DURHAM, N.C. — North Carolina has been ranked the number one state for business in CNBC’s “America’s Top States for Business” list.

What You Need To Know

  • North Carolina was ranked CNBC’s America’s Top State for Business in 2022

  • The ranking says one thing that led to the Tar Heel state's success is that its leaders put political division aside to boost business and the economy

  • The State Commerce Department says despite pandemic struggles, N.C. invested in 185 economic development projects in 2021, announcing more than 24,000 new jobs

The State Commerce Department says despite the impacts of the pandemic, 2021 was a record year for our state for both economic and job growth.

Some people choose North Carolina as home for their business because of things like new economic projects, the promise of jobs and one of the lowest corporate income tax rates in the country.

Others already call the Tar Heel State home for their families and choose to invest. That's the case for Durham's Der Nachbar Botteshop and Taps.

The new shop opened in June and was founded by two local families who met during the pandemic, Eric and Laura Cannon and Gert and Erin Blüschke.

"So COVID happened and the world kind of slowed down and we were doing a lot of walks in the neighborhood and ran into Erin and Gert who also have two young kids frequently, and we decided to do more scheduled walks," said Eric Cannon.

Then those walks became talks and deep conversations. Soon, the couples realized they had a shared dream to open up a bottle shop. And after Sam's Quick Shop closed down in 2018, they realized West Durham was in need of something new.

“I think neither of us really believed in ever doing something like this, so things just came together and we just really went for it and we are super excited to be open now," said Gert Blüschke.

Customers sit inside Der Nachbar. The bar is located next to the intersection of Hillsborough Road and 751 (Photo: Victoria Wresilo, Spectrum News 1)

The four each have careers outside of this endeavor. Eric Cannon is an attorney, and Laura Cannon is a school psychologist, who will return later this summer after working as a stay-at-home mom.  

Gert Blüschke works for IQVIA, a health care company in the Triangle, and Erin Blüschke works as a nurse for the UNC Health system.

"I honestly never imagined opening up a bar," said Erin Blüschke. "Over the past year and a half and as it developed, I started getting excited about being part of something in our community and having an opportunity to build a place where neighbors could come together."

They named the business Der Nachbar for two reasons: as a nod to Gert Cannon's German heritage and because it translates to "the neighbor" in German. It's also a tribute to how they all met.

"During the pandemic, we realized our perspectives on the pandemic, and we just knew that we could trust each other based off that," Laura Cannon said. 

Now, they hope the bottle shop can become an extension of their origin story and will allow others to create a lasting community.

"It's families that like to come," Laura Cannon said. "So creating this space for parents to come and enjoy an outing with other families and have their kids be entertained as well, just became important for us to be able to create that space here."

​According to the State Commerce Department, North Carolina invested big in 2021 with 185 economic development projects, announcing more than 24,000 new jobs.