Jay Garneau

Your Rowan Favorites

Place to Eat: The Smoke Pit
Outdoor Activity: Bell Tower Green Park
Event or Festival: Cheerwine Festival

Jay Garneau

Marketing and Communications Manager, Rowan County Economic Development Council

Native of Elmhurst, Illinois (Chicago suburbs)

Industry: Economic Development/Marketing

Jay Garneau has lived in four states during his childhood and academic and professional careers. He became Marketing and Communications Manager at the Rowan EDC a year ago and is finding Rowan County “a perfect blend of the big and small. It’s super easy access to Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and Raleigh-Durham, as well as short trips to the mountains and beaches,” he says. “It also can be pretty private if you want a couple of secluded acres of land. You can make it into what you want it to be. You get a taste of everything. 

“I love this area,” he says. “The climate is great, and we get to experience all four seasons. I still get my winter fix with one snow per year, but overall, the weather is much better. It’s great to have access to both the mountains and the beach, and I try to make at least one trip to each every year. Rowan County is up and coming, and it’s been great to see the growth in my time here. It feels like there’s always a new restaurant popping up or new company moving in.”

Jay sees county leaders as “committed to moving Rowan County forward. The leadership in Rowan County will do whatever it takes to make it a better place to live and work,” he says. “It’s an awesome suburban spot to live with so much to do in the area.”

Explore

A favorite activity is “to get out and explore all the local restaurants and shops. I try to eat at a new restaurant at least once a week, and I pick up desserts from Abigail’s Bakery to bring home to my wife just as often,” Jay says.

He worked in public relations and marketing for the Wake Forest University Athletic Department before coming to Salisbury. He has lived in North Carolina 8 years but has also spent time in Illinois, Ohio, and Nevada. “Rowan County is pretty hard to beat, location-wise,” he says.

He has spent time as a high school umpire, golfs for fun, and he and his wife, Cassie, a Ph.D. student at Wake Forest, have two dogs, Freddy and Summer.

He’s a barbecue fan and says North Carolina barbecue is hard to beat. His favorite Salisbury restaurant, The Smoke Pit, serves barbecue that is “at the top of the pack,” he says. “I’ve lived in a handful of states, and The Smoke Pit is right up there with the best of them.

Open Space

A favorite outdoor space is Bell Tower Green Park. “I’m a huge fan. It brings together all of downtown Salisbury,” he says. “It’s such a versatile space. There’s plenty of open space for events, lots of pathways to walk the dogs, and activity areas to keep kids entertained, too. It’s a great addition to Downtown Salisbury.” 

The big Cheerwine Festival is a favorite event because he loves the soft drink that originated in Salisbury.

For newcomers, he recommends a visit to Historic Gold Hill Village in eastern Rowan County. “It’s a unique community that embraces the historic aspect of the area and state,” he says. “It reminds us of our roots.”

The county slogan, Be an Original,™ to Jay, “means ‘come as you are’ and you’ll fit right in by being yourself. There’s something for everyone, and it’s easy to feel a sense of belonging. If you want to be able to make an impact on your community, you can accomplish that in Rowan.”

Your Rowan Favorites

Place to Eat: The Smoke Pit
Outdoor Activity: Bell Tower Green Park
Event or Festival: Cheerwine Festival