New Bern was first settled by German and Swiss adventurers led by Baron Christopher de Graffenried, a Swiss nobleman and entrepreneur. New Bern’s ties with the Swiss run deep – in fact, New Bern’s city flag still prominently features a bear in its emblem, honoring its relationship with Switzerland’s capitol city, Bern or Berne, purportedly named by its founder for a bear he had killed.
New Bern is also the first capitol of the Colony of North Carolina, home to Tryon Palace, so named for British Royal Governor William Tryon, who lived there until 1771. Josiah Martin, the second royal governor to live in the Palace, fled in 1775 at the beginning of the American Revolution. After the U.S. won its independence, North Carolina patriots made the Palace their capitol and conducted the first sessions of the N.C. General Assembly there. (In 1794, Raleigh became the state capital.)
New Bern is widely recognized as the birthplace of Pepsi Cola, which was invented by pharmacist Caleb Bradham in 1898 and was first known as “Brad’s Drink” before adopting its modern name. Today, Bradham’s pharmacy is the site of a store and museum dedicated to all things Pepsi. That facility opened its doors in 1998, on the occasion of the soft drink’s 100th anniversary.
Today, New Bern is the government seat of Craven County and boasts a diverse and growing population of approximately 28,000, which is around 30 percent of the entire County’s population.
An estimated 33 percent of New Bern’s residents are employees of the city or county governments, and an estimated 25 percent are retirees. (Local Suddenlink employees recall that, in 2005, NBC’s Today Show named New Bern one of the nation’s top 20 retirement communities.)
The city is also home to the state’s current Lieutenant Governor and a leading candidate for Governor, Beverly Perdue.
In New Bern, Suddenlink offers the triple play of TV, Internet, and phone, with the latter service launched in May 2007.
“Our phone service has done very well in New Bern, as has our Internet service,” said Bill Paramore, vice president of customer operations for the North Carolina Region.
Local managers are excited about the future, including the steady pace of new construction of upscale communities. Some of that construction is driven by the influx of retirees, many of whom forego assisted living facilities to build and occupy single-family homes starting at $300,000 plus. Overall, New Bern has the second-highest level of new-build activity in the region, behind Greenville, N.C., where the regional headquarters is located.
The New Bern team is also pleased with its solid working relationship with the local franchise authority.
“We’ve always had a good relationship with Suddenlink, even before it was Suddenlink,” said Bill Hartman, New Bern’s city manager. “We’re very familiar with the people, many of whom are the same people as when Cox operated here. They’re clearly concerned about the customer and continue to provide good service.”