Cheers to the Cary Community: Utilizing our Monthly Social Hours to Shed a Light on Local Gems in Cary

Rebekah Gregg

I’ve been in the Raleigh community for the past six years and graduated from NC State back in 2021. Since graduating, I’ve worked for Raleigh Founded, a coworking space that has four locations here in the Triangle area. My time here has been incredibly rewarding and I’ve been lucky enough to learn the ins and outs of the Raleigh startup scene, as well as explore some of the coolest restaurants and local spots.

When the Founded team was first afforded the opportunity to expand into downtown Cary, I didn’t have many preconceived notions about the area. I had driven through downtown Cary on a few occasions, and had vaguely remembered the welcoming charm I felt as I drove through the string lit main street one evening a few months back.

Once construction began on our new property, I wanted to learn more about the local businesses, activities, and community that made Cary so special. I began contacting local business owners to meet with them for coffee. After countless meetings at BREW and Esteamed, I slowly started to get a sense for the area and I quickly understood why it holds such a special place in the hearts of many community members. If there was one thing I learned through these meetings, it was that downtown Cary certainly wasn’t lacking a sense of pride.

Every single business owner that I met with greeted me with a smile, genuine enthusiasm for their business, and welcoming arms.

I was touched by how willing the business owners were to collaborate and support one another, understanding that lifting up their neighbors inevitably leads to more foot traffic for their own space. Through my meetings, I also realized how many cool, locally owned bars and restaurants exist. However, the disparity between the amount of unique spots downtown and the amount of people who know about them was large and I wanted to find a way to lessen that gap.

With our mission rooted in community connection, the Founded team began to brainstorm how we could uplift these local businesses, while also bringing together people from all walks of life. This led us to come up with an idea for a regular meetup that would take place around the town.

I first reached out to Graffiti, as I knew that it would allow for a relaxed space for people to get to know one another. With axe throwing on deck, and street art lining the walls, I had a feeling people would be able to unwind and have fun without the pressure that typical networking events often impart.

Mural by @vonne_makes_art

When I met with their team about this idea, they were enthusiastically on-board. Neither of us knew what to expect in terms of turn-out and how the community would respond, but we went into it with no expectations.

Little did we know, this Social Hour would soon be followed by a string of events around the Cary community, including additional entrepreneurship events and networking meetups all stemming from connections that were made there.

People came out to from across the Triangle, members from Raleigh Founded, local downtown Cary residents, and everyone in-between.

From the past four Social Hours we’ve done, we’ve amounted close to 300 RSVP’s, comprised of individuals simply looking to connect.

After this first Social Hour, we hosted our next event at RBF, a chic woman-owned champagne bar that challenges the patriarchy. Their space is beautiful and offers a wide range of hand crafted drinks, including mocktails. They also host a wide range of events if you’re looking for things to do!

From there, we met up at Bond Brothers on their back patio. Well beloved in the Cary community, Bond Brothers Beer Company is the destination to go for craft beer enthusiasts. Founded by two brothers, Jeremy and Jay Bond, this brewery has gained acclaim for its diverse lineup of beers, from hoppy IPAs to rich stouts. Their spacious outdoor beer garden is also a fantastic place to enjoy a brew while taking in live music or regular food truck bites.

And finally, our most recent Social Hour took place at The Walk Up, Cary’s newest cocktail lounge. To enter the space, you take the stairs and enter a beautiful atmosphere with exposed brick and plenty of plants. They even have the most stunning patio that is dog friendly and features string lights and lots of cozy seating. While we were here I tried their grapefruit mocktail. The Walk Up opened this past December and is a must-visit after a dinner downtown.

Overall, we are so excited to be joining the Cary community in the coming months and have enjoyed getting to know the local residents and talented business owners so far. Although Cary is quaint and beautiful in it’s own right, it’s truly the people and events that make it so special. The events happening in and around Cary have been a true testament to the power of connection and we hope to continue to contribute to this.

In the meantime, make sure to stay up to date on our upcoming events here and follow us on Instagram to learn more about community events, our neighbors, and more!