Studio Makes Space for Artists

Artists and artisans of all ages applauded the January opening of Koala Craft Art Studio (Photo: Koala Craft Art Studio)

Artists and artisans of all ages applauded the January opening of Koala Craft Art Studio on the ground floor of Greenbridge, downtown Chapel Hill’s first high-rise. Owner Amy Fang and her family have outfitted a place for people of all talent and experience levels to share the joy of creating art. The studio offers space, materials and equipment to try a myriad of projects, such as tufting, Perler beads and do-it-yourself Decoden cream pieces. Painters can work with acrylics, on plaster or glass and with fluid bear.

Fang says her customers range from age 4 to 70-plus, with the majority being college students or younger. Families come in for a craft experience, as do couples on dates, and friends meet to talk while fusing Perler beads into earrings and on note cards and canvases. People pay per project, regardless of how long it takes them. Customers can reserve a separate room for birthday parties and other private events. The studio also serves boba tea, sodas and fruit teas.

601 W. Rosemary St.

Polish Deli a First for Carrboro

After a long journey, Jaysen Wilson, owner of The Flying Pierogi food truck, has added a brick-and-mortar delicatessen to expand his business serving Polish and German street food. Wilson has been working toward opening a spot in South Green shopping center in Carrboro since the summer of 2022.

He initially planned to take over the space abutting Craftboro Brewing Depot. While he was working his way through the permitting and upfitting process, the shopping center experienced something of an implosion. Last fall, South Green tenant Coronato Pizza and its next-door neighbor, Oasis Cigar Club, both closed, taking foot traffic away from the brewery. Craftboro closed in February.

(Photo: The Flying Pierogi)

Wilson spotted an opportunity. He expanded his lease to incorporate the former pizzeria spot, which had a commercial kitchen. The move sped up the permitting process and more than doubled his seating capacity.

Once The Flying Pierogi opens, it will offer a full-service deli selling Polish, German and Italian meat and cheese by the pound, as well as Eastern European-inspired dishes, barista-made coffee and pies and cakes baked in-house. Wilson also will have room to stock Eastern-European grocery items and frozen dishes to prepare at home. Once the state approves his liquor license, Wilson will set up a full bar.

170 Two Hills Drive, South Green, Carrboro


  • Starbucks at 103 E. Franklin St. will move across the street to larger quarters on the ground floor under Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery on the southeast corner of Franklin and Columbia streets. The corner storefront had been vacant since Midici Italian Kitchen left in summer 2019. The move, expected to be complete by the time classes begin for the fall semester, will enable Starbucks to triple its occupancy from 30 to 90 seats.
  • Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers owns the building on the northeast corner of Franklin and Columbia streets and had leased part of its street-level space to Starbucks. The fast-food chicken establishment wants to expand its ground-floor seating into the area it had rented to the coffee chain.
  • Shrunken Head Boutique is opening a satellite location two doors down from its main store at 155 E. Franklin St. The Carolina fan outfitter has been in business since 1969. As the family-owned business has added more merchandise, the 9,090-square-foot shop has maxed out its space. Shrunken Head manager Melissa Pate, granddaughter of the shop’s founders, told The Daily Tar Heel she has been shipping online orders out of her home in Cary. By claiming the empty storefront at 161 E. Franklin St., Pate can move the warehouse operation close to the retail outlet and have more room for customers to browse. She plans to move all of the UNC merchandise to the new 1,200-square-foot store and keep Chapel Hill-themed items in the original store. Shrunken Head employs a crew of 30, all of them students, plus four managers. The expansion could potentially double the number of employees.


  • Gizmo Brew Works has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy but will remain open while it reorganizes its debt. The brewery has locations  in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. Triangle Business Journal reported the company’s $1.6 million debt stemmed from the combination of a production facility expansion in 2018–19 and the opening of the Chapel Hill store in early 2020. Gizmo released a statement citing the challenges the craft beer industry is undergoing due to inflation, which has caused people to change how they spend their disposable income, and the rising cost of brewing ingredients and property leases. Gizmo doesn’t expect to lay off any staff during the reorganization.


  • Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop didn’t stay in business long enough to celebrate its first birthday. After opening in April 2023, the deli at 127 E. Franklin St. closed in early March.
  • Dame’s Chicken and Waffles closed its Chapel Hill store at the end of February. The fast-casual restaurant at 147 E. Franklin St. opened in May 2021 to acclaim, but Dame’s spokesperson said the cyclical business pattern of struggling when students were away over the summer and on holiday breaks was not a viable model. Dame’s locations in Durham, Cary and Greensboro remain open.

— Nancy E. Oates

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