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Hatch thriving in High Point
  • Updated

HIGH POINT — Accepting a job in High Point feels to Bryle Henderson Hatch like one of the best decisions he ever made.

Ever since he set foot in the city last year — before he even knew about the job — just about everything that can go right has gone right.

“This has surpassed all my wildest dreams,” said Hatch, 36, the executive director of Thrive High Point, the minority entrepreneurship initiative that grew out of the High Point Equity Project. “I love High Point. High Point has embraced me. … It’s been an awesome experience.”

Hatch was working as a contractor for the National Institute for Minority Economic Development when he came to High Point in the first half of 2021 just to check out the efforts to organize Thrive High Point and to lead some training related to it. He was not aware that there was a search for someone to lead the new organization.

In what seemed to him like almost no time, he was offered the job.

“It all kind of happened organically,” he said, employing an adverb that came up often in a discussion of the past year or so. Of all the places he has lived, “this is probably the first place where everything seemed to be a seamless transition.”

Hatch grew up in Greensboro, but he knew High Point pretty well as a child from frequent weekends spent with his grandparents, William and Flossie Hatch, who lived here.

After attending North Carolina A&T State University, where he got his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, Hatch moved to Raleigh in 2016 to work for the state government as a diversity and inclusion coordinator.

But he wanted to move into university administration, and in 2018 he went to work for Duke University as diversity manager for the school of medicine. From there he pursued climbing higher, eventually becoming vice president and chief of staff at West Virginia State University.

But he also grew homesick.

“I missed North Carolina. I love North Carolina. I was ready to come home,” he said.

So in the spring of 2021, he moved back to become an independent equity and engagement consultant, and he contracted with the National Institute for Minority Economic Development to conduct training sessions.

Which is what led him to Thrive High Point and the Business High Point-Chamber of Commerce, which eventually contracted with the institute to run Thrive.

Thrive was set up to provide services and support — such as microloans and advice, business training and mentorship — for small, minority-owned businesses. It launched last September and has 315 businesses registered, far more than organizers projected, Hatch said.

“I’ll be honest with you, it’s just taken off,” he said.

The businesses run the gamut, from retail, consumer-focused businesses to real estate attorneys, he said. The problems they face are common across the country — such things as getting access to financing, lack of knowledge about marketing and business strategy, and how to find a niche in the market.

“I think what’s different (here) is High Point has an intentional effort to try to eliminate these barriers,” Hatch said.

On Wednesday, Sept. 7, a little less than a year after Thrive launched, Hatch will play host at Congdon Yards to Thrive Summit, a business event with three purposes: providing an update on Thrive’s progress; offering local business people training sessions, workshops and inspirational speakers; and bringing people together to build community bonds.

Though Thrive was set up as a minority-focused initiative, the summit is open to everyone who is interested, Hatch said.

“We want everyone to benefit from what’s going on here,” he said.

For more information, contact Hatch by email at bhhatch@theinstitutenc.com


News
Be careful as hot weather persists
  • Updated

HIGH POINT — If you think it’s been hotter and more stifling this summer than last year, you aren’t imagining it.

The greater High Point area already has posted nearly as many days, 26, with a high temperature of 90 degrees or higher than it did in the entire summer of 2021, when there were 28, according to the National Weather Service.

By the end of this week the greater High Point area may surpass the 2021 total. Highs are expected in the upper 80s to low 90s through the week, National Weather Service Meteorologist Aaron Swiggett said.

“I think we’ll bust through that 2021 mark,” he said.

With excessive humidity, the daily heat index this week may push into the middle to upper 90s, Swiggett told The High Point Enterprise.

The excessive heat this summer has led to more people coming into hospital emergency rooms, said Patricia Williams, a family nurse practitioner with Novant Health.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, which tracks summer heat-related illnesses through the end of September, reports that statewide there already had been 2,347 emergency department visits by patients with heat-related problems through July 23. That compares to 3,201 visits for the entire summer of 2021 and 3,099 for the summer of 2020.

People need to be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion before they veer into trouble by staying too long in dangerous conditions, Williams said.

“This is something that is so preventable if we just know the symptoms,” she said. “Take action early, because as the symptoms get worse it’s just going to be more pronounced.”

Symptoms of heat exhaustion are:

• Elevated heart rate

• Headaches

• Excessive thirst

• Light-headeness or being unusually tired

• Fatigue or weakness

• Dizziness

• Nausea or vomiting

In the most dire cases, people can lose consciousness, have slurred speech and experience seizures, Williams said.

When people begin to show symptoms of heat exhaustion, the threat can be headed off relatively quickly by moving to a cool indoor area and drinking water to replenish fluids.

“If you don’t, it will get more significant and the recovery is much longer and harder,” Williams said.

pjohnson@hpenews.com | 336-888-3528 | @HPEpaul


News
Latest report shows new jobs created
  • Updated

HIGH POINT — A seasonal influx of teachers and school workers seeking summer employment pushed up the unemployment rate locally and across the state in June, but the rate remains down from the same time last year.

Other than the government services sector that includes education, local job creation improved during the month, said Mike McCully, an associate professor of economics at High Point University.

“Leisure and hospitality did the greatest amount of hiring,” McCully told The High Point Enterprise. “Hiring in health services and in manufacturing was strong. And construction jobs continued to expand significantly despite rising interest rates.”

The jobless rate increased in 98 of the state’s 100 counties from May to June, the N.C. Department of Commerce reported Wednesday. The only counties where unemployment edged down were Dare and Hyde in eastern North Carolina, where tourism-related hiring traditionally picks up after Memorial Day. Both of those trends are typical for the period at the end of the school year and beginning of summer.

Compared to June 2021, jobless rates fell in all 100 counties, the state Commerce Department reported. The city of High Point reflects the statewide trend.

High Point’s unemployment rate increased from 4.3% in May to 5% in June, but in June 2021 it was 7%, according to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The June jobless rate remains significantly below the 12.9% rate posted in June 2020, after the business shutdowns early in the coronavirus pandemic.

McCully said the local job market isn’t showing signs of recession. Last week the U.S. Commerce Department reported that the nation’s gross domestic product contracted by 0.9% in the second quarter of this year after receding 1.6% in the first quarter. Two consecutive quarters of retracting production represents the onset of a recession, though there are other factors. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said last week he does not believe the U.S. is in a recession, pointing to the labor market as a sign of strength.

If the job market dips during the summer in a cross-section of economic categories, that may be from a slowdown in the economy, McCully said.

“I think we do need to pay attention to what the July numbers look like,” he said. “Last July it started to turn positive again. Right now it’s just a waiting game.”

The number of workers employed statewide decreased in June by 13,268 to 4.9 million while the number unemployed increased by 22,766 to 209,855. Since June 2021, the number of workers employed statewide has increased by 220,290, while the number unemployed decreased by 63,454.

pjohnson@hpenews.com | 336-888-3528 | @HPEpaul


News
Trash Smash set for this weekend
  • Updated

HIGH POINT — The fifth annual Summer Trash Smash to encourage residents to clean up around their homes will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday throughout the city.

During the event, police officers and High Point Fire Department personnel will drive throughout the city looking for people cleaning up the exterior of their homes or property and removing litter from their neighborhood. Someone who’s cleaning up may get a gift card from one of the participating sponsors, including local restaurants and grocery stores.

Residents should discard any trash or recycling in their rolling cart or apartment dumpster. Larger items can be placed on the roadside for collection next week by the city’s bulk collection truck.

For more information, contact Rebecca Coplin at 336-883-3520 or rebecca.coplin@highpointnc.gov.


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