HomeTop StoriesThree things we learned this week about IKEA, sports fans and why...

Three things we learned this week about IKEA, sports fans and why eclipses are popular

Happy Halifax Resolves Days weekend, that’s something.

It happened 248 years ago on Friday, when a bunch of students in wigs high-fived and bumped chests and declared it was time to leave home, away from their boring British parents. Someone from the North Carolina Provincial Congress shouted, “Don’t get into ACC basketball,” and… fancy… North Carolina became the first colonial government to call for independence.

Two years later we have the Declaration of Independence, and now Ralph Lauren is providing hip outfits for the US Olympic teams.

This is a revisionist version of what happened in Halifax, NC. (I’m no historian, but who doesn’t like finding bobbleheads in gift shops at historic places.)

We have many lifelong learners in the Triangle. The best thing about my job is that I learn new things every working week.

Here are three knew-then-but-know-now moments from last week:

1. We’re too cool for IKEA

The News & Observer’s Brian Gordon is a former teacher with a constant curiosity for his top-notch reporting. Brian was probably the kid in class who politely raised his hand over and over again.

See also  Rich Shertenlieb returns to Boston radio with the premiere of a new show on WZLX

Last week, Brian’s NC Reality Check revealed why IKEA, the Swedish furniture and household giant, doesn’t have the Triangle in its expansion plans. Jeremy Petranka, professor of economics at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, told Brian that the Triangle may not be the ideal place to locate a traditional IKEA.

We may be Austin’s classically cool cousin, but apparently we’re too suburban.

Ouch.

Oh, this doesn’t stop IKEA from flirting with our hearts. They looked into Cary, but decided not to swipe right. This was the headline of a 2018 N&O story, and it still stings: “IKEA shocker: Popular furniture store not coming to Cary after all.”

But that’s IKEA’s loss, not ours.

You’re probably all familiar with IKEA’s wordless instruction sheets that have all the charm of MC Escher illustrations – if he’d been decaffeinated and bored.

Do a little math and the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the Triangle has 25,126 architectural or engineering residents and 2,676 designers or art makers. (We also have 240 floral designers, which proves our classically cool reputation.)

All those right and left brainers, enjoying life in the ‘burbs, and available to make better how-to guides.

See also  Local tourism is getting a boost from Germany's cheap monthly rail pass

We could have helped, IKEA.

2. You all liked it, you all liked it very much

Sports reporting is difficult in the Triangle. Everyone has the right opinion about what is wrong. And what is too much.

The News & Observer ran 176 stories during the twists and turns of the college basketball tournament, and those stories accounted for about 40% of the N&O’s total subscriber page views during that three-week period.

Thanks for your interest. We felt it.

That’s why we’re publishing a commemorative book highlighting North Carolina State’s historic run to the Final Four. We have 144 pages of tournament stories for both the Wolfpack men and women. (You can find ads in the print version of N&O or click the order link on digital devices.)

One of my favorite moments happened before the season started when Kaitlin McKeown of The N&O photographed NC State’s DJ Burns, well, DJ. His tilted sunglasses brought out that big personality and inspired Raleigh-based artist Sean Kernick.

NC State's DJ Burns poses for a portrait during the Wolfpack Men's Basketball Media Day on Thursday, September 21, 2023 in Raleigh, NC

NC State’s DJ Burns poses for a portrait during the Wolfpack Men’s Basketball Media Day on Thursday, September 21, 2023 in Raleigh, NC

Kernick drew from Kaitlin’s image to create a mural for the Free Expression Tunnel at Wolf Plaza at NC State. Avi Bajpai profiled Kernick and the story behind the mural as part of The N&O’s reporting.

See also  Kenya declares a public holiday to mourn the victims of the floods
A mural of DJ Burns Jr.  of NC State spans a portion of the wall at the entrance to the Free Expression Tunnel on the university's main campus on Thursday, April 4, 2024 as the men's basketball team prepares for Saturday's Final Four game.A mural of DJ Burns Jr.  of NC State spans a portion of the wall at the entrance to the Free Expression Tunnel on the university's main campus on Thursday, April 4, 2024 as the men's basketball team prepares for Saturday's Final Four game.

A mural of DJ Burns Jr. of NC State spans a portion of the wall at the entrance to the Free Expression Tunnel on the university’s main campus on Thursday, April 4, 2024 as the men’s basketball team prepares for Saturday’s Final Four game.

I doubt the North Carolina Provincial Congress thought of commemorative books and inspirational murals when they pushed for independence and democratic freedoms 248 years ago. But you gotta love the backstory.

3. We are excited about the solar eclipse

I blame Pollen Head for not realizing why our local Publix was having a sale on mini MoonPies – the gooey snack that should be its own food group.

But on Monday it all made sense.

We didn’t get totality in the Triangle, but The N&O’s Travis Long captured the local joy of the classically cool moon outshining its older sibling sun.

A composite image of the solar eclipse as seen during a watch party at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center at UNC-Chapel Hill on Monday, April 8, 2024.A composite image of the solar eclipse as seen during a watch party at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center at UNC-Chapel Hill on Monday, April 8, 2024.

A composite image of the solar eclipse as seen during a watch party at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center at UNC-Chapel Hill on Monday, April 8, 2024.

Josh Shaffer also wrote a sweet Uniquely NC profile about Johnny Horne, a retired Fayetteville Observer photographer who has seen six eclipses worldwide since 1970. Horne was in Austin for issue 6: ““They are the top. They are the Super Bowl. There really is nothing like them.”

The Triangle will have its total eclipse experience on May 11, 2078.

That’s in 54 years.

To suggest…

Halifax Resolves Days celebrates its 302nd anniversary by announcing that the Washington National is moving to the Halifax State Historic Site.

The N&O offers a commemorative book highlighting the Wolfpack tournament with star player DJ Burns IV.

And Zebulon opens its second IKEA.

Bill Church is editor-in-chief of The News & Observer.

- Advertisement -
RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments