The area’s oldest and largest business organization will soon have a new, tree-top view of downtown Southern Pines.
The Moore County Chamber of Commerce (MCC) is finalizing its plans for the top floor of the Krausen Building at the corner of South Bennett Street and West New York Avenue, with an eye on a summer opening.
“Krausen” is a term used by brewers to describe the foamy head that develops on top of fermenting beer. Fittingly, the three-story brick building currently under construction is the brainchild of Gerry Bateman, co-owner of the nearby Southern Pines Growler Co. Bateman and his partner, Brandi Underwood, are shifting their popular craft brew taproom, outdoor patio and retail shop to this new larger venue.
“The building is a great location for the Chamber. The majority of our members are centered around Southern Pines and Pinehurst, and the floor plan provides us a lot of flexibility,” said Carla Williams, MCC board chair. “It will help us foster a more collaborative environment and fulfill our purpose to build relationships and connect our members in an atmosphere of teamwork and community.”
The Moore Chamber, founded in 1967, built its original flagship location on U.S. 15-501; however, the 10,000-square-foot building required upkeep and was larger than the organization needed for today’s more digitally connected membership.
In November 2017, MCC sold the property and the organization took up temporary quarters at 1295 Old U.S. 1 while a committee began looking for a new permanent home.
“It was a comprehensive decision-making process. Do we want to lease? Do we want to own? And how does this align with our strategic initiatives for the next five, 10, 15 years?” said Michael Barbera, founder of Pinehurst-based Clicksuasion and a member of the MCC facilities committee. “We did our due diligence on all of the options.”
He describes the new location as a “sexy, fourth place,” referring to the concept that people gather in their home and workplace to build a sense of community — their first and second place, respectively.
“Starbucks has identified their stores as a third place. We don’t have their quality of coffee, but we embrace that idea of creating a comfortable place to work, with a downtown address, where people can meet.”
MCC’s new offices encompass the entire top floor of the Krausen Building, with an open layout of gathering places, a conference room that can be adjusted according to size needs, a kitchen area, a coworking office and Chamber staff offices.
Barbera said the “key construct” for the design was to maintain relevance to MCC’s audience.
“Having this shared space and a strong community around it, what better way to combine the Chamber’s resources than a collaborative place?” he said.
MCC’s strategic plan emphasizes several main objectives: to serve as a catalyst, convener and change agent for the business community. Thus, the new office dedicates the vast majority of square footage to community space.
Jana Volitis, MCC operations director, said the open layout acknowledges how business is conducted and changing across the area. “It will truly offer a simple, easy way to work without strings attached.”
Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed; however Linda Parsons, who has served as president and CEO of the Moore Chamber since 2014, confirmed the organization acquired its floor of the Krausen Building in the deal.
“We understand that our address is in Southern Pines, but we will continue to be outside of our office for much of the time visiting our members,” Parsons said. “We don’t see the borders, we see a community and its economic vitality: we just needed a home.”
“The space may be an address for our staff and also our activist members and even established employers. It can also serve as a place for aspiring entrepreneurs. Ideally becoming a nexus of the community and economy.”