the week, you can make a shorter commute, dress like an adult, get out of your home, and interact with other professionals. Coworking provides a bit of structure and removes the distraction of midday chores. The trendy idea is big in South End and Uptown, but MoRA has just added their first coworking space.

IMG_6293 Nearly two years ago, Nova Capital purchased the Quorum Business Park across from the Walmart Neighborhood Market on Independence Boulevard. One building of the 210,000 square-foot, 19-acre facility with access to the McAlpine greenway is dedicated to coworking. In the last two months, they transformed a former call center into an open, collaborative coworking space now named Alt.Biz. Jason Tuttle of Nova Capital explained why he wanted to add a coworking space: “A lot of it is to generate activity. I was working from home and it was terrible. Then I was working in an office by myself, and it was terrible.” Nova Capital hopes to have startup businesses develop and move into larger spaces, and they are also looking for new companies to invest in. “We aren’t as sexy as the [coworking spaces] Uptown, but I think it is like a one stop and grow,” says property manager Antonia Logan. She sees the upside in growing roots and developing startups with the Quorum Business Park and other business owners.The venture capital firm started six years ago when they purchased most of the adjacent shopping center on Independence Boulevard and Village Lake Drive. They have since added property on Monroe Road in Oakhust, and most recently the Quorom Business Park. He calls southeast Charlotte the “next” location for a development boom, saying, “This is the next logical corridor that still has developable property that has easy access into town. Even with the construction [on Independence Boulevard], you can zip right into town. We are big evangelists for this part of town. You can get to Plaza Midwood in 10 minutes, Foxcroft in 10 minutes, the interstate in 15 minutes.”IMG_6294

 The coworking space has room for just about anything. There are conference rooms, personal offices, large open work spaces, cubicles, and large training rooms. Mr. Tuttle said, “Ideally we’d love to have a bunch of little entrepreneurial startup companies.” Tuttle envisions the space turning into something like a business incubator for startup companies. With the revitalization of the Monroe Road corridor, the Alt.Biz coworking space may fill up with startups and small businesses sooner than later.

MoRA needs YOUR help! VOLUNTEER with us on important community projects. Can’t volunteer? DONATE to help make our public art dream a reality. Even a $20 tax-deductible donation will help give the neighborhood a beautiful, defining sculpture that will make residents proud.