People Making a Difference in Rocky Mount

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Evan Covington Chavez

With so many interesting things to write about, it was hard to decide where to begin until I spent time with Evan Chavez, a bright and capable woman who is making a difference in our community. She’s like the poster child for this blog because she holds firmly in her hands, a two-sided coin, one side that represents the past, the other, the future. Metaphorically, it is like Evan has stepped out onto a bridge that is under construction, and when the bridge is complete, she will have helped span the gap between what once was, what is happening now, and what will be.

Evan is the Development Manager, Capitol Broadcasting Company, for the Brewmill, once the Rocky Mount Mills. Her title doesn’t begin to describe the fact that she is the heartbeat of the project, along with others we will visit over time. Raised in North Carolina by a father who is a historian, he taught his daughter well. Evan’s eyes shine when she talks about the history of the Mills, proudly explaining how the buildings were once used. She has the knack for story telling that makes the project she is now shepherding come alive before your eyes.

Evan is in the business of helping to create a new world here in Rocky Mount. Hers is an enviable job, different everyday, innovative, and challenging. One moment she stands quietly overlooking the river that flows at her feet, the next explaining what brewery incubators are, and what turn key (space) means for micro breweries. She talks about the Brew Master – Sebastian Wolfrum, tells you about Koi Pond Brewery/Eric Gailoni, and SpringBoardINC, supporting entrepreneurship, the first two Brewmill tenants. Evan Chavez has a heart for it all….82 acres of land, houses & mill; a unique space providing opportunities for the breweries, small businesses, restaurants and residential living. What could be more exciting than building a future on the firm foundations of the Rocky Mount Mills. IMG_2247

Looking Through the Rocky Mount Mill Windows Into The Future

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About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
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14 Responses to People Making a Difference in Rocky Mount

  1. Susan Mech says:

    I am new to the community but love to share idea based on my travels and do I have some for this endeavor. Where do I sign on?

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    • Susan is another idea gal. She tells me she has ideas for mill area and revitalization of down town. She is an artist. We have all these new wonderful people in town, like Susan, who are ready to help. How best to round them up? Leaving word on this blog is a start. Susan says, “I know few people here and dont have the contacts that many do this may be/seem problematic. …..but by working together there may be a positive outcome.” I say, by working together, there will be a positive outcome. Hold the thought, Susan. I’ll get back to you.

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  2. Tamisha Patterson says:

    I would like to be a part of this project.

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  3. Linda Wilson Rice says:

    My grandfather was master mechanic for the mill prior to his death. His name was John S Biggs. My mother also lived on the grounds of the mill as a child. I remember her telling tales of standing on the balcony of their house. I would love to go in the house that she lived in. She was born in 1919 not sure what year she lived there.

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  4. douglaspirkey says:

    Is this a private enterprise? Being a native of Rocky Mount, I’m sure that your success will be much greater in the hearts and minds of your market if it is. God bless you as you invest in a great place! I have been inside the mill while it operated, and I have fished in the old “wheel hole” at its water’s edge; big Crappie in there : )

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    • I appreciate your taking the time to comment on the new blog, and yes, a private enterprise, that has grown from a great appreciation of the wonderful buildings downtown and the surrounding area. If you go click on ‘About Stepheny’ on the ribbon above, you will read a further explanation of how this Main Street Blog came to be. Please follow along and write more in the comment section about your water edge memories.

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  5. My father and mother as well as my grandfather worked in the mill. our father even got my older brother and myself part time jobs on weekends cleaning the machines. My grandfather maintain the Turbines. My father was in charge of the cafeteria where the workers came in for lunch. I grew up on the mill village on Falls road. People that worked in that Mill were hard workers and did not make very good money. It was always amazing that people gave so much for a job that gave very little back. I remember the wood floors in the spinning room were so pretty back then. My parents still live in Rocky Mount to this day.

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    • Thank you, William, for leaving this wonderful comment today in response to the post. You mention that your parents are still here in Rocky Mount. Do you think they would enjoy telling me some more of their stories about their connection to the Mills? I would write about their memories. Please continue to add your own thoughts as future posts fit your interests. A thought….write about growing up on Falls Road and if it is successful, I can publish you as a guest on the blog. What do you think?

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  6. Thank you for such a great article Stepheny. Evan and I have met quite a few times to discuss the Brew Mill and how this transformation is gonig to postiviely effect Rocky Mount. Looking forward to this fall and the two new businesses that will be participating in this exciting venture in the coming months.

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  7. We have for sale @ 116 E Ridge Street Rocky Mount a house that is said to have been built for the first superintendent of the Mil circa 1920ish. I think it would make an excellent museum on the history of the Cotton Mill and the turning of it into the Brewmill!

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    • The Mill Village is a pearl of great price…a place that is already having a new life. The history, the lifestyle, a place people are going to be glad they invested in. I’m sure you have talked to Evan Chavez about your 116 E. Ridge Street property. If not, DO! If not a museum, surely a wonderful home for someone who buys into the story of this area. I hope those who read this blog come and see your property. Do you know more about the history of this particular house? Would love to talk to you about it and write about it.

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