Notes from the Founders

2810[high]5: Remembering Jeff

Yesterday, Jeff Rieves, friend, Beacon contributor, and exceptional gardener passed away. His final Facebook post was a meme that reads, “The idea is to die young as late as possible.” I guess that’s what he did. Today, we remember Jeff for his insight, humor, and that well of knowledge he loved to share. Our gardens and our lives were and will continue to be, enriched by him.

I’ve been “up on the mountain”, as the locals refer to the part of Patrick County, VA, where my mother lives, giving thanks for the gifts in our lives, and helping Ma with some winter lawn and garden chores...
Most of my Life has been spent with books and gardens. Even my career has revolved around the the worlds of plants and words. They have informed each other, shaped how I see the world, and helped make me who I am today.
This Old Testament admonition to the children of Israel is a call to action for gardeners in the Fall. While more gardeners are always welcome, in this instance, we are multiplying the plants in our garden.
Fall planted garlic gets a light mulch to protect it from the wide variations in temperature that we often experience in winter. Normally I use leaves, but wheat straw is OK, too. Before you ask, pine needles will work, but I personally don’t like using them. (That’s another subject I’ll cover some other time.)
We tend to segregate our plantings...We plant an herb garden here, a vegetable garden there, a perennial flower border somewhere else, but there are lots of ways to include more food plants into all of our landscape, a technique called edible landscaping.
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2810[high]5: Vacancies in Downtown Matthews

Downtown Matthews is, without a doubt, one of the hottest spots in the Charlotte area for an evening of food and drink. During several recent presentations, however, we’ve heard there are no vacancies in the Downtown area. We did some digging to see if that is, in fact true.

Good news for those of you interested in buying, renting, or leasing! There are more than a handful of vacant spaces in downtown.Below are five options in the Downtown District as defined by the Town Planning department.

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BB&T: When the closure of the John St. BB&T was announced, staff cited the widening of John Street as one of the reasons the company closed this location. According to the County Polaris, Wilkinson Properties c/o BB&T owns this property. They’re tough to get a hold of, but the building has been vacant since late 2018. There have been a few breweries interested in opening in Downtown Matthews…maybe one will land here?
Built in 1973, the 4,701 square foot space is zoned B-1.

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Ames Station: Certainly the biggest vacancy in the downtown area, Ames Station is ripe for creative development. The size alone is an artist’s dream. The price of rent in downtown Matthews is not. The owner will lease subdivided areas, but the overall building is 32,635 square feet and zoned I-1.

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The Old Library: A building with an interesting history and a modern design, this spot has weathered the seasons but hasn’t weathered rezoning. Most recently a brewery approached Council to rezone for a brewery and beer garden. The idea was not well-received. Most interestingly heavy metal music was mentioned more than once. (The brewery is now in Harrisburg.) The 1957 building is 3,594 square feet, and zoned B-1.

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Griffin Square: Perhaps the most retail-friendly space available, again the rent might be prohibitive to a small business owner. Griffin Square is conveniently located across from Stumptown Park and is highly visible during festivals. With that visibility in mind, this vacancy might be filled before we get this post up.

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Traditional office spaces: Several spots around downtown are available for lease as traditional office space. These properties appear to be more affordable than spaces that would be more retail-friendly. The office available through the Nichols Company is at the corner of Trade and East Matthews and is part of the HUC zoning. The other, available through Mark Real Estate, is at the intersection of Ames and West Matthews and is zoned O.

Beacster Eggs: Find Eggs, Get Prizes!

It’s time for a little spring break fun! Each day this week we will be hiding 5 Beacster Eggs around the site. Eggs will be located in new content as well as our archives. Spot the eggs and win!


  1. When you spot an egg, click on the image to send an email to Norah showing you found it. Include the title of the article as the subject line. (Or simply email with either a screenshot or a link to the page you found it on).

  2. New eggs will be posted daily, egg spotter submissions must be made before 6 a.m. the following day (the next Morning Minute).

  3. Each day we’ll draw a winner for some sweet Beacon swag, at the end of the week the person who has spotted the most eggs will receive a grand prize!

Grand Prize:

  • Beacon tote bag, water bottle, and pen. A $30 Gift Card to Renfrow’s!

PS: The egg on this page counts as one but there are five more hidden throughout the site. Want hints? Follow us on Facebook!

2810[top]5: Croissants

Tomorrow is National Croissant Day. After taste-testing all of the croissants in Matthews over the course of two days, Beacon staff will probably not participate, but we’ve done the legwork for you to have the very best croissant experience.

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Nova’s Bakery is, hands down, the freshest croissant in Matthews.

3565 Matthews-Mint Hill Rd.

M-F 6:30 AM - 7 PM
Sa-Su 8 - 7 PM

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Dilworth Coffee at Plantation Market has a well-stocked pastry case, complete with flaky, buttery croissants.


3016 Weddington Rd., Ste 600

M-F 6:30 AM - 7 PM
Sa 8 - 7 PM
Su 9 - 3 PM

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Panera Bread makes a croissant with a crispy outside and an airy inside. We try to support small businesses, but this one can’t be ignored.

1904 Matthews Township Parkway

M-Sa 6 AM - 9 PM
Su 7 AM - 9 PM

And though there are plenty of chain cafe or grocery store croissants available, that’s where our recommendations for a Wednesday (or any weekday) croissants end. If you’re in the mood for a croissant on a Saturday, though, you’re in luck!

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Carolina Artisan Bread is merging with Your Mom’s Donuts. Their authentic croissants are lovingly layered by hand, just as a good croissant should be.


11025 Monroe Rd, Ste F

Currently only available on Saturdays. Get there early, doors open at 7:30.

(Photo source Facebook)


Andria, of Queen City Kitchen, is a popular woman at the Farmer’s Market and when we crowdsourced local croissants several people named her as a must-include.


Matthews Community Farmer’s Market

Sa 8 AM - 10 AM

(Photo source Facebook)

2810[top]5: The Sandwich Edition

With Herban Legend now open, one of these places might be bumped off the list, but until we get over there to try it out, here are the favorite 5 sandwich places in Matthews {in no particular order}.


Picadeli’s Pub-n-Deli
Why? They’ve got reubens, and fantastic onion rings.

Opened in ‘91, Picadelis is a Matthews mainstay.

1600 Matthews-Mint Hill Rd.

M 10 AM - 5 PM, T-Th 10:30 AM - 10 PM, F-Sa 10:30 AM - 11 PM, closed Sunday

(Photo source Facebook)


Dorian’s Deli

Why? Family-friendly and more affordable than fast food, friendly staff, and always fresh.

Another Matthews mainstay.

Door Dash menu

1240 Matthews-Mint Hill Rd.

M-F 10:30 AM - 3 PM, Sa 11 AM - 3 PM, closed Sunday


Why? Sometimes you need a really good falafel. Authentic Lebanese food in a cozy atmosphere.

2233 Matthews Township Pkwy Ste E (In Sycamore Commons)

T-Sa 11 AM - 9:30 PM, Su 11 AM - 9 PM, closed Monday

(Photo source Facebook)

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The Loyalist Market
Why?You can try a different sandwich every single time without disappointment. Try the grilled cheese with a side of house made soup.

435 North Trade Street #102

T - Sa 12 - 9 PM, Su 11 AM - 4 PM, closed Monday

(Photo source Facebook)


Which Which
Why? Perfect for when you need something fast. Several vegetarian options.

930 Park Center Dr.

M - Sa 10 AM - 9 PM, Su 11 AM - 8 PM, closed Monday

(Photo source


2810[top]5: The Top 5 Matthews Beacon Articles for 2018

In 2018 we covered some really great people, events, and news in Matthews. Here are the Top 5 according to site analytics.


Author: Cyma Shapiro

Photos: As attributed

(Photo to left courtesy Michael Strauss Studio)

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Author: Cyma Shapiro

Photos: Cyma Shapiro

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Author: Cyma Shapiro

Photos: As attributed

(Photo to left courtesy Pressly Williams)

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Author: Renee Garner

Images: Town of Matthews Planning Department

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Author: Cyma Shapiro

Photos: Cyma Shapiro

Side Hustlers and Master Makers: We Want You!

Are you a crafter, baker, candlestick maker?

Small business owner? Manicurist or masseuse?

The sign-up page is here or email Norah about advertising in our Hyperlocal Holiday Gift Guide! Rates start at $15, deadline to sign up is November 20, 2018 and the page will launch November 23.

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Welcome to the Beacon!

Norah Burke, Co-Founder and Business Manager

Norah Burke, Co-Founder and Business Manager

Six months ago we sat down and talked about our experiences in Matthews. After Norah's campaign for Town Council last year and Renee's foray into community activism, we knew there was a need for better communication. We decided to launch The Matthews Beacon as an online "paper" with contributing Matthews writers and photographers and a Matthews-specific focus. Why so hyper-local? There is a specific brand of pride that goes with living in Matthews. It's not just another suburb, and we're not the cookie cutter suburbanites of the '50s. Matthews is a diverse town with a rich history, one locals work diligently to maintain amidst modern pressure for growth and development.

We asked ourselves: "What is Matthews' identity?" Is it the agrarian history, the meandering neighborhoods, could it even be the traffic? How has Matthews remained

We asked ourselves, “What is Matthews’ identity?” How has Matthews remained Matthews, snuggled right up against the largest city in North Carolina? Most importantly, where can you find the amazing stories and individual voices of the people who make up the Matthews community?

Matthews, snuggled right up against the largest city in North Carolina?  What is the structure of our town government and how can we share what we've learned about the complexities that keep things running? Where can you go for in depth, unbiased information about local issues? Most importantly, where can you find the amazing stories and individual voices of the people who make up the Matthews community?

We'll publish unique posts daily.  Expect to start the day with a few small bites about what's going on in our Matthews Morning Minute series. Throughout the day we'll publish short segments, pieces that will introduce you to your neighbors. We'll present feature stories and town news, cover local events, and provide an examination of important issues of Matthews in one central place.

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Between Norah's experience in business management and Renee's creative talent and 10+ years of blogging for self-promotion, we hope to provide an interesting, quality alternative newspaper focusing solely on Matthews.

Support Local Journalism


We created the Matthews Beacon because our town deserves a local news source reflective of that small town feeling that makes Matthews, NC special.

We have writers and photographers ready but we need your monetary support to The Beacon get off the ground and return to our small town roots.

Supporters get swag! Donate $25 or more and receive a thank you on our site and a set of postcards with beautiful Matthews imagery. Donate $50 or more, receive a thank you on our site and a set of postcards with beautiful Matthews imagery and drinks on us (that includes nonalcoholic options). Donate $100 or more and you can pick a subject and we'll tell the story. Of course, you’ll also get drinks on us, the postcards and a thank you on our site!

Any level of donation receives our undying gratitude.

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Have questions? Feel free to drop us a line.

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