Event-planning business open in Wilson

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Shirvette Batts has been a cosmetologist for more than two decades, but the Wilson native has added a new title and business to her portfolio with the recent opening of 7C’s Xotic Designs Events and Rentals.

“Last year I did a young lady’s baby shower and the business took off from there,” Batts said. “I had a lot of people asking me to do their events, so I took a course in Miami to become a certified event designer.”

In May, Batts opened her event planning and rental business in about 5,000 square feet at 411 and 415 Nash St. in the Walston Center. The business has kept her busy with elaborate parties for graduations, weddings and birthdays.

“I like to see the expression on people’s faces when they see everything brought together,” Batts said. “The thrill of it for me is bringing that vision to life.”

In addition to designing events for a variety of occasions, Batts also has a variety of party rentals available and makes balloon arches. Batts is using Facebook and Instagram at 7cxoticdesigns while developing her website. For more information, call Batts at 252-315-0811.

Human Relations

A recent statewide survey of more than 2,000 employers indicate increasing issues hiring for open positions.

The 2018 Employer Needs Survey had a 10 percent increase from 2016 in employers who tried to hire in the past year, but had difficulty filling at least one position. According to the results, 61.9 percent of employers across micropolitan areas like Wilson reported employability issues such as professionalism, reliability and work ethic as the top obstacle when looking for employees. About 50 percent of employers in micropolitan areas reported a low number of applicants.

“These results reflect what I hear from business leaders time and again: they often have jobs but can’t find workers with the right skills to fill them,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a press release. “We must get people who are looking for jobs together with businesses who want them. Getting North Carolina job-ready means listening to what businesses need so we can prepare North Carolinians for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

The survey shows 60 percent of manufacturers and STEM-related businesses reported it more challenging than other employers to fill openings. The Wilson Academy of Applied Technology — which focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum — was highlighted in the July issue of Business North Carolina magazine for an innovative approach to make area youth ready for the workplace. The article highlighted the collaboration with Wilson companies to ensure the graduates have skills ready for careers within the community.

Officials noted the employer survey results will help develop curriculum to train North Carolinians, such as those incorporated at WAAT.

“The Employer Needs Survey is a valuable source of data and insights for North Carolina’s workforce development and education partners,” said NCWorks Commission Executive Director Catherine Moga Bryant. “Hiring in a tight labor market presents different challenges than those experienced during a downturn, and this report provides policymakers and business leaders with information on what those challenges are and how to meet them.”

The state business magazine that featured WAAT also highlighted the $150 million investment at Fresenius Kabi to provide 445 new jobs in Wilson as well as the challenges of working with family through a group interview that included Russ Stephenson, CEO of Stephenson Millwork at 210 Harper St. NE.

Extra! Extra!

The Wilson Chamber of Commerce is partnering with Downtown Public House owner Teddy Olson at 5 p.m. on July 26 for Chamber on Tap. Chamber President Ryan Simons plans to answer questions about the business organization and the broader business community as well as talk about other upcoming events for the chamber. For more information on the chamber, visit www.wilsonncchamber.com/.

Got an idea for news to include in next week’s Main Street Minute? Don’t hesitate to reach out to me at 252-265-7821 or bhandgraaf@wilsontimes.com.