WILMINGTON – The ninth season of the entrepreneurial reality show “Start Up” premieres Tuesday afternoon on PBS and World Channel. Five of the 13 episodes were filmed in the Cape Fear region in June and feature local and growing businesses.
TRU Colors’ episode will kick off the season at 4:30 p.m. After the season it will be available to watch on PBS.org and then on Amazon Prime.
Established in 2017 after the owner witnessed a drive-by shooting, TRU Colors is a brewery hiring active rival gang members in its mission to promote unity and combat street violence. The episode was shot at the Wilmington headquarters, home to a tasting room, gym, childcare center and podcasting studio for employees’ benefit. The owner’s belief is that violence is not the result of gangs but rather a symptom of lacking economic opportunity.
After filming wrapped, the company faced a tragic loss in late July when three alleged gunmen entered the home of COO George Taylor III in the dark of early morning and killed one of the brewery employees, 29-year-old Koredreese Robert Tyson. Bri-yanna Emily Williams, 21, was also murdered and an unnamed victim was injured.
The “Start Up” episode will give viewers more insight into the operation and mission, but it will not address the incident since it occurred after filming wrapped. Producer Jenny Feterovich said they may revisit the situation in one of its follow-ups on its website in the following year.
“We’re gonna see where the company is, especially with somebody like [TRU Colors] because we were really there pre-launch,” she said.
A trailer for the episode shows aerial shots of the $950,000 facility on Greenfield Street and TRU Light cans rotating down a factory line. TRU Colors is preparing for its initial launch of the 95-calorie premium light lager in the coming week, according to its Facebook page.
The company has secured a distribution partnership with brewing giant Molson Coors.
The TRU Light launch has been a long-time coming. It previously delayed its release in July due to “unforeseen complications while working with our new brewing systems,” Wilmington Business Journal reported. Taylor addressed that the finished product didn’t live up to what originally was tested.
Other businesses featured in this upcoming season include Sea Love Sea Salt Co., Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, Genesis Block and End of Days Distillery.
Producers had many people writing into the show as they prepared to film. After coming across End of Days Distillery, they picked up the local Cargo District business for an additional episode in Wilmington. Feterovich said they were impressed with the guts the business owners had in opening only a month ahead of the pandemic and found their pivot to producing hand sanitizer made out of vodka fascinating.
The series also showcased entrepreneurs in Savannah and Charleston for the season, which is expected to highlight how companies have innovatively survived the pandemic thus far.
“Start Up” was originally considering the Wilmington area for its eighth season. After Covid-19 began to spread, the show chose to shoot in the producers’ home state of Michigan to avoid travel. Producers hadn’t forgotten about Wilmington by the time they were ready to plan the next season on the road. Feterovich said in an interview in May the team could have rolled the entire season in Wilmington from the number of business stories the Cape Fear has to offer.
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