EVERYBODY'S BUSINESS: College scholarships, good pension news, parties and banquets

Feb. 23, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

All of you lovebirds who got engaged recently are invited to Belk in Sanford’s Spring Lane Plaza this afternoon for the store’s semi-annual engagement party.

The free event is from 1-4 p.m. today and will feature food and refreshments as well as a chance for brides-to-be to set up or augment their gift registries.

“(Couples can) either add to their registry or create a new registry,” said Alissa Hodges, a Belk employee who is helping organize the soiree. “And they can win a ton of prizes that Belk is giving away.”

In other news...

* If you’re one of the nearly 900,000 people enrolled in the North Carolina pension fund for state workers, hooray for you. The fund had an overall 12.3 percent return on investment last year and 4.2 percent in the last quarter thanks to a strong stock market.

* Speaking of return on investment, ‘tis the season for high school seniors to be making college decisions. Two North Carolina schools, UNC-Chapel Hill and Appalachian State University, were recently named two of the top 25 schools in the country for students’ return on investment by the website Best Value Schools. Schools were ranked based on tuition, average student debt and the average graduate’s earnings over 30 years. UNC was 22nd and App was 23rd.

* More college news — The N.C. Retail Merchants Association will award 35 scholarships, each worth $2,500, to high school students with average (or above-average) grades who work in the retail industry or whose parents work in retail. The deadline is March 3rd. Apply at retailpaysforcollege.com.

* The Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce is holding its annual banquet at 6 p.m. March 12 at the Dennis Wicker Civic Center. Tickets are $45 per person or $360 for a table of eight.

* The Institute for Emerging Issues, an N.C. State University-based manufacturing group, is sponsoring representatives from Chatham and Catawba counties on a trip to Germany to learn about that country’s manufacturing support system: branding, research and development, training and more.

* The N.C. Military Business Center and Fayetteville Technical Community College will co-host the second-annual Fort Bragg Small Business Outreach Event from 8 a.m. to noon March 18 at the Embassy Suites at 4760 Lake Valley Drive in Fayetteville. Topics covered will include updates on contract opportunities, procedures for doing business with the military and challenges in federal contracting “in a dynamic budget environment.” It’s free but registration is required, at www.ncmbc.us.

* Business fluctuations: In the past week, four new corporations formed in Lee County — A&C Lawn Service, Bruner Logistics, Central Carolina Hearing Aid Associates and ER and Associates — and four were withdrawn or dissolved, A&T Cabinet Shop, Craig & Company, LGZ & DAZ Enterprize and Wilmington Precious Metals.

Have business news? Contact Will Doran at wdoran@sanfordherald.com or (919) 718-1217.