Our first Chili Cook-Off on April 28 was truly a community collaboration and a big win for fair wages.

We heard over and over how each chili was amazing – all had incredible flavor and the offerings represented quite a variety.

Pro contestants: Kelby Grubbs – Pantana Bob’s; Alexis Lawson – Chef Lex; Vimala Rajendran – Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe; and Mark Overbay – Big Spoon Roasters.

Amateur contestants: Craig Romaine; Laura Malinchock (representing PORCH); Mike Madden; and Dana Hanson.

Congratulations to our winners!
Pro People’s Choice: Chef Lex
Pro Judge’s Choice: Big Spoon Roasters
Amateur People’s Choice: Dana Hanson
Amateur Judge’s Choice: Dana Hanson

Our judges were: Paxson Wojcik, Rob Landry, and Duwe Farris from the UNC Men’s Basketball Team; Carrie Brogren – founder of the Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodie Group, Jason Merrill – Carrboro Town Council Member; and our very own, Allanah Hines – Chief Culture, Engagement, and Impact Officer at Weaver Street Market and OCLW Board Member and Vice Chair.

 

Thank you to our sponsors – all are certified living wage employers:

Gold Sponsors: Bonneville ElectricBeer Study Shop & Drink

Silver Sponsor: Weaver Street Market

Bronze Sponsors: Carolina Jewelry AppraisersFranklin Street Yoga CenterChapel Hill Children & Adolescents’ Clinic

Thank you to the employers who came out and set up a table to get to know our guests: Weaver Street MarketLatino Community Credit UnionPORCHCedar Grove Law,

Generous employers who offered goods and services for our incredible raffle. Donations were made by: RumorsBelltree Cocktail ClubStarfish Bakery, Breakaway CafeCedar Grove Law, Vimala’s Curryblossom CafeOpen Eye CafeCarolina Jewelry AppraisersFranklin Street Yoga CenterTen Mothers FarmUniversity of North Carolina PressWeaver Street MarketFRANK Gallery

The Local Reporter offered this thorough preview of our event.

OCLW has talented communications folks who work with us. Andrea Cash is our Communications Coordinator and was integral in getting the word out about our event. Tom Simon donates his time and talents throughout the year taking amazing photos of our employers, their employees, and our events.

Volunteers are key to the success of any non-profit organization or event. We couldn’t have done this without the help of dedicated OCLW volunteers Aaron Van Son, Brian Crawford, and Madison Mignola. A special thank you to our event volunteers Craig Romaine, Meghan Kuder, and Brenna Kuder (of Cedar Grove Law).

OCLW’s incredible Board of Directors and volunteers made the event possible. Susan Romaine, Allanah Hines, Megan Overbay, Cosby Dudley, and Susan Attermeier were integral from set up to clean up. Jason Nunoo, Victoria Freeman, and Itza Salazar weren’t able to join us but were with us in spirit.

Thank you to certified living wage employers – Town of Carrboro and the Carrboro Farmers Market – for the perfect space to host the event. Thank you to Charles Harrington, Carl Freeman, Kristen Benoit, and especially Dianah L Alston-Sanders and Lt. James L Walker for being so easy to work with in planning this – plus Officers Joe Thomas and Erasmo Velazquez for working our event on their days off.

Thanks to Allanah Hines, Megan Overbay, Susan Romaine, Brian Crawford, Victoria Freeman, and Debbie Horowitz for contributing “bake sale” items.

Steel String Brewery served beer that paired perfectly with chili. And a special thanks to Cruel Country for performing.

Love Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe or always wanted to try it? Here’s your chance! Vimala has generously donated three meals for a silent auction to benefit OCLW! More information and make your bids HERE. Bidding closes Friday, May 17, 2024 at 5 pm.

We want your feedback! What did you like? What could we improve for next year? Please take a few moments to offer your feedback.  Fill out the form, and we’ll enter you to win a $25 gift card to Open Eye Cafe AND a Chili Cook-Off or OCLW T-shirt – your choice. You can also contact Debbie Everly at debbie@orangecountylivingwage.org to purchase either t-shirt.

A huge thanks to all who attended! Save the date for our fall fundraiser – our second annual Benefit Concert for Living Wages – on Labor Day at Pluck Farm.

Step into My Muses Card Shop on Main Street in the heart of Carrboro, and you’ll probably notice that you immediately feel a sense of calm come over you. Your shoulders will relax a bit, and your mood will lighten as you peruse the bespoke merchandise.

Abhi Sivadas opened My Muses in December 2019. When he lived in India, he was a graphic designer. But he also had a business degree, and he wanted to combine his business knowledge with his artistic expression.

Upon moving to the Triangle, he noticed that “when I wanted to buy art supplies, I had to go to Michael’s.” That gave him the idea to open My Muses, which is about creating community as much as it’s about selling merchandise.

“I didn’t want to open just another business,” Abhi says. “I kind of knew that the community would enjoy this concept. It’s a really artsy community here.”

He’s been limited by space, but that will change this summer as he takes over the adjacent portion of The Station and nearly doubles his square footage. This will allow him to expand his teaching space and add an art gallery. My Muses has offered classes since 2021 – on watercolor, calligraphy, bookbinding, neurograhic art, paper making, Mandala and Yantra, and more – but they’ve been using the retail floor and holding the gatherings during early weekend hours, before the shop opens.

Abhi has four employees – one full time and three part time. With the expansion, he will add another full timer. My Muses became certified with Orange County Living Wage in June 2022.

“To me, a living wage is a basic human right to food, shelter, nutrition, health, education, and overall well-being of an individual,” Abhi says. “It is an employer’s ethical obligation. I strongly believe that paying a living wage creates an economy that works for everyone.”

Abhi with the Elizabeth Cotton card he created.

My Muses is known for its wide range of gift offerings, which is especially useful to shoppers during this busy season that includes Mother’s Day, graduations, weddings, and more. Many shoppers buy journals, tea towels, candles, coloring books, jewelry, stationery, and art supplies for loved ones. Local vendors include: Fireside Farm (dried flowers); Bee Wise Hives (honey); and Cavebear Apothecaire (soaking salts). Not to mention the many local makers who stock greeting cards and handmade paper. (Check out My Muses’ YouTube channel to watch interviews with many of the local artists.) Abhi sells his own line of watercolor cards in the store, including a card depicting Carrboro’s own folk and blues legend, Elizabeth Cotton.

Other suppliers who aren’t local are ethically sourced. Abhi is committed to supporting fair traders.

In June, Abhi will launch weekly painting sessions at a designated location within the community. Artists can bring their own supplies but paint together. These sessions are intended to provide inspiration and a support system – another way for Abhi to nurture the inner artist in all of us while building community.

At Orange County Living Wage, we are committed to supporting certified living wage businesses and organizations by offering resources and assistance that may not be readily available. We are dedicated to understanding the specific needs and challenges of the local economy, offering personalized support and resources to address your concerns.

Through workshops, networking events, and toolkits, we empower living wage employers to create positive change within your organizations and communities. By leveraging our collective knowledge and resources, we can make a meaningful impact on the lives of employees and the success of all businesses across Orange County.

We look forward to expanding what we can offer you and your employees. Let us know what we can provide to ensure your business/organization and workers thrive.

At Orange County Living Wage, we believe that every business, regardless of size, has the potential to make a difference. Together, we can build a more equitable and prosperous future for all.

We encourage you and your employees to sign up for these upcoming OCLW events:

OCLW Employee Workshop: May 14, 2024, 6:30 pm 
Join us for an evening of Financial Literacy led by William M. Fisher, Community Impact Officer at Coastal Credit Union.

Are you tired of feeling like your paycheck disappears before the month even begins? Do you dream of a future where financial stress is a thing of the past? You’re not alone.

In today’s challenging economic climate, managing money wisely is more important than ever. That’s why we’re here to provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to take control of your finances and build a brighter future for yourself and your loved ones.

Throughout this workshop, we’ll explore practical strategies for stretching your paycheck further, creating a budget that works for you, and finding opportunities to save and invest, no matter how small your income may be. We’ll also discuss understanding credit, navigating financial institutions, and planning for unexpected expenses.

Our goal is to empower you with the skills and confidence to make informed financial decisions, even on a tight budget. Together, we’ll break down barriers and pave the way toward a more secure financial future for you and your family.

OCLW Employer Workshop: August 13, 2024, 6:30 pm
Are you looking to take your personal financial management skills to the next level? Our tailored Financial Literacy Workshops offer a unique opportunity for employers like yourself to enhance your understanding of key financial principles and strategies, empowering you to make informed decisions both in your professional and personal life.

In today’s fast-paced world, the ability to navigate complex financial landscapes is more crucial than ever. Whether you’re aiming to optimize your personal investments, plan for retirement, or simply gain a better understanding of managing your finances, our workshops are designed to provide you with practical tools and insights to achieve your goals.

During our workshops, you’ll delve into a range of topics, including budgeting, saving, investing, understanding credit, and planning for the future. Our expert facilitator will guide you through interactive sessions tailored to your specific needs and objectives, ensuring that you come away with actionable strategies to drive your financial success.

By investing in your own financial literacy, you’ll not only enhance your personal financial well-being but also set an example of financial leadership within your organization. Moreover, the skills and knowledge you gain will directly benefit your company, enabling you to make sound financial decisions that drive growth and prosperity.

Please spread the word to your employees about the May 14 event.

Please contact debbie@orangecountylivingwage.org for more information about these events and to learn about sponsorship opportunities.

Get ready to fire up your taste buds! In the spirit of camaraderie and culinary excellence, the Orange County Living Wage’s Chili Cook-Off fundraiser invites participants and attendees alike to savor a diverse array of tantalizing chili recipes crafted by talented cooks from across the community. Whether you’re a seasoned chili aficionado or simply looking to support a worthy cause, this event promises a delightful day filled with warmth, flavor, and the opportunity to make a meaningful difference.

WHEN: Sunday, April 28, noon to 3 pm
WHERE: Carrboro Town Commons (301 West Main St., Carrboro)
FEATURING: Live music by Country Cruel, a bake sale, and beer from Steel String Brewery (a living wage employer!)
JUDGES: Carrie Brogren, founder of Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies; Paxson Wojcik, Rob Landry, and Duwe Farris, UNC men’s basketball players; Jason Merrill of Carrboro Town Council

We will have a Pro division for the chef who gets paid to prepare food for others at restaurants, camps, universities, corporate kitchens, etc. We are excited to announce that our Pro participants include Vimala Rajendran of Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe; Mark Overbay from Big Spoon Roasters; Alexis Lawson, also known as Chef Lex; and Kelby Grubbs of Pantana Bob’s

An Amateur division is for the talented home cook.

Get more information and sign up to enter the competition.

Thank you to our sponsors: Beer Study, Bonneville Electric, Carolina Jewelry Appraisers, Chapel Hill Children and Adolescents’ Clinic, Franklin Street Yoga Center, Weaver Street Market. 

Would you rather taste than prepare the food? Buy tickets and join us as an attendee. Tickets range from $10 to $50.

We also need volunteers to complete various tasks during the event and bakers willing to donate some goods.

Living Wage Employers: Want to sponsor, table at the event, or provide items for our raffle? We’d love to have your participation! Please contact debbie@orangecountylivingwage.org.

Humble Umbel Farm, located outside of Hillsborough, may only have two acres of land in production – but the team makes the most of it, to say the least.

“We grow pretty intensively,” says the farm’s co-owner Anna Alexandre.

As their website explains, they are “going for maximum nutrition on minimum acreage.” They flip beds often to grow more than 50 different types of vegetables, with an emphasis on the year-round production of greens, lettuces, and salad root vegetables. They also grow herbs and flowers using the same organic and sustainable practices.

They never use synthetic fertilizers, sprays, pesticides, or herbicides.

“That’s what we prefer to eat, and that’s how we want to live on the land,” says Anna. “Giving back to the soils, making sure we are growing the healthiest plants possible, but we are also treating the environment in a healthy way – those things are interconnected.”

The team manages the farm as an ecosystem, providing food and habitat for beneficial insects, pollinators, and wildlife; protecting and planting native species; using cover crops; managing nutrients and soil to minimize runoff and erosion; and using minimal-till market gardening techniques that enhance soil health.

The farm’s name comes from “umbel,” the botanical term for a carrot flower. They are big carrot growers, but the umbel family also includes dill and cilantro.

Established in 2018, Humble Umbel employs four full-time staffers, plus two part-time workers who help with farmers’ markets. (You can find Humble Umbel at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market as well as the Chapel Hill Farmers’ Market.)

The farm became living wage certified at the beginning of 2024. Anna says it’s an achievement that she and her partner in business and in life, Brian Conner, are very proud of because it’s something they had to work toward.

“I have to give credit to the customers,” she says. “People are willing to pay what we charge in order to get ourselves to that living wage. … Customers really care about small businesses and local food. And they are willing to put their money where their mouth is.”

Anna and Brian met while working on a small farm just outside Asheville. While Brian grew up on the shores of the Great Lakes, Anna is a native of the Triangle – she fell in love with farming as a teenager thanks to a young farmer training program through the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Farm. The establishment of Humble Umbel doubled as a homecoming for her.

Humble Umbel’s land is rented from the Orange County Cooperative Extension. The acreage is owned by N.C. State University. Anna and Brian are hoping to purchase land in the next few years.

They hired their first employee in 2020. Each year since, they have added a full-time person. Historically, they have offered more seasonal jobs; this year, they are finally in a financial place where they can support year-round positions for everybody.

Those employees make work a lot more fun for Anna and Brian.

“We have always hired folks who really want to work hard and are really passionate about growing food and growing it in the best way possible,” Anna says. “We all have a lot of fun doing it. … It’s fun to work hard, play hard. The nice thing about farming is you can kind of multitask in a way where you are doing a project together, but you can have fun and chat and really get to know someone. Getting that hang time. You are doing something really hard together, which is very team building. We have to harvest in the heat and sometimes in the rain. It really builds connection.”

The living wage designation marks a milestone, but Anna has an eye toward her next goals for the farm.

“If you’re looking at things from a food justice standpoint, I want to be able to pay my employees and myself enough that we can buy the food we are selling. … We need to reach higher than the living wage,” she says. “There are things we want to be able to offer – like 401ks and health care benefits – as a longer-term goal.”

Tammy LeMoine, Martellis Deetjen, Chelsey Onuoha, and Heidi Grant.

Tammy LeMoine was very involved with the PTA as her children attended Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. As she contemplated the components of the area’s excellent school system, with computers provided as well as social services for those in need of access, she wondered: For students with limited resources, what happens when all of that goes away after graduation?

“If you don’t have a plan of what is coming next, it kind of is a tough road,” Tammy says, adding that she watched some of her kids’ friends struggle as they transitioned to the next chapter.

Baking started as a hobby for Tammy. But, wanting to make a difference by helping one person at a time, she founded Starfish Bakery in 2021 in order to hire young adults, provide a living wage, and share some guidance about how to get ahead after high school.

She is now an empty nester and bakes regularly with Heidi Grant, a friend and fellow empty nester who has been on the Starfish team since the beginning. The pair is joined in the kitchen at Piedmont Food Processing Center in Hillsborough by two young team members. They were referred to Tammy by the Blue Ribbon Mentor program and Second Family Foundation, which is dedicated to providing youth who experience risks, including going through foster care, with as much of a middle class child’s experience as possible.

“We are in the kitchen for six to eight hours at a time,” says Tammy. “There’s an element of boredom. After a while, it gets a little quiet, which leaves room for talking about your inner thoughts and lives, and you start to get more details. We bake, talk about life’s problems, share our experiences, and try to help each other make good choices.”

Tammy, a former financial planner, often gives advice related to budgeting and banking.

“We’re doing budgeting and talking about rent,” she says. “We look at the cost of college classes. I have met the kids outside of work to sit down at the library and take a piece of paper and do a budget. Once you start seeing the budget, it is apparent why we need to do this. They cannot survive without it.”

For this reason, Tammy prioritizes paying a living wage for her employees. (The 2024 living wage is $17.65, or $16.15 with employer-provided health insurance.) “We aren’t selling things for hundreds of dollars. But we have to keep up,” she says. “Rent is costly. Going to college is costly. I am watching the numbers on the other side – the cost of gas, food. It is so helpful that [Orange County Living Wage] gives me a guide. I don’t have to do it based on experience. They are doing the legwork and the research for me.”

Starfish Bakery makes lemon bars, cupcakes, whoopie pies, cookies, pies, breads, and fruit pies. Their offerings can be found at Steve’s Garden Market in Hillsborough, Hillsborough Farm and Garden Stand, and the RambleRill Farm Saturday Slowdown. They also bake the cookie component of Elaka Treats’ ice cream sandwich.

Starfish also accept orders from private individuals, UNC Hospital, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, local realtors, and more. They deliver every Friday around Chapel Hill, Hillsborough, and Durham. On occasion, they have been commissioned to bake birthday cakes and wedding cakes.

“It’s busy, and it’s working out really well,” Tammy says. “We are getting better all the time and making our way into different venues.”

Learn more about Starfish Bakery and their offerings at starfishbakery.org.

Our thanks to 97.9 FM WCHL for spreading the word about our recently certified living wage employers. Have a listen the short clips below to learn more about these businesses and organizations – and please support them as you can!

Elysian Fields Farm

Law Offices of Amos Tyndall

Ballet School of Chapel Hill 

Transplanting Traditions Community Farm

Orange Congregations in Mission

Temporary Wall Systems 

Jury X 

Skylark Music School

Endswell Water Cremation

SKJAJA Fund

Me-Gi’s Dog Bakery

Lubbers & Sons Tree Care

Chapel Hill Day Care Center

The Cheese Shop

Emerge Pediatric Therapy 

Carolina Jewelry Appraisers

Franklin Street Yoga Center 

Walk & Wag

Carolina Advocates for Climate, Health, and Equity

The Treeist

Earth Yoga

Voices Together

Adkin CPA PLLC

Fiferum Construction 

Equiti Foods

Alliance for Historic Hillsborough

Humble Umbel Farm

Launch Labs

FRANK

Wild Flora Flowers

Neal’s Deli

Latino Community Credit Union

State Employees’ Credit Union

EarthCo Landscaping

River Mills Cycles

Rings True

Evergreen Clean

Carrboro Family Pharmacy 

Balanced Bookkeeping 

Carolina Habitats

Orange County’s newly updated 2023 living wage for hourly workers is $16.60 an hour, or $15.10 for employers who pay at least half of employees’ health insurance costs. Orange County Living Wage (OCLW) adjusts the living wage annually to keep pace with rising rents.

OCLW determines its living wage by using the widely accepted Universal Living Wage Formula based on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) standard that no more than 30% of a person’s gross income should be devoted to housing. To calculate the wage, OCLW uses the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in a four-county area including Alamance, Chatham, Durham, and Orange counties.

Since Orange County Living Wage’s voluntary employer certification program began in 2015, nearly 340 employers have certified as paying all full- and part-time employees the living wage. The 266 employers on OCLW’s current roster employ about 9,000 employees in Orange County. In this past year of record inflation, 48 new employers were recognized for their commitment to paying a living wage.

“Someone earning $7.25 per hour will gross $15,080, if they work 40 hours a week all year. In this time of rising costs, it is completely insufficient,” says OCLW Director Susan Romaine. “A $16.60 hourly wage reflects the minimum wage necessary for workers to live close enough to our county to provide essential services like staffing our hospitals, schools, police and fire departments, grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacies, nonprofits, and more. We commend our 266 certified living wage employers for their leadership in the local economy and for prioritizing their workers.”

When a business or organization certifies as a living wage employer, OCLW calculates the total amount they raised wages to meet the living wage threshold. Since 2015, that total is $2.8 million, with over $950,000 stemming from 2022 wage increases alone – money that is often spent in Orange County.

Learn more about Orange County Living Wage, view postings on the living wage jobs board, or fill out the free application to become a certified living wage employer at orangecountylivingwage.org.

In 2022, we welcomed 48 Orange County employers to our roster of living wage employers. Compare that to 2021, when we added 34 employers! Are you the leader of an Orange County business or organization that wishes to join the ranks in 2023? Here are some tips to help you achieve this goal as we enter this new year!

  1. Run the numbers, and determine when you might be able to hit this milestone. Measure the wage gap – meaning, compare current wages with the benchmark to understand what lies ahead. Our 2023 living wage is $16.60 an hour, or $15.10 for employers who pay at least half of employees’ health insurance costs. The certification will be in effect for the next two years, and then there’s a more streamlined process to be recertified based on the living wage that is in place at the time of your recertification. Prospective living wage employers: OCLW can connect you with a certified employer, in a similar industry, who can share some tricks of the trade. A mentor of sorts. Reach out to us.
  2. Assess whether your overall model might be due for a second look. Nicholas Stroud of Belltree Cocktail in Carrboro wanted to raise his wage to more than $15 per hour but didn’t think that should mean he should hold back any tips – so now his workers earn a living wage plus gratuity. “You should have seen the smiles on [my team’s] faces,” he told The Local Reporter. “They were happy to come to work and proud to work here.”

    The staff at Belltree.

    Glasshalfull eliminated the tip obligation when they reopened following Covid. Their website states: “You will notice that our menu prices have increased. In order to eliminate the tip obligation, we raised prices by the average percentage tip previously paid at Glasshalfull. This makes it possible to provide fair and equitable pay for our employees and an excellent experience for you at approximately the same price you used to pay. Glasshalfull has been involved with Orange County Living Wage since 2016 when we were certified as a Living Wage Employer. Our lowest starting hourly wage at Glasshalfull is $16 an hour, topping out at $30. We care about all of our employees, and we pay our service employees a real living wage. If you feel your service team goes above and beyond, may we suggest an optional gratuity of 3%, 4%, 5%, or a custom amount in lieu of the current obligatory 18%, 20%, or 22%.”

    The team at Ten Mothers Farm.

  3. Document your “why.” Put pen to paper to express why this is important for your business/organization and what it would mean to you personally, to your patrons, to your team, and to the larger community as a whole. Getting clear on your motivation will help you reach your goal. “We decided to pay a living wage because it aligns with one of our core values – ‘belonging,’” says Jacklyn Goggins, executive director of B3 Coffee. “To us, belonging means respecting the worth and dignity of all people in the workplace and beyond. To us, a living wage means equitable access to purposeful and community-oriented work. A living wage benefits our employees, business and the broader community because it means we are doing our part to shift power to marginalized communities.”
    Mark Overbay of Big Spoon Roasters recently told us: “As a small, family-owned business, we prioritize taking care of our people and their families because healthy and inspired people are empowered to create nutritious and delicious food. When we had the vision for Big Spoon Roasters back in 2010, we had a clear goal of creating a different kind of food business – the type of place we’d like to work – that makes the kinds of no-compromise foods we love to eat, and helps people develop a healthier relationship with our planet. Every business decision is made with this mission in mind.”
    Vera Fabien of Ten Mothers Farm shared: “Paying a living wage means our farmers have stable, year-round jobs and can stick around longer than one season, which makes our business more resilient. Skilled long-term farmers make for better vegetables and better service for our CSA customers. It’s taken us a number of years to get to this point, but it feels really good to finally be here, and we believe it’s a win-win situation for all of us.”
  4. Be transparent with your employees – and other key stakeholders – about your plans. St. Thomas More Catholic Parish of Chapel Hill’s leaders took a strategic approach to ensure that they could support their living wage goal in the long term. But they informed parishioners – about 2,800 families representing about 8,000 individuals – that this was something they were working toward. “Even before we started the offertory appeal, we let folks know that this is a goal we have. We shared that we weren’t there yet and explained why,” says the Rev. Scott E. McCue.

    McCue with parishioners at a recent international fair.

    In October 2021, living wages were announced as a key component of the parish’s annual increased offertory appeal; parishioners are annually asked to think strategically about their financial gifts to the parish. In short, leaders made the case that as the cost of living increases, so, too, must wages. The parish became certified in the spring of 2022.

    5. Share information about Orange County Living Wage with your employees – so that they can understand how the current living wage is calculated, how the application process works, what our current roster looks like, and how we work to connect living wage employers to job seekers. Our website – orangecountylivingwage.org  – is chock full of information about our history, our living wage employers and employees, and more! You can also view our past newsletters.

    6. If there is a business or organization on our roster that you are familiar with, reach out to its leaders and ask them to have a conversation about what they have learned along the way. Maggie Funkhouser, the manager of the Carrboro Farmers’ Market, learned about the Orange County Living Wage certification program through living wage employers in the community – market vendors, restaurants, and others, including the Town of Carrboro. “We have a really wonderful relationship [with the Town of Carrboro], and there’s a lot of mutual support,” she says. “Certainly, them being living wage certified is a hugely impactful thing, and it affected me.” The market became living wage certified in 2022.

    7. Reach out to Orange County Living Wage so that you can be notified of upcoming networking opportunities. In the new year, OCLW aspires to host events in certified living wage employers’ spaces so that prospective living wage employers and current living wage employers can exchange tips, swap strategies, put their heads together about creating and maintaining a successful living wage workplace.