Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations


Posted June 4, 2008

What nationally known products and industries have North Carolina roots? I will begin the discussion with the ones I can think of but I am sure there are plenty more. While we go over the list we will keep open the game we started yesterday. Check out Tuesday's blog and let your creative juices flow for a chance to win a prize.

Winston-Salem has a strong entrepreneurial history. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, RJ Reynolds Tobacco, Texas Pete and the former Piedmont Airlines all have roots in the Twin City. Wachovia Bank got its start in Winston-Salem before heading to Charlotte which is also home to Nationsbank. The Charlotte area can also boast as the birthplace of Bojangles, Nascar, Harris-Teeter, Hudson-Belk and S&W Cafeterias. Salisbury is the home of both Food Lion and Cheerwine. New Bern is where Pepsi gots its start. North Carolina was also the genesis of BC and Goody's headache powders. BC was formulated in Durham. The Bull City is home to Burt's Bees products. Software sensation SAS has roots in Cary. Cannon Mills came out of Cabarrus County. Furniture giants Broyhill, Henredon and Drexel all started in the Foothills of NC. Don't forget Hardees. The original home of the Husky got its start in Rocky Mount and Greenville.

Surry County native Ken Lowe, a classmate of mine at UNC and former radio colleague, is credited with creating both HGTV and the Food Channel. My niece's brother-in-law Lex Alexander was the brains behind Wellspring Grocery Stores which were bought out by Whole Foods. Lex lives in Chapel Hill. The famous Kudzu cartoon series was the brainchild of the late Doug Marlette who worked for the Charlotte Observer and won a Pulitzer Prize.

What other products and businesses grew out of the Carolina clay?


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  • J.J.3 Jun 10, 2008

    Great topic Bill! Thanks to the two bloggers who mentioned Bright Leaf/Carolina Packer hotdogs (in Smithfield) and House Autry breading mixes (in Four Oaks). Johnston County products at their finest. Don't forget "Bone Suckin' Sauce" (in Raleigh) and the other tasty bbq sauces created in North Carolina. Pine State Eggnog also deserves an honorable mention. Despite their absence in today's grocery stores, Pine State made the best eggnog I've ever tasted. From Cheerwine to Krispy Kreme and everything in between, North Carolina has provided America with many of our favorite homegrown treats. We certainly have a lot to be proud of.

  • doodle215 Jun 4, 2008

    My bad, I think Chargrill is just in Raleigh and not nationwide or statewide for that matter. Boy, the rest of the world doesn't know what it's missing.

  • doodle215 Jun 4, 2008

    What about Chargrill? I can smell 'em cookin' now!!! LOL

  • Big Guy Jun 4, 2008

    Bill...Hardee's started in Greenville.....It was franchised and moved to Rocky Mount. The original Hardee's concept was sold for (as best I remember the story) 20,000 dollars and a Cadillac.

  • Big Guy Jun 4, 2008

    Mountain Dew was developed by the Minges family in Lumberton NC in a kitchen.

  • tennispro Jun 4, 2008

    James Welch from Hertford, NC invented Junioe Mints named after a play he saw entitled Junior Miss. He attended the University of North Carolina.. He started his company in Mass. His great grandson is a good friend of my daughter.

  • tennispro Jun 4, 2008

    Goodness Gracious Cookies Wilmington, NC

  • justmark Jun 4, 2008

    Mello Buttercup Ice Cream (was) made in Wilson.

  • mcmags Jun 4, 2008

    Bill, What about Maola dairy, is that North Carolina?

  • no more - no less Jun 4, 2008

    Carolina Treet Barbecue Sauce was developed in 1953 in Wilmington.




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Bill Leslie