Capital at Play August 2019

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Jon Jones & Jason Stewart Anthroware p.16

Dan & Betsy Reiser

A Black Belt in Business p.76

Western North Carolina's Free Spirit of Enterprise

l e i s u r e & l i b at i o n


Business Flower Farms in Western North Carolina are growing “One Seed at a Time� p.59

lo c a l i n d u s t ry

Living Well p.39 Retirement Communities in Western North Carolina


Negotiations 101 p.34 Support Systems p.54 CBD, Marijuana, & the Workplace p.72

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Editor’s Thoughts


rom digital solutions gurus to an expert in travel trailer restoration; from the steadily-blooming flower farms industry in Western North Carolina to our constantly-expanding retirement communities; from a tutorial on mastering the art of successful negotiation to a discussion on investing in regenerative systems; to a look at how hemp and marijuana impact the modern workplace to a timely tip on a unique twist upon the camping experience; the Capital at Play issue you are holding is covering a lot of territory this month. I sincerely hope that everyone who picks this up—or is viewing it online, via our website (or our digital magazine host,—will find something of interest. And we’ve got the usual local and state news briefs as well, not to mention our monthly calendar of our events picks and, as always, the immensely popular People at Play photo spread of folks like you out and about having fun. The retirement community report in particular should be of interest to both residents and visitors because everyone has at least one trait in common: We all get older, and as we age, our priorities, personal needs, and familial situations tend to change and evolve. Going hand in hand with that are our decisions regarding how and where we intend to live. Consider this passage from the report: “The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to more than double, from 46 million today to over 98 million by 2060, and the 65-and-older age group’s share of the total population will rise to nearly 24 percent, from the current 15 percent.” Those are not insignificant numbers. And as one of our respondents in the story observes, this region has become a prime destination for retirees, noting, “Our four seasons and natural beauty are a big attraction to this demographic. Our region benefits from a state-of-the-art health care system and a skilled medical community with a range of medical expertise, especially for an aging community. Our region is known for its arts, food, and entertainment options. We have also found that people discover our region as a tourist first, and fall in love with the area.” No kidding. Some of you readers may recall my writing in this forum a couple of years ago about how I, my wife, and my son had an initial decade-long run in Asheville prior to moving to the Triangle (due to our jobs); but then, after about three years, we came to the realization that our hearts simply belonged in the mountains. So, we came back. Now, with our kid about to head off to college this fall, the whole what-we-gonna-dowhen-we-get-older question is coming into stark relief. Eventually, some life decisions will have to be addressed, and I’m just relieved that we are already here—for all the reasons outlined in the paragraph above, and plenty more. To the rest of you, I’d simply like to say, how about you? There’s nothing wrong with starting to think of long-term plans early on. See you at the shuffleboard competition someday…

Sincerely, 4

Fred Mills

| August 2019


Class of 2019! 2019!

“There is no cookie-cutter graduate at CDS. What we do best is meet students where they are, “There is no cookie-cutter graduate at CDS. What we do best is meet students where they are, continue to push them to perform at their highest level, along the way encouraging them to question continue to push them to perform at their highest level, along the way encouraging them to question everything, especially us. Our graduates leave here realizing that there is no single easy answer everything, especially us. Our graduates leave here realizing that there is no single easy answer to life’s problems. Our kids, our graduates, are independent thinkers, who relish in asking questions to life’s problems. Our kids, our graduates, are independent thinkers, who relish in asking questions and want to make a meaningful difference in the world—a difference that is unique to each and and want to make a meaningful difference in the world—a difference that is unique to each and every one of them.” —David Hertzinger, Faculty Commencement Address every one of them.” —David Hertzinger, Faculty Commencement Address

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Western North Carolina's Free Spirit of Enterprise


Oby Morgan associate publisher

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Fred Mills

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Information & Inquiries Capital at Play is Western North Carolina’s business lifestyle magazine. It embodies the idea that capitalism thrives with creativity—that work requires an element of play. Exploring everything from local industry to the great outdoors, Capital at Play is inspiration for the modern entrepreneur. In every edition we profile those who take the risk, those who share that risk, and those who support them—telling the untold story of how capitalists are driven by their ideas and passions. We cater to those who see the world with curiosity, wonderment, and a thirst for knowledge. We present information and entertainment that capitalists want, all in one location. We are the free spirit of enterprise.

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Capital at Play has partnered with Bclip Productions to bring the pages of each edition to life, just for you. Featured at and our Facebook page, we give you exclusive interviews and insider info on the people, places, and faces of Capital at Play has partnered with Bclip Productions to bring the pages of each edition to life, just for you. Featuring a new enterprise throughout Western North Carolina. Visit us on social media or at our website to see the latest 60 Seconds at Play.

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At Bclip we do more than tell your story. Our business-first mentality and c creativity set us apart from other video production companies. It’s our mis help our customers sell their products, train their staff, and entertain custo video. We strive to eat, sleep, and think like the wonderful companies we w

thi s page :

OUT OF THIS WORLD. Dan Reiser is fixing up old campers, and sharing old tales, in one of this month's features. photo by Anthony Harden on the cover :

FLOWERS AND SMILES can be found at Blue Ridge Blooms. photo by Briana Autran Photography

w 60 prise y.

combustible ssion to omers with work with.

F E AT U R E D vol. ix

ed. viii







August 2019 |


C ON T E N T S a u g u s t 2 019

pick your own

flowers at local flower farms, photo cour tesy Lady Luck


lo c a l i n d u s t r y

Living Well

Retirement Communities in Western North Carolina



One Seed at a Time

Flower Farms in Western North Carolina

colu m n

12 A ngel Dog

34 Negotiations 101

14 U rban Escape Vehicles

54 Support Systems

O’Neal Scott

Melody King

Written by Rodrigo Afanador

p e o p l e at p l ay

8 8 Asheville Community Theatre’s 2019 Gala

Written by Lee Warren

72 CBD, Marijuana, &


the Workplace

28 Carolina in the West 50 The Old North State 10

l e i s u r e & l i b at i o n

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A Dog’s Journey (Down the Aisle)

O’Neal Scott talks about her dog training service, Angel Dog, and how she can make a wedding day all the more special.



og weddings? Are you kidding? You mean actually having a formal ceremony for two dogs? Is this an Asheville thing—you know, keeping it weird and…” “No,” comes the patient reply. “Weddings where the people getting married also have their pets as part of the ceremony, just like they have bridesmaids and groomsmen. But it is definitely a ‘thing,’ yes.” That’s Asheville’s O’Neal Scott, schooling me on what she, with 40 years’ worth of experience working with dogs under her belt, has increasingly found to be a lucrative part of her business, Angel Dog, Inc. Growing up in the Midwest, she got into dog training during her teen years through 4-H and taking part in obedience and confirmation competitions. That fueled her enthusiasm and led her to connect with professional dog trainers and obtain advanced training and certification in order to start her own business. By 1998 she had opened Angel Dog, Inc. “At that time,” she says, picking up the story, “I left the large corporate world to create a more positive and enriching life with dogs and their loving families. I’ve a lifetime with animals as family members and I’m passionate about actively pursuing the ongoing joy of working with dogs. I’ve been blessed to train one-on-one with extraordinary mentors. And I’ve always 12

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ONE OF SCOTT'S clients walking down the aisle. photos cour tesy Angel Dog

focused on a loving relationship of giving done on both ends of the leash.” Scott’s training programs have won awards in the canine industry, and she’s been featured on television and radio. She also developed Angel Dog Sound Socialization to address the needs of sound-fearful dogs. (Think: last month’s July 4 celebrations.) She would soon relocate to “a quieter, more peaceful life” in Asheville, a much smaller market than the ever-sprawling Atlanta, while still maintaining a loyal Georgia client base. And in addition to starting her obedience and training program— Angel Dog is billed as “the Harvard of dog training”—Scott also incorporated event planning into her services, coordinating with wedding planners to create a calm, enjoyable wedding experience both for the humans and their pooches. Explains Scott, “Asheville is a wedding destination and also known as Dog City USA, so naturally we need this service— isn’t it perfect for Asheville? I bring a unique set of skills not found in most wedding pet services. Research shows most companies are led and run by pet sitters and dog walkers. My vast dog training and event experience provides a significant advantage way beyond where many others would be limited in scope and abilities.

“I was excited to expand into the wedding pet services field because it is filled with joy, happiness, and connection. I’m experienced in including our beloved pets in weddings. I hope people will reach out and take advantage of my experience and talents in helping make their day extra special and joy filled by including their dog—a family member—in important moments in their life.” And bringing her business to Western North Carolina has proved to be a prescient move. “Anytime is a good time to get married in Asheville! And people do. I’ve talked with many Asheville wedding planners and specialists, and they are very helpful and supportive, and open to incorporate dogs in wedding ceremonies, receptions, and photo shoots. Overall, I find the wedding specialists here in WNC to be wonderful, gracious, and professional. I feel so blessed to be able to work with them.

When women make the

Choice to control our

FINANCES... ... we also make the choice to control our future. — Jessi Leonetti

Owner/Realtor the Leonetti Group

“Asheville is a wedding destination and also known as Dog City USA, so naturally we need this service.” “And people [are hearing] about Angel Dog, available to smoothly include dog family members in wedding ceremonies, receptions, photo shoots, and even proposals, engagement parties, save-the-date, and other events. Services such as training, pet sitting, and transportation are popular. I think we can look forward to seeing more dogs ‘blooming’ in the wedding scene, so I’m excited to be ramping up the wedding business portion of Angel Dog Inc. My services cater to large or small weddings, sweet indoor venues or our magnificent outdoors.” Scott mentions an upcoming event at the French Broad River Park which she feels will be particularly special: A father in a wheelchair will have his beloved dog on his lap as he escorts his daughter down the aisle. Says Scott, “This will be a delightful ceremony to remember.” Incidentally, about that “thing” mentioned above: Apparently, I have been way behind the curve, because in 2014 Buzzfeed published “29 Perfectly Adorable Ways to Include Your Pet in Your Wedding.” It displayed a menagerie’s worth of cute puppydog, kittycat, rabbit, horse, owl, and even (shudder) snake photos snapped at nuptials, along with suggestions such as including the critters in the wedding party photos, making them the flower girl’s escort, and having them at your side while making your vows. So yeah, it’s been a thing for some time now. You may now kiss the bride. Learn more about Angel Dog, Inc. at or call 828-772-9161.

Jessi Leonetti, Laura Webb and Faith Doyle

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“Some people prefer a hotel bed and a television. I get that,” says Melody King, of Urban Escape Vehicles. “But some of us really love the idea of taking our home with us.”


or some, Western North Carolina is more than just a destination, and that applies to tourists and residents alike. Indeed, there has always been an existential quality to our locale, and increasingly, the regional experience is turning fully immersive whereby people want to lend their vacation visits and weekend getaways a uniqueness beyond simply booking a room, renting a cabin, or pitching a tent. Enter a new breed of entrepreneurs aiming to address this. And meet Melody King, previously from Madison County and nowadays a devout Ashevillian, who operates Urban Escape Vehicles, which proudly advocates for the #vanlife4ever lifestyle (look it up, Instagrammers) via her custom-converted camper vans that allow clients to literally roll up to their mountain destination-of-choice— campsites, RV-style motor parks, backyards of friends and relatives, etc. “In my 20s I had spent quite a bit of time travelling around in my old VW bus,” explains King, of the initial spark that would lead to her founding the enterprise, “roaming around the United States, visiting national parks and selling my homemade jewelry as a street vendor at music concerts. That feeling of freedom has been unparalleled by anything I’ve done since that time. So, I launched Urban Escape Vehicles in the spring of 2019 to share my love of adventure travel—and to promote convenient access to the countless outdoor recreation opportunities in the Western North Carolina region.”


King is certainly not the first person to recognize a van’s mobility and flexibility, because who hasn’t suffered through lodging check in/check out delays or camping hike in/hike out hassles. But she’s still pretty confident that Urban Escape Vehicles is relatively unique to our area, saying, “While camper van rentals are popular in Europe and in our West, this business model is not as popular in the Eastern United States. So I’m happy to be Asheville’s homegrown, locally-owned camper van rental business.” She elaborates further about her business model, which is a canny blend of travel pragmatism and idealistic vagabondism. “The camper van is a vehicle that supports an adventure, but this business is not really about the van itself. It is about access. When you’re travelling in a camper van, regardless of where you’re parked at the moment, you are home. You have everything that you’ll need with you wherever you go: your kitchen, bed, the gear you’ve packed; it’s ready for you when you come off of the river, or the rock, or the trail. For that matter, it is ready for you when you come out of the antique store, the casino, or the restaurant. There is no need to re-pack the suitcase between destinations. You’re always home. “I had initially assumed that my typical customers would be couples in their 30s, whether local or travelling in from out of town. Although this will be a large segment of my customers, I’m finding that the van camping lifestyle appeals to many different demographics. It is ideal for parent/child camping trips and is also a perfect fit for those of us who used to do more backpacker-style camping, but have found a new appreciation for a comfy bed. “It is also the perfect festival rig. Anyone who is considering getting into van life full-time should try camping in some vans to learn more. Several renters have expressed interest in building out their own camper, but first want to get a sense of van life to determine which features are important to them so that they can set priorities accordingly.” If it wasn’t already clear, King speaks from experience. She’s a single mother with a pair of two teenage boys and holds down a full-time job with a hospice agency. She also has what she admits is a work-hard/play-hard approach to life (“Eventually, I’ll need to learn to slow down!”), which means that currently


she’s focused on her day job during 9-5 weekdays, and then zeroes in on the camper van rentals nights and weekends—not to mention going camping herself. As noted above, Urban Escape Vehicles is still in its firststeps stage, but King says she’s already anticipating being able to serve clients well beyond the summer: “I plan to continue building the fleet and learning from my customers which features and arrangements are best for supporting their adventures. The milestone that I intend to reach this year will be to have rentals extending into the winter months. Camping is not only a summertime activity. I hope that

“I plan to continue building the fleet and learning from my customers which features and arrangements are best for supporting their adventures.” potential customers will recognize the value of being able to bring their ‘rental cabin’ along with them as they travel for the holidays and for winter sports.” King clearly picked the right place to bring her vision to the public; what could be more ideal than Western North Carolina? And she says that she’s also greatly encouraged by the camaraderie and mutual support that local businesses here share. “When one of us succeeds, we all succeed. I don’t have the sense that we are competing with each other for local dollars. There are enough customers for all of us, and I look forward to partnering with complementary, or even competing, businesses for mutual benefit.” Urban Escape Vehicles is accepting bookings at www. or by calling 828-772-1097.

August 2019 |


IMPACTFUL written by jason gilmer


photos by anthony harden

When Jon Jones and Jason Stewart founded Asheville’s Anthroware, they wanted to be more than just a software company—they envisioned being a product company.


software engineer and a database architect, both somewhat disgruntled in their positions with a large consulting firm, hung from the side of Looking Glass Mountain one afternoon in 2012 and discussed their futures. As they climbed, they bounced ideas back and forth about running a company that, while profitable, would be able to help others. Eventually, the talk circled back to their current project, something that Jon Jones and Jason Stewart were working on together, though neither could figure out how their work would affect the end user. As they continued to tackle the difficult and sometimes uncomfortable climb, Stewart asked something that might be difficult and sometimes uncomfortable for employees to say out loud: “Are we helping anybody?” “We were mad about something,” Jones says, reflecting back upon that day. “Everyone has a chip on their shoulder when they decide to start a business.”


| August 2019

August 2019 |


A year later that discussion drove Jones and Stewart to launch Anthroware, an Asheville-headquartered company that builds custom software, integrations, and databases for businesses. The company, as it says on its website, “develops technology solutions that are rooted in real end-user studies that are simple and easy to use.” “I think that’s where it started,” Jones says now. “We talked about what it might look like to start a business that had a specific aim of giving back into the communities where we live and work, directly impacting lives rather than making financial contributions to some vague charity, where the recipient of that contribution is unclear or not specific. “Instead, we can know that our efforts have provided meals to underprivileged children in our town, or provided Christmas presents to kids whose home situation is not great. I think that was when we both knew that we needed to go and do something, and what Anthroware became was just a detail at that point.” Jones, born and raised in Valdese, a small town of less than 5,000 in Burke County, wasn’t into sports as a young teenager. He found rock climbing through, he says, “the Girl Scouts.” No, he didn’t take up the activity to impress a cute troop, but because his Boy Scout troop was more into camping while his sister’s Girl Scouts troop tried other activities. An invitation for an introduction to rock climbing started his passion. Eventually, Jones’ parents took classes on how to set up top ropes, and weekends soon became packed with family trips to 18

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climb rocks. Jones would even skip classes in high school and head out for an adventure. The adventurous activity says a lot about Jones’ thinking when it comes to his business. Rock climbing, he says, “taught me a lot about taking risks and healthy fear versus unhealthy fear and decision making. It’s analogous to business in so many ways, and I feel so lucky to have had that experience.”

Learning Through Lean Times After the initial website for Anthroware launched, Jones and Stewart, who still had full-time jobs, searched out projects. They had four bids out for projects and no employees to help complete the work. With less than $1,500 in a checking account, the duo thought the company might win one or two of the projects, including one large job for a business they really wanted to earn. Instead, Anthroware won all four bids and now they needed help. The founders were naïve—perhaps brash—enough to ask for half of the project money up front. Jones called another friend, James Shaw, and offered him a position. There was a caveat—Jones could hire Shaw for six months, but after that there was no guarantee. Shaw turned in his two weeks’ notice and joined Anthroware. “Jon and Jason are both very smart, very driven, and very hard working, and in my experience, those kinds of people are

always successful,” observes Shaw. “I knew that it was a fairly large risk, but I also knew that people with those qualities always come out on top. They were going to be successful, which meant that Anthroware was very likely going to be successful as well, and I wanted to be a part of that success. I wanted—and still want—to work with people that challenge me to be better each day, and working at Anthroware gives me that.” Shaw had his concerns, and rightfully so; but through years of work at larger corporations, Shaw had learned that being laid off or being fired is out of his control. He knew that Jones and Stewart would give 100 percent to make the business succeed and they had his best interests in mind. “My biggest fear was probably that I would let them down,” he admits. “If I didn’t do a good job, this entire thing might collapse. No matter how hard they work, if I don’t do my part then their efforts might be wasted. I certainly didn’t want to let them down.” He didn’t. Shaw stuck with the founders through some tough times and his work as the director of engineering has led to more and more projects. When the company began to make money, Jones and Stewart gave Shaw some equity in Anthroware. For several years, though, the economics of being a start-up was tough. Jones says that he burned through his family’s nest egg on three different occasions. There were seven months when the founders didn’t get paid, but they never missed payroll, though once they did ask several employees to miss a paycheck and get paid at a later time. The founders received advice years ago about financing a business. They didn’t want to have investors and didn’t want a huge amount of debt, so they’ve cash-flowed the business August 2019 | 19

JON JONES and James Shaw discussing projects at their downtown office.

almost entirely. There was a small loan from Mountain BizWorks needed for payroll as the founders waited on a contracted project to start. There was also a line of credit that was leveraged, but nothing more. “There have been some lean times. But each time things go lean, we come back bigger and stronger,” Stewart says. “It is a testament to the team that we have built. I don’t think there was one moment, but a series of moments, when our people have shown the stuff they’re made of and prevailed over some opposition. We always come out wiser and with a stronger resolve to do great work for great clients.” Jones says Anthroware’s compound annual growth is more than 90 percent, and it has been profitable each year. “Even our worst year, we were profitable. It was by, like, eight dollars and it didn’t feel like we were profitable,” he quips. “We haven’t had a lot of margin some years, but we’ve been profitable. In the last couple of years, we’ve had a lot of margin.” That large margin, and the fact that there are no outside investors, means they’ve been able to give back to their employees. Last year included bonuses, and Jones admits he and the other owners “cried like babies at Christmas time when we handed out checks, but it was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. It’s because the team went through the same stress and the same ups and downs that we did, and they didn’t have to do that.” “We have an original crew that we take care of,” Jones adds. “They risked with us more than they had to for longer than they should have, and they are still here. It’s incredibly humbling.”

Creating The Right Culture There have been times when Jones’ passion for rock climbing has been shared with his employees. Group activities aren’t mandatory, but the team at Anthroware likes to play together as well as work as a unit, and a rock-climbing excursion has occurred. There’s also the Anthroware Regatta (think: “Arghh!,” as in pirates) where employees float together down the French Broad River. The culture that Jones has built is one reason why the company has grown. He hires 20

| August 2019

professionals who fit in with the team and who work well with others. “Success for us is, ‘Are we having fun?’ Why would we go through the daunting risk of starting our own company if at

“The culture here also fosters creativity and pursuing other outside interests, which is why I think our team comes up with such great solutions.” some point we’re not happier because of that?” he says. “I think people lose sight of that when they look at numbers. Numbers don’t show your happiness score.” Their employees have worked at large corporations and small companies in the past and understand that Jones’ talk of balancing work and life isn’t just someone reciting corporate’s newest catchphrases or reading off a motivational poster.

“I truly believe company culture starts at the top. Many companies, large or small, will highlight things like teamwork, work-life balance, and personal improvement as part of their culture. However, many times reality does not match that,” says consultant David Le. “I feel at Anthroware, that those things are a reality for the members. But more importantly, I feel that Jon and Jason do truly value those things and believe they are the right things, as opposed to a necessary evil or burden.” Le elaborates, saying, “Both Jon and Jason live the culture as well, so there is not a misalignment of message. It is never a question of whether or not Jon and Jason value work-life balance, teamwork, and personal improvement. It is clear that they do. This creates an environment where team members can trust that they mean what they say. So, you do not have to feel guilty if you have to reschedule something to attend your kid’s play.” When hires are made now, there are several questions that the founders ask themselves: How will this person impact our team? Will they help others to learn? Will they be a drain on their team? If the company grows too fast, they worry about how it will affect the company’s culture. Employees must have August 2019 |


L-R: (1) Anthroware encourages their employees to work where they are most comfortable, on their office couch, or (2) at the main table, or even from home. (3) James Shaw, Director of Engineering


2 thick skin and be willing to put in the hours to complete projects on time, but the founders still want to make the business a fun place to be innovative. “One of the great things about having Jon as a boss is that he trusts his team,” says software designer Lisa Mae. “We are given the freedom to work remote, hot desk at our HQ, or work from home, and it’s because we have a culture of trust that the team continually produces extraordinary results. When deadlines approach, we push through together and everyone supports each other. The culture here also fosters creativity and pursuing other outside interests, which is why I think our team comes up with such great solutions.” “We’re actively working on making Anthroware a place where people can come and learn, play, and establish long-lasting relationships,” Stewart says. “If you’ve got the aptitude and you’re going to be a great contributor to the team and culture, then you’re in.”

No California Dreamin’ Not every high-powered tech company starts in California. Some never even headquarter on the West Coast. For Anthroware, there was talk about a move to Silicon Valley. But the hoops that must be jumped through to start a business there can be tough and the founders knew there was something special about life in Western North Carolina which, increasingly over the past several years, has been attracting tech-minded entrepreneurs. 22

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3 “In the Southeast we are set up to be nationally competitive from Asheville and that’s another chip on our shoulder. We want to make an impact here and show people that we can be better than Silicon Valley from here,” Jones says. Because of what Anthroware does, it makes sense to be based in Asheville, he adds. Think about it: This company cares about good design, promotes creativity, and has a history of caring for people. How Asheville is that? “Asheville is a truly special place. Anthroware evolved out of its environment; it’s a company that is about understanding ideas and each other,” observes Lisa Mae. “Surrounded here by clean air, beautiful mountains, and creative people; it’s Asheville that gives the team room to think, and nature to inspire us.” Jones is quick to point out that Anthroware isn’t a software company, but a product company. With a product company, there’s much more involved that just computer software. Anthroware uses graphic design to craft visually pleasing interfaces. The company also assists clients with branding, website development, and app development. “Product is such a critical-thinking/problem-solving, creative venture, and Asheville is set up for that since Asheville is such an arts town,” Jones says. “You take the power of art and technology, and playing at the intersection of that, which is what we’re doing. You put on a filter of business savvy, and say, ‘Okay, this has to make business sense,’ and you have to walk the business model across the page and not throw it into the trash. It’s got to be a life-level pain point that people need solving. We have to solve it

JON JONES President / CEO

August 2019 | 23

in a way that delights them, and, by the way, we have to build it and it has to work and it has to be secure. “Anthroware’s vision is to put all of that under the same roof and have a full-stack product development company, and Asheville is perfect for that because of how creative and energetic the city is. We considered if it would look better for us to be headquartered in California instead of here, and we chose here.” The business is located at 45 South French Broad Avenue, in the same building as the locally owned/independent Grail Moviehouse and Hopey & Co., a family-owned artisan and discount food and beverage shop. Anthroware is in a suite of offices that also includes Plum Print (profiled in the November 2016 issue of this magazine), a book publisher that turns kids’ artwork into custom-made coffee-table books, and down the hall is a coworking space. In the headquarters there are desks for employees, a stereo system, and plenty of space where there’s a monthly game night. Shaw, though, isn’t often in Asheville; he is the company’s lone California-based employee. As chief technology officer, Shaw is responsible for the delivery of everything that Anthroware releases. He’s in charge of operational issues such as finance, customer relationships, human resources, and technical 24

| August 2019

output, along with setting the standards and processes that ensure quality output and on-time (and on-budget) deliveries. “I’ll be honest—it is hard sometimes,” Shaw says, about being away from his team. “There’s a camaraderie that is sometimes lacking, but I take steps to specifically address that. I think one pro is that I’m physically removed from some of the day-to-day stresses, so when a team member is struggling or stressing about something, they know they can call me and I’m clear-headed enough to help prioritize and walk themselves through the problem. I’ll be honest, I do wish I were closer most of the time. I am never prouder than when I visit and am able to sit back and watch the team we’ve built just doing their thing.”

Working For Free One of the major reasons that Jones and Stewart started Anthroware was to help others—and not just the end users for their products. They wanted to do more. Jones’ LinkedIn profile has the following description about the company he created: “Anthroware is a mashup of anthropologists, designers, data-driven consultants, and technology builders. We solve tough problems that

clients can’t solve on their own by simplifying your processes: both human and digital.” While there is much that sets Anthroware apart, one aspect is the company’s anthropological work. In the early days, one of the company’s slogans was based around the acronym DBUG, which stood for Design, Build, Use, and Give. They work with nonprofits as clients, and each year the founders pick a project to which to donate. They won’t, though, just write a check. They donate their team’s time instead. “The reason we want to choose a product instead of just writing a check is that it gives everyone a chance to engage together,” Jones says. “We don’t always get to use the whole team on a project, but what we say is we are paying for a couple of hundred hours and that’s our donation as a company. If you want to make a personal donation and go above and beyond, go for it. Inevitably, people do that. It’s been great.” They’ve built websites and brands for nonprofits in the past. For a while, Anthroware had an employee based in Raleigh who volunteered for an adaptive climbing program, and Anthroware built a new website for the program. They’ve done a lot of work with HATCH, the local entrepreneur consortium that Jones helped found and serves on the board for. There have been other ways in which Anthroware August 2019 | 25

has helped people, but the specifics aren’t something that Jones wants to share publicly. “Once a year we try to do something impactful,” Jones says, modestly.

More To Come With so many possible product development companies out there, how are clients across the United States finding

an amazing job and caring deeply about customer service and having this hyper focus on the end user. Because we are hyper focused on the end user, the products we make actually work, and people keep hiring us.” “It’s an important core value to our team that we understand the people we are building software for,” Lisa Mae said. “It’s important because we want our clients to come away from the experience of working with us feeling like we exceeded expectations in their vision, and the only way we can do that is

This summer there are four projects being worked on by the staff in Asheville. More are bound to come, and more staffers will be added. Anthroware, a tiny company with only 15 employees that isn’t located in the tech world’s hotbed? “That’s the million-dollar question. It’s a big question because we’re growing,” Jones says. “What we’ve been doing is just doing

by getting to know the people themselves. We are all a combined system in this world, and technology is increasingly bringing us all together. It’s because of this that Anthroware believes putting the people first will always produce the best result.”

Named Outstanding Chamber of the Year by


| August 2019

Anthroware has been contracted by multi-million-dollar corporations and start-ups. It has worked for companies in the Asheville area, as well as elsewhere in the Southeast and others on the West Coast. Most of the revenue comes from healthcare or education companies, Jones says. Referrals are now the norm. Potential clients can also look at the Anthroware website (, specifically on the AntLab page, and see possibilities for their businesses. The hope is to have several large-scale projects going at the same time, as this is where the team excels, Jones says. His squad likes projects that may last 10 months or a year and where six or seven of them can work together. “We’re already a better choice than the bigger consulting agencies on those types of projects. We kill it. They’re fun,” Jones says. This summer there are four projects being worked on by the staff in Asheville. More are bound to come, and more staffers will be added. “Thinking back to when I started, I don’t think I had any expectations of growth. Certainly not growth like we have experienced,” Shaw says. “Now that we have grown, it is really exciting. My expectations in the coming years is that we are

going to continue to take on really interesting and challenging work. We have a lot of great things to offer and we are building our resume and reputation in such a way that clients are excited to come to us to help them ideate and create their products.” “I expect us to hit our growth goals and to be a leading business in Asheville and Western North Carolina,” Stewart adds. “I also expect that we’re going to hit a few big jumps in the next couple of years as we decide which risks we will take, and gain visibility by picking fights with the bigger consultancies. We’re already a better fit than most of them for a lot of cases and we keep proving it. It’s just a matter of time before we start eating into their market and making them uncomfortable. “From day one, we have punched above our weight class, and I don’t expect that to stop.”

C O N S T R U C T I O N . B U S I N E S S . E M P LOY M E N T.


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news briefs

Starting at a Young Age western north carolina

This summer, Camp Girl Boss is giving preteen girls a chance to learn entrepreneurial skills including making a business plan, identifying target markets, developing a brand, public speaking, financial literacy, and web design. The program’s creator, Emily Breedlove, expects the experience will, in addition, give girls life-skills including personal accountability, problem-solving, conflict resolution, setting boundaries, and facing failure. Breedlove is a certified trainer for the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program and Real Entrepreneurship through Action Learning, from whose programs she pulled ideas for the camp. Now in its second year, the camp is funded largely by the NC IDEA Foundation with assistance from other organizations like the


United Way of Asheville & Buncombe County and Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont. Last year, 30 trainers and 36 mentors taught one cohort at UNC Asheville. This year, the program has grown to open slots for 300 enrollees at 10 sites, each in a different county of Western North Carolina. Volunteers were sought for entrepreneurial mentoring, as well as $250 sponsorships for the weeklong events.

The Pain of Rain buncombe county

During its first rain event, the Givens Estates Innovative Stormwater Project reportedly prevented 4.5 tons of sediment from washing into Dingle Creek, a major tributary of the French Broad River. The initiative supplied retrofits for six

stormwater control measures at Givens Estates in Asheville. Funding was provided through a $166,975 grant from the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund, which required a $359,468 match that was paid by Givens Estates and the nonprofit RiverLink. Since 1987, RiverLink has been supporting activities to conserve and revitalize the French Broad River basin both ecologically and economically. Design was provided by Robinson Design Engineers, construction by Miller Brothers, sample analysis by the North Carolina State University Minerals Lab, and 633 volunteer hours by RiverLink. Robinson will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the retrofits. To date, most stormwater research in the state had been conducted in flatlands, so this project will inform future regulations pertaining to construction in steep slopes.

Tribe Business swain county

A new book by Dr. Courtney Lewis is designed to assist persons wishing to launch or expand a small business on tribal property. Sovereign Entrepreneurs: Cherokee Small-Business Owners and the Making of Economic Sovereignty is based on fourteen months of field work

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capturing the cultural and political impact of the 2008 recession on the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The author says the Cherokee worked trade routes in pre-Columbian times, and bargaining has long been part of the culture. Similarly, family ties are baked into the way the Cherokees trade, with vocations frequently passed through generations. Tribal law, designed to reinforce cultural values, can, however, be an impediment to business startups. For example, laws restrict who can inherit land, hold a lease, or sell property. Topics covered include ensuring profitability, identifying ready customers, acquiring operating space, getting an affordable lease, and securing startup capital. Other parts of the book discuss personnel issues and agencies offering assistance. Lewis argues the Cherokee should assert their sovereignty and offer an authenticity that consumers value.

Setting up Glamp

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might include tent setup, fresh linen, air conditioning, mini-freezers, electricity, and hot water. One of the newer glampgrounds was opened by Pisgah Hospitality Partners (PHP) at Lake Powhatan. PHP is a private concessionaire that operates eight campgrounds on United States Forest Service lands in Western North Carolina. Having decided to open a glampground, they liked the Upper Hard Times Loop at Lake Powhatan because it was somewhat secluded and out of the way, with beautiful views and room to set up 12 tents. The tents were special-made by Diamond Brand of Fletcher, with a 12’x16’ base, weatherproof canvas, and zippered windows with bug netting. They’re furnished with a queen-size mattress with a memory foam topper, pillows, linen changed on request, and a comforter. Rooms also come with a bedside table, luggage rack, fan, ice cooler, lanterns, and coffee machine. A concierge will supply ice and firewood. Sites go for $120 a night, with most customers coming from within a four- or five-hour drive.

River plant can be considered powered 100% by renewable sources. The entire company has set a goal to reduce carbon dioxide released in its worldwide operations, as well as in the generation of the electricity they purchase, by 30% by 2030. The company has launched a program, which it named Biofore, to track improvements in 30 criteria designed to move corporate operations into better alignment with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The Mills River achievement was made possible through participation in Duke Energy’s North Carolina Renewable Energy Program. Via the program, Duke representatives encourage substantial power consumers to purchase renewable energy credits, or certificates showing they have paid for the production of solar, wind, or hydropower elsewhere. The certificates are then counted as if the company were directly using the kilowatts it sponsored. Prior to the initiative, the Mills River plant was using renewables for only 4% of its power needs.

Sticking with Renewables

This Old House

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UPM Raflatac, a manufacturer of self-adhesive labels, announced its Mills

The Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County announced the

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When Capital at Play last reported on glamping, it was a novelty. Now, it’s an industry. A host of campsites throughout Western North Carolina now offer room service and modern amenities that

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recipients of the 2019 Griffin Awards for outstanding historic preservation. First Restoration Services was recognized for work on the Minnie Alexander Cottage on Patton Avenue. Built in 1905, the home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. First Restoration specializes in disaster remediation, restoring buildings to their condition before smoke, fire, flooding, and even crime. The renovators said they felt comfortable preserving as much of the original materials and character as possible while giving the building a facelift and bringing it up to code. Other awards for rehabilitation went to PFP Architects, et al., for replacing the roof on Asheville High School; Kevin Broadwater and James Vaughn, et al., for restoring the Spanish Colonial Revival Chiles House in Kenilworth; Jennifer Mayer, et al., for work on the William Johnson, Jr. House in the Grove Park section of town; and Meherwan and Molly Irani, et al., for work on the Chai Pani Restaurant downtown. Other projects receiving awards included the Foundry Hotel, the Black Mountain College Museum, and the EW Grove Park Trolley Houses and Wall.

… And That Which Is Not Seen watauga county

The Watauga County Board of Commissioners voted against entering into a new contract for waste hauling with Republic Services. The five-year renewal period for a five-year contract ended March 31 and was extended 90 days in an attempt to negotiate a better rate. Republic was charging the county $42/ton for hauling and disposal and was going to raise the rate to $44.51/ton. The county opted instead to enter into a three-year contract with Custom Ecology of Mableton, Georgia, for hauling; and a five-year contract with Eco-Safe Systems of Ponte Vedra, Florida, for disposal. Custom Ecology will charge $21.31/ton, and Eco-Safe, $18.69/ton. A $2/ton state tax is additional. Both companies operate 30

| August 2019

locally out of Blountville, Tennessee, where Watauga’s waste will now be dumped. Trucks will be hauling twice as far as they would under the Republic contract, but county leadership indicated the point was moot because hauling costs were covered in the rates. Representatives of Republic, however, argued the county was not considering the $319,000 it would continue to net from Republic using the local transfer station.

Right Here in Asheville buncombe county

Flexera, an Illinois company that helps businesses optimize their use of technology, has acquired RISC Networks of Asheville. RISC developed an IT operations analytics platform to help businesses take stock of their resources and needs to prioritize, right-size, and price an appropriate migration of data stored on-premises to the cloud. Prior to migration, RISC’s platform gives thorough consideration to factors that, if ignored, can result in security breaches and downtime with costs in money and customer goodwill. Flexera’s President and CEO Jim Ryan said his company’s existing data migration management was designed to optimize cloud usage and was liked by its customers, but he is always looking for avenues to improvement, and RISC’s tools for organizing foresight will add capability. Flexera’s over 50,000 customers include 48% of Fortune 500 companies. RISC’s primary products, Foundation and CloudScape, have been used by industry giants like IBM, Turner Broadcasting, Viacom, and Eastman Chemical.

A Woman’s Touch henderson county

Industry analysts are taking note of BonWorth’s turnaround. The retailer of mature women’s clothing was founded in Hendersonville in 1966 by Loren Wells, who sold the business to retire in 2013.

Having almost folded, the business, with 200 stores nationwide, is now rated one of the most successful women’s apparel outlets in the country. Credit is generally given to Gurusankar Gurumoorthy, Guru for short, who reluctantly accepted the position of interim COO. Guru saw great potential in the company’s culture. Employees were largely women who could relate to customers’ clothing needs, and Guru shared the corporate value of treating employees with the best of care so they can pay it forward to customers. The results are reflected in the fact that 85% of customers say they shop exclusively at BonWorth for their apparel. The most strategic changes, however, occurred as Guru, notorious for putting in 18-hour workdays, implemented old-school retail techniques. He reduced inventory, streamlined internal operations to slash costs and increase maintained margins, and selected products that, while remaining tasteful, aligned more with current trends.

Right Here in Asheville buncombe county

Flexera, an Illinois company that helps businesses optimize their use of technology, has acquired RISC Networks of Asheville. RISC developed an IT operations analytics platform to help businesses take stock of their resources and needs to prioritize, right-size, and price an appropriate migration of data stored on-premises to the cloud. Prior to migration, RISC’s platform gives thorough consideration to factors that, if ignored, can result in security breaches and downtime with costs in money and customer goodwill. Flexera’s President and CEO Jim Ryan said his company’s existing data migration management was designed to optimize cloud usage and was liked by its customers, but he is always looking for avenues to improvement, and RISC’s tools for organizing foresight will add capability. Flexera’s over 50,000 customers include 48% of Fortune 500 companies. RISC’s primary

products, Foundation and CloudScape, have been used by industry giants like IBM, Turner Broadcasting, Viacom, and Eastman Chemical.

Bully Books watauga county

After an apparently fizzled GoFundMe attempt, Sunny Day Park has opened a brick-and-mortar store in the Martin House in downtown Blowing Rock. A grand opening will follow later this summer. Sunny Day Park is the parent company for the activities of children’s author and advocate Penny Lea. With The Panicky Picnic, Lea has launched what she hopes will become a line of children’s stories to help youth cope with and understand the consequences of bullying. The book was first written as a college assignment 37 years ago, and although her professor recommended publication, she was too busy with her young children to consider it. Now, she’s selling hardbound copies illustrated by her friend, Tony Uriz. The plan is for the store to sell books and quality, stuffed animals modeled after characters in the stories. A portion of proceeds from sales would go to place books in libraries, hospitals, homes, and other locations where the messages may be helpful. Patrons may also purchase books for strategic placement. Additional funds will be raised through storytelling and speaking engagements as partnerships are pursued.

Business Is Hopping under New Ownership buncombe county

Four months after acquiring Mission Health, leadership from the successor organization, HCA, hosted a press conference to provide an update on the transition and field questions. Terence van Arkel, CFO for HCA’s North Carolina Division, said the number of people being treated has increased in all categories;

particularly, for behavioral health. Exact numbers were not shared, but CEO Greg Lowe said HCA had added 20 beds to the 58 existing for behavioral health admissions in St. Joseph’s Hospital, and they were immediately filled. St. Joseph’s also has 34 beds for long-term acute care for “a very vulnerable population.” Van Arkel indicated the hospital had not yet decided whether investing in upgrades to St. Joseph’s would be worthwhile, but at least some services now provided there will move to the North Tower on the main campus once it is complete. As of June, HCA had invested $230 million in capital projects, including the North Tower, Angel Medical Center in Franklin, a new floor for the SECU Cancer Center, and equipment upgrades; and it was hiring for 700 positions. That said, HCA has inherited Mission’s challenge of seeing annual cuts to reimbursements from both public and private insurers. Van Arkel said 75% of payments are beyond the control of HCA.

Ride in the Off-Season avery county

Beech Mountain Ski Resort has long been a great place for adventurous cycling in the summer, but this year, management is offering less strenuous activities for all ages. One fun thing to do would be to ride the new Doppelmayr quad chairlift, featuring padded seats and footrests, to the top of the mountain. Tickets for a roundtrip are $12. New this year are roller skating and tubing. The ice-skating rink has been covered and converted for summer, and Tubby by Neveplast has provided a 150-foot track for dry summer tubing. The ride is described as gentle, with an even speed. For $15, one can tube for half an hour or ice skate for an hour and a half. Also new are the back nine holes of a geologically interesting 18-hole disc golf course located on 100 acres with scenic vistas. The course is free to walk, and three discs may be rented for $10. Thursdays are Family Nights, featuring

unlimited tubing and roller skating for $20, a group ride and run, and $3 pints. Other activities include weekend yoga and a concert series.

Farewell to Overhead swain county

Dr. Eric Shapiro, a chiropractor for 21 years, decided last year to give up the office and start making house calls. So, he and his wife, Beth Lingerfelt, started Your Place or Spine?, which they believe is the only mobile chiropractor service in Western North Carolina. After noticing the only chiropractor in Cherokee worked in the hospital and had a long waiting list, they built a client base cold-calling offices so they could treat more than a couple of people at a time. Lingerfelt was a nurse practitioner, and she knew retention was a problem at nursing homes, so she started calling long-term care facilities to see if human resources departments would be interested in offering their services as a perq. They also found work at the Cherokee Indian Police Department. Shapiro charges about half what other chiropractors do. The difference in cost is the difference between the rent, utilities, building insurance, and payroll he would cover in a brick-and-mortar establishment, plus costs of processing insurance were the practice not cashonly—and the cost of driving around. Shapiro said he invested in a table and some paper towels. Because the business services the entire region, the couple has elected to focus on wellness and prevention rather than intensive therapies requiring frequent visits.

Incubator for Outdoor buncombe county

Mountain BizWorks, a nonprofit specializing in lending and learning for small businesses; Outdoor Gear Builders, a guild now with 40 members; and others are partnering to launch the Waypoint

August 2019 |


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Accelerator. Waypoint will serve as an incubator for persons starting up outdoor businesses in the region and needing assistance. Modeled after incubators like the Catapult Outdoor Accelerator in Colorado and Bend Outdoor Worx in Oregon, Waypoint will be the first of its kind on the East Coast. Waypoint is accepting applications through August 11 for its first annual cohort of eight early-stage, outdoor-focused companies. Selected businesses will enjoy a 10-session intensive providing coursework, one-on-one mentorship with area experts, and supply-chain networking. The curriculum will cover topics in product development, accessing capital, marketing, management, financial strategy, and growth. In the grand finale, participants will present at the Get in Gear Fest in March 2020.

retreat’s six courts, as well as new fencing and nets. Repainting included the addition of pickleball lines on two courts. Other amenities open to the public and for a fee include mini golf, shuffleboard, boating, and paddle boarding. Another attraction is the outdoor pool, which as one of only two outdoor public pools in the county, was built on a manmade peninsula to give swimmers the sense of swimming in the lake. Summer sports are made available on a first-come, firstserved basis, and will remain open to the public during daylight hours through Labor Day. The resort’s trail is open year-round. Daily and yearly passes are available for purchase, and the pool may be booked for private parties. Other places of interest at the retreat include the golf course, fitness center, museums, and library.

Games Create Memories

Economic Impact

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The UNC-Asheville Board of Trustees voted to comply with a student group’s request to stop investing endowment funds in fossil fuel companies listed in the Carbon Underground 200. This will affect 10% of the endowment, or $5 million, which will now be overseen by

Thanks to $95,000 in donations, renovated tennis courts are among the recreational offerings in the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center’s 106th summer season. Funds paid for resurfacing and repainting of the

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Walden Asset Management. Walden, a division of Boston Trust & Investment Management, specializes in socially-responsible investing, and the school liked the level of transparency provided about the parties in which it invests. Brevard and Warren Wilson colleges divested in 2015, but UNC-Asheville will be the first university in the UNC system to do so. Asheville campus activity kicked off in 2014 with protests and presentations by the student group UNC-Asheville Divest, which is a member of Reinvest NC, which, in turn, is part of a global movement. According to the latest report from Reinvest NC, the global activism has resulted in 887 institutions and 58,000 individuals pulling out of a total of $6.15 trillion in fossil fuel investments. UNC Asheville Divest also motivated the board to, in February 2016, create a student-advised endowment with $10,000 in seed money.

Ironing it Out buncombe county

In a controversial move, Asheville City Council approved converting the Flatiron Building into a boutique hotel. Built in 1926, the building was purchased by Russell Thomas in the





| August 2019


1980s as part of an effort to revitalize downtown. For years, Thomas ran it as office space, renting on a sliding scale. The building had its original electrical system, and the manual elevators were so old, replacement parts had to be custom-made. Thomas was happy to handle the repairs himself, until about three years ago, when he decided to put the building on the market. Since then, he had only one offer, and that was from a team of local all-stars including investor Philip Woollcott, Grove Arcade architect Jeff Dalton, design engineer Chris Day, and general contractor Beverly-Grant. They determined the building needed $10.5 million in repairs, and, with a $16 million purchase price, the only way to turn a profit would be to convert it to a hotel. When a vocal opposition, citing hotel proliferation, tourist traffic, and displacement of the vibrant homeless population, appeared to win a majority on council, Wyatt Stevens, attorney for the project, requested more time to seekThe compromises. When he returned, a minority on arage council still attempted to stop the project with concerns over semantics and what turned out to be uthority a grant made, without deed restriction, to the party that owned the building paces Into Exceptio ming S n al Places beforeTThomas. ransfor TM


watauga county

western north carolina

Rowen Todd was nominated for a The Job Corps Civilian Conservation Rising Star award in the 4 Under 40 Center (CCC) in Oconaluftee will shut ceremony hosted by the Boone Area down, and the Lyndon B. Johnson CCC Chamber of Commerce, of which he is in Franklin and Schenck CCC in Brevard a member. He had to get an educational will be privatized. In 1964 the Job Corps release from school to attend the event was formed, among other anti-poverty because he is only 16 years old, but his initiatives of the Johnson administration, principal, Dr. Chris Blanton, assistant to provide opportunities for career trainprincipal, Tierra Stark, and entrepreing, teaching basic skills, and preparation neurship teacher, Stephanie Ogle, were for specialized trades. The Oconaluftee also in attendance. Todd went into center taught forest conservation, notabusiness for himself three years ago, bly training wildlands firefighters. To because his age and lack of experience date and nationwide, what has grown to made finding work difficult. He knew be 125 centers have prepared over two how to wash windows, and he could million students for work. Three-fourths work gigs in around his school schedule, of the centers have already been privatso he opened Ro’s Windows. Now, the ized, the exceptions being those located business has been renamed Mountain on federal lands and operated by the Vista Window Washing, and he has 15 United States Department of Agriculture commercial accounts and continues to and the United States Forest Service. A add residential clientele. He works by press release from the Department of Thea reputation for Labor (DOL) argued the privately-run himself and has earned doing good work. Future plans include centers were running more efficiently, increasing his customer base, diversifya point disputed by DOL assessments ing his services with additional exterior that ranked the Brevard center the cleaning jobs like gutter clearing, and very best of the 125. The Oconaluftee hiring a helper his age when the workcenter had been ranked 119th in 2014, uthority load justifies it. He is saving his earnings but, following strong steps to increase TM for college. had risen to 21st place n I t o s e Except accountability, pac ion al Places ming S Transfor by 2017.


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Negotiations 101

In order to master the art of negotiation, preparation and honing one’s listening skills are paramount.



rodrigo afanador is the publisher of Asheville Real Estate News and past president of Carolinas Real Estate Investors



ROWING UP IN COLOMBIA WAS AN incredible experience—not only because I grew up speaking Spanish and was surrounded by a happy-go-lucky culture centered on soccer, family, and dancing, but because I also learned an important lesson: Everything is negotiable.

That might seem like hyperbole, but it was the reality within which I grew up. My dad was always reminding us, “You already have received ‘no’ as an answer, so go for the ‘yes’.” And yet, even with this mindset within the home as a child, negotiating in the real estate world refined my skills and opened my eyes to many things that I did not know. Looking back over the past seven years in the real estate world has made me reflect on what I have learned about negotiations. The most important lesson that I have come away with is that negotiating is a skill—a skill that can be learned, honed, and applied by anyone. I want you to picture this: You are driving down the road and you glance at the car beside you. You see a guy pumping his fist up and down and laughing maniacally. That is a perfect image of what I looked like as I headed home from my first successful

| August 2019

negotiation. At that moment, I recognized that I could survive in this business and that I could learn to negotiate. My first successful deal led me to my first coach, whose particular focus was on sales and negotiation. Teaching me, he would always emphasize “the tips, the tricks, and the things to say to get the contract signed when it matters the most.” He opened my eyes to the fact that negotiation is a skillset that needs to be sharpened consistently, or else we will inevitably lose our edge. And thanks to him, to this day, cold-calling is part of my weekly schedule because the importance of staying in front of prospective clients is instrumental to keep my skills honed. During my first few weeks of receiving coaching, I focused on learning scripts. However, I quickly learned that scripts are only good when they are coupled with preparation regarding the actual deal


For Those Who Seek The Exceptional Life.

I was involved with. That was evident in one of my first appointments with someone early in the foreclosure process. We had set up an appointment to discuss what selling her house before foreclosure would look like. As we sat down to talk about signing a contract, I was going through my scripts and going over the details of the process when, all of a sudden, she asked me about the foreclosure process. The foreclosure process?!? I knew nothing about it! There I was asking her to trust me and to sign a contract with me, and yet I knew nothing of what she was actually going through. Although that sale never came to fruition, I learned an important lesson: Prepare for the appointment so I can be the resource the client expects me to be.


As I explained above, my first deal was a big celebration. After all, it came after nine months of zero success and being ridiculed by most people around me. While working with my coach, I kept developing my negotiation skills and was able to achieve another milestone: buying my first rental property, which was owner-financed with no money down. I still consider this the holy grail of transactions: a house that can be purchased with no money down, on a fully amortized mortgage at current interest rates. This was only possible because after a few years, I learned two important lessons that go hand in hand: It is impossible to get something we are not willing to ask for and be comfortable with the silence that follows that question. Being

212 Sweethart Place - Waynesville, NC 28786

Marilyn Wright, CLHMS Global Real Estate Advisor 2018 Top Producer Premier Sotheby’s Asheville Agent Top Ten Agent in Asheville

10 Brooks Street Suite 130 Asheville NC 28803 828.279.3980 | August 2019 |



willing to wait for 20, 30, 60, or 120 seconds for someone to answer a question feels like an eternity, especially when the question feels crazy. But we don’t know what someone else might be willing to do until we ask. Projecting our normalized perspective on someone else is never a good starting place for any negotiation. Although being able to ask for what I want and to be comfortable with the silence that follows is important, the prerequisite is to only ask when all the decision-makers are present. There is nothing worse than thinking you have agreed to a deal, only to get a call later saying, “I could not get my husband/wife/sister/brother, etc., to agree.” Once I made the commitment to never discuss numbers without all the decision-makers present, I quickly learned that my side job was apparently family mediation. Recently, I was sitting at Ingles with seven heirs and an attorney, as they all attempted to agree on what the price tag would be. After an hour of insults, raised voices, rolling eyes, and more insults, we were able to slowly get on the same page when it came to the numbers. Without having insisted that we all meet in person, there is no way that deal would have come together. After all, they had been wanting to sell the house since 2005 and had never been able

to agree on the details of the sale—until they were all sitting down together, albeit begrudgingly, at the same time. Learning how to guide a conversation comes down to my ability to ask key questions. My experience has taught me

I WOULD BE WILLING TO BET THAT YOU ARE MORE THAN LIKELY NEGOTIATING SOMETHING WITH SOMEONE EVERY DAY. that negotiations in real estate can evoke deep emotions. There are many reasons why people get attached to certain decisions or results. When emotions run high in a negotiation, knowing what to ask and when to ask it is what allows the conversation to continue and not be derailed. Part of learning to ask questions is being a great listener. Taking the time to read between the lines, to really know what someone is either

Living the Olivette Life KNOW YOUR NEIGHBOR, LOVE YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD. At Olivette, the pace of life slows down a notch as you pass the first bridge. Enjoy laid-back living combined with an engaged and vibrant community. Communal areas are the cornerstone of an active community. Our networks of trails, riverside park, community gardens, orchards, and dog park allow our neighbors to get out and connect. The riverside pavilion is a picturesque gathering place for friends or to host a private event. Farm to table dinners, pot lucks, scavenger hunts, fireside chats, and other events create opportunities to draw friends together, share passions, and relax and unwind as a community.

Are You Ready To Live The Olivette Life? Call Today For Your Personal Tour! 36

| August 2019 | 1069 Olivette Rd, Asheville, NC 28804 | 828.407.0040

concerned or excited about, is a key step. I struggle with being a great listener, as there are times I start thinking about where I want to take the conversation next, or as I work on wording my next question. But being a great listener is listening to understand, not to respond. It is also critical to be comfortable with asking questions that can be challenging. Part of being able to guide a client through a negotiation or being able to give good advice is having the full picture in view. It is impossible to understand the full context of a situation, especially the emotional triggers, without asking good questions. Indeed, an incomplete picture will simply leave me, and my prospective client, frustrated with the process. We all live in a world in which negotiation is inevitable. Perhaps you only find yourself negotiating on a weekly basis, but I would be willing to bet that you are more than likely negotiating something with someone every day. While it may be true that negotiating comes more easily to some people, it is a learned skill that everyone can improve. I challenge you to think about which area of negotiating you are going to focus on improving in this next quarter. Will you prepare better for your appointments, making sure that you have done the research in order to properly advise and suggest alternatives during a

negotiation? Or maybe you are struggling in this area because making the big ask is extremely challenging for you. Remember, you will not receive what you are not willing to ask for; be bold and be brave. And then, be willing to sit in the awkwardness of the silence that may ensue. Perhaps your negotiations keep coming to a standstill because the key decision-makers are not present, and the momentum and flow of the conversation is interrupted, when your client needs to consult with someone else. Commit to only discussing the numbers and making that bold ask, if and only if, every key player is present. Finally, an area I’m sure that we can all actively improve upon is our listening skills. We need to be prepared to listen to understand the other person’s perspective fully, rather than simply listening in order to formulate a ready reply. A good listener will understand the other party’s hesitations and concerns better and will, in turn, be able to come up with a mutually beneficial solution much more easily. Personally, I will be focusing on my listening skills over the next many months, so be sure to hold my feet to the fire when it comes to my listening skills.


Life at Deerfield means connecting with your passions and embracing fun, fitness and friendships. It means giving yourself and your loved ones the greatest gift: peace of mind. Here, in one of America’s most desirable retirement destinations you’ll enjoy extraordinary surroundings, activityfilled days and nights, and an extensive list of amenities. Call to schedule a visit and discover how you can add life to your years. Asheville, North Carolina


August 2019 | 37


Picture yourself at Tryon Estates.

A premier North Carolina retirement community, Tryon Estates offers an active lifestyle and the peace of mind that your nest egg is protected. As an Acts Retirement-Life Community, we provide a continuum of care at prearranged costs. Come discover how you can reimagine your future in the foothills!

(828) 547-2372 |


| August 2019


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Today’s retirement communities in Western North Carolina offer active lifestyles, top-notch amenities, and much more.

written by jennifer fitzger ald a stroll on the Deerfield campus , photo Sandra Stambaugh 39 August 2019 |

local industry


Bob and Jane Ragan with Jackson

ook no further than Jane and Bob Ragan to find contentment and happiness at a Western North Carolina retirement community. The couple, residents of Carolina Village, are spending their third summer at the retirement community in Hendersonville. They live in an 830-sq.-ft. apartment that, according to Jane, is quick to tidy, has a wonderful enclosed porch, a washing machine and dryer, a modern kitchen and great room, and a more than adequate closet, bedroom, and bath. Bob retired from Chevron at the age of 55; Jane retired from Greenville (South Carolina) County Schools at 65. They have two grown children—Beth, who lives in Salisbury, Maryland, and Taylor, who lives in West Union, South Carolina. The Ragans decided to move to Carolina Village completely independent of other opinions—perhaps in spite of other opinions. They wanted to control and choose their own futures and decide how and when to downsize. “For years, we spent six months on the banks of Lake Keowee and six months traveling the Intracoastal Waterway on a 40

| August 2019

carolina vill age being built, photo cour tesy Carolina Village

Trawler (boat),” says Jane. “Lake Keowee is just down the hill from Western North Carolina; my mom lived in Carolina Village; so, we had learned to love Western North Carolina long before we sold our house and moved here. How could we resist? Mom had provided us with the admission fee to Carolina Village and after checking out other CCRCs (Continuing Care Retirement Communities), we found it ‘a winner’ on all fronts— and who can resist living in Hendersonville? Many of our new friends came to Western North Carolina to retire and moved to Carolina Village later.” Jane elaborates on their reasoning in their move, explaining, “Honestly, Carolina Village is not our ‘whole world.’ Bob and I split our time because we have friends and interests off campus. Living here affords opportunities to enjoy short and long trips and different kinds of experiences. However, we consider ourselves year-round residents and meet our financial and personal responsibilities even when we travel. Before we moved to Carolina Village, returning home meant leaves to shred and place under plants, mulch and fertilizer to spread, and house repairs to tackle. It also included dusting and vacuuming and other chores in the house. When we return to Carolina Village, the leaves are removed, the plants have been mulched, the maids have cleaned the apartment, and dinner is waiting in the dining room. We can continue our six months home/six months vacationing with much more ease. We enjoy the staff and our friends. I have never encountered

a disrespectful, unfriendly, or unkind person here. The E-Building Garden is my passion! I love it and thrill when our new friends cheer us on as we work to make our shared garden more colorful and beautiful. Bob, who had a triple bypass last year, is making good use of the E-Building Exercise Room.” Jane and Bob also have a third roommate—their dog, Jackson, who joined the family after they moved to Carolina Village. “He absolutely loves it here,” she says. “He is shown affection up and down the halls. He knows every possible route to the front office where he gets treats. Jackson has many new human and canine friends. We were thrilled to find pets were welcomed at Carolina Village.”

Defining Moment Jane and Bob are just one example of individuals who have chosen a retirement community in the area. But what exactly is the definition of a retirement community? Who lives there? What activities are available? Let’s take a closer look. In general, there are two types. The first would be independent retirement communities, which consist of single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums, or duplexes in which residents live on their own

with a variety of services available to them, such as taking care of lawn maintenance and providing a recreation center. The CCRC, mentioned above, is the second type, and/or a Life Plan Community, where a continuum of aging care needs—from single family homes, townhomes and apartments in independent living,

National Assisted Living Gender Breakdown


29% MALE

Source: National Center for Assisted Living

to assisted living and skilled nursing care—can all be met within the community. The CCRC offers a thriving community for active seniors to enjoy life without the everyday hassles of cooking, cleaning, and yardwork. And August 2019 | 41

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Activities of Daily Living

81% 58%


67% 57%





if and when they need care, it is available for them within their own community. David Ammons is president of Retirement Living Associates, Inc. (RLA), located in Raleigh. RLA is a development and management firm in the senior industry. They have developed a few communities in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. In some situations they manage existing communities, and in others they have both developed and managed communities. RLA’s community properties include Ardenwoods (located in Arden), Legacy at Mills River, and Mars Hill Retirement Community. Each is unique and specific to the location, the market, and the product determined or desired. They work to ensure that their communities fill a need in the market and meet the needs of seniors that may not already be met. The industry has many options, from traditional bank financing, bond options, for-profit versus not-for profit-options. RLA has worked in several of these and can help a client community consider the various options, from equity to debt, in order to find a finance direction that works best. Ammons explains that the industry has for many years had the CCRC category of community and licensing. In most states these CCRC communities are regulated by the State. Specifically, in North Carolina, CCRCs are regulated by the NC Department of Insurance; and these are covered in General Statute 58-64. “A couple of years ago,” says Ammons, “many in the industry felt the term Continuing Care Retirement Community sounded too old and did not represent the fact that CCRCs aim to be vibrant, active lifestyle communities providing a continuum of care if needed. So, a group nationwide worked and came up with the term ‘Life Plan.’ In North Carolina the statutes have not adapted this new term, but all would agree, I believe, that a CCRC is a Life Plan community with just a name change.”

The Big Boom


Continued growth of retirement communities is expected over the next 20 years as baby boomers, born between 1946-1964, look for a place to spend their golden years. The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to more than double, from 46 million today to over 98 million by 2060, and the 65-and-older age group’s share of the total population will rise to nearly 24 percent, from the current 15 percent.

So, Why Western North Carolina?



Source: CDC/NCHS, National Study of Long-Term Care Providers, 2016


| August 2019

Obviously, one primary question becomes: Why is Western North Carolina such a popular location for these CCRC developments? While many have been in the area for numerous years and continue to expand to meet a growing demand, new communities are being built. One of them is Legacy at Mills River—a proposed continuing care retirement community with assisted living and nursing options on site. They are now accepting reservations for Phase 1 construction, which means prospects have the opportunity to become a first-generation owner—enjoying the process of selecting,

deerfield morning aquatics class, photo by Sandra Stambaugh

designing, and building a dream home. A range of luxury living options, from apartment style to neighborhood style living, are available, and the Phase 1 construction will include 210 units. The North Carolina Department of Insurance, which regulates CCRCs in the state, requires that 50 percent of reservations are secured before giving approval to break ground. Legacy at Mills River anticipates opening in 2022. They have two phases of construction planned which includes approximately 250 individual homes and an 80-bed state-of-the-art Health Center inclusive of assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing. Elizabeth Ford, director of marketing for Legacy, explains that there are many reasons retirees choose a retirement community: “We believe retirees will choose Legacy for its equity model, allowing their investment in owning a retirement home to grow as a result of the strong appreciation we experience in WNC. We also believe Legacy’s resort-like amenities, 100 acres of Blue Ridge Mountain beauty, and the security we provide with a full continuum of care on campus will be the main motivators for retirees planning for their future. Legacy is opening in response to the tremendous demand for this type of retirement living in our area. Many of the local retirement communities have long wait lists. At Legacy, the only wait is for us to reach our pre-sales goal and begin construction. “We believe there are several reasons WNC is a retirement destination. Our four seasons and natural beauty are a big attraction to this demographic. Our region benefits from

a state-of-the-art health care system and a skilled medical community with a range of medical expertise, especially for an aging community. Our region is known for its arts, food, and entertainment options. We have also found that people discover our region as a tourist first and fall in love with the area.”

Supply vs. Demand As the population ages and Western North Carolina continues to be a popular retirement destination, a shortage of space availability in retirement communities will inevitably continue. New CCRCs like Legacy at Mills River will help ease this shortage, and expansions of others are also planned. Carolina Village is currently expanding their campus—the largest expansion in their 45-year history. In July they welcomed 54 new residents in Phase 1 cottages. Phase 2 and 3—additional cottages and apartments—are scheduled to be completed in November. This expansion will add an additional 160 residents, making Carolina Village the second largest nonprofit CCRC in the state of North Carolina. “Some communities have little-to-no waiting lists, and some have waiting lists that place applicants three or more years out for move in,” says Carolina Village’s executive director, Kevin Parries. “So, while there is a healthy demand for retirement living, the supply depends largely on you and what you’re looking for. Each retirement community has its own personality. August 2019 | 43

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computer rendering of what Legacy at Mills River is expected to look like, rendering cour tesy Elizabeth Ford - Legacy at Mills River

It’s important to find one that fits you and your lifestyle needs. Once you find that—a place to call home—it won’t matter how long the waiting list is. Our best advice to anybody interested in CCRCs/Life Plan Communities is to find a community that fits well with you and to join the waiting list before you need to move. This will provide you with many more options when the time comes. You don’t want to be left without options.”

Type A, B, and C Since opening their doors in 1974, Carolina Village has been a not-for-profit corporation and a Type-A LifeCare CCRC/Life Plan Community. “Our mission is to provide housing, continuing life care, up-todate service, and a pleasant, congenial social environment to encourage personal growth and community participation for people aged 62 and older without regard to race or religious persuasion,” says Parries. Type-A Life Plan Communities include housing, residential services, and amenities. Chief among these amenities is unlimited use of health care services at little or no increase in the resident’s monthly fee. “We offer the full continuum of care,” continues Parries, “from independent living (342 current units, an additional 90 will be completed by the end of 2019) to assisted living (60 private suites) and skilled nursing (58 Medicare-certified private rooms) on our campus. By the end of 2019, we will have approximately 620 residents.” Other communities may offer Type-B and Type-C contracts. Type-B, or modified contracts, generally include lower entrance and monthly fees, but limit the amount of health care services 44

| August 2019

that residents can access without any increase in monthly fee. Type-C, or fee-for-service contracts, include similar housing and services as Type-A and -B, but require residents to pay market rates for any health care service. At Tryon Estates, located in Columbus and part of the Acts Retirement-Life Communities, one of the most unique aspects

Many Baby Boomers are searching for retirement living because they’ve experienced caring for a parent or have heard stories from others who have. is its life care plan (Acts Life Care®), which pre-pays any future long-term care that residents may need. Tryon Estates offers a comprehensive range of long-term care services, including assisted living, memory care, and skilled care located within the on-site health center. A full-time nurse practitioner is on hand for residents, along with home health services to round out a full continuum of care. As a Contract A CCRC (versus Contract C fee-for-service), Acts residents pay an up-front entrance fee and a monthly fee that does not increase solely based upon residents’ need to move to higher levels of care.

What’s in an Age? Overall, age requirements for moving to a CCRC are anywhere from 55 to 62 or older. At Legacy Mills River, residents must be 55+ and qualify for home ownership. They have already experienced interest from a range of retirees, including a younger demographic. “Our equity model allows people the opportunity to purchase a unit as an investment, and we will rent their unit until they are ready to move in,” says Ford. “Also, because about 40 percent of our units are located on semiprivate and private home sites, we anticipate drawing a younger audience looking to retire to the Asheville area and live in a luxury mountain community.” Biltmore Forest’s Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community, profiled by Capital at Play in the August 2016 issue and established over a half-century ago, requirements include age of 62, and there are financial and health requirements. To qualify for residence at Carolina Village, a person must be at least age 62, able to live independently, and meet financial and medical requirements. At this time, their resident demographics are 29.6 percent male and 70.4 percent female. They hail from Henderson County, as well as Europe, South Asia, and all points in between. Many Baby Boomers are searching for retirement living because they’ve experienced caring for a parent or have heard stories from others who have. They’re trying to plan in advance so as to take that burden off of their own children. “The average age of our residents is currently 86.7 years,” says Parries. “Residents range from age 62, the minimum age that qualifies for residence, through 106 years. The 106-year-old is extremely active and doesn’t leave home without her iPad. We see residents live long, productive lives here, where they aren’t alone, they’re socially engaged, they feel secure, and they have access every single day to proper nutrition and medical care.” Residents are age-eligible to enter Tryon Estates at age 62 and must have financial assets and income that allow them to move in and support themselves. Typically, residents move to Tryon in their mid-to-late-70s, with the median age of move-ins at 78 years old. Residents average approximately 10 years in Tryon’s independent living apartments. For those who move to a higher level of care (assisted living and skilled care), the typical stays are 3.5 years and two years, respectively. These transitions are made easier because of planning and the close proximity of care centers within the community (which are all under the same roof).

Planning Ahead Carole Martin, CLU®, CASL®, RICP®, is a financial representative with Northwestern Mutual in Asheville. She


of Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) in North Carolina FROM


The senior population in North Carolina is projected to increase


from 2014 to 2034







there were


residents living in the CCRCs in North Carolina. By


they estimate


residents will be living in the CCRCs in North Carolina.

By 2034, CCRCs are projected to employ


WORKERS Source: Appold, Johnson, Parnell (September 2015). “Market Needs and Economic Impact of Continuing Care Retirement Communities in North Carolina.” Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill August 2019 | 45

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307 to 357 202 to 306 153 to 201 307 to 357 32 to 152 202 to 306 0 to 31 153 to 201 0 to -31 32 to 152 -32 to -152 0 to 31 -202 to -306 0 to -31 -358 to -367

2008 - 2018

Job Amount Changes by County

For Retirement Homes and Care Industry


w at au

m it

-32 to -152 -202 to -306 -358 to -367





yancey madison

mcdowell buncombe swain







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advises clients on retirement planning and says that each stage in life brings change and new priorities. Your retirement plan should follow a similar process and evolve with life changes to meet your financial goals. Three common stages in the path to retirement are accumulation, transition, and distribution. The right plan should optimize and transition through each of the life stages and is essential to helping meet your retirement goals. “As you save for retirement,” explains Martin, “you may use some or all of the following vehicles to accumulate wealth: deferred annuities, investments, 401(k), IRA, Roth IRA, and life insurance. Once you transition into retirement, your retirement savings can funnel into your cash reserve—from liquidating investments when prices are higher, income-producing annuities, dividend, and interest generated by investments; or from other income sources such as cash value life insurance, Social Security, or a pension. By establishing a cash reserve, you won’t be as likely to have to sell your investments or withdraw from your 46

| August 2019

ni lva


Graph Information cour tesy EMSI and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce

other income sources at inopportune times, giving you a greater sense of security. Plus, you can be better positioned to more efficiently make withdrawals for your retirement income needs and have better control over income taxes.” Martin warns that both taxes and inflation can take a bite out of your retirement savings—inflation by reducing your purchasing power, and taxes by reducing your income and leaving you with less money to spend. Your retirement plan should include tax-efficient options that can help protect your assets from the rising cost of everyday goods and services and from increasing taxes. “If you decide to move into a retirement community or just downsize to a smaller home, two of the biggest home buying considerations are the costs of living, as well as how much mortgage debt you’re able to take on rather than stay in the home you already own outright. Take some time and do your research to see how the city or town you’d like to move to fares

photo cour tesy Carolina Village

when it comes to factors like taxes, housing, and health care costs. For example, a 2016 analysis of top retirement cities by Kiplinger found that retirees in Decatur, Alabama, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, have a cost of living that’s about 11 percent lower than the average for retirees in other parts of America, in part thanks to tax-friendly policies and lower-than-average health care costs. In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, retiree housing costs are nearly 29 percent below the national average. “Life can be unpredictable. A chronic illness, disabling condition, or cognitive impairment that requires long-term care could quickly deplete your retirement savings, especially since many long-term care services are not covered by private health insurance or Medicare. You want the freedom to either stay at home or get care at a good facility. Whatever choice you make, having a long-term care plan in place helps you afford it. Planning ahead with the help of a financial advisor can help ensure that you have the resources to cover an unexpected event or long-term illness and help protect your financial future. To protect against the cost of long-term care, it’s crucial to understand your long-term care insurance options and have a plan for getting the services you need that won’t jeopardize your family’s financial security. A retirement strategy should examine the risks of long-term care events occurring during retirement and the costs of paying for those events.”

So, Why Make the Move? carolina vill age ' s “The Social Climbers” hiking group at Pearson’s Falls in Saluda, NC, photo cour tesy Carolina Village

tryon estates photo by Bren Photography

Why do individuals choose to make a major life decision and more than likely downsize their household for a move to a retirement community? Reasons vary from freedom from the upkeep and maintenance of a house and yard, to an active lifestyle, to accessibility to medical care. “The reasons we hear most often from those looking into retirement community living are that they want the peace of mind of knowing they won’t be a burden to their children,” Carolina Village’s Parries says. “They want to know that they’ll be cared for—really cared for—and that they’ll remain independent for as long as possible. We put every measure in place possible for residents to remain independent. For example, residents never need worry about going out to pick up prescriptions; The pharmacy is right down the hall. Residents feeling a bit under the weather have a registered nurse available during the day to help. An independent living support team of nurses, certified nursing assistants, and medical technicians are available 24/7 to help with medication management and any number of other situations or questions that may arise at any time, day or night. Plus, residents are empowered with additional safety measures, including emergency call pendants and pull cords in their homes for emergency alerts.” Many individuals have a goal of spending decades in the retirement community. At Deerfield, for example, moves within the community are usually from a cottage to an apartment, particularly if a resident is not driving anymore, which gives August 2019 | 47

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them easier access to dining and other amenities. Other moves would be transition from independent living to assisted living or skilled nursing due to the need for additional support services.

The Spice of Life Variety is the spice of life—right? And that is one goal of a CCRC: to offer variety and allow residents to create the life they want. Many communities have an advisory board and also ask residents through a formal survey process what types of activities they would like to experience. The list of amenities at CCRCs are impressive in both the recreational and health aspect. Many lists of features read like a luxury resort—onsite massage therapist, movie theater, access to restaurants, and unlimited activities. But also included is on-site medical care when needed—health care centers, full-time nurse practitioners, care available 24 hours a day, fitness

CCRCs total estimated economic impact on North Carolina’s economy in 2014 was

1.7 Billion

** Source: Appold, Johnson, Parnell (September 2015). “Market Needs and Economic Impact of Continuing Care Retirement Communities in North Carolina.” Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill


By 2034, CCRCs total estimated economic impact is projected to be

3.2 Billion **

instructors, and life engagement coordinator. In many ways, today’s retirement communities are a small village within themselves, with all that one needs in one location. “Our goal is to create a new standard for five-star retirement communities,” says Legacy’s Ford. “Life at Legacy doesn’t mean you have to say good-bye to the fine living you have earned and enjoyed. Our community will have multiple on-site restaurants, a fully-staffed fitness center equipped with everything you need for your workout, including a sparkling pool, aqua therapy sessions, and a European-style spa with first-class features. Additionally, Legacy will have a library, theater, multipurpose room, and a craft and activities room. We will have a fulltime activities director to plan and execute daily activities both on- and off-site.” “They move here so they can do more of what they love,” says Parries. “Residents can take in a movie in our theater, become active in countless clubs that suit their interests, hone creative hobbies in our art studio, photography studio, or woodworking shop, walk the campus for the expansive views, and | August 2019

so much else. We offer countless amenities right on campus so that residents are free to live how they wish.” The key goals in the architectural design of a community vary depending on what type of community it is, but the RLA’s Ammons says that, universally, those designs need to encourage an active, interactive, open, and inviting lifestyle through well-designed spaces both inside and outside. He personally sees an ongoing balance sought between making a new community feel like home versus being as open and exciting as a very nice hotel. The hospitality industry brings many good ideas to design, but most seniors are not looking to live in a hotel environment. Many would say that the right blend may feel like a country club or similar design.

Economic Impact Each CCRC within Western North Carolina has an economic impact. With 100-plus employees at each retirement community, many jobs are provided for residents of the region. According to research provided by Riverbird Research, a division of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, the top five occupations employed are nursing assistants, home health aides, personal care aides, licensed practical nurses, and registered nurses. Outside of the medical field, a range of jobs are needed, from groundskeepers to housekeepers to chefs. Carolina Village, for example, continues to hire in dietary, housekeeping, and maintenance in order to meet the needs of their current expansion.

What’s New? Jimmy Buffett is joining the retirement community world with his Margaritaville-themed retirement communities located in tropical locations. Chances are that one won’t be located in our area in the future, but there are some trends already underway, including equity models and even affordable housing options for seniors. Legacy at Mills River is the fourth equity model senior living community in North Carolina and the first in Western North Carolina. This is a transformative new model because now retirees have the opportunity to not only hold onto real estate as an asset, but have more control of the equity they will earn from owning a home in the desirable location of WNC. The home becomes the Legacy member’s outright—to keep, sell, or pass along to the next generation. Residents have a real

fishing at Tryon Estates photo by Bren Photography

computer rendering of a home at Legacy at Mills River, rendering cour tesy Legacy at Mills River

photo cour tesy Deer f ield, photo by Sandra Stambaugh

estate closing and a deed to property in Mills River. When they leave Legacy, they or their estate will be able to sell their unit and likely receive 100 percent of their investment back, plus any appreciation of the value of that unit due to the region’s strong real estate market. On the affordable housing front, Givens Gerber Park, located in South Asheville, and one of the more recentlyestablished communities, offers affordable housing for

“Gone are the days of sitting in a rocking chair in your twilight years. Today, there’s a huge interest in staying active and staying involved.” 55-year-olds and better. According to Givens’ website: “Comprised of three buildings, Givens Gerber Park offers residents of modest incomes a welcoming neighborhood with amenities to make retirement a little easier. Rents are determined by the household’s income with broader ranges than typically found in traditional affordable communities.” (Givens is part of the larger Givens retirement community, a United Methodist-affiliated organization initially

established in 1975; in mid-July, South Asheville’s Givens Estates announced plans for a $42 million expansion in 2020 that will yield additional apartments—both upscale and affordable—and key upgrades to the seniors facility.) Acts communities (Tryon Estates) offer discounts to retired veterans. In addition, all Acts communities have a Samaritan Fund to support residents who, through no fault of their own, have outlived their financial assets.

The Future’s So Bright, They Gotta Wear Shades. “Gone are the days of sitting in a rocking chair in your twilight years,” says Parries. “Today, there’s a huge interest in staying active and staying involved. Recently, we had 40 Carolina Village residents show up at a county commission meeting to vocalize their support for a greenway expansion that would connect local parks to the Village campus. This would provide a unique wellness amenity to our active population. We’ve found that our residents always have an interest in this type of initiative.” Seniors have a bright future within the retirement communities of Western North Carolina. An active lifestyle with a goal of spending decades in their new home is an obtainable goal. Today’s seniors are socially conscious and on the move, and Western North Carolina is an ideal home for them. August 2019 | 49




news briefs

Which Is Truest? winston-salem

Truliant Federal Credit Union has filed a lawsuit challenging the announced name for the merging of BB&T and SunTrust Bank. Spokespersons claim that “Truist” is too much like the registered trademark Truliant and its short form “Tru,” which has been used for advertising campaigns, product names, and taglines since 1999. Truliant has 15 locations in the greater Winston-Salem area and 13 in the Charlotte metro area, and the new bank will locate headquarters in Charlotte while still conducting considerable operations in BB&T’s current headquarters in Winston-Salem. Truliant believes the similar names operating in the same area would confuse customers. Truliant’s President Todd Hall said the banks would be “trading on the equity we have built.”


Expressing concerns over public perceptions of big banks in general and not so much BB&T or SunTrust in particular, he added, “Truth, trust, and reliability are hard-earned values that we are not willing to give away.” The merger is expected to close later this year, creating the nation’s sixth-largest bank with $66 billion in assets and over 10 million customers.

Depth Perception

Congruent’s managing partner, Joshua Posamentier, viewed the technology as “disruptive” and “years ahead of the competition.” Protected by over 200 patents, it uses lasers made by Sense Photonics and assembled in a proprietary array to produce a high and wide field of view, with depth and high resolution. The technology replaces 3D scanning with near-instantaneous generation of 3D “point clouds,” so slow frame rates are not an issue. Because the design is based on a camera, it can be integrated into vehicles with only minor customization; and since the laser emitters and receivers are separable, the device is not physically obstructive. Funds will be used to ramp up commercial production, for the system Sense Photonics’ CEO Scott Burroughs said is already in high demand. Other investors included Prelude Ventures, Samsung Ventures, Shell Ventures, Hemi Ventures, and IPD Capital.


Sense Photonics emerged from stealth mode with a $26 million investment round led by Acadia Woods and Congruent Ventures. The company has been developing solid-state LiDAR (light detection and ranging) for use in autonomous vehicles and industrial equipment.

Regulation Chasing the Blockchain raleigh

Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest has created the North Carolina Blockchain Initiative to study the attributes and

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applications of blockchain technology and virtual assets. The study group consists of persons with expertise in finance, law, entrepreneurship, legislation, policy analysis, and, of course, digital currencies. It will be co-chaired by Faruk Okcetin of the NC Digital Economy Hub, Daniel Spuller of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, and Eric Porper of Warp Institute. The group’s mission is to create a strategy for consideration by the General Assembly, the Department of Insurance, and the Department of the State Treasurer, among others, for modernizing government with appropriate regulatory measures; the objective being to promote economic growth. North Carolina was among the first states to regulate blockchain activities, updating existing law to clarify what activities involving virtual currency should require licensure.

September 13, apply to members of the accounting and finance departments. Last fall, Walmart announced it would be contracting with Genpact of New York for these services as part of ongoing efforts to streamline back-office activities as the company continually adapts to meet consumer preferences. Those affected have been offered assistance with finding work at Walmart stores, Sam’s Clubs, or other corporate offices within the organization. Outplacement services offered by Walmart include training in resume writing and interviewing, career counseling, and job fairs. Employees remaining with the company through a six-month transition period will receive retention and severance pay. Walmart is retaining its office space for its People Solutions department, which screens job applicants, and a regional headquarters.

applications for distributed ledgers, artificial intelligence, extended reality, and/or quantum computing. It is hoped the broader and more fine-tuned insights and accelerated analysis made possible with AI will improve the personalization of preventive prediction, diagnosis, and prescription. Novant’s initiative will be used for both clinical and operational applications. Building on IT solutions already working for the organization, Novant’s physicians will reach out to tech companies, research institutions, and other healthcare organizations. The institute will not have a physical office, but experts will roll in and out of testing phases on-location as needed. Based in Winston-Salem, Novant operates out of 640 locations in the Southeast, including outpatient facilities, physician clinics, and 15 hospitals.

In Accordance with Its Slogan

Personalization via Computers

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A Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification filed in accordance with state law announced Walmart would be laying off 569 employees from its Charlotte offices. The terminations, effective

Novant Health has opened its Institute of Innovation and Artificial Intelligence. A recent survey by Accenture found a majority of large healthcare organizations were developing and exploring

Steve Malik, owner of the North Carolina Football Club and North Carolina Courage, both professional soccer teams, is trying to win public support for construction of a permanent stadium just south of downtown Raleigh. Working with developer John Kane, the plan is to


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build, on a 55-acre site, the stadium, 1.6 million square feet of office space, 125,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, 1,200 hotel rooms, and 1,750 apartments. The project is described as similar to a complex of retail and residential property Kane successfully built on the north side of town, architectural renderings depicting, “a cluster of high rises.” In the $1.9 billion project, the stadium alone would cost $180 million, and Malik would like $13 million from local hotel tax revenues for the next 20-25 years to help with debt service and maintenance costs. Wake County’s tourist tax collected $55 million last year, but the stadium failed to make a short list for funding. Malik, however, is hoping to get special approval from Raleigh City Council and the Wake Forest County Commissioners and complete the first phase of the project by 2023.

Roping In greensboro

Sherrill Tree, a retailer of tree care and climbing gear based in Greensboro, has acquired the Sterling Rope Company, located in Biddeford, Maine. Sterling was the first to develop 100% polyester ropes that do not stretch under load. They also developed fire- and abrasion-resistant rope fibers for use in fire escapes. Sterling’s ropes are used by climbers, gyms, arborists, first responders, factories, and the military. Sherrill’s President and CEO Tripp Wyckoff said her company views Sterling with the highest of respect; it was acquired as part of Sherrill’s strategy to more vertically-integrate manufacturing and distribution. Sherrill expects day-to-day operations at Sterling will remain unchanged, and that includes preservation of the culture supporting the company’s innovative research and development team. At the time of acquisition, Sterling was conducting an estimated $7.5 million in business with a workforce of 70. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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Honda Aircraft is expanding its facilities with an additional 82,000 square feet to increase production rates from four twin-engine HondaJets per month to five. The new space should be completed by July 2020. President Michimasa Fujino’s statement that he will use some of the space for “other activities” has led analysts to speculate the expansion may accommodate research and development into electric or autonomous aircraft, which would not be a stretch because the industry is leaning toward electrification, and Honda has been working on electric cars since before the release of its first hybrid in 1999. Fujino, while not denying the speculation, said he was more interested in meeting demand for the next five years than the

next 20, and expressed an interest in selling jets to his mother country, Japan, where the standard method of transportation is highspeed rail, with private jets suffering from negative stigma. Last year, HondaJet entered into a contract with Marubeni Aerospace for marketing and selling HondaJets in Japan. The jets are even being designed with Japanese preferences in-mind. To date, the partnership has sold three jets.

Expediting FDA Trials durham

Durham-based Tergus Pharma announced plans to construct a 100,000 square-foot commercial manufacturing facility at its headquarters. Tergus researches, develops, tests, and manufactures topical dermatological pharmaceuticals. The new, state-of-the-art facility will give Tergus five times its current space to meet an industry that has been growing about 15% per year, and accommodate added workload as Tergus becomes a contract development and manufacturing organization for other companies. Tergus’ mission is to combine high quality with efficiency as it moves emerging branded and generic skin treatments through all FDA testing phases for commercialization. With a July groundbreaking, the facility should open in early 2020. The expansion is made possible through investment by Great Point Partners of Greenwich, Connecticut, which specializes in availing capital to growing healthcare organizations.

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Evolving the Database winston-salem

Tech startup Fluree, a public benefit corporation, received $4.73 million in a round of seed funding led by 4490 Ventures, with assistance from Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund. Both investment groups support developing technology outside the Silicon Valley. Fluree was cofounded by IT entrepreneurs Brian Platz and Flip Filipowski, with plans for a 2019 open-source release, with purchasable upgrades and licensing options. The founders saw database technologies had not evolved in 40 years to keep up with the evolving needs for artificial intelligence and machine learning. Data systems typically serve only one application, raising costs of interoperability. Platz and Filipowski, therefore, developed a blockchain-based data management system more suitable for sharing data. Blockchain decentralizes the storage of data while guarding against tampering, every transaction being traceable to its source. Fluree can create and store data from multiple sources, and make it accessible to collaborators, in raw form or analyzed, using its sophisticated queries. Customers include governments, Fortune 500 companies, and tech startups. The public benefit Fluree provides is retrenchment for persons displaced by emerging technology.

of unwanted goods diverted from landfills

August 2019 |



Support Systems

Nine Doable Investments to Support Regeneration.



lee warren is Executive Director of the 501c3 nonprofit Organic Growers School, located in Asheville.


ANY OF US WORKING IN AGRICULTURE and nonprofits don’t have extra money to invest outside of our baseline life-supporting endeavors. Yet others in our community are blessed with extra. My big question for these folks is: Do you have investments?

And then subsequently... Are those investments supporting soil health? Are they supporting land conservation? Are they supporting a vibrant community near where you live? Are they supporting ecosystem diversity? Are they supporting the microbial life that keeps us all healthy? Are they supporting the land stewards? Are they supporting climate resilience? If not, do you want to change that? We encourage you to invest in regenerative systems. Here, then, are several things you can do to invest in the kind of world you want.

heavy tillage, massive chemical inputs, and lack of attention to renewal—soils in the United States are in serious trouble. According to the World Wildlife Fund: “Half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years”;1 and, according to the UN’s Global Land Outlook:2 “A third of the planet’s land is severely degraded, and fertile soil is being lost at the rate of 24bn tonnes a year.”3 What this means for your investments is that, despite how well the stock market does in your lifetime or in the lifetimes of your loved ones, it’s of no use if the soil is too depleted to grow food.

Understand How Healthy Soils Are More Important To Your Future Than You Realize.

Shop Locally And Organically.

Soil is the source of our lives, literally. Without soils and without the pollinators that our plants require to make their offspring (the fruits and vegetables that we ingest), we are a doomed species. Due to industrial agriculture—including

| August 2019

While it may be obvious to most people at this point that shopping locally is important, why do we have only 2-3% of our local population, on average, buying 1. 2. 3. Reported by the Guardian. environment/2017/sep/12/third-of-earths-soil-acutely-degradeddue-to-agriculture-study

L food from local producers? Research shows that for every dollar you spend locally, 70 cents of that dollar stays in the community to circulate through local hands. For every dollar you send outside of your local community, 70 cents of it leaves to benefit other people and other places. For most us, we want to see our community thrive. We value local character, local businesses, local artists, local food producers, local jobs, and locally owned restaurants. We grieve to see our cities and towns taken over by strip malls and big box

if you hire knowledgeable folks to do it for you. Installing perennials is a smart bet for low-hassle maintenance, and investing in these long-term trees, shrubs, brambles, vines, and plants will attract pollinators, wildlife, bats, and all kinds of nature that make your life more wonderful. Consider finding a native plant nursery in North Carolina, learning about planting with native plants, even enjoying them in their native habitats. With a focus on natives, you can contribute significantly to a healthy


A trusted partner in philanthropy since 1978.

stores. Each one of us has a lot of power to strengthen our local economy and environmental and social networks by keeping our money in the community. Even if it means spending more on a product or service, it will benefit you so many more ways. Regarding organics, the choice is simple, and for many reasons. Studies and anecdotal reports show that longterm exposure to GMO (genetically modified organisms), pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and chemical fertilizers, is markedly dangerous for your overall health, especially your ability to stay free from chronic illnesses. In addition to the health benefits, buying organic supports the farmers growing in ways that value the land, the soil, and the farming systems that add to life instead of detracting from it.

Invest In Biodiversity On Your Own Land. Do you own land? Even a small yard? If so, are you growing your soil and habitat? If not, why not? If it’s about time and money, it can be done for very little if you do it yourself, or even faster

ecosystem in your neighborhood and region. Birds, insects, and other crucial links in the web of life need you for conservation and protection. It’s highly likely that you’ll get more joy and satisfaction from your yard than you ever thought possible.

Protect & Steward Your Land. It’s no doubt that owning real estate is a financial investment with significant return. Especially over a lifetime or generations of lifetimes. Yet have you considered how you want your land treated when you’re gone? There are several options for protecting your land, both while you’re living and in perpetuity. 1. Conservation easements allow owners to continue to own and use their land, but restrict development. Sometimes there are tax incentives for this choice or even payments from local conservation organizations. 2. Preserves allow your land to be given over to a trust or

Top: Toe River, Avery County; photo: Travis Bordley Middle: Muddy Sneakers, Transylvania County Bottom: Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity August 2019 |



conservancy after you’ve passed so that it will be protected for environmental or agriculture use as you deem and desire. 3. Stewardship incentives sometimes come from local, state, or federal agencies that help with creek or stream restoration, invasive species controls, forest management, trespass signs (for hunting, fishing, or wildcrafting), and other remediation and protection methods that you may employ. Farm linking or matching services exist in many states and allow landowners to make agreements with farmers to use their land for agriculture. Ideally, you will specify an organic and regenerative approach in your contract and then you’ll be adding biodiversity to your land and economics to a local farmer. (A good resource is NC FarmLink: Ncfarmlink.ces.

Support Regenerative Agriculture (And Regenerative Culture).




For those of us working at the forefront of the regenerative agriculture and regenerative culture movement, we are years, if not decades, ahead of mainstream solutions to the world’s complex problems. We need champions and funding if we are going to speed up the repair process. If you are able to set up a family foundation or even a donor-advised fund with your local community foundation, please consider prioritizing soil stewards. For some resources of folks who are forging ahead in this realm, seek out the following: “Healthy Soils to Cool the Planet--A Philanthropic Action Guide” (published at and “Regeneration International Funding Resources” ( Find the ones that you feel the most passionate about supporting and lend support for multi-year, multi-project programs. The way that financial resources flow in this culture is upside-down and backwards. The systems and organizations that create the most destruction (poverty and pollution) end up with the biggest wins. And the ones that work for good in the face of all hardship are the ones that suffer. Please consider helping to reverse this trend. Find leaders you trust and fund them—invest in leadership, progressive ideas, and integrated movements.

Move Your Investments To Something Beautiful.

562 Long Shoals Road Arden NC | August 2019 56828-687-1968 •

Reversing climate change, among other dire directives, is the challenge of our time. If you have extra money to invest, please consider investing with a “regenerative” portfolio. Regenerative investing makes sure that your financial

resources are supporting life-giving endeavors. This could include social enterprises—private debt and equity groups that restore and strengthen communities, cooperatives, and other such innovative projects. My favorite organization at the moment is the #NoRegrets Initiative, which is inviting wealth managers, investors, and philanthropists to think about utilizing integrated capital, curing resources, setting up regenerative assets strategies,

members and encourages more action and relationship with local organizations. A mutual aid society has much historical precedent in provided services, benefits, and social activities to members. One recent such society is Co-operate WNC: A Regional Mutual Aid Initiative ( These grassroots societies are working alternatives to government assistance: Not only can they be helpful in emergencies and during disasters, but they have the potential to solve chronic, complex issues and provide alternatives to health insurance and homelessness.


Work for good.

offering investment perspectives, and capturing carbon through all that they’re doing. When it comes to investing, do your research. Often “green” and “eco” investors still have your money in the stock market and have controversial, if not outright manipulative, guidelines around what qualifies. Many of these may not meet your standards for who and what you want to invest in.

Consider Giving Circles, Mutual Aid Societies, And Other NonTraditional Formats For Giving. When I fantasize about having extra money to give away, I imagine how much fun it would be to start a giving circle. In my dreams I would join more than one with different themes supporting things like women’s financial independence, community-based solutions, racial equity training—and, for sure, one of them would have a focus on soil health. Giving circles are a form of group philanthropy where each individual in the group donates money into a pool and the group decides together what project they want to support. It helps increase awareness and engagement on the part of all

For those with financial wealth, retirement often brings added time in their schedules to contribute. And for those without financial wealth but with extra time, so many movements could benefit from time, care, presence, and attention. Consider volunteering with a local organization or starting a local initiative. Our region needs investment in the building of the systems that will replace the failed ones. In all sectors and at all scales. Work with what you love, in a more just, inclusive, equitable, and forward-thinking way. One fabulous example of everyday people starting a worldwide movement is England’s Todmorden town’s urban gardening project, now known as Incredible Edible4 ( Todmorden, with a population of only 15,000, came to prominence among us garden types along about 2010 when visitors from all over the world started taking notice of their public fruit, herb, vegetable, and flower gardens. All of the food is produced by volunteers and is available for eating by anyone in town, residents and visitors alike. The group desires both more self-sufficiency in food production and more community building, both of which they’ve achieved in spades; the Incredible Edible model has apparently been taken up by 120 groups in the United Kingdom and more than 700 worldwide.

*** By investing in the systems, people, and projects that are making our world livable, you are securing your future and the future of your offspring and creating the world you want. This is no small thing. Dollars drive the market. Let’s stop investing in destruction and instead invest in the regeneration.

4. August 2019 | 57


| August 2019

emily copus of Carolina Flowers, photo by Jack Sorokin

leisure & libation

photo cour tesy Namaste in Nature

One Seed at a Time

Western North Carolina’s flower farms are in full bloom—for the farmers themselves, for their creative partners in the florist and wedding industries, and for those of us who just want to bask in the beauty.

written by emily gl aser August 2019 | 59

leisure & libation

blue ridge blooms

photo by Briana Autran Photography

FLOWER FARMING ISN’T ALWAYS PRETTY. Carolina Flowers’ Emily Copus, feet clad in mud-splattered wellies, her quilted jacket abandoned to the press of an early May sun, strides the perimeter of a southern-facing field in Marshall. Her arm traces shadows across trampled grass as she points out starts and sprouts across the acre: lisianthus, gomphrena, rudbeckia. Today, it’s a palette of muddy browns and scuffed, minute greens, but in a matter of weeks, it will burst into effervescent, multiplicable bloom. It’s not always pretty, but when it is, it’s stunning. These are scenes echoed across our Appalachian mountains, in fields and valleys, on family acres and borrowed land, usually tilled by the delicate and dirty hands of female farmers. It’s an industry well-suited for this dichotomous congregation: They 60

| August 2019

stand in a sea of dahlias, clad in tank tops and sun hats, to pose for an idyllic Instagram snap, then dig elbow-deep into tilled soil to fish for tubers and flick unflinchingly at grubs. These modern flower farmers are everything at once: business owners, marketing gurus, field hands, savvy entrepreneurs, models, sales staff, born-and-bred locals, city-slicker transplants—and they’re just getting started. Like that aforementioned field in the coming months, the local flower farm industry has recently burst into full-fledged, verdant bloom, a regional trend that’s reflective of the national one. In 2015 the USDA estimated the number of small flower farms across the country had grown by some 20 percent in five years. That same year, our own North Carolina clocked in as one of the top five producing states in that industry. (The total value of such enterprises across those five states? $3 billion.)

Copus, the last in a trickle-down lineage of flower farmers, is quick to point out that the popularity of small-scale flower farming isn’t necessarily new, but it is different. Her great uncle was growing flowers in Pennsylvania, like his father before him, when the then-booming industry was disrupted first by the ‘70s fuel crisis, followed by the War on Drugs, which incentivized South American growers to replace coca plants with flowers, in turn destabilizing the American industry. Those crises that affected Copus’ family decades ago still define the industry today: According to the USDA, 80 percent of flowers sold in the States are imported, primarily from South America. But those industrialized foreign farms represent a bevy of agricultural practices that consumers are increasingly aware and avoidant of, including chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and exploitative labor methods. Add to that the rapidly

expanding market value of local agriculture, and one might say the season is ripe for small scale flower farms. (Not that they ever necessarily left: “There are old timers growing flowers and selling them for weddings on the top of a mountain that you would never know about it,” Copus says, with a laugh.) So, why here? And why now? Those are questions with answers as intricately multitudinous as ranunculus petals. Spurred by the correlative promise of the farm to table movement, the exodus of suburbia in favor of pastoral rural scenes, a popularized vision of the industry promulgated on social media, a lucrative local wedding industry that’s turning farmers into florists, a lengthy history of agriculture both genetic and inherent to the land, and a community of likeminded and fiery floriculturists, these farmers are making a business out of their passion, one seed at a time. August 2019 | 61

leisure & libation

photo cour tesy Poppins Posies

THE PEOPLE It’s a movement that begins not with flowers, not with land, but with people. This modern cohort of flower farms is the fruition of a new assemblage of agriculturalists, a diverse community spanning generations and origins but united almost without exception by gender. “I think there is an interesting thing that happens sociologically, which is that women tend to do what the men are not doing. And so I think that has definitely been the case here,” Copus says of her industry, pausing for a last glimpse over that muddy field and a directive for one of the farmhands working it. “The bottom fell out, the men left, and then the women were like, ‘Hmm, what can we do here?’” Across the country, it’s women—sometimes joined by husbands and partners—who are stepping in to fill the void still echoing with the ghosts of former farmers like Copus’ great uncle and ringing with calls for locally-grown flowers. Nationally, these small flower farms are perceived as being manned—or rather, womanned—by a unique breed of influencer-inspired thirty-somethings looking to return to the land and embrace a more bucolic lifestyle. It’s a narrative Mandy Hornick of Asheville’s Blue Ridge Blooms expects. “I think personally, people look for better options in life, moving cafe au l aits dahlia s, photo cour tesy Carolina Flowers


| August 2019

photo by Sara Turner Photography / cour tesy Never Ending Flower Farm

from office jobs and finding other paths, and the pastoral setting of farming is one place folks find solace,” she says (though Hornick herself has worked in the floral industry since 2007 after studying horticulture at Haywood Community College). Such was the case, for example, with Urban Farm Girl Flowers’ Elaine and Bryan Young, former architects who found a new career in farming after moving to Black Mountain 12 years ago. “We came here for the mountains, but flower farming and design fell in place as a way to reinvent ourselves and our passions in a thriving new industry,” explains Elaine. In Asheville, as with these popularized plots of “city girl goes country” common in the agritourism industry, we’re used to transplants—but that’s not the prevailing story line among these local flower farmers. Many of them, in fact, are Western Carolina natives, like Katie Grear of Lady Luck Flower Farm, Loretta Ball of The Never Ending Flower Farm, Bob McLean of Poppins Posies, who runs the farm with his wife, Judy, and Annie Louise Perkinson of Flying Cloud Farm who, while born in London, has Fairview roots that trail back four generations on her mother’s side. The popular assumption that these are naive or sophomoric rookie farmers is also debunked by our cadre of local growers who bring decades and oftentimes multigenerational experience to their fields. Many of them grew up in fields and furrows, like August 2019 | 63

leisure & libation

photo by Briana Autran cour tesy Blue Ridge Blooms

photo cour tesy Lady Luck

Loretta Ball of Barnardsville’s Never Ending Flower Farm. “It was just something we always did growing up: Plant a garden, grow acres of tobacco, and maintain our small flower beds around the house. My first job at 16 was at our local plant nursery, Reems Creek Nursery,” she says, adding that before she was a flower farmer, she had a retail greenhouse for five years. Grear and her husband, Mike Adams, started Lady Luck 11 years ago after working on another flower farm in Marshall. Perkinson’s parents had a large garden, her grandparents a dairy farm, and her grandmother a cutting garden that bloomed punctually and verdantly. And Copus, as we already know, leaned into her heritage and her own parents’ passion for growing when she left a career in journalism to pursue agriculture. These women haven’t so much grown their green thumbs as they have polished them, taking up their fate with equal parts passion and providence.

“Why, land is the only thing in the world worth workin’ for, worth fightin’ for, worth dyin’ for, because it’s the only thing that lasts.” - Gone With The Wind

photo cour tesy Poppins Posies


| August 2019

The roles of these farmers-slash-entrepreneurs take them far off the field, too, as they take on all those tasks associated with running a small business. From planning and ordering, to website maintenance and marketing, to retail and floral design, the farmers are also brand ambassadors for the businesses they literally and dedicatedly cultivate. It’s passion that marks not just these sunburnt and dirtynailed leaders, but their employees, too. Each farm employs a team of a few farmhands up into the double digits, depending on the season, part-time and full-time laborers, and their output, most of whom bring with them years of their own farming experience and zeal. When asked about her employees, Copus fingers off a lengthy list of part-time gardeners who fill their free hours with their own farms, while Poppins Posies’ Judy McLean smiles when she says that the people who help till the land and pluck the blooms of her farm (who she refers to as the “dream team”) seem to seek and find healing among their flowers, herself included. But success isn’t built on kismet, and as with any womenowned business, these entrepreneurs face challenges unknown to their masculine counterparts. “I think that women in this country are miseducated in a lot of ways that pertain to business and physical occupations like this one,” Copus says

photo by Carolyn Marie Photography cour tesy Urban Farm Girl

of her experience as a woman becoming a business owner. “It can be really staggering to me to come across gaps in my experience that have to do with tools or infrastructure. And then also, I have to really be honest with myself about what I’ve been taught about risk and the way I represent myself in business… I look around at the industry and I’m sure that there are many other people who are asking themselves these questions, but definitely see sort of the miseducation of women at large being amplified throughout our industry, in terms of the way we shy away from risk and shy away from growth.” In order to counter those challenges, Copus is spearheading Sheryl Sandberg-style leaning-in with projects that capitalize on community. “One of the ways we grow is through collaboration and also through merging and finding ways to work together,” she says. Three years ago she was a founding member of WNC Flower Farmers, a collective of local growers. She also frequently brings together multiple local floriculturists to satisfy large wholesale orders they’d be unable to meet alone. It’s a spirit of camaraderie in the midst of competition that prevails among these entrepreneurial women. “There is truly a cooperative spirit among us,” says Poppins Posies’ McLean. “If there is an order that can’t be filled because of flower type, quantity, or weather issues, we call around and help each other

out frequently.” Regardless of their age or experience, these flower farmers—and the bounty of creative agriculturalists in our region—are a community.

THE LAND Anyone who’s pressed play and watched the first grainy scenes of Gone with the Wind unfold understands the passion land can inspire. “Why, land is the only thing in the world worth workin’ for, worth fightin’ for, worth dyin’ for, because it’s the only thing that lasts,” Scarlett’s father exclaims in his throaty brogue, his bushy eyebrows jumping in timed cadence to his attestations. For these modern-day flower farmers, it’s the land in which they sow their seeds and reap their dreams, and it inspires that same fervor, and, oftentimes, frustration. It’s this verdurous, jungle-ish land we call home that inspires so many flower farmers to grow in Western North Carolina, following the muddy footsteps of generations of farmers before them who have long reaped the benefits of our dense, loamy soil. “Our near-rainforest climate allows lush growth of everything!” enthuses McLean, adding that flowers are easier to grow on a small for-sale basis than other crops. And because they’re only the latest in a long line of local agriculturalists, there’s

August 2019 | 65

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photo by Jack Sorokin

an established infrastructure for these flower farmers to lean into as well as well-fertilized and cared-for land to plant on. There’s lots of farmland out there for the taking, but procuring it isn’t necessarily easy. Some of our local flower farmers, like the McLeans of Poppins Posies, were lucky enough to inherit the land. Others, like Grear and husband Adams, rented land before buying their own parcel. But most find it most financially viable to rent their fields. “We have been fortunate to be able to start our farm and build our infrastructure on land owned by my parents in Fairview,” says Annie Louise Perkinson of Flying Cloud. “We have gradually added more land to our operation by leasing fields from neighbors and extended family so that we now have five landlords and five leases for our farm business. All of the land we farm has been put into conservation easement over the last 10 years so that it can never be developed. While not owning the land has some downfalls, such as not having complete control, it also has many benefits. The landowners receive a significant tax break for having the land in agricultural use, and we have the opportunity to grow and harvest produce from land that would be prohibitively expensive to purchase on a farmer’s income.” 66

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Copus, who both rents and owns land with her husband, potter Josh Copus, agrees, adding that farm land is hard to come by (she’s always looking for additional plots to rent). “The amount of rent we pay is very reasonable,” she explains. “Agricultural rents are by the year, and part of that is because bare land doesn’t do anything for you. The understanding is that you have to invest in it, whether it’s sweat equity or whether it’s actual money.” She points out a series of ditches they’ve dug into the land that, while not technically their own, is still worth investing in. And invest they do, turning dry plots of land into prolific fields of flowers with efforts unimaginable to we layfolk. They dig ditches to redirect the flow of mountain runoff, plant a variety of cover crops that amend different ailments like nitrogen or mineral imbalances, study soil maps and the water table—in other words, they become incredibly intimate with the land from which they’ll pull their livings. And even then, that land can turn on them with flooding, fungus, blight, bugs, and any number of unpredictable and natural misfortunes with disastrous consequences. If all goes according to plan, however, the land provides a living for the flower farmers and their employees.

photo by Luxe House Photographic, cour tesy Urban Farm Girl

THE FLOWERS The magic, of course, is in the flowers. Most small flower farms grow dozens of species and hundreds of varieties of blooms in a kaleidoscopic spectrum of colors, their nodding heads ranging in size from dinner plate to snowflake. The ground starts warming, waking up tubers and seeds, in spring, and a parade of flowers follow suit beginning in mid-April, a march of pastels that ripens into rich primaries in summer and rubied jewels in fall until the first frost nips buds in mid-October. There are the ones we all recognize: dahlias, daffodils, tulips, sunflowers, hydrangeas; those we amateur gardeners might know: zinnias, cosmos, phlox, marigolds, peonies, bee balm; and then there’s the rest, a whole slew of florets with Tolkienesque names—celosia, amaranth, scabiosa, larkspur—a seemingly endless list of annuals and perennials grown for bouquets and arrangements and single-stem beauty. The farmers choose which flowers to grow based on a variety of factors: reliability, shelf-life, diversity, popularity, and, of course, personal preference. Flying Cloud’s Perkinson indicates the importance of other elements: “The flowers that we grow are ones that do well in our area, can be planted at different times of the year to extend the harvest, and many can be cut over and over.” Flowers like dahlias are among local floriculturists’ favorites because they check all those boxes, plus they don’t ship well, giving the local guys an advantage over international competition. Not to mention, they’re beautiful and come in a range of shapes, colors, and sizes. Most growers study seed catalogues and follow trends, choosing varieties that cater specifically to their clients, which range from local floral designers or small businesses looking for arrangements, as is the case with Blue Ridge Blooms, to wedding clients (more on that later), to special use, like local

photo cour tesy Poppins Posies

photo by Sara Turner Photography cour tesy Never Ending Flower Farm

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photo by Revival Photography cour tesy Urban Farm Girl

leisure & libation

distillery Oak and Grist, which tapped Urban Farm Girl Flowers to grow chamomile exclusively for their brews. All the growers note that their plan and the flowers they grow is constantly evolving and adapting to include new varieties, experimental crops, and low-maintenance perennials. When a new flower doesn’t work, the lost investment is minimal: less than $100 and the loss of profit from the flowers it replaced. It’s not just about what they grow, but how they’re grown. Most small-scale farmers, like Copus, eschew tractors in favor of hands, which allow for a higher density of plantings. The rotation of crops, meticulously planned and executed, encourages a higher yield as well, with flowers blooming constantly from April through October. It’s an intentional approach that requires year-round attention. “There is not a month that we don’t plant flowers,” Copus says. “Making sure that you’re always planting something really helps on the opposite end when you’re harvesting to make sure that you’ve always got something to pick.” It requires some expert finagling and, in some ways, a direct contradiction of nature. “We direct seed crops in the fall that bloom the following spring, we plant bulbs and tubers, we start seeds in the greenhouse to get a jumpstart on the season, and trick biennials into blooming the first year by starting in the summer, transplanting in the fall, and harvesting the following spring,” Annie Louise Perkinson explains, of her cycle for Flying Cloud. “It takes a good plan, a lot of variety, and knowledge of growing conditions to have blooms every week of the growing season.” The flower production of each farm is also dependent, of course, on acreage, which varies widely. Ball grows just 1/4 acre of annuals, plus peonies and a 200-foot row of perennials. The McLeans cover nearly every square inch of their three acres with dahlias and a profundity of perennials and annuals. And Copus has spread Carolina Flowers’ operations over some four locations, managing about eight acres with a three-acre footprint of planted space in 2019. Some prefer to be small-scale, local growers; others, like Copus, envision bigger businesses—and more land. “We will be as big as we can possibly be, and it will be limited by the land that we can get access to,” she says, “but if we can get 30 acres, we will grow on 30 acres.” When asked if that’s a scary number, Copus shakes her head: “High density farming has been able to produce incredible yields on a smaller scale; it just requires more people and more of management of people. So, I think if you’re not scared to manage people, then you’re in good shape.” It also requires a market—and that, Western North Carolina has.

AND YOU Riding down the narrow blacktop of U.S. 74 that traces the line between Little Pisgah, Ferguson, and Tater Knob’s peaks, traffic slows as it moves across the valley floor. In midsummer, 68

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photo by Jen Burrell Photography cour tesy Blue Ridge Blooms

photo cour tesy Carolina Flowers

Fairview’s mountains are swathed in shades of green, but here, there’s a rainbow. Drivers can’t help but press their brakes, some to turn in, others to admire, the land-locked sea of colors that are Flying Cloud Farms’ flower fields. It’s what Perkinson refers to as a “natural billboard,” pulling passers-by from the road to their self-serve, honor system farm stand, where folks can purchase the flowers that caught their eye as bouquets, single stems, and bunches, as well as the fruits and veggies grown on the land. It’s the charm of it all—the shaded gazebo, the iced greens, the wooden cash box, the breeze that makes the flowers sway—that makes the farm stand a viable enterprise, but it’s also the practicalities. “I feel like buying local, organic flowers is just as important as buying local, organic food as it helps save the world in multiple ways,” Perkinson explains. “It keeps dollars in our local community, it keeps farmland productive and managed organically, it provides food for beneficial insects and pollinators, it has a smaller carbon footprint, and it doesn’t support an industry that grows many of the traditional cut flowers using lots of chemicals and cheap labor. There are many floral needs in this community, and I think there is room for all the flower farmers—it is just a matter of finding the right niche.”

For the Perkinsons, and for most of our flower farmers, their flowers don’t fill so much a niche as a spectrum of requisites. They have their on-site farm stand, plus a popular CSA program which can include flowers (or you can order a flower share at $200 for the 20 week season), farmers market booths at the RAD and North Asheville markets, “pick their own” cups ($5) and buckets ($20) in the heat of summer, and floral design for weddings and special events. It’s engaging in diverse and widespread markets that has proved the best bet and success story for these floriculturists. You’ll find many of them at local farmers markets, including Carolina Flowers at the Asheville market and Urban Farm Girl at the Black Mountain Tailgate market. Others, like Grear, have found that farmers markets weren’t a profitable avenue for her business model. You-pick is also a popular and endearing retail avenue for the farmers. Lady Luck hosts its community “U-Pick Days” in summer and fall (watch their social media channels to see when), and the Never Ending Flower Farm invites you-pick customers Thursday–Saturday from 9AM to 1PM. Though Poppins Posies doesn’t host you-pick, they do sell flowers by the bucket and encourage locals to come enjoy the beauty of the farm. “We are probably the only flower farm that welcomes August 2019 | 69

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visitors to drop by all day long, six days a week, with slightly shorter hours on Saturday,” McLean says. “Everyone feels the magic, especially in the early morning, of being able to experience the sights, sounds, and scents of the flower fields at their leisure, without pressure to buy.” Agritourism like you-pick is an increasingly appealing concept for many farmers as they consider how to capitalize not just on the beauty of the flowers, but the land, as well. Urban Farm Girl has hosted wreath making and floral design workshops with Looking Glass Creamery and intends to do so in the future, and Lady Luck Flower Farm recently incorporated special events, like weddings, workshops, parties, and classes, into their business plan. In July Copus and husband Josh hosted their first farm tour and open house, Flowers and Clay, where guests were able to explore the fields and the processes behind Josh Copus Pottery, too (they plan to host Flowers and Clay annually). Blue Ridge Blooms and the Never Ending Flower Farm both have plans to expand into agritourism with classes and workshops in 2020. “We are actually building a Sorghum Mill where we will be making Sorghum syrup and inviting the community to our farm to see the process of making the syrup in the fall,” adds Never Ending’s Ball.

Selling direct-to-consumer is a thriving channel for most farmers, but so is business-to-business. They sell to florists, local businesses, restaurants, and wholesale, in bouquets, buckets, and en masse. All of these are important aspects of the retail chain for local flower farmers, but none is so impactful as the wedding industry. “The strength of the wedding market in Asheville cannot be overstated,” Copus says. “The flower market in Asheville is huge because say there’s 2,500 weddings registered in Buncombe County every year, and if each one of those people spends $2,500 on flowers, which is a small budget, then that’s what, over $6 million? So just for wedding flowers for weddings that are registered in Buncombe County, let alone the whole region, let alone people who are registering in their home county and then coming here. That’s pretty crazy to think about.” (See the July 2018 issue of this magazine for an in-depth report on the regional wedding industry.) It is crazy to think about, and it’s the monetary lifeblood of these farmers. Lady Luck, Urban Farm Girl, Poppins Posies, Blue Ridge Blooms, Never Ending Flower Farm, and Carolina Flowers all attribute their success—most of their success—to the industry and their in-house full-service floral design. “We

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never imagined being in the wedding business, but that is 60-70 percent of our business now,” says Lady Luck’s Grear. “WNC is a wedding destination, and there are more and more businesses that have sprung up to serve this market, including flower growers and florists.” It’s the wedding

For all the farmers, it’s the quiet magic of turning seeds into something more. industry that’s preventing the saturation of the small flower farm industry and allowing more and more flower lovers to successfully try their hand at farming. With a diverse and thriving range of markets, these farmers can turn penny-seeds into big profits. Copus cites a figure from a book that estimates a $35,000 yield per acre for flower farmers. “But that’s an old book, and it’s a very specific model of flower farming,” she explains. “We have a

sales outlet from everywhere, from wholesale to wholesale, wholesale to florists, retail at the farmer’s market, retail through delivery, and then value-added for our weddings. So, we have this whole different chain of sales that’s almost incestuous where we’re sort of selling flowers to ourselves. So, our yield is much higher than that.” But Copus’ dreams are big, and for some of the farmers, it’s more about the small impact. “You’ll see money in the driveway, and the dream team, all of us, get together, and we turn our backs and we throw the money down the driveway to remind us it’s about taking care of the people who come, not the money,” says McLean of Poppins Posies with a grin, pointing out the coins that glitter in her drive like sparkling buds. It’s an industry uniquely suited to give its proprietors their dreams. For Copus, that’s providing a sustainable living for a cadre of employees; for McLean, it’s offering the beauty of flowers at an affordable price point. And for all the farmers, it’s the quiet magic of turning seeds into something more. It’s standing in a monochrome, chestnut-mud field in early May and the promise that, come summer, it won’t just be pretty, it will be stunning.

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leisure & libation column

CBD, Marijuana, & the Workplace



w. ronald moffitt, m . d .,

is the medical director for Pardee @Work of Hendersonville.


BD (CANNABIDIOL) AND MARIJUANA use is a hot topic in the workplace right now. Pardee @Work recently hosted a well-attended seminar for employers on this subject.

According to some recent surveys, one in 13 workers reports using CBD products. CBD use is growing so rapidly it is going to affect nearly every industry in some fashion. Researchers estimate it will be a $22 billion industry by 2022, and that 10 percent of the United States population will use CBD by 2025. According to the most recent federal study on drug use (from 2015), 33 million American adults have used marijuana in the last year. This number may be higher since 33 states have now legalized marijuana either for medical or recreational use. In North Carolina marijuana is still illegal, while CBD derived from hemp is legal, provided it isn’t packaged in food products or sold with specific health claims.

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What is the Difference Between CBD and Marijuana? It’s important to note the difference between CBD and a substance called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Both CBD and THC are found in cannabis plants. THC is the main psychoactive component of marijuana, which gives people a “high.” CBD, while also an active ingredient in marijuana, does not cause the euphoria or intoxication. There are two cultivars of cannabis: hemp, which contains more CBD and less than 0.3 percent THC; and marijuana, which contains less CBD and more than 10 to 20 percent THC. CBD products can be legally produced from the hemp plant, while marijuana comes from the marijuana plant.

W Why is CBD so Popular? People use CBD for pain, anxiety, depression, cancer, acne, heart disease, substance abuse, insomnia, and antiinflammatory purposes. While there is evidence that CBD helps treat certain forms of epilepsy, more research is needed to know if CBD is beneficial for other conditions. CBD comes in dietary supplements and other preparations, including oils, creams, lotions, capsules, pills, edibles (like gummy candies), and vaping liquids. There is also one FDAapproved medication called EPIDIOLEX for specific types of childhood epilepsy.


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One thing to consider, though, is that we don’t know if CBD can alleviate health issues. There is little substantive data to prove it works.

What are the Risks of using CBD Products? Along with the lack of research on CBD’s purported benefits, there is a lack of regulation, oversight, and uniform controls of CBD products. Other than EPIDIOLEX, CBD products are not regulated by the FDA. This means there is a wide variation in quality and differences in the extraction process. My advice is, “buyer and user beware.” It’s an uncontrolled industry right now.

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Many CBD products are inaccurately labeled, meaning they could potentially contain higher levels of THC than listed, which could lead to a positive drug test. In a 2017 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers found that out of 84 samples of CBD products, 18 contained significant amounts of THC. Additionally, this study found that 43 percent had less than the labeled amount of CBD, 26 percent had more than the labeled amount of CBD, and only 31 percent were accurate as to the amount on the label. Fortunately, few side effects are reported with low doses of CBD. Most products contain doses that are quite small because CBD is so expensive. When people experience adverse effects, the symptoms are usually nausea, diarrhea, or headache. Drug interactions with prescription medications or liver abnormalities are possible with higher CBD doses.

will test positive for marijuana. The drug test detects the compound the body creates after exposure to THC. That said, as noted above, some CBD products contain more THC than


Can CBD use Lead to a Positive Drug Test? This is a major concern for employees and employers alike. Generally speaking, if an employee uses a CBD product and then undergoes a drug screening, it is highly unlikely they

they indicate on the label. While rare, studies have shown it is possible for lower levels of THC to build up in the body over time, which could lead to a failed drug test.

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One local industry did their own testing of CBD products with a few employees who use CBD, and indeed, one employee had a positive drug test for marijuana. The window for a positive THC test is two to three days after a single marijuana use, two to five days if you use it three times per week, and two to four weeks if you use it daily.

Marijuana: To Test or Not to test? We are seeing a trend of employers discontinuing drug screenings for marijuana. While marijuana is still illegal in North Carolina, many industries are reconsidering their policies because it costs them too many employees. With a low unemployment rate, it’s hard for many businesses to find new employees these days. There are pros and cons for employers who discontinue drug testing. Some industries with workers in high-risk positions (such as interstate truck drivers) are required to continue testing. Additionally, employees in high-risk or safety-sensitive positions may be at risk for injury or accidents with marijuana use. Marijuana can stay in the system much longer than alcohol. One single use can still be detected in a urine screening three

days later. So, if an employee smokes marijuana on Friday night, they could have a positive test on Monday. Employers have to ask if they want to fire an employee in that situation. Making this issue even more complex is the fact that it is difficult to establish a norm for marijuana-related intoxication levels because marijuana’s effects vary from person to person, depending on how often they use the substance. There are no published guidelines for the quantitative levels of THC in the blood. While we know a blood alcohol content of .08 percent means a person is legally intoxicated, there is no correlation between blood THC levels and impairment.

It is a Complicated Issue. As marijuana is legalized in more states, either for medical or recreational use, legal questions arise regarding testing in the workplace for a legal substance, with different interpretations regarding state laws versus federal laws. This issue is going to be difficult for employers and lawmakers to sort through. It will be interesting to see how CBD and marijuana laws and regulations develop in the future.

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F2-Danny Reiser DAN REISER staring out of his newest fixer upper.


| August 2019


Black Belt IN Business written by jim murphy


photos by anthony harden

But was it good business, or the reverse? Dan Reiser, along with his wife, Betsy, have done a little of everything, experienced business ups and downs, and have ultimately come out on top. Oh, and along the way, they made a lot of dogs happy, too.

August 2019 | 77


AN REISER, OF FAIRVIEW, JUST OUTSIDE Asheville, restores classic mid-century trailers, those sleek, retro showpieces that seem to glide along the highway, calling up nostalgic images of the 1950s. Dan began working on old trailers “not because it would be a good business venture,” he notes, “but because I thought they were cool.” Cool indeed. It takes Dan and his four-man crew about two months of grinding and polishing and shellacking and rewiring, etc., to complete a restoration. He took a break from his labors on a recent morning to explain his attraction to the old trailers and his work in restoring them. “About 10 years ago I fixed one up, sold it, and made some money,” Dan recalls. “And I decided, here’s what I’m supposed to do. I finally stumbled on this thing that’s getting very popular. People realize they’re not making these things anymore.” Dan’s company, Classic Camper Sales, operates out of a field next to his home in Fairview. He and his wife, Betsy, bought the property back in the 1990s, when Asheville’s Appalachian Real Estate, which Betsy owns, got the listing. “I listed it and it went under contract right away,” she says. “But every time I went out to the property I’d say, ‘This is really nice. I wish I could live here.’ But Danny didn’t want to hear it. So, the deal fell apart, and finally I took Danny out there and he looked at it and he said, ‘Why didn’t you make an offer on this?’” She laughs at the memory. “‘Well, because you didn’t want to.’” Now, the six-acre property is both home and Dan’s business headquarters. Six or seven trailers currently sit scattered among the weeds, waiting their turn in the restoration process while a finished job occupies a prominent place, awaiting sale. “It usually takes about four weeks to sell one,” he says. “I got two people coming to look at this one on Saturday.” “This one” is a 1950 Westcraft Trolley Top, which Dan shows off with obvious enthusiasm. He opens a panel in the polished wood living/dining room to reveal an electric circuit board. “We redid all the wiring,” and he points to the ceiling, where an air-conditioning unit has been installed. “They didn’t have air conditioning in 1950,” he says. The 26-by-8-foot interior looks more like a high-end sailboat than a trailer, and Dan points out the bamboo flooring. “Not laminate; it’s real wood,” he says. His asking price is $59,000. While he is showing off his finished product, the sounds of drills, polishing wheels, and a hammer provide background music. The current job is about halfway finished, and it still shows signs of the decades of wear and tear, even as the completed restoration begins to emerge. Outside his office, a covered work area includes dozens of hardware cubbies, about a dozen electric drills lined up as if for inspection, a shop vac, air hoses coiled over 78

INTERIOR VIEW of a finalized trailer. | August 2019

DAN IN his office.

nails on a post, a work table with cans of paint thinner, and a freshly varnished wood panel which will become the door to a cupboard. Dan is dressed for work in a black T-shirt and camo pants. He sits at his desk in what passes for his office, but looks more like the clutter capital of Fairview. The wall opposite his desk is covered with a jumble of pictures, notes, an incongruous Van Gogh poster, and a line-up of keys hanging on hooks. His regard for old trailers is evident when he begins talking about the industry. “After World War II, in the ‘50s they were building the big highways across the United States, and companies that had been making airplanes for the war retooled and started making trailers. “I don’t do Airstreams because they never change their body style. And Airstreams are not selling for that much anymore. People think everything is like an Airstream. Once they get over that, they learn that Spartans that they used to make are better than the Airstreams. See, the Airstreams are all painted inside, and the Spartans are all finished wood—they look like a boat inside. It’s like anything you get into: You learn value, and you realize these other brands are really cool.” Is it getting harder to find the old classics? “There’s not many in people’s backyards who don’t know

what they’ve got these days. I keep track of them on Craigslist or eBay.” Buying and selling has apparently become an active niche enterprise. Scanning internet for-sale ads, one can find at least 10 brands of trailers from the late ‘40s and ‘50s, some of them showing every mile of their age and waiting for restoration, others fully restored and ready to take us back to the Eisenhower years. “Luckily, I’m in the right place at the right time for once,” Dan says. Paul Lacitinola, the publisher of Vintage Camper Trailers magazine, attests to the growing popularity of these rolling antiques. He also produces classic trailer rallies. “We’re doing seven rallies this year,” says Lacitinola. “They all sell out, between 200 and 250 classic trailers. And we always have a waiting list. And that’s just here on the West Coast. There are rallies all across the nation. We publish a list of events in the magazine, and at any given time we list 50 to 80 events.” “For once in my life I’m kinda making money,” Dan adds. “Wish I had discovered it a little bit earlier in life.” While Dan is rescuing old trailers, his wife, Betsy, is running her real estate company. At age 74, she’s decided to spend more time running Appalachian Real Estate and less time running around to houses for sale. But, she says, real estate is “just so much fun. I love going around, looking at other people’s houses.” August 2019 | 79

The charm of snow-capped mountains has worn off for Betsy, who accepts that her Florida roots have made her a warm-climate lover. They have a home on Lake George in central Florida, which is not only their winter getaway, but was also the beginning of Dan’s trailer business. “We needed a guest house, so we bought a trailer—a Spartan—and fixed it up as a guest house,” she explains, adding that the effort kept Dan busy. “He really does need

finished restoring it, he sold it for a profit, and soon began to think restorations might become a business. Dan and Betsy have been together 54 years. They’re both successful and still enjoying what they’re doing. All in all, just a happy, comfortable story. But hang on. For Dan and Betsy, the real story is their backstory.

The Adventures of Betsy and Danny

Dan’s conversation is sprinkled with self-effacing comments on his many diverse pursuits: “I’m good at a lot of stuff, but not world class at anything.” a project,” she says, waving her hands in a nervous, fluttering gesture. “Or he gets in trouble.” The guesthouse led to another trailer purchase and project for Dan. When he 80

| August 2019

If life is a journey, theirs was on a long winding road. Their story begins in 1965 when the Vietnam War was raging, and it seemed society was coming apart. Flower children were tossing daisies at police, hippies were making tie-dye and bell-bottoms fashionable, and California was the social frontier for adventurous youngsters. Newlyweds Dan and Betsy moved from Miami to Sebastopol, just 55 miles from the hippie mecca, San Francisco. She took off first: “Packed up my son (from a previous marriage), my dog, and a friend into my Morris Minor. It was tight.” She grins at her understatement. Dan remained behind for a few months to finish his art degree from the University of Miami.

“We were flower children,” he says. “Just hanging around.” She fleshes out some details. “We did some gardening, I was going to school, and he was painting.” Were his paintings selling? “Oh no. He never worries about that. We were hippies. Back then you could live on $300 a month.” Did they ever think of taking a real job? She flashes a wide grin. “Both of us, any time we thought about working for anybody else, we’d…” She lets out a guttural gagging. “Aaaaach.” They were living in a farmhouse, and he recalls, “We lost the farm because the farmer’s kids wanted to move into it.” Danny: Let’s check out those Caribbean Islands. Betsy: I’ll start packing. They not only left the farmhouse, they left the state and the country. “We went to Dominica in 1967. They didn’t want us,” he says. “They want tourists to come in, spend a bunch of money, and then leave. And we felt that pressure. So we moved out to what they call the bush, lived in a little grass hut kind of thing.” They moved on to a neighboring island, Guadalupe, where they found a similar reception. “We stayed there for a while, and after about a year we decided to leave.” Betsy: I’m tired of this hassle. Let’s go home. Danny: Great idea! “We opened the first vegetarian restaurant in Miami,” continues Dan. They agree the restaurant was on a successful track. “We had a faithful clientele,” he says, and she describes the experience as “a lot of nice people.” But according to Betsy, the restaurant was not their only endeavor. “We were living in a house in Homestead. Danny rehabbed it. A couple of years later, we got an opportunity to sell both the house and the restaurant and we said, ‘Let’s go’.” What motivated them to leave? “It just seemed like Miami was… We had a little boy and…” Her thought ends with a shrug, then, “…and Danny wanted to go onto the next project.”



Danny: Let’s go up to those mountains in Western North Carolina. Betsy: I’m ready whenever you are. “We looked on a map,” she says. “And these were the closest mountains.” “I had never seen snow,” he says, making it sound like the perfect excuse to move. She adds more rationale. “We had some friends who wanted to move to North Carolina, and my family had some property up there, and we knew we could live in their house for a while.” August 2019 |


Living the Spartan Life Dan Reiser says Spartan travel trailers rank among the best of the classic brands, hence his embracing Spartan over others (such as Airstream) for his renovations. That preference seems fitting because Spartan’s corporate history features as many variations as Dan’s personal history. Spartan can trace its beginnings to 1905, when an oil gusher in Oklahoma turned William Skelly into an instant millionaire. (Back then, millionaires were a big deal.) Known as “Mr. Tulsa,” Skelly was one of the wealthiest men in the country, and he also happened to be an aircraft enthusiast. He used some of his oil money to create the Spartan Aircraft Company in 1928. One of Spartan’s most successful planes was the “Executive,” built to satisfy the luxurious tastes of Skelly’s wealthy oil colleagues. Not only was the plane lavish, it also performed to the highest standards of the time. With a lightweight aluminum fuselage, it cruised at an impressive 200 miles an hour and had a range of more than 1,000 miles. The company also produced a stripped-down military version of the plane, called the “Zeus”. Spartan Aircraft was so successful that by the late ‘30s, J. Paul Getty bought it, lock, stock, and propeller. When World War II broke out, Getty turned Spartan into a full-time producer of military planes, and once the war ended, he was sitting on an energetic wartime factory in a postwar era with no need for combat aircraft. What ensued was the perfect storm for trailers. The company had an unused inventory of aluminum; soldiers were returning home and looking for places to live; and just a few years later, the interstate highway system opened up, beckoning young travelers to hit the road. Getty took Spartan into the trailer business, and by the middle of 1945 the prototype model had been road-tested and was ready for a market test. Sporting an art deco design on its aluminum hull, the Spartan offered luxury interior features at a top-of-the-market price of $4,000. Compared to today’s prices for a reconditioned Spartan, that original figure calls up wistful notions of the “good old days.” But in the 1950s there was nothing Spartan about the company’s products or prices. As other companies entered the industry, Spartan began producing two lower-priced models. The plant closed in 1962, and Spartan morphed once again, this time into the Minehoma Insurance Company. Yes, insurance. The company evolved from an Oklahoma oil field to a luxury aircraft producer to a wartime military supplier to a trailer manufacturer—and finally, to an insurance company. Dan Reiser would love it. 82

| August 2019


we were looking at. Her previous owners moved away and left her. Betsy said, ‘She’s ours now,’ and that was it. We’ve always had a dog, sometimes as many as three of them.” Then comes the modest comment: “I might not have done much with my life, but I’ve made a lot of dogs happy.” And their purchase of the restaurant includes another humble factor: They couldn’t afford it. Betsy fills in the details, saying, “Danny talked his mother into giving us the money to buy a building on Market Street. It was an old printing press that had been vacant for years. He renovated it, inside and out, and we opened Supernatural.” Official Asheville had a different mindset back in the ‘70s. “I wanted to put a tree outside, and they thought I was a Communist,” Dan says, shaking his head with a disbelieving grin. “At that time, you could have bought any building in Asheville for that kind of money. I had the right idea; I wanted to buy those buildings, but I didn’t have the money. We were just a couple of hippies.” Another shrug as he considers opportunities lost. “I built the place, and then I just ran around and took orders from Betsy. I might be the guy who went off in the morning and got all the food. Whatever.” Still, the restaurant’s fortunes were not quite as dismal as Danny describes, and they were also pursuing other projects. BEFORE & AFTER. Dan gives a second chance to these classics.

They arrived in Sandy Mush, Madison County, in 1974. “We tried to raise vegetables, but it was not much fun,” Betsy says. But their neighbors were more welcoming than the farmland. “The local people in Madison were so kind and sweet. They would say we don’t know what you’re doing with all that compost in your garden, but if you don’t have any food, we’ll give you some. That’s the kind of people they were. They were awesome.” He sums up their farming experience. “We went broke and we had to come to town.” Danny: Think we should stay here? Maybe move into Asheville? Betsy: Why not? We could open a restaurant. They had been successful with their vegetarian restaurant in Miami, so they decided to replicate the formula in Asheville. But according to Dan, there was a small problem. “We opened a vegetarian restaurant when there were only four vegetarians in Asheville.” He grins and shakes his head in disbelief at his own miscalculation. “My wife says I have a black belt in bad business, and she’s right.” Dan’s conversation is sprinkled with self-effacing comments on his many diverse pursuits: “I’m good at a lot of stuff, but not world class at anything.” He then describes rescuing the family dog, Weasel. “She’s a little bitty thing we found under a trailer

Betsy: I’ll get a real-estate license and find something for you to work on. Danny: Think I’ll start fixing up old houses. “I was being driven around by realtors who were not listening to me,” says Betsy. “So, one day I said, I can do better than that, and I went and got my danged license just to make it easier for Danny and me to do stuff. But I liked it so much that I started doing it for my friends and…” Pretty soon she opened Appalachian Realty: “It was just so much fun.” During this time, Dan (“who always needs a project”) got contracts to enhance the facades on two commercial buildings. “We designed it, made the models, did the molds, and made the casts. We did it all.” The “we” on these projects was industrial designer Olivier Rollin. Together, they turned a vacant eyesore at 26 Wall Street into an art deco showpiece. They also transformed the building now occupied by Charlotte Street Computers into an attractive feature of that North Asheville streetscape. Meanwhile, Dan and Betsy had a major development with their restaurant. “We were open about a year and a half,” Dan says, “and somebody offered us 80 thousand dollars for the building. We were in so much debt. My parents had to mortgage their house for us to get the restaurant, and when we got an offer for 80 grand, we just looked at each other and said, ‘We’ll never have to work again as long as we live.’ It seemed like so much money. I never should have sold that building, but I always needed the money for the next thing.” August 2019 | 83

NEWSWORTHY: Since the Reisers have been in town for so long, their collection of old photos and newspaper clippings is a large one.

RIGHT: a photo of the work Dan did on the Charlotte Street Computers' building.

The Next Thing? Danny: I’m pretty good on the guitar. Think I’ll start a band. Betsy: Me too. An all-female band. I’ll call it Crimes of Fashion. With Dan on lead guitar, his band played reggae at venues throughout Western North Carolina, and the Crimes of Fashion played as far away as Charlotte. Betsy played bass. Perhaps the main contribution the bands made to their life narrative was that they got interested in starting another business. Danny: Asheville could use a really good music hall. Betsy: We could call it—the Asheville Music Hall. They leased a building on Wall Street, rehabbed it, and opened the Asheville Music Hall. (The building was later converted into the home of the Jubilee Community.) The music hall lasted for a year and a half, and its roster of performers makes it look like a big-city arena. They booked the likes of John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley, Gregg Allman, Robert


| August 2019

Cray, Mose Allison, Leon Redbone, Asleep at the Wheel, Weird Al Yankovic, John Sebastian, Delbert McClinton… This at a time when Asheville’s population was still under 60,000, and tourism was still mostly a fantasy. Dan says Betsy did all the booking, and she points out that she also booked her band and Dan’s to play there. Two birds, one stone. “We did that for one year and it was fun,” she says. Apparently more fun than profitable. “We made about $100 the whole time.” She recalls Bo Diddley being their very first act. “He came in and gave us some advice that I’ll never forget. ‘I gotta get paid before I hit.’ That’s exactly the way he said it. And then, ‘You gotta put more salt in the popcorn.’ He was right. We weren’t selling enough beer. “We were probably a little too soon for that kind of thing. But that’s all we knew how to do. The main thing was we fixed up the building.” The Asheville Music Hall got Dan and Betsy thinking about what became their favorite project. Danny: We should throw a party. Betsy: A Halloween costume party. We can call it the Freakers Ball.

“Danny designed the posters, booked the bands, and played at a lot of them,” Betsy says, recalling that the ball ran for eight years in the 1980s. It was later revived, and the October, 1998, local weekly paper Mountain Xpress printed some memories by Bud Moore, a musician who played at many of them: “People always had a really good time. I can’t remember a negative vibe at any show… There was a headless horseman one year on a (real) horse… There was also a Frankenstein that year…who was unbelievable. The guy was up on stilts; he was eight feet tall and literally looked like someone had stitched him up.” The Mountain Xpress article credited Dan as the inventor of what became one of Asheville’s most outrageous events. Back in the early ‘80s, Betsy remembers, “There wasn’t that much going on in the town, and that was something the whole community, such as it was, showed up for. But dealing with alcohol and musicians and all, eight years was plenty.” She pauses and then decides to say it. “And we were getting older.” But for those eight years, she adds, “We loved it. Because we did the whole thing ourselves. We weren’t working for anyone. It’s the most fun we ever had.”

The Freakers Ball, Betsy’s real-estate firm, and Dan’s continuing projects took them through the ‘80s, but, as Betsy had observed, he began to get “antsy.” Danny: I’ve been thinking about doing some sculpture. Betsy: Of course. Go for it. He fashioned a studio out of what is now his trailer office and began creating life-sized, papier mâché figures with a copper patina. His sculptures call to mind ancient Mayan/Aztec/ Egyptian societies, and he hoped they would stand in a client’s garden or large living room. His work was sophisticated enough that he was accepted into the Southern Highland Craft Guild, and he exhibited at the guild shows. His pieces are both interesting and imposing, but according to Dan, the public was not impressed. “It was a real disappointment. I like to take elements from the Egyptian, the Mayan, and combine them, but the people at art shows didn’t want that style.” He gestures to several of his large figures along one wall of the office. “I saved one example of each of the pieces I used to do.

August 2019 | 85

“So, I started doing little figures of cats and frogs and stuff, and that’s how I was making a living.” He points to a small figure of a cat perched on a book. A pair of them would be perfect bookends. But… “One day I woke up and said I’ve made my last frog. So, I started making jewelry because it’s easier to carry around.” He reaches into a footlocker and produces a box of jewelry, done in that same Aztec motif. “Now I just give them away to anyone who visits here.” He shrugs and puts the jewelry back in his footlocker. “I just had the wrong product for the market.” The sculpture was disappointing, but—as usual—it was not his only pursuit at the time. Danny: Think I’ll get back into music. This time country rock. Betsy: Rock on, Danny. He reassembled his band, wrote some songs, built a recording studio in his office, and cut a CD called, Dan Reiser—I Hope You Win. The cover illustration is a concerned-looking dog, wearing boxing gloves and sitting on a stool in the corner of a ring. One of the cuts is titled “Wandering Not Traveling”: “I’m just wandering not travelling. I’ve seen loneliness not solitude. Two AM out on the interstate, Chinese food on a paper plate. There’s no cure for birth, and there’s no cure for death, That’s what my fortune cookie says. I just can’t deny I’m just passing by. I’m just a man with no ties. No one to wave goodbye.” Interestingly, in the early ‘90s, filming of The Last of the Mohicans all but took over Asheville, creating a mini-industry for local craftspeople to work on props, costumes, and scenery. Danny recalled the involvement. “Everybody in town was working for them, it seemed like. I made molds for bead belts and that kind of thing. They put such effort into making it authentic.” (Fun fact: During filming, star Daniel Day-Lewis rented a house just a few yards from the Reiser property in Fairview, and neighbors still recall the actor roaming around in the woods, getting into and practicing his character.) That brings us to the 21st Century and vintage trailers—and continuing adventures. Danny: Hey, hon, you think we should….? Betsy: Of course we should. Let’s go. “Here’s another stupid thing we did,” says Betsy. “We bought a 36-foot trawler. We kept it in St Augustine. We 86

| August 2019

MARK MCDANIEL polishing up one of the trailers.

went down the intracoastal waterway to visit our son. We didn’t know what we were doing. The thing drew four-anda-half feet. And the intracoastal is probably five feet deep.

“We had a lot of ideas. Some of them were bad, but when we latch on one idea, we’re together.” It was really a ditch—a shallow, wet ditch. And it was really tough navigating the trawler in that shallow water. So, we bought a pocket trawler which is only 22 feet long, with a draft as shallow as two feet. We got this little boat to have some adventures -- while we can.” They are still having adventures, and they agree on their philosophy and experience. “We never really had a plan,” Dan says, and Betsy sums it up. “We had a lot of ideas. Some of them were bad, but when we latch on one idea, we’re together. It was fun.” August 2019 | 87

People Play at







1. Frank Salvo as the Cheshire Cat 2. Jill Summers, Chanda Calentine, & Susan Harper 3. Martin & Sandy Anderson


| August 2019

4. Michelle Kotara 5. Angela Kurfees, Tracy Absher, Tara Hackett, Mark Lavin, Sharon Trammell, Steve Busey, Margaret Lancaster, Michelle Baker,



& Rick Ramsey 6. Vanessa Salomo, Joe Scully, & Brenda Lilly 7. Chanda Calentine, Kevin Broadwater, & James Vaughn

Asheville Community Theater’s A Gala In Wonderland Celine & Company | Asheville, NC | June 1, 2019 Photos by Studio Misha Photography 9





8. Barbara Blomberg, Wendy Wieber 9. Anne Kimmel 10. Sandy Lowenstein and Susan Maley 11. Margaret Lancaster, & Michael McMurtrey



12. Mark Lavin, Silvio Moura, Tina Ostergaard, David Ostergaard, & Honor Moor 13. Elizabeth Huddleston, Chris Manheim, Rick Manheim, & Brenda Lilly


14. Janice & Joe Brumit 15. Jeff and Vonna Cloninger 16. Kathi Ballard, Ray Ballard, & Rick Ramsey

August 2019 | 89



EVENTS august 1- 4

Reenactors portray the struggles endured by a band of settlers, led by Daniel Boone, with help from the Cherokee, all for freedom from the Crown.

Dance and Folk Festival 6:30-9:30PM

> Admission: Adult $20-$45, Student

Lipinsky Hall, UNC-Asheville One University Heights, Asheville, NC

> 828-264-2120 >

The nation’s longest-running features musicians, balladiers, mountain dance groups, and cloggers.

$17-$45, Child (0-12) $15-$25

>Tickets: Adult $25, Student $10,


7PM (Thu-Sat), 2PM (Sat & Sun) Hayes Auditorium, Lees-McRae College 191 Main St, Banner Elk, NC Students share their interpretation of the reality-based, Tony Award-winning Disney story of kids who fought the system in early NYC.

>Tickets: $18-$43 > 828-898-8709 >

NC Mineral & Gem Fest

Spruce Pine Commerce Center 12121 NC-226, Spruce Pine, NC The festival celebrates its diamond anniversary with aisles upon aisles of gemstones, jewelry, beads, crystals, fossils, and other unique gift ideas from vendors from across the country. Activities are ticketed separately.

Child (0-10) FREE

Horn in the West Outdoor Drama 8-9:30PM (Tue-Sun) Daniel Boone Park 591 Horn in the West Dr, Boone, NC

> 828-258-6101 >

10AM-6PM (Thu-Sat) 12:30-5PM (Sun)

> Admission: Adult $4, Senior $2,

august 1-10

Child (6-12) $5

august 1- 4

> 828-765-9033 >

august 1

Hendo Story Club 7-9PM

The Center for Art and Inspiration 125 South Main St, Hendersonville, NC Attendees throw their name in the hat for a chance to tell their story related to the theme of the night: Triumph. Stories must be five-minutes long, true, and told without notes.

august 1-3

The 2nd Annual Mountain

> Admission: $10 > 828-697-8547 >

Western North Carolina's Free Spirit of Enterprise

Join us on Social Media! f o r t i c K e t g i v e aWay s , e x c l u s i v e s , a n d m o r e ! 90

| August 2019

august 1, 8 , 15 , 22 , 29

august 2-3

Arbor Evenings

Stravinsky, Mahler and more for this grand finale weekend.

5th Annual LEAF Downtown

6-9PM North Carolina Arboretum 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC It’s a garden party held most every Thursday night of the summer. Local beverages will be available to purchase, along with some light snacks. Watch the sunset with the plants.

> Parking: Personal Vehicle $14, Motorhome $50, Bus $100 > 828-665-2492 >

>Tickets: $20-$62 > 828-862-2100 >

3-10PM (Fri), 9AM-10PM (Sat) Pack Square Park 80 Court Plaza, Asheville, NC LEAF celebrates multiculturalism with song, visual arts, vending, and parties. Stephen Marley is headlining this year, along with Arrested Development. Booths of vendors will line Pack Square with a variety of goods. Come join Asheville’s annual block party!

> 828-686-8742 >

Punch Brothers

8-10:30PM Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts 733 Rivers St, Boone, NC The acclaimed bluegrass quintet tours with its latest album, All Ashore.

>Tickets: Adult $45, Child $25 > 800-841-2787 >

47th Annual Village Art & Craft Fair

10AM-7PM (Sat), 12-5PM (Sun) Cathedral of All Souls 9 Swan St, Asheville, NC

This year, 114 fine artists of a variety of genres will display their wares during this popular Biltmore Village event.

> 828-274-2831 >

august 2- 4

august 1

august 3 - 4

Brevard Music Center Summer Festival Finale


your complete your complete 4PM (Fri) – 6PM (Sun) Fabric cente

7:30-9:30PM Whittington-Pfohl Auditorium, Brevard Music Center 349 Andante Lane, Brevard, NC

august 9 -11

Get off the Grid Fest

Fabric center

Brevard Concert Orchestra, Brevard Symphonic Winds, Brevard Sinfonia, and Brevard Music Festival Chorus will be tag-teaming the likes of Rachmaninoff,

Largest selection of upholstery fabric in WNC

Warren Wilson College 701 Warren Wilson Rd, Swannanoa, NC

Attendeesselection will go off the grid for three Largest days of music and collaboration on how of upholstery Fast, fabric in WNC friendly service

F f s

Drapery material/lining | Comforter and bedspread

Historic Village HistoricBiltmore Biltmore Village

Drapery material/lining | Comforter and bedspread material

Historic Biltmore Village

Hey! What are Hey!for What are you doing you doing for hump day? hump day?

I go to the Cantina every

I gohump to the Cantina for every hump day forday 1/2-priced 1/2-priced classic classic CantinaCantina margaritasmargaritas & 1/2-priced well drinks! & 1/2-priced well drinks!

U.S. 25 North

U.S. 25 North


Fletcher, NC

| YOUR Fletcher, NC | 684-0801 COMPLETE FABRIC CENTERS Largest selections of upholstery fabric in WNC!

10 Biltmore Plaza, Asheville, NC



10 Biltmore Biltmore Plaza, 10 Plaza, Asheville, Asheville,NC NC 828-505-7682 | 828-505-7682

August 2019 | 91



to enjoy a full and healthy life without fossil fuels.

>Tickets: 3-Day $45, 2-Day $30,

Sunday Only $15, Child (0-16) FREE >

august 9 -10

Waldensian Festival

Downtown Valdese 100 Main St West, Valdese, NC Since 1976, Valdese has set apart the second weekend in August to celebrate the Glorious Return of the Waldensians from exile in Switzerland to their Alpine homeland in Italy in 1689. Artists, entertainers, and food vendors are curated to honor the free occasion.

> 828-874-6773 > august 9

Light up the Night 5K Run

7:30-9PM Western Carolina Rescue Ministries 225 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC Runners are invited to show up and run through Historic Montford in “glow swag,” free to all who register by July 28, to raise awareness and funds for people served by the Western Carolina Rescue Mission.

> 828-254-1529 >

The second of two Festivals, this is a more sophisticated outdoor event with 75 juried artists. Find jewelry, sculptures, photography, and paintings galore.

> 828-898-5605 > august 10 -11

9AM-8PM (Sat), 9AM-5PM (Sun) Downtown Black Mountain 201 East State St, Black Mountain, NC Over 30,000 people are expected to enjoy the free music, arts and crafts, kids’ activities, and, of course, the bee demonstrations and honey from the heavenly-scented blossoms. The Sourwood Idol contest is at 7PM the Friday before.

> 828-669-2300 > august 10 -11

12th Annual Coin & Currency Show

10AM-5PM (Sat), 10AM-3PM (Sun) WNC Agricultural Center 1301 Fanning Bridge Rd, Fletcher, NC About 40 tables will be set by vendors from around the country.

> 828-768-2200 > august 10

Fine Art and Master Crafts Festival

1-5PM (Fri), 10AM-5PM (Sat), 10AM-4PM (Sun) Historic Banner Elk Elementary School 185 Azalea Circle, Banner Elk, NC


| August 2019

> Registration: $75 > 828-295-9099 >

Sourwood Festival


august 9 -11

amazing Appalachian mountain scene. Participants are encouraged to bring a photo of a scene they’d like to reproduce. No experience is necessary. Kits are included with registration.

Needle Felting Landscape Workshop 1-4PM Blowing Rock Art & History Museum 159 Chestnut St, Blowing Rock, NC

Lorraine Cathey of the Southern Highland Craft Guild will show how to turn a “pile of fluff” into a brilliantly

august 11

Married In The Mountains Wedding Showcase 1-4PM Overlook Barn 830 Elderberry Ridge Rd, Banner Elk, NC

Aiming to get hitched soon? Beech Mountain is hosting a “wedding expo” featuring 50 local vendors, from caterers and coordinators to photographers and DJs, offering advice on how to mount the nuptials of your dreams. A portion of entry fees goes to Boone nonprofit F.A.R.M. Café.

>Tickets: $15 (adv.), $20 (door), $25 (VIP early admit) > >

august 13

Build a Blog with WordPress

3-6PM AB-Tech Small Business Center 1459 Sand Hill Road, Candler, NC At this free event Boomer Sassman, owner of Big Boom Design, will share how to set up a blog, create menus, add content and special features, and do anything else needed to run a successful blog.

> 828-774-5607 >

august 13 -14

Business Writing and Grammar Skills Made Easy and Fun 9AM-4PM Four Points by Sheraton 22 Woodfin St, Asheville, NC

Multiple workshops will help attendees identify personal writing weaknesses, organize their thoughts, learn how business writing differs from other forms, edit, and communicate.

> Registration: $299 > 281-541-2807 > august 14

Go GRMO Day - Snakes

10AM-2PM Grandfather Mountain State Park – Profile Trail Parking Area 4198 Hwy 105 South, Banner Elk, NC A good way to overcome fear of snakes is to experience them with an experienced handler in a controlled environment.

> 828-963-9522 >

The Cabinet Design Studio at

FOREST MILLWORK Asheville, NC «» Greenville, SC


Complete Your Outdoor Space. Let us help with furniture, firepits and grills!

august 14

Explore Asheville 101 Orientation

10-11:30AM Explore Asheville 27 College Pl., 2nd Floor, Asheville, NC At this free event the Explore Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau shares ways to connect with them and your supply chain.

> 828-258-6109 >

Jensen Leisure Coral All Weather Woven Seating Group

Meeting Your Fireplace and Patio Needs. 264 Biltmore Ave. • Asheville, NC • 828.252.2789 August 2019 | 93


We’ll(almost) Paint



august 16

Downtown after 5

5-9PM North Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC

Once a month for the summer season, Prestige Subaru presents a free evening of music and beverages to wind down – or continue networking – after a hard work week.

> 828-251-9973 > downtownafter5

august 17

Franklin Area Folk Festival

828-693-8246 5678 Willow Road, Hendersonville, NC


10AM-4PM Historic Cowee School 51 Cowee School Dr, Franklin, NC The 15th annual free, family-friendly festival celebrates all things Appalachian – bluegrass, crafts, Civil War reenactment, etc. Hands-on activities may include woodcarving, moonshinin’, weaving and spinning, and more.

> 828-524-6564 > august 17

Craft City Food & Art Tour 2019 3-6PM Blue Spiral 1 Gallery 38 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC

Custom pools and spas. We create unique backyard environments 1200-C Hendersonville Rd. Asheville, NC • 828-277-8041 • Swim Spas by American Whirlpool.


| August 2019

A couple days a year, Craft City takes visitors on a behind-the-scenes walking tour with some of Asheville’s most important small-batch, handcrafting makers.

>Tickets $75 > 828-785-1357 >

august 17

Bela Fleck’s Blue Ridge Banjo Concert

7:30-9:30PM Whittington-Pfohl Auditorium, Brevard Music Center 349 Andante Lane, Brevard, NC The 15-time Grammy winner celebrates the close of this year’s Blue Ridge Banjo Camp, sharing the stage with all-star virtuosos.

> Admission: $20-$65 > 828-862-2100 > august 17

Open Studio Art Tour

11AM-4PM Grovewood Village 111 Grovewood Road, Asheville, NC Resident artists open their studios for conversation, display, and demonstration.

> 828-253-7651 > august 21

Brite Ideas Branding 101

11AM-12:30PM Kudzu Brands 29 Montford Ave #200, Asheville, NC At this free event Murphy Funkhouser Capps, CEO of Kudzo Brands, teaches entrepreneurs how they can make their businesses more memorable, profitable, and sustainable.

> 828-357-8350 > august 24

Benjamin Walls Gallery Grand Opening

7-10PM Benjamin Walls Gallery 38 Broadway St, Asheville, NC With an enthusiastically-received recent soft-opening, celebrated artist and 5-time Smithsonian exhibitor Walls, who also operates a gallery in Bristol, VA, now makes his “official” bow in downtown Asheville. Artist presentation at 7:30 PM.

> 877-989-2557 > august 29

Grandfather Presents: Jennifer Pharr Davis

6-7:30PM Grandfather Mountain 2050 Blowing Rock Hwy, Linville, NC

In 2011, hiker/author Davis hiked the Appalachian Trail end-to-end in a record 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes. Altogether, she has hiked over 14,000 miles of long-distance trails on six continents.

> Registration: $20 > 828-733-4326 > august 29

Open Auditions for Singers

5PM 1st Congregational Church 20 Oak St, Asheville, NC

Local nonprofit the Celebration Singers of Asheville and the Community Youth Chorus will be holding auditions to unearth local talent, so prepare a song (and bring your sheet music) for artistic director Ginger Haselden. Incidentally, the 2019-20 season arrives soon— in September.

august 29

Listen to This

7:30-9:30PM 35below, Asheville Community Theatre 35 East Walnut St, Asheville, NC Hosted by Tom Chalmers, local characters engage in storytelling around the monthly theme.

> Admission $15 > 828-254-1320 >

– september 2 North Carolina Apple Festival august 30

Main Street Downtown Hendersonville, NC

All things apple will be sold and sampled on Main Street. It all winds down with the King Apple Parade on Monday. Complete itinerary at the website.

> 828-697-4557 >

– september 1 Mile High Kite Festival august 31

8AM-5PM Famous Brick Oven Pizzeria 402 Beech Mountain Parkway, Beech Mountain, NC

Prizes will be awarded for the biggest, smallest, and best-decorated kites. Kites will be available for sale, and the first 300 kids (12 and under) will get one free.

> Parking: $5 > 828-387-9283 >

> 828-230-5778 >

August 2019 | 95

You've worked hard for You've worked hard for what you have. what you have.


september 2

Tour D’Apple

8AM-12PM Blue Ridge Community College 180 West Campus Dr, Flat Rock, NC The bike route passes apple orchards, waterfalls, and mountain vistas. Racers have their choice of a 100-, 62-, 45-, or 25-mile run. Proceeds benefit projects of the Hendersonville Four Seasons Rotary Club.

> Registration required >

Now let letus uskeep keepititsafe. safe. Now

september 3 - 9

Asheville Entrepreneur Week Various locations, Downtown Asheville

The week will be chock full of activities and events to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses. There will be parties, TEDx talks, shark tanks, the LAAF, lunch and learns, and more.

> Events are ticketed separately. > september 6 -15

NC Mountain State Fair

WNC Agricultural Center 1301 Fanning Bridge Rd, Fletcher, NC The third largest fair in the state is a great way to hang out with and run into friends.

> Admission: Adult (13-64) $10, Senior $6, Child $6, Infant (0-5) FREE > 828-687-1414 >

Book Bookaafree freesite sitevisit visittoday today

1-855-914-2553 1-855-914-2553 96

| August 2019

If your organization has any local press releases for our briefs section, or events that you would like to see here, feel free to email us at Please submit your event at least six weeks in advance.

August 2019 | 97


| August 2019


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