Slow transformations work for Susan Caldwell.
More than seven years ago, the owner of Lil’ Chef Kids Cooking Studio decided to get healthy. She ate right, exercised and eventually lost 140 pounds, earning her a spot in “People” magazine as someone who lost half her weight.
From there, she started teaching kids about fitness and healthy cooking, and opened Lil’ Chef in North Raleigh.
That studio, which had since moved to North Hills, closed Aug. 22 and is set to move again – this time to another part of the shopping center, rebranding itself as Flour Power Kids Cooking Studio.
The change to Flour Power has been gradual, and about a year ago, Caldwell started incorporating the name on things like shirts, name tags and logos, but doing it in subtle ways so that no one would really notice.
“We didn’t want anyone to panic,” Caldwell said. “We tried to do little bits of things all along to let people know that nothing has changed other than our location and name.”
At Flour Power, clients will find the same Lil’ Chef programs and camps, which aim to help teach kids how to cook healthy foods, along with offering lessons in etiquette and table manners.
Cooking classes are tailored for everyone from toddlers to teenagers, and use recipes that tie into themes such as the movie “Frozen,” Halloween, breakfast and Southern cooking. Kids learn to make foods such as breakfast crepes, pan-fried Thai dumplings, lava cakes, fried macaroni and cheese, homemade linguini and pizza dough.
Through each class, Caldwell hopes kids will acquire kitchen skills such as measuring, using a knife, plating, cleanliness and how to follow a recipe. The students are also taught about food handling, the importance of using fresh ingredients and how to substitute one ingredient for another.
Flour Power’s Kid’s Night Out classes, held Friday nights, range from “SpongeBob” and cupcakes to “Star Wars” and gingerbread houses.
The studio also has teacher workday camps and full- and half-day weeklong camps that range from Iron Chef competitions and restaurant design to wintertime meals and movies and munchies.
“We try to do it where they learn a lot, but in a fun, hands-on environment,” Caldwell said of the studio. “It lowers obesity rates and allows them to try new foods. That’s the purpose of what we do.”
The place also offers adult classes and corporate team-building events.
Prices range from about $39 for kid’s night out classes to about $299 for camps.
While most changes have been subtle and slow, a few things will be noticeable once the new studio opens. The space has brighter colors, is about 800-square-feet smaller than the last location and is set up like a TV studio to allow for the filming of a potential unscripted healthy-eating show for kids called “Flour Power,” Caldwell said.
Caldwell also has another project in the works – a third Flour Power studio. She’s still figuring out the details but expects it to open in the spring.
Flour Power Kids Cooking Studio, which also has a Charlotte location, opens Sept. 19 at 201 Main at North Hills St., Suite 106.
Elaine Ball, co-owner of shop Yellow House Floral & Gifts, had such a high demand for her unique products that she moved the seasonal shop out of her home and into a full-time retail space.
That demand has continued to increase so much that she’s opening a temporary second store, three doors away, just for holiday merchandise.
Ball, a decorator and designer, said the store’s wreaths and floral arrangements, such as table centerpieces that highlight pheasant feathers, are custom made. The Christmas shop will also offer customizable gift wrapping with elegant ribbons and decorations.
The 1,900-square-foot Yellow House Christmas Shop is expected to open the first week of October and run through Jan. 1. Ball hopes to transform the shop to something different after the holidays.
Yellow House Floral & Gifts carries “everything from A to Z,” which includes candles, jewelry, scarves, pecan pie in a jar, North Carolina soaps, lotions and peanuts, Ball said. Prices range from about $8 for jellies to about $250 for custom-made centerpieces.
The two stores are planning an open house in October, but Ball is still working out the details.
Both Yellow House stores are at 1148 N. Main St., next to Biscuitville in Fuquay-Varina.
There’s a lot going on at Raleigh’s Cameron Village.
In Cameron Village, Bailey’s Fine Jewelry’s expansion should be finished by the end of the month. The renovated store will be about 12,000 square feet.