Local clothier, quilters, hot dog chain stay busy

We catch up with some Charlotte-area small-business owners making news recently:

Carly Gardner, owner of Leap of Faith Clothing, heads to Washington, D.C., at the end of the month to participate in the Retail Advocates Summit, sponsored by the National Retail Federation.

At the summit, being held July 29-30 and involving more than 150 small-business owners, merchants can network and talk with lawmakers about industry priorities. Gardner is one of three North Carolina participants, and the only one from Charlotte, according to the retail federation.

In addition to Leap of Faith Clothing, a children’s line that features Cape T-Shirts, Gardner has two other lines. She says her women’s clothing line, Style Gather, is now part of a promotion involving the online shopping platform OpenSky and Sears. She also has a “functional fashion” line called Jleer Brand.


American Quilter’s Society, which describes itself as the largest quilting membership organization in the world, is bringing its QuiltWeek show to Charlotte next week. Several local small businesses will vend at the show running July 30-Aug. 2 at the Charlotte Convention Center. Charlotte businesses include PlainJane Threads, QBee Quilts, Meridian Fibers and Charlotte Sewing Center. Other vendors are Concord-based The Bell Collection and We’re Sew Creative, Hickory’s Brother/Lee’s Creative Sewing and Vacuum, Hmong Pandau Needlework out of Morganton and Prodigy Machine Corp. out of York, S.C.


JJ’s Red Hots, with locations in Dilworth and Ballantyne, is involved in a new business partnership that will bring the hot dogs to college campuses.

JJ’s is partnering with Chartwells Higher Education, a division of Compass Group North America, to get its food served at higher education institutions. Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton will be the first spot to get the hot dogs, as well as a customized menu and a special FAU DOG designed for the university.

“The high energy of a university setting is right in our sweet spot, because we like to have fun with our brand and we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” JJ’s owner Jonathan Luther said in a statement.

JJ’s Red Hots was honored in May for making Fast Casual’s list of the year’s top 50 restaurants, the only Charlotte-area brand to receive recognition. It finished 43rd on the publication’s annual “Top 100 Movers & Shakers” list.