Mona the Boston Terrier has made a huge impact in her five short years.
When she was about seven or eight months old, she was adopted from the Wake County Animal Shelter by Debbi Cochran. Since then, she’s gained more than 32,000 Facebook followers, has become an online video star and has had a nonprofit named after her when it was created for animals like her who deserve a better life.
And now, she’s helping Cochran transition from her role as owner of Raleigh boutique Cat Banjo to full-time operator of her nonprofit: the Mona Pants Foundation.
Mona Pants “started last year, and it’s begun to take up so much of my time,” said Cochran, who has seven rescue dogs. “My lease is up and I thought this was a good time to go and put all my energy into the nonprofit.”
Cochran, who has owned Cat Banjo for 20 years, plans to close her Glenwood South store July 31.
The boutique sells everything from furniture and home decor to clothes and jewelry, and has been heavily involved in raising money for rescue groups and animal shelters, and a percentage of its sales from some products are donated to those organizations.
Before Mona Pants, Cat Banjo held animal adoption events and fundraisers for shelters, and took in donations.
Cochran said she started the foundation, which also sells goods online and gives 25 percent of sales to help animals, as a way to be more “legit” by giving people the opportunity to get a tax deduction on their donations. She also says the 501(c)(3) status will help her attract more donors.
Mona Pants sells some of its products on Cat Banjo’s website, which will continue to operate and offer many of the store’s top-selling items such as jewelry, tank tops and T-shirts. The site will also continue its weekly auctions.
Cochran and Mona also plan to do monthly, 18-hour Cat Banjo pop-up shops at Revolver Consignment Boutique for First Friday events starting in September and continuing through the holidays. After that, she hopes to do them every other month.
“The pop-up shops will have the same kind of stuff on the website,” Cochran said. “We will bring bigger items that are harder to ship and I’ll bring Mona to the event so she can see her fans.”
Cochran is reducing prices to move Cat Banjo’s merchandise, furniture and store fixtures so she and Mona can devote their time to Mona Pants.
“Pretty much everything has to go,” Cochran said.
Cat Banjo is at 122 Glenwood Avenue, near Revolver and the Raleigh Wine Shop.
Rocco Sammartino Jr. has reopened Tavern on the Green, a restaurant and bar at the clubhouse of the Eagle Ridge Golf Club in Garner.
The place serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and its menus include homemade biscuits with fried chicken, sausage or bacon, egg and cheese, hot dogs, grilled chicken, baked ziti and chicken parmesan – both with homemade sauce, and a burger called the Scratcher topped with barbecue sauce, bacon and deli ham.
The restaurant is also in the process of testing other dishes such as flat bread pizzas and tacos.
“Through the summer, we are going to add to to our dinner menu, Sammartino said.
The bar focuses on North Carolina breweries, and carries about 40 beer labels such as Big Boss Hell’s Belle, Lonerider’s Shotgun Betty, Carolina Brewing Company’s pale ale and Oskar Blues Brewery’s Mama’s Little Yella Pils.
Prices range from about $8 to $10 for lunch and about $10 to $16 for dinner.
The 3,000-square-foot space seats 88 and includes a sunroom and outdoor deck that overlooks the golf course and a lake.
Sammartino, who leases the space from Fred Smith Company, the public golf course’s owner, said the building is undergoing renovations that include painting, adding patio furniture and switching to LED lighting.
He says he’s also working to change the reputation of the clubhouse eatery that has struggled through the years to maintain consistency with its menu and hours.
“The biggest thing I’ve heard about previous management is that people never knew if he was open,” he said. “People would show up and the place would be closed at 5 p.m. after a round of golf.”
Tavern on the Green is at 565 Competition Road in the Eagle Ridge neighborhood off Old Stage Road.
Arrow Haircuts, which has two locations in Raleigh, has opened a third place called Pedro Williams. The barbershops offer free beer and sell locally made products. Pedro Williams is at 624 Ninth Street in Durham.