Page 1

Dema Badr

Jack Wiseman

Scout’s Honor p.18

Deep Roots p.56

The Free Spirit Of Enterprise events

colu m n

Get in the Spirit with Holiday Events Throughout Western North Carolina p.90



The Santaland Duties of Rodney Smith p.48

A

Gift

Worth Giving p. 36

s w ee t & savory p. 72

2016

Volume VI - Edition XII complimentary edition

capitalatplay.com

December 2016


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I received an early Christmas gift: the Capital at Play Managing Editor’s job. Privately, I found myself thanking Oby, Bonnie, and the rest of the staffers and contributors, who welcomed me to the magazine. They subsequently worked hard with me to ensure that the editorial transition was a smooth one, in the process creating a remarkably quality product. Allow me, then, to publicly thank everyone who has appeared on the masthead over the course of the last 12 months, along with all those who have let us into their lives—from our profile subjects to the readers—and keep the conversation going. On this page one typically highlights some aspect about the new issue that seems emblematic of it as a whole. I would submit that our December cover image takes care of that pretty handily. Since 2016 has been a profoundly unusual one, full of surprises, upheavals, and just plain unsettling moments, the looming holiday season gives us all a chance to exhale, sit down, and think about what’s genuinely important and meaningful. While journalists are trained to steer clear of clichés, I think I’ll play the exception card here: Life’s too short, so why not spend as much of it as possible making your life, and the lives of your neighbors, a positive experience? Sincerely,

Fred Mills

I HAVE BEEN A PROUD MEMBER of the Capital at Play staff since I was fortunate enough to acquire the Graphic Designer position a few years ago. What makes our magazine so great, and gets me so passionate about every issue, is our focus on the people in Western North Carolina and the amazing things they are doing. 2016 has been no different; I’ve been lucky enough to spend time with many of the people in our feature stories, and their hard work and ingenuity are so inspiring. That’s the type of feeling we want to make sure you, the reader, get as well. Here is to a new year filled with interesting business leaders and entrepreneurs, enriching all of our lives! Sincerely,

Bonnie Roberson

WHEN I THINK ABOUT THE

great uproar in pretty much every news outlet over the last 6+ months, I take solace in the knowledge that we, as a publication, get to provide at least one small place of peace for our readers. A place for people who are more interested in the reality of things, rather than the great circus of noise that tends to deride our intelligence and ultimately distract us, rather than inform, educate, and inspire. If you have the opportunity to bring some of the latter to a conversation this holiday season, I would recommend it. In many various and unexpected ways, doing so often makes my day better. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Sincerely,

Oby Morgan 4

| December 2016


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December 2016 | capitalatplay.com

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The Free Spirit Of Enterprise

CAPTURE

publisher

Oby Morgan associate publisher

Jeffrey Green

the

managing editor

HOLIDAY MAGIC

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Leslee Kulba copy editors

Dasha O. Morgan, Brenda Murphy contributing writers & photogr aphers

of

Todd Bush, Jason Gilmer, Derek Halsey, Anthony Harden, Shawndra Russell, Marla Hardee Milling

VISIT SANTA take-your-own

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ongoing events through JANUARY

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gr aphic designer

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www.grovearcade.com

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Downtown Asheville

UniversalMedia

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828.252.7799

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Capital At Play is a trademark of Universal Media, Inc.

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Universal by Universal Media Inc. Published PO Box 5615, Asheville, NC. 28813 Media

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Capital At Play is protec ted through Tr ademar k Regis tr ation in the United States. The content found within this publication does not necessar ily ref lec t the views of Univer sal Media , Inc. and its companies. Univer sal Media , Inc. and its employees are not liable for any adver tising or editor ial content found in Capital At Play. The ar ticles, photogr aphy, and illus tr ations found in Capital at Play may not be reproduced or used in any fashion without express wr it ten consent by Univer sal Media , Inc.

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Perfect Gifts for Him ASHEVILLE: Historic Biltmore Village 9 Kitchin Place 828-274-2630 STORE HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 9:30am-7pm Sat. 9:30am-6pm Sun. 12pm-5pm

December 2016 | capitalatplay.com

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| December 2016


thi s page : Fraser Firs lined on Jack Wiseman’s farm, photo by Todd Bush

F E AT U R E S vol. vi

18

SCOUT’S HONOR DEMA BADR

ed. xii

56

DEEP ROOTS JACK WISEMAN

December 2016 | capitalatplay.com

9


HEC SHARPES ON T EN T S

THE ST HE STA

SHARPEST d e c e m b e r 2 016

d? The war for top talent is real, even w

for top talent is real, you even with w that to be competitive need thehi b and finding the pe rig e,competitive the clock is ticking you need the best is ticking and finding the right pe you just don’t have.

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t Professionals is in the full-time busine B.B. BARNS custom wreath decorating an old nals in the full-time barn atis Reiser Ranch, ding the sharpest person business for the job. of photo by Anthony Harden

arpest person for the job.

36

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

A Gift Worth Giving

72

Workplace gift-giving dos, don’ts, and definitelys.

colu m ns

e Rd. Suite B B 48 The Santaland Duties of Rodney Smith

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

Sweet & Savory 2016

Local cottage industries’ wares abound for the holiday shopping season.

insight

briefs

12 A sheville Dental

32 Carolina in the West 52 The Old North State 68 National & World News

Chris Kennerly & Jeremy Ledford

Rokher Chairs Timothy J. Martin

on t h e cov er Our Christmas wreath was custom designed by Letha Hinman at B.B.BARNS GardenGift-Landscape Services at 3377 Sweeten Creek Road in Arden, North Carolina. You can choose the trimmings for your custom designed fresh Fraser fir Christmas wreath, just as we did. Photo location: Reiser Ranch. 10

| December 2016

Air Vent Exteriors Bob Carnes

events p e o p l e at p l ay

88 Asheville Humane Society Taste of Compassion 2016

90 Ho Ho Ho

Count how many of this month’s events have “Christmas” in their name!


ST FINDNEEDLE THE SHARPEST NEEDLE FIND THE SHARPEST NEEDLE FIND NEEDLE FINDFIND THE THE SHARPEST SHARPEST NEEDLE THE NEEDLE

TACK. IN THE STACK. IN THE STACK. STACK. ACK. TH ININ

with Feeling high overwhelmed? unemployment. The war for top talent is real, even with high unemployment.

Feeling overwhelmed? The war for real, even with high unemployment. igh Feeling unemployment. overwhelmed? overwhelmed? Feeling The The war war for top top talent overwhelmed? talentyou isteam. real, even withhigh highunemployment. unemployment. The best TopFeeling businesses people know that on to befor competitive your need thewith best But people on your team. But ght person for the ticking and job finding requires the right person for the job requires when it’s time toknow hire, the eople Top businesses businesses on T know op that your thatclock to tobe beis competitive competitive team. you need need the theBut best bestpeople people know on on your your team. team. But that But TopTop businesses know that tobusinesses be competitive the best people on your team. But erson for the is ticking ticking and andrequires finding right person person forfor for the the jobjob job requires requires when when it’s time time to when hire, hire, the the clock clock it’s time to hire, the c time and resources you just don’t have. isisjob ticking finding the theright right person the requires when it’sit’s time toto hire, the clock

time time and and resources resources time you youjust justdon’t don’t and have. have. you jus time and resources you just don’t have. ess Express of Employment sorting Professionals through is in the resources full-time business the ofstack sorting through the stack f sorting Express Express Employment Employment Express through Professionals Professionals is in the the Employment full-time full-time the business stack ofof ofsorting sorting through through thethe Profe the stack stack of applicants and finding the sharpest person for the business job. Express Employment Professionals isisin in the full-time business sorting through stack

ofofapplicants of applicants and of and finding finding applicants the thesharpest sharpestperson person for the job. job.and finding th applicants and finding the sharpest person for the the job.

(828) 654-8101

(828) (828) 654-8101 654-8101 (828) 654-8101 1979 Hendersonville Rd. Suite B (828) 654-8101 1979 1979 Hendersonville Hendersonville 1979 Rd. Rd.Suite SuiteBBHendersonville Rd. S Asheville, NCNC 28803 1979 Hendersonville Asheville, Asheville, NC 28803 Asheville, 28803Rd. Suite B NC 28803

Asheville, NC 28803

www.expresspros.com www.expresspros.com www.expresspros.com www.expresspros.com

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December 2016 | capitalatplay.com

11


nsight

Pleasant Dreams

DR . KENNERLY at work, photos courtesy Asheville Dental.

At Asheville Dental, conquering dental phobia is one of their top priorities.

A

pproach a stranger on the street and inquire, “What’s your biggest fear?” and there’s a good chance they will reply, “Going to the dentist!” Asheville Dental knows this well. Dr. Chris Kennerly (DDS, PA) and Dr. Jeremy Ledford (DMD, FICOI) partnered together in 2011 after Dr. Ledford had been there a year (the practice was originally started by Kennerly’s father in 1945), and at that point Asheville Dental had already been offering IV sedation for a number of years. Kennerly, it turns out, once had a patient who couldn’t be numbed by local anesthetics, so he reached out to boardcertified anesthesiologist Dr. Brad Stone for assistance. Stone continues to this day at Asheville Dental. This strategy for combating severe dental phobia, dementia, gag reflex problems, and other issues has proven to be remarkably effective: Patients can be monitored closely and adjusted as needed, allowing for safe, effective, and pain-free

Asheville Dental Staff and Doctors

DR . LEDFORD

“Our goal has been to maintain the relation-based model. The gap has been widening between the best dentistry and the least expensive dentistry, and as a result, comprehensive care suffers.” dentistry for those who otherwise might fear needing treatment such as implants, root canals, crowns, extractions, or even routine cleaning. As the doctors themselves note, “Establishing IV sedation for general dentistry has had the most impact on our practice, since we have been the only practice in the area using an anesthesiologist. We have done about 900 cases so far with excellent results.” The dentistry world, they add, has been changing dramatically over the past few years. “It’s evolving from a relation-based

12

| December 2016


business to a market-driven business, but our goal has been to maintain the relation-based model. The gap has been widening between the best dentistry and the least expensive dentistry, and as a result, comprehensive care suffers—and we end up having to pick up the pieces.” Dr. Kennerly is a native Ashevillian. He graduated from Lee H. Edwards High School, then the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1973 with a B.S. in biology. He graduated from Emory University School of Dentistry in 1979 and returned to Asheville to join his father’s practice. Dr. Ledford grew up in Hendersonville, graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in chemistry. He attended the Medical University of South Carolina and attained his DMD degree. Following dental school, he was accepted to the General Practice Residency at the Mountain Area Health Education Center in Asheville, and joined Dr. Kennerly’s practice after his residency. Dr. Ledford was also the recipient of a fellowship from the ICOI (International Congress of Oral Implantologists) in December of 2011. Asheville Dental currently employs 12 staffers, all of them living wage cer tified: four hygienists, three administrative personnel, and five assistants. In addition to offering IV sedation, they do guided implant placement using a cone-beam X-ray system, which makes the placement of the implant much more precise; make digital impressions for crowns, which makes the crowns more accurate and also available in one appointment; and utilize a new VOIP phone system to facilitate better communications with their patients. What comes next for the business? “We want to maintain our position in the community as a value and patientoriented practice while simultaneously supporting science-based dental care. We will do that by continuing to embrace new concepts in delivery of quality dental treatment.” Go to the Asheville Dental website for more details: www.AshevilleDental.com

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December 2016 | capitalatplay.com

13


insight

photos courtesy Rokher Chair

Rock On! Rockin’ is the Rokher business —and business is good.

N

o, our copy editor didn’t miss something: R-O-K-H-E-R is indeed how it is supposed to be spelled, pronounced ROCK-her. What’s a Rokher? It’s a uniquely designed, ergonomic, patented rocking chair designed to combat back and spinal issues for musicians. The brainchild of Timothy J. Martin, a/k/a “Tryst” of innovative rock outfit Rhythm Tryst (must-hear: 2014 album In Light of All We Can’t See), the Rokher chair was initially conceived in late 2013, when Martin increasingly found himself dealing with chronic back stress issues. “Basically,” recalls Martin, “in song development, 80 percent of your time will be in writing and arranging where you’re sitting on the porch or in the studio. Inevitably, I’d be at the chiropractor’s office every month with chronic tension and debilitating nerve tingling—the culprit being lousy chairs that didn’t support my needs for form and comfort.” In order to enjoy extended playing time, professional musicians need to maintain a healthy posture. Standing 100% of the time is not an option. And most standard rocking chairs not only have a poor seat-to-back angle without proper lumbar support, they also tend to have arms that block the body of the guitar. The Rokher, by contrast, is a one-piece,

14

| December 2016


seat-to-back construction specifically designed for good body alignment, with a smooth, graduating rocker radius either for rocking or a forward, erect playing position. Martin describes his Rokher journey as a lengthy process that went “from Frankenstein to Flintstone to level six prototype to market.” He would purchase rockers at flea markets, taking them apart and experimenting with different rocker radiuses, seat types, and back styles. “My vision was minimalist and sleek, to emulate the guitar head-stock shape for the chair back, with a tuning head-style rocker base. Once I had an acceptable model, I sought out a furniture craftsman [Asheville’s Robert Parker]—this took a year because I wanted a seasoned designer. We developed the one-piece, bent wood, form-fitting chair back and the seat ergonomics.

“We have sold not just to musicians—40 percent of our sales come from buyers that do a lot of computer work or meditation.” TIMOTHY J. MARTIN

“Then, with the plethora of woodworking shops here in North Carolina, it took another six months to lock down our partners; we actually had to rethink our wood bending group and do a new mold after our first run. Once I had a small number of finished prototypes, I had to prove there was a ‘market’ and this included going to two NAMM events (National Association of Music Merchandizers), visiting countless music stores, two High Point Furniture Markets, and being a vendor at numerous music festivals. The result? With a mid- to high-line product price-point, we have sold 30 units, work with a select cross section of retailers, and will have an additional 50 sold by this Christmas 2016. Not just to musicians—40 percent of our sales come from buyers that do a lot of computer work or meditation.” Rokher’s first model is called the Raven, which has a beech veneer and personifies the maxim “beauty through simplicity.” The company will also offer exotic woods for custom orders whereby a musician can select the headstock shape, color, and finishing to match the finish color (for example, sunburst) of their guitars. Martin says that he anticipates for the near future “major artist endorsements, partnering with a major guitar manufacturer, and new product development including new chair styles and ancillary products.” “And,” he adds, “we’ll have affiliate marketing relationships where we are helping musicians support themselves through Rokher sales. This is an opportunity for me to help and meet other musicians.” Details, testimonials, retail locations, and demonstration videos: www.Rokher.com.

December 2016 | capitalatplay.com

15


insight

photos courtesy Air Vent Exteriors

AWNING SHOP manager Shekina Schwartz with Bob Carnes

Tenacity ‘R Us Air Vent Exteriors bring quality and craftsmanship to its sunrooms, awnings, pergolas, windows, and doors.

B

ob Carnes likes to tell the story about how, in the late ‘80s, a few years after the Arden-based Air Vent Exteriors had been in business, he contracted with a customer to build a sunroom—at the time, no one in Asheville offered sunrooms—only to learn that the sunroom materials manufacturer would not deliver to the mountains. So Carnes drove to Philadelphia himself, loaded up the truck with the sunroom materials, and drove it all the way back in order to build the sunroom. He wound up doing this several more times before the sunroom manufacturer would finally deliver the product to Asheville. The story is emblematic of Air Vent Exterior’s dedication to its customers and its tenaciousness in making sure each client gets exactly what they need. Carnes moved to North Carolina from upstate New York in 1984, having worked in the home improvement business since he was a teenager (in New York his father had operated Air Vent Aluminum), and subsequently started Air Vent Exteriors with a business partner, Dave

Woodard, since retired, in 1985. As Carnes puts it, “The initial seed was planted after hearing and reading about what a wonderful place Western North Carolina is for quality of life and climate, etc. After a couple of exploratory/vacation trips, a need was recognized for a progressive exterior specialty company.” Locally owned and operated, Air Vent Exteriors designs and installs sunrooms, awnings (both commercial and

“Our annual gross sales have reached a level that we once thought were unattainable in a small to midsized market.”

16

| December 2016

residential), pergolas, replacement windows, and entry and replacement doors. The company touts the fact that it does not subcontract the work and all products are installed by specially trained craftsmen; and that


YOUR WHOLE WORLD IN

EXPERT HANDS the sunrooms and the majority of the awnings are custom designed and manufactured at the Arden facility. Along the way, Air Vent Exteriors has earned an estimable reputation for quality and craftsmanship, and for standing behind its work with longterm warranties—earning a Better Business Bureau rating of A+ and the 2015 Angie’s List Super Service Award in four different categories. “It’s been an exciting journey to see over 30 years of sales growth,” says Carnes. “Our annual gross sales have reached a level that we once thought were unattainable in a small to midsized market.” Indeed, Air Vent Exteriors was able to open a new facility in 2006, in the process more than doubling its square footage, from the original 5,000 square feet to 12,000, with even more added this year. “We have also been extremely fortunate with employee longevity and loyalty,” he adds. “And unlike many contractors that use a subcontract workforce, our staff of nearly 40 employees are company employees with specific skill sets. “Although our company culture has remained constant, we have continually evolved with the marketplace. Once a very localized specialty residential contractor, we have evolved into a regional, commercial, and residential company, and we look forward to a steady, controlled growth.” Carnes notes that, to date, Air Vent Exteriors has served over 7,000 residential awning/sunroom/window clients and undertaken countless industrial and institutional awning projects, many of which are highly visible throughout the community— for example, awnings for the Biltmore Estate, the Haywood Park Hotel, Moe’s Southwest Grill, the Grove Arcade, and the Asheville Outlets. Concludes Carnes, “It always gives me such a proud feeling to see our work almost literally everywhere.”

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December 2016 | capitalatplay.com

17


Honor SCOUT’S

written by jason gilmer

18

| December 2016

|

Boutique owner, designer liaison, entrepreneur, matchmaker—Asheville native Dema Badr isn’t satisfied with wearing just one hat.

photos by anthony harden


December 2016 | capitalatplay.com 19


ROOK STREET DIVIDES SHOPS IN Asheville’s Biltmore Village, and it’s a busy road that Scout Boutique owner Dema Badr crosses often to grab a coffee or lunch. When she opened her new venture there in April, she wondered if there would be days like those she spent almost a decade earlier in a different store, with no customers in the aisles scouring the clothing racks in search of the perfect cocktail dress. Badr was 23 years old when she opened Zakya Boutique in 2006, which she operated in downtown Asheville for two years. On some days, no one shopped and Badr stared at the mannequins. “I was romanticizing those dead afternoons and what I would do,” says Badr, as she sits behind the counter of her store one morning. “I could walk across the street and get a beer at Catawba Brewing. That hasn’t happened. The day I actually, during open hours, have to go to Catawba and get a beer will be a low moment. I was hyping it, but I don’t want it to happen.” After her first business folded, Badr’s career had stops in Philadelphia, New York City, and China before she decided to return home. The lessons she learned from her years as a buyer and in manufacturing has helped position her for success with fresh ventures. Now, her new shop, an 800-sq.-ft. space located at No. 102 18 Brook Street, is frequented by the well-coiffed from Wink Salon and Boutique and the well-fed from Fig Bistro, two of the businesses that share the space in Biltmore Courtyard Shops. Potential customers shopping at other stores spy her boldly painted yellow script logo and professionally dressed mannequins and wander over. Some out-of-towners walk in, asking what else is down the street, only to stay and browse. Lots of shoppers know Badr and remember her former shop. “It’s why Scout has gotten off on a really good foot,” she says, “because the people who supported me still live here and are excited that I came back to do a more affordable women’s venue.” Biltmore Village has plenty of shops that sell clothes and accessories tailored for women. Scout Boutique is different. With its greenish-yellow floors, steel pipe dress racks and built-in shadow box shelves, it isn’t crammed to capacity with purchasable items. There’s space to move around, which gives the shop an airy feel, as do the high ceilings and somewhat art deco chandeliers. Scout also offers smaller labels—some are even locally made— than many other stores, and Badr is often able to use her extensive contact list to find cheaper ways to make better products. There’s a one-on-one connection that Badr (a self-admitted lover of talking) utilizes to help find that perfect fit and look. “I’ve learned that having a business can be a lot of fun, but serious at the same time,” says Hannah Shull, Badr’s lone part-time employee and a fashion merchandising student at Carson-Newman University. “She always wants to have fun with customers and make them feel welcomed in her store. Some 20

| December 2016


people who operate a small business do not see the light in the opportunity like she does.” “Dema is a breath of fresh air and amazing to work with,” adds Asheville-based designer Rachel Weisberg, who has several items in Scout. “Her professionalism and sense of style are top notch. It’s important to her that the designer’s work is genuinely showcased, and has inspired me to create unique items specifically for her boutique. She knows exactly what the Scout woman would most connect with.” “I think Asheville is ready for it,” says Badr of Scout— clearly her baby, no matter what else is going on in her life. “I love retail because I grew up around it. It seemed like the thing to do. I know how to do retail. I can get all the things I need to be successful and I know how to be different. “I would love to just grow this, obviously, into a successful boutique that is synonymous with good Asheville shopping.”

Growing Up Around a Small Business Owning a small business should be second nature for Badr, who grew up around the process. Her parents, Hashim and Kathy Badr, opened Asheville Discount Pharmacy on Haywood Road next to the Buncombe County Public Library in 1982 to serve the downtown Asheville community. Badr sold Girl Scout cookies off a collapsible table in the store and also worked behind the counter when she was older. The pharmacy is now located downtown on Patton Avenue (across from Tupelo Honey restaurant) and is still run by her parents and her sister, Nur Edwards. “That’s how I understood Asheville as a kid, through the eyes of a small business, like a mom-and-pop business,” says Badr, who graduated from A.C. Reynolds High School in 2001. Being a pharmacist wasn’t for her, as she didn’t want to endure countless hours of chemistry labs during college. Instead, she turned to clothing and fashion. Summers for Badr, who grew up in the East Asheville community of Haw Creek, meant trips to visit her grandmother. Unlike most kids, her grandmother wasn’t a short car ride away, but in Jerusalem, Israel. “My grandmother was a tiny, cute pioneer woman who did everything from scratch,” Badr says. “She was the person who influenced me into going into hand-making things. She taught me to sew, knit, cross stitch, dye fabric. All of these pioneer woman things.” The first thing Badr created was a pillow. A lumpy pillow, she says, but it gave her a sense of accomplishment. Lessons didn’t stop after the summer adventures overseas. “It brought out in my mom that she could do those things,” Badr says. “With bikes and Nintendo, she didn’t think it would be our interest, so she didn’t try to cull it with us. “When she saw there was an interest, she said, ‘I also know how to do this and this.’” December 2016 | capitalatplay.com

21


NOT JUST unique clothing is available at Scout.

While other students in her school may have made their own clothes, Badr wasn’t that into the process. It took a few more years for her to become enamored with how clothing was made. She went to UNC-Chapel Hill without any inclinations on what her future profession would be. “I had gone to visit there and was in love with the campus,” she says, “and thought it would be a good place to at least figure out what I wanted to study.” She settled on a public relations and journalism degree and then headed to Parson School of Design in New York City for a fast-track program for degreed students to learn the missing components of fashion design. “It wasn’t until I got to New York that I saw knowing how to make things from a technical side could get you jobs that you really enjoy,” says Badr, who did two internships

during her time there. “I love fashion, but have always looked at it as a perq to the business side of the industry.”

“[But] if I had never been forced to leave my comfort zone and move to Philly, New York, and China, then none of it would have ever happened. I wouldn’t have learned all of these skills that I really wanted and didn’t know how to reach or achieve.”

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Her First Boutique The theory behind Badr’s first boutique, Zakya (which means “taste” in Arabic), was simple: She would make some of the products for the store, and then find other local designers, people selling at flea markets or on Etsy, and showcase their clothing and accessories. It became


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a place to find gifts for people, while purchases of tops and pants were hit or miss. “Clothing is really hard if someone hasn’t been trained to tailor and finish clothing appropriately,” Badr says. “You can’t take a pair of pants and sell them for $200 when there’s labor and expense put in by the designer. You want to compensate them fairly, but what people associate with boutique quality wasn’t there.” While a shop owner, she also served as a wardrobe stylist for Lark Book Publications, a craft book publisher that began in Asheville and had a local presence for 35 years before its operation moved to New York City in 2014. Someone in the publishing house office asked Badr to model for the books, which showcased all sorts of crafts, and she declined. Instead, she dressed the books’ models when it was needed. Zakya was located on Hay wood Street, the same downtown road on which her parents began their smallbusiness career. Badr’s shop, which sold more formal pieces, cocktail attire, and women’s work clothes, had a good clientele, but managed only to survive the two-year lease that Badr signed before closing. She wonders now why someone didn’t stop her when she opened the store. Maybe she was too young and needed to work other jobs before she jumped into business ownership.

“Closing my first store felt like a complete failure,” says Badr, who was 25 years old when the store shuttered. “I was parting with something I didn’t want to part with. It did feel like a fail. [But] if I had never been forced to leave my comfort zone and move to Philly, New York, and China, then none of it would have ever happened. I wouldn’t have learned all of these skills that I really wanted and didn’t know how to reach or achieve. On paper it was a failure. The bank statements all show it was a failure. It was my greatest asset. It kicked me in the butt and made me go.”

Moving On Her ownership of Zakya was a plus on her resume. Potential employers learned that Badr knew how to work with designers, and she went to work in Philadelphia as a buyer for Anthropologie, a women’s clothing, accessory, and home decor store. “Our team’s success at Anthropologie required strong diplomatic and negotiation skills, both of which Dema has in spades,” says Laura Graber, who worked with Badr as a buyer at Anthropologie and now lives in New York City. “We worked as intermediaries between design, color, and pattern teams, production, and the catalog production team. Dema December 2016 | capitalatplay.com 25


A SHOPPER perusing Scout’s variety.

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has the envy-inducing ability to become friends with anyone and everyone, and this served her well in a company where relationships truly mattered. “Dema also was able to leverage her network of independent designers that she knew from her previous boutique experience and bring a whole new roster of designers to Anthropologie. Not only did she champion these new, relatively unknown designers, which obviously was a huge boon to their business; but she really helped to freshen up the designer matrix at Anthropologie, which, at the time, during the post-recession, really benefited from the injection of newness.” After Anthropologie, Badr worked for Coach’s corporate office in New York City as a product developer, and then moved to Hong Kong in 2011 to work first for Coach Asia (part of Coach International), then for shoe company Y Jessi.

the big windows and light that streamed in, and then heard that she needed to make a quick decision. She took the chance and signed the lease. As her expenses had been paid while she lived in China, her savings helped start the store; in short order she was painting, adding light fixtures, and ordering products. “If it weren’t for all of the contacts I made over the last 10 to 12 years, I never could have set up a shop in two months,” she says, adding that her clientele is a good mix of locals and tourists. “We’ve committed ourselves to being this touristy town now, and what do people do? They walk around Biltmore, they eat everything in sight, they drink all the beer they can possibly handle, and then they want a little take-back. Something interesting that they won’t find at home. There’s also the tendency to shop more when you’re not at home.”

With her knowledge of fashion principles (from design to manufacturing to purchase), she can help select the right outfit by asking a few questions and sizing up her just-walked-in client. For four years, Badr lived in China, where the work pace was frantic and taxis moved at a breakneck speed. Her commute to work was often filled with drivers asking if she liked Chinese food (she doesn’t) and Michael Jackson (she does). She lived on salads, boiled eggs, and Clif bars as she assisted Y Jessi’s handbag manufacturing division. “You will get stomped on and boxed out in subway cars,” she says. “No one is kind and sweet in the masses, but when you break away, everyone is kind and sweet. I loved my work.”

Scout After four years in China, Badr was ready for a return to the United States, and a friend’s autumn wedding in Asheville made that even clearer. She missed her family and friends and the town in which she grew up. And while she isn’t one to look for signs in life, if one smacks her in the face, she plans to roll with it. That’s what happened when she first spotted the location that would become Scout Boutique. She met with the landlord, loved

Badr knows that customers will look at an item, notice the label’s name, and then head home to search online for a better price. It won’t happen at Scout—Badr does the same thing and knows the correct price point to put on a tag. “The quality of the clothing is great, and the prices are even better,” employee Shull says. “Asheville is not huge, but it is growing, and I find that sometimes the shopping, especially in the Biltmore Village area, can get quite expensive. Women do not want to spend 300 dollars on one dress as much anymore. Dema has great merchandise and she offers a variety of sizes and styles. The atmosphere is great and inviting.” A customer may walk into the store and, upon examining an item, comment, “I don’t know if this will look good on me or not…” It’s Badr’s job to help them find what does. With her knowledge of fashion principles (from design to manufacturing to purchase), she can help select the right outfit by asking a few questions and sizing up her justwalked-in client. “One goal of a buyer is to be able to both read a customer’s mind and also gently, and subconsciously, December 2016 | capitalatplay.com 27


guide them towards purchases that will enhance their wardrobes and lifestyles,” says Graber. “At Anthropologie, even though we weren’t in direct contact with the customers, we were always pushing ourselves to better understand the customer’s needs and figuring out what makes them tick and ultimately decide to buy something. Dema has mastered this art and is putting it to amazing use as a boutique owner. With just a brief conversation with a customer, she can gain a deep understanding of their style, likes and dislikes, and comfort level with trying something new.”

Still Freelancing Badr’s journey back to the mountains of Western North Carolina, incidentally, didn’t end her business interests

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elsewhere. She also returned to New York City and tackled several freelance jobs, which she continues to do from Western North Carolina through email, Skype, and phone calls. She works with handbag designers from labels like Alice and Olivia and House of Harlow. They contact Badr and ask if she has a source for something like ombre blue leather; life in China gave her plenty of options for sourcing the materials, so she’s able to help designers work toward a better product. “Knowing there’s a library of raw parts they aren’t considering, you can help them design into a better price point or product because you aren’t attached to the design,” she says. “I love helping stuff get made, and I don’t have to be the mastermind who came up with the idea. But if I know how to make it better, I’ll nag you until you make it better.”


She’ll occasionally travel to New York City to meet with clients simply because her job is so relationship-oriented, and she’s always on call to answer a designer’s concerns. This aspect of her job will eventually carry into Scout Boutique. Badr says she wants a product made specifically for the store. Not an apparel line, she says, but possibly an accessory that women will use in their wardrobes for a decade or more without it going out of style.

Keeping Locals Involved One aspect of Scout that is similar to Badr’s first boutique is the local investment she has made. Badr wants to showcase great local talent. She won’t, though, sacrifice quality simply to have another local brand on her shelves.

She chose a few to work with early on. Lace panties from Elise Olson’s On The Inside Lingerie, pieces from M.E. Ster-Molnar’s ME & Blue and Rachel Weisberg’s apparel lines, and Amber Hatchett’s unique jewelry line are part of Scout’s inventory. These designers love working with Badr because of her background in the industry, her business acumen in running a boutique, and the ability to get their products into the hands of customers. “I have seen a significant amount of sales through the boutique, especially considering that Scout has only been open for six months or so,” Olson says. “I think that On The Inside fits in well with Scout’s aesthetic and other products. Dema is the best. She is incredibly easy and enjoyable to work with. For each order, we work together to create some new pieces that she sells exclusively at Scout.”

December 2016 | capitalatplay.com 29


Badr was constantly on the lookout for new designers when she ran Zakya and, later, as a buyer. Now, though, she wants to support the designers she has in her store and help them build brand awareness. At times she has served as an impromptu small business consultant to several local designers, and those relationships will only help everyone build a better product. “I love working with Dema,” designer Ster-Molnar says. “She’s super professional and she has a clear vision. If she sees something is working, then she goes with it. She’s a true retailer. She knows how to buy correctly and how to merchandize a store. I think she has one of the best stores in town.”

Newest Venture Badr once struck up a conversation with someone in the café section of a Whole Foods in New York City a couple of years ago. Communal seating made this chance meeting possible, and the two women bonded over a vintage dress. “I have someone I want you to meet,” the woman told Badr. At the time, Badr was seeing someone and told the stranger that she couldn’t meet her friend. The gentleman wasn’t a friend, though, but a client. Badr had met a professional matchmaker and she was intrigued by this career choice.

Now she has added matchmaker to her resume and she recently set up Modern Blackbook (www.modernblackbook. com), a new service for Western North Carolina that officially went live on October 3. “I never thought of it as a work career, definitely a hobby,” says Badr, adding that while in college, she set up an ex-boyfriend with the woman he would eventually marry. Modern Blackbook isn’t a website like Tinder or eHarmony; there are no online profiles and no phony photos for people to agonize over. Badr never signed up to use an online dating service but knew friends who did, and many times the results were harrowing. “I never want to go on that date where I’m in the bathroom begging my roommate to call me,” Badr says. Modern Blackbook will attempt to be more discreet and classy and use a human touch, not an algorithm, to determine who is most compatible. Badr’s service, which costs $60 a month, begins with a 50-question survey on the website. Questions include: “What is your favorite book”; “Who was your memorable celebrity crush”; “What are some of your adamant deal breakers”; and “Do you get jealous when you see the person you are dating speaking to someone of the opposite sex?”

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Badr’s questions also tackle religion, ethnicity, monogamy, and other tough topics. Some are multiple choice and a few include Badr’s sense of humor, like having “Blehhhhh” as one possible answer for the question, “How

a meeting over coffee (or something else relaxing) before Badr begins to set up dates. “Dema often says that she ‘loves love’ so I have no doubts that her matchmaking service is going to be a huge success,” says Graber. “She has a talent for being able to read people in a short amount of time and is able to make people feel instantly at ease in her presence. People open up to Dema—she has stories of making friends everywhere she goes—and I know that this natural talent, paired with her love of love, is going to lead to some very happy couples.” The hope is to have 300 clients before Christmas and then she’ll begin to set up dates. And if a female client needs a new dress for her first blind date, Scout Boutique would be the perfect place to shop.

Now she has added matchmaker to her resume and she recently set up Modern Blackbook (www.modernblackbook.com), a new service for Western North Carolina. do you feel about children?” She readily acknowledges that parts of the questionnaire might seem odd at first glance, but, ultimately, the answers she gets tell her a lot about the person. Sincere answers are required before Badr makes contact with a new client. Then there’s a background check and

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CAROLINA hopes is just as trustworthy. The company’s motto is Buy Smarter. Build Better.™ Salespeople set their own hours and can earn up to 4% commission, with no minimum sales and no commission cap. Part of the training includes hands-on work at IronDirect’s 100-acre experience center, where the company is aiming to assemble the world’s largest lineup of construction machinery and parts.

of a few places where the business could fill a need, and settled on Asheville. The service utilizes electric carts that are wrapped, inside and out, in advertising. Users ride for free plus whatever they want to tip. Every ride is insured, and drivers must pass background checks and have satisfactory driving records. They are paid only by tips from customers. Trombino is working on an app that will allow users to summon rides. Slidr is not exactly hailed by the local cab industry, which already sustained losses with the advent of Uber. The cab industry is highly regulated, and new technologies are providing workarounds not subject to the same compliance codes. Trombino, in fact, opened shop not knowing he first needed a franchise agreement with the City of Asheville. A franchise agreement would cost $1 a day.

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Slidr is a new form of urban intermodal transportation up and running in Asheville. Slidr covers distances too far to walk but not worth the price of a taxi. Mike Trombino said he got the idea after seeing it in another city. He thought

Arendale Holdings, a Florida-based developer and manager of high-end resort properties, has purchased Carriage Park, a charming residential community off NC 191 in Henderson County. It acquired the property in foreclosure for $6 million.

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IronDirect is expanding its sales team in order to increase and broaden its customer base. IronDirect is an online platform for buying, selling, and servicing machines, undercarriages, attachments, and parts for the construction industry. The company is based in Asheville, North Carolina, but it serves all of North America. The company is successful because it lowers the risk of investing in equipment. The platform works to reduce the lifetime costs of heavy construction equipment and increase uptime for machines that can sit around rusting most of the time. IronDirect offers premium and economy equipment from trusted global manufacturers in an environment that leadership

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Arendale had loaned the former owner, Dale Hamlin, $14 million in 2011, but the loan remained unpaid. According to Arendale’s legal counsel, Hamlin twice attempted to declare bankruptcy to stall the foreclosure, but the courts denied his petitions. Carriage Park has 90 platted lots with road frontage that have yet to be developed. There is room for another 124, but that land must be legally subdivided before it can be sold or developed. John Kunkel, Arendale’s president, said he is not interested in moving forward with the 124 parcels while he still has “inventory.” One of Kunkel’s first orders of business will be to address exacerbating erosion damage, including rutting and washouts, for which Hamlin had been cited last July. Hamlin was supposed to make reparations by January 6, and that was never completed, the county declaring at the time it did not believe the developer had the wherewithal to make the required improvements.

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Folkmoot USA, North Carolina’s International Folk Festival, for the first time in several years, finished in the

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black. The success was attributed to the board of directors’ determination to run the event, known for its colorful presentations of traditional dance, like a business. To make ends meet, the board listened to stakeholders and redesigned the event to include more events featuring all ten visiting groups, including two outdoor festivals and three parades. A number of new venues replaced ones from last year, and performances were brought home to the Sam Love Queen Auditorium at the Folkmoot Center. Partnerships were forged with the Town of Waynesville, the local Rotary club, and the Haywood County Tourist Development Agency, among others, to help shoulder costs. To expand ticket sales, dance classes and community conversations were offered. An upgraded website, Folkmoot.org, which sold tickets directly, attracted 15,000 visits. Outreach on social media was also deemed productive, with YouTube videos receiving 51,000 views in July alone. The changes were credited with boosting ticket sales 30% higher than last year’s. To add to Folkmoot’s profitability, year-round programming was offered. The historic Hazelwood School, otherwise known as the Friendship Center, had served almost exclusively as living quarters for the 250 visiting performers.

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In 2014 and 2015, it was restored to accommodate community meetings and rent out for upscale private receptions.

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The quaint, timeless brick block of Marshall, marked by a huge, silver-domed capitol, remains small and out of the way, tucked into the mountains by the river. Things were looking bleak for a while. It appeared the downtown could become a ghost town, but now the tiny town is showing signs of economic rebound. The long-vacant former home of the Rock Cafe, located next to the courthouse, will reopen as another restaurant, to be known as Marshall’s Main Street Cafe. It will be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. Owner Susan Rice will be selling country favorites like mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans, giving particular attention to seniors. By offering a $4 senior menu, she hopes this will be a place seniors can come twice a day, every day. Rice comes to Marshall with years of experience in the food industry. She has successfully served her homestyle cooking at restaurants in Asheville and in South Carolina. Not too long ago, the Madison County

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Brewing Company “soft-launched” on Main Street next to the fire station. Marshall Town Administrator Karen Kiehna said her office is now looking at two or three zoning permits for small business openings every month.

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The vacant and vandalized Quality Inn and Suites, located off I-26 in the eastern end of Hendersonville, is now the Cascades Mountain Resort. The inn was purchased in April by David and Marybeth Day, who also own Asheville’s Fun Depot. The Days had owned the Brookstone Lodge next to the Fun Depot for several years. They enjoyed working in the hospitality industry, but wanted to regain the small-town feel they say Asheville had twenty years ago. So, they sold the Brookstone last year and spent a couple months looking for their next venture. Since then, all 100 guest rooms of the Cascades Mountain Resort have been gutted, and everything has been cleaned and renovated. All furniture is new. The pool area has been overhauled with natural stones, gardens, and waterfalls. It includes a kids’ area featuring a 110-foot water slide, and the hot tub section has been expanded with three secluded sections. A new restaurant, Old Orchard Tavern, offers indoor and outdoor dining to guests, and it is open to the public. Other amenities include a gift shop and conference rooms. Pricing will be comparable to that of upper-end hotels in the area like the Hampton Inn and the Mountain Lodge. When the restaurant is operational, the owners expect to employ 80-100.

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Two Haywood County Community College cosmetology graduates have gone into business together with the opening of Directions Salon in Clyde. The full hair salon is open Tuesdays


WE SELL through Fridays from 10AM to 4PM, and evenings and weekends by appointment. It is billed as offering high-end, affordable service in a laid-back atmosphere. Samantha Green and Alexa Sorrells view it as the next stage in their careers. Green was motivated to go into the field in part by bad haircuts she received as a child. Sorrells views cosmetology as an art. One of the selling points they hope their salon will foster is communication. They want to listen and give customers what they want, rather than imposing their own visions on them. Both cosmetologists are Redken specialists. They had been renting booths at other upscale salons before embarking on the new adventure. In launching, they received help from Katy Gould at the college’s Small Business Center. The North Carolina Community College’s Small Business Center Network assists over 600 business startups a year and claims the creation and retention of 3,000 jobs annually.

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The Reverend Sharad Creasman will be Brevard College’s new campus minister. The position was eliminated five years ago during budget cuts. It was reinstated after college leaders raised funds from local churches and other community groups in order to support the position for the next three years. College President David Joyce appreciates the need for the position, having begun his career as a campus minister at Pfeiffer College. Joyce says the college works to support the intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of students. Creasman’s roles include helping students with spiritual concerns, counseling students interested in pursuing careers in ministry, and leading extracurricular presentations introducing students to the wealth of religions in the world. Creasman is a 33-year-old Brevard native. He graduated from Brevard College with a B.S. in religion. He went on to earn a Master of

Divinity with a concentration in ethics from the Morehouse School of Religion at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, and he earned a Master of Theology degree from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. At age 18, he was first licensed to preach as an associate minister at Bethel Baptist Church in Brevard. He was later ordained by the Mud Creek Baptist Association in Flat Rock. He was working as a pastor at Columbia Drive Methodist Church in Atlanta before accepting the position.

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Wolfe’s Angel, the most prominent monument in Hendersonville’s Oakdale Cemetery, will be cleaned by a conservator from the Biltmore Estate. The angel, that points upward with her right hand and bears a lily in her left, stands over 15 feet tall. The Carrara marble marker was last cleaned six years ago, and is now showing some stains. The conservator will use special detergent and soft brushes for the general cleaning, and remove biological growth from details like the inscriptions with bamboo skewers. The statue will be rinsed and lightly scrubbed with a mild cleaning solution until clean. Part of the contract includes assessing the monument for a second stage of restoration, which will repair the wings and improve the former reattachments. The statue is historically significant because of the Thomas Wolfe novel, Look Homeward Angel. While many grave markers are claimed to have been the subject of the novel, a strong case may be made for this one. It found a home in 1905 on the front porch of the marble workshop owned by the author’s father, William O. Wolfe, in Asheville’s Pack Square. Wolfe was not the sculptor; he merely used the angel as advertising. The statue was eventually sold to the daughter of Margaret Bates Johnson (1832-1905) as a marker for her mother’s grave. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

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Planning on some workplace gift giving this holiday season? Don’t stress out—we’ve got some solutions for you.

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gift /gift/ Noun: something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance; present; something bestowed or acquired without any particular effort by the recipient or without its being earned. Verb: to present with as a gift; bestow gifts upon; endow with; to present (someone) with a gift.

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ave you made your list and checked it twice? No, not for your family and friends—for your clients and employees. While clients may not expect gifts, sending something thoughtful can help cement the relationship and keep you in their good graces well into the New Year. Plus, you can deduct up to $25 for each client and employee gift on your taxes, so it’s a no-brainer to send gifts, especially in our increasingly competitive and crowded global economy where businesses must continually woo both clients and employees in order to thrive. According to the 2015 Advertising Specialty Institute Report, those buying for clients spend about $48 per client—a nine percent increase from 2014—while employee gifts came in at around $44 each. Respondents used words such as “appreciated,” “grateful,” and “valued” when asked about receiving gifts from companies, and these positive feelings will continue to be associated with your company long after the gift has been consumed, used, or displayed. This data aligns with local gift-giving expert Melissa Clonch, of Mills River-based Gift Baskets by Melissa, who confirms most businesses she works with spend $50 for each client gift. She urges gift givers to remember, “Holiday corporate gift giving is a way to say ‘thank you’ and show appreciation. It is not intended to be a marketing strategy.” This means staying away

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from passing out promotional products that have been collecting dust. If you can’t resist slipping in a pen, magnet, or other company-branded items, Clonch advises, “Make sure to include other useful items as part of the gift.” John Ruhlin, Giftology author and strategic gift consultant for large corporations and professional sports franchises, recommends gift givers to strive for uniqueness—which means no chocolates, branded swag, and fruit baskets. However, he also assures business owners that there’s no need to spend big bucks. “You can’t buy people’s loyalty and business, and even if they accept an expensive gift it often makes them feel uncomfortable because they end up beholden to you,” Ruhlin told Forbes, in an interview earlier this year. He pointed to one memorable gift that displays his philosophy of “radical generosity”: Bluetooth speakers fashioned from scratch out of the wood from the Chicago Cubs’ original locker room, gifted to top club box and sponsorship clients on behalf of the organization. Celia Naranjo of Asheville Goods echoes Ruhlin’s advice. “The monetary value of the gift should not be so outrageously high that the employee or clients feel some obligation to repay the gift or feel indebted,” she says. “Conversely, the gift shouldn’t be so chintzy as to make the receiver feel slighted or dismissed.”


Corporate and Client Gift Giving So what unique, memorable gifts fall between too expensive and too cheap that can also help drive your business forward without coming across as “market-y”? For starters, make sure that the company actually allows for gifts. “To make a lasting impression, be aware of the recipient’s company guidelines on accepting gifts. Many businesses and agencies prohibit or limit gift-giving,” Clonch says. In general, many financial services, insurance, government, media, and medical institutions prohibit gift giving, but you should check company policy or ask beforehand. As the etiquette experts at The Emily Post Institute advise, “Never give a gift to an outside business associate who is either currently involved in a bidding process with your firm or receiving a bid from you or your company,” as this crosses over into bribery territory. No cash or checks, either, and if you want to go the gift card route, be thoughtful. “On the one hand, if you give your client a gift card to a large department store, then this could indicate that you didn’t put much thought into the gift. On the other hand, if you give your client a gift card to his or her favorite lunch spot, then it stands a better chance of being used and appreciated,” explains Tim O’Brien, for Public Relationship Society of America. Throughout Western North Carolina, gift givers have an array of local goods to consider sending, which helps strengthen our local economy while also giving the recipient a taste (literally or figuratively) of our region. One easy solution is curated North Carolina or regional-specific baskets filled with sauces, cookies, candies, mustards, and more, which you can find at Gift Baskets by Melissa and Asheville Goods, among others. Of course, doing a little research and understanding your clients’ personal interests can go a long way and should influence your purchases. If they are outdoorsy, a locally made ENO hammock might be appreciated, while those who love to entertain might like platters or trays made by The Village Potters. For those clients that you want to give lower-priced gifts, locally made STILL candles can fit the bill nicely, starting at $25. Owner Stephanie Smith shares that their top sellers for the holidays are Mistletoe, Hearth, Moss, Whiskey, and Sugar Magnolia, but says their new fragrance-free Shootin’ Blanks “is always a good choice when you are unsure of a person’s specific tastes.” They also offer bulk discounts, which could make for a handy employee gift instead, especially for companies and employees that prefer to support local. Whatever you buy, experts agree that a handwritten note is a must. “Gifts given sincerely and with an individual note of appreciation will be most valued,” says Asheville Goods’ Naranjo. Online professionals’ hub OfficeNinjas agree that handwritten notes should be included with every gift because “in our digital world, a touch of humanity is invaluable. Tap into the power of

Quick Tips by Melissa Clonch of Gift Baskets by Melissa - Gift should be practical and memorable. - Choose quality over quantity. - Put thought into the packaging/presentation. - Aim for gifts that are gender-neutral. - Personalize gifts when you can. -

The competition to attract and keep top talent is fierce. Some companies go the way of Google and try to entice quality team members with fancy offices and gourmet meals, while others forgo office space so employees can work from home.

December 2016 | capitalatplay.com 39


local industry

LOCAL SELECTION GO LOCAL CARD They offer bulk discounts for 10+ cards, making it a great gift for employees so they can save year-round at Asheville businesses.

to consider as gifts for local employees and clients

SEASON TICKETS TO FLAT ROCK PLAYHOUSE Twelve shows for the 2017 season.

DIAMOND BRAND GIFT CARD For outdoor gear and clothing. diamondbrandoutdoors.com/

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CLASS AT NORTH CAROLINA GLASS CENTER To make a paperweight, ornament, or cup/tumbler.

Photography workshops in Asheville. vagabondvistas.com

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PASS TO BILTMORE ESTATE

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SPECIALTY OLIVE OIL Specialty olive oils, balsamics, gourmet foods, and more can be found at Tree & Vine.

Tickets to one of the many regional breweries beer events, or brewery gift card. Go to link to see local brewery list. capitalatplay.com/alcohol-in-wnc-breweries/

QUILT OR BASKET From Mountain Thread Company in Blowing Rock. themountainthreadcompany.com/

POPCORN FROM POPPY Pick from Savory, Premium, and Candied. lovepoppyofasheville.com

WAKE FOOT SANCTUARY Warm foot soak and massage spa. wakefootsanctuary.com

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Tick Tock’s owner, Kara Elizabeth Candler, recommends these gift ideas: FOOD ITEMS but be mindful as to whether someone is a vegetarian or has food allergies. LIQUOR AND WINE such as a great Scotch to a client who collects, or the perfect French Burgundy with a cigar. *Note: see the caveat on alcohol in the sidebar on gift faux pas.

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from the anticipation of experiential purchases, and waiting for an experience tends to be more pleasurable and exciting than waiting to receive a material good.”


the old-school greeting card and include a handwritten note with every gift.” Or, take heed of the advice from Smith, who is also the Principal for The Brite Agency when she’s not pouring candles: “One holiday season, we took all Brite Agency clients out on the town. About 30 of us gathered at a restaurant up on Pack Square for nibbles and cocktails. Then we all boarded the LaZoom bus for a comedy tour. Combine that with people from different businesses meeting for the first time and Sister Bad Habit, well… let’s just say no one has forgotten that Brite holiday gift!”

Employee Gift Giving The competition to attract and keep top talent is fierce. Some companies go the way of Google and try to entice quality team members with fancy offices and gourmet meals, while others forgo office space so employees can work from home. Whatever the company structure, employee advocacy is becoming more and more important for brands that want to succeed in our fastpaced, digital world. In fact, Altimeter, a research and consulting firm that focuses on digital disruption, recently shared that 90 percent of today’s companies say they’re embracing employee advocacy, a four percent increase from 2015. In terms of employee gifts, companies need to adhere to many of the same tenants as corporate gift giving: Keep it appropriate and thoughtful. Gift Baskets’ Clonch recommends, “For employees, be consistent in your gift-giving and remember

everyone. Employee gifts can be more personable, as you may know more of their likes and dislikes. If you give an employee a gift that is different, do so outside of the office setting. Employee gifts do not have to be the same, but should be of equal value.” What if you’re the employee? Don’t get a gift for your boss. As Naranjo explains, “Gift-giving in an office should be from the top down, not from the bottom up. So unless your office culture is something else entirely, employees should not give bosses gifts.” She also reiterated Naranjo’s budgeting advice: “Gifts to employees should all be the same value with the exception of a personal assistant. And everyone should be given their gifts at the same time to avoid people feeling left out.” With that etiquette in mind, it is important to note that what people want most is a raise, a bonus, or a useful gift card (think Amazon), according to Inc. magazine. If these aren’t an option for your company, consider other valuable gestures, like flexible hours during the holidays, or additional paid time off.

How to Get Your Shopping Done Suffice to say, we are getting more burned out as a society with how much is on our plates (just another reason people flock to Western North Carolina’s slower pace and creative lifestyles), and the holidays pile even more on. So, it’s no wonder the concierge industry in the United States is growing, with an estimated 31,000 people employed in this industry as of May 2015, according to the United States Department of Labor. December 2016 | capitalatplay.com 43


local industry

These Santas of sorts will do a wide variety of tasks, from booking travel to going grocery shopping—both also handy ways to save time during the holidays—as well as gift shopping. In the mountain area, we have numerous concierge service providers, among them: Blue Vista Concierge Watauga/Avery Counties BlueVistaConcierge.com

Country Home Concierge Watauga County CountryHomeConcierge.com

URBAN

All Seasons Errand Service Hendersonville AllSeasonsErrandService.com

Your Lifestyle Assistant Waynesville/Maggie Valley YourLifestyleAssistant.com

Tick Tock Concierge Asheville Ticktock-concierge.com Worry Free Concierge Asheville Worryfreewnc.com

March 11, 6:30 pm The Wedge @Foundation Life is our medium; education, enrichment and advocacy are our palette; and this vibrant city is our community canvas. PRESENTED BY

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| December 2016

Fusco’s Concierge Service Buncombe County Fuscosconcierge.com Time Genies LLC Hickory Time-genies.com Geaux Girl Buncombe County facebook.com/GeauxGirlConcierge

Each of these local companies provide personal shopping services, and a multitude of other services that can help you put a little more joy in the holidays this year. And their experience gives them expertise when it comes to corporate and employee gift giving. Tick Tock’s owner, Kara Elizabeth Candler, notes, “Consider giving your yearly gift during a different holiday and not just Christmas time to stand out—especially on anniversaries of your business or client birthdays.”


Karen Tonks, of Hickory-based Time Genies concierge service, suggests that one way to take the guesswork out of the equation is the time-honored tradition of giving a gift certificate—even a gift certificate for a concierge service. “For employees or clients,” Tonks says, “it shows that you care and that you aren’t just giving them a generic gift that most companies do. It’s very personal and thoughtful. They are able to use the gift either in the workplace or at home— wherever it is most needed.” She adds that the minimum time one can typically buy from a concierge is two hours “but there is no maximum. How much one spends is totally up to the person buying the time.” Another option is to attend one of the many events happening during the holiday season in our area to find unique gifts created by local makers, such as: DECEMBER 2

Art After Dark, an after-hours gallery stroll through Waynesville’s shops. DECEMBER 2

1st Friday Art Crawl, Boone, local artists selling and greeting. DECEMBER 2

Toe River Studio Tour, area, with work by 100+ artists on display and available for purchase (Burnsville).

Consider Giving Experiences Instead As we often heard in recent years, exper iences tend to outper for m possessions when it comes to happiness. In addition, researchers from Cornell University spent a decade studying happiness in relation to purchasing. Among their findings was, “People derive more happiness from the anticipation of experiential purchases, and that waiting for an experience tends to be more pleasurable and exciting than waiting to receive a material good.” A few ideas: 1. Tickets for a local museum, botanical garden, or another popular attraction. 2. Event tickets (for example, to a local symphony orchestra performance).

URBAN

3. Magazine subscription. 4. Gift certificate for a nice/beloved restaurant. 5. Educational experience, like cooking classes or even a Wild Food Foraging Tour. 6. Massage or spa certificate. 7. Donation to a local charity in their name.

March 11, 6:30 pm The Wedge @Foundation For more information: OpenDoorsAsheville.org

DECEMBER 2

Asheville Downtown Gallery Art Walk, another after-hours event. DECEMBER 3 AND DECEMBER 10

Guild Artist Holiday Sale at the Folk Art Center, great for finding deals as you’ll find plenty of discontinued stock, over-runs, and studio seconds. DECEMBER 3

Holiday Market at Riverview Station at The Village Potters (Asheville) showcasing work by 40+ artists. DECEMBER 4:

The Big Crafty at The U.S. Cellular Center (Asheville), hundreds of artists and craftspeople displaying their wares.

BONUS: A study published by the Association for Consumer Research (Acrwebsite.org), “Experiential Gifts Foster Stronger Relationships Than Material Gifts,” shows that “the gift of an experience increases the social bonds between the gift giver and receiver. When recipients receive an experience, regardless of whether they share in that experience with the gift giver, they feel more connected to the gift giver as a result of it, compared to receiving a material gift.” Or, take note of STILL’s Smith’s go-to holiday experience: “I like to do something special for my employees each year, so I invite them to my home

PRESENTED BY

December 2016 | capitalatplay.com 45


local industry

for an afternoon/evening of food, drinks, and fun. Everyone participates by making a dish and bringing a white elephant gift. We play games, hula-hoop in the yard, wear silly hats— but we don’t talk about work. It is an opportunity for us to engage socially, spend time with the significant others, and get

the Estate’s owners and caretakers—host the annual employee holiday party, a tradition first established by the Vanderbilts. The Cecil family ensures that each child of each estate employee receives a Christmas gift, a custom first started by Edith Vanderbilt when she was a young mother and hostess of the Biltmore Estate.” *** Whatever you decide to buy employees or clients this holiday season, know that most gestures will be appreciated, since the old adage It’s the thought that counts resonated throughout our research. However, keep in mind what one anonymous Inc. employee shared: “Truly, from bosses I liked, anything was great because I appreciated that they thought of me. From ‘bad’ bosses, anything would annoy me. You can’t make up for being a jerk with a token of any kind once a year.” Ouch. Perhaps the best gift you can give is a strong, supportive, and fulfilling company culture in 2017.

Most gestures will be appreciated, since the old adage It’s the thought that counts resonated throughout our research. to know each other on a more personal level. With such a tightknit culture at our agency, this sort of bonding is important and teaches us how to better understand each other.” Mallory Flynn, a member of the Biltmore Company’s public relations department, agrees with the idea of a fun evening out serving as the employee gift. “Today, Mr. Vanderbilt’s descendants—the Cecil family, now

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GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS PAST: FAUX PAS EDITION Or, what not to buy your clients or employees.

* Anything with a large company logo plastered on it. * Alcohol, unless you’re absolutely certain of their favorite kind and that they are not a recovering alcoholic. * Clothing—too many variables to screw up, including size, color choice, and fabric. * Self-help books. * Anything that could be construed as intimate, including lingerie, gift certificates to places like Victoria’s Secret, or perfume.

* Used items (don’t re-gift, either—too easy to get busted as a Scrooge). * Toiletries or beauty products (again, allergies, but also because it could be seen as a criticism on their current beauty and health). * Anything religious. * A 10% off coupon—perhaps the lamest gift on this list! * Gag gifts, unless your company insists everyone bring one for the holiday party.

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December 2016 | capitalatplay.com 47


column

Santaland Duties

‘Tis the season to be cynical… but maybe what we really need is a reason to believe.

M rodney smith

is from Mountain Home and works in Hendersonville. He has been playing Santa for the past 10 years.

48

O S T O F Y O U H AV E P R O B A B LY

heard or read “Santaland Diaries,” the famous essay by monologist David Sedaris, originally aired on NPR in the early ‘90s and subsequently adapted for stage as a one-man play by director Joseph Mantello.

The holiday season staple — an Asheville perennial for 15 years now, it’s slated to be performed December 14-18 at 35below by Asheville Community Theatre—is typically described thusly: “When an out of work slacker [a 33-year-old Sedaris] takes a job as an elf in Macy’s Santaland, his hilarious observations of the shoppers and employees are much more naughty than nice.” Indeed—Sedaris’ elf, dubbed Crumpet, endures numerous indignities, from tantrum-throwing kids with their codependent parents, and moody method-acting Santas who don’t think their “role” is properly appreciated, to randy adult women insisting that they also get to sit on Santa’s lap, and unreconstructed rednecks who observe, unasked, that he “looks so stupid” in his green velvet outfit. Initially, Sedaris insisted that “Santaland Diaries” was autobiographical. Sometime later, factcheckers determined that he’d clearly spun some

| December 2016

of his anecdotes in the service of entertainment, and although this didn’t take away from any of the piece’s humor, it’s now conceded to be, for the most part, a work of fiction. Still, the genie was out of the bottle, meaning that any parent who has ever taken a child to the mall to see Santa has probably wondered just what those fat, jolly, bearded men in red suits and their gaily-attired helpers are saying about them and their children behind their backs. (Bonus points if you’ve ever tried to second-guess what that greedy little brat at the front of the line is asking Santa to bring him, and whether or not Mommy and Daddy, standing impatiently off to the side, are actually going to get it for him.) Well, there’s really only one logical conclusion to all this: Let’s ask Santa ourselves. We reasoned that, even if Sedaris was exaggerating parts of his brief career as a Christmas elf for comedic impact, there had to be more than just a kernel of truth in


his tale; the odds are simply too great, considering the sheer number of kids and parents who visit Santa every year. Conversely, aside from the potential for misbehavior, surely there are also those instances of pathos guaranteed to tug at one’s heartstrings—the child who asks Santa to bring peace to the Middle East, for example, or one who simply wants Santa to get his divorcing parents back together.

HIS EXPERIENCES IN SANTALAND, ASIDE FROM THE OCCASIONAL TINY TYKE BEING FRIGHTENED BY THIS BIG MAN WITH THE BIG BEARD, HAVE BEEN UNIFORMLY POSITIVE.

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So we went out and found a Santa. Meet Rodney Smith, 50, who lives with his wife in Mountain Home (near Asheville, in Henderson County) and has six grown kids, as well as three grandchildren. Smith works at K imberly-Clark Corporation in Hendersonville and is also a volunteer firefighter with Mountain Home Fire & Rescue. He has been putting on his Santa suit for the past 10 years, so he’s clearly been in the game long enough to have an insider’s perspective. A las, it turns out that Sedaris probably was exaggerating more than just a little, because Smith reports that his experiences in Santaland, aside from the occasional tiny tyke being frightened by this big man with the big beard, have been uniformly positive…

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On how he came to play Santa in the first place, and what training or background, if any, he had: I’ve only done this for my work’s Christmas parties for kids. They were asking for volunteers at work, and I thought it would be fun just to try it once. No training, I just winged it, and now it’s continued to be an annual

IT’S SO INTERESTING TO HEAR SOME OF THE STORIES SOME KIDS WILL TELL YOU THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH CHRISTMAS. event. It’s the Kimberly-Clark kids’ Christmas party at Fun Depot—I have also played Santa once at the fire department kids’ Christmas party in Mountain Home.

On his “method” for preparing for the Santa “role”: I just have the suit, with a wig and a beard. No physical resemblance—my own kids and grandkids have seen me [in character] and recognized me. And no props like elves or reindeer, just a chair at Fun Depot with a big bag of candy.

On that first time he played Santa and other memorable moments: For the first time, my hat kept falling off, and the kids were always pulling at the beard. Sometimes there are brothers and sisters arguing about who’s going first or last. And some kids are scared of Santa. There was a small kid one time, only about one year old, and he just looked at me, and his eyes seemed to get bigger and bigger. All of a sudden he just started screaming! Some “moms” like sitting on Santa’s lap also…

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| December 2016


On what the children actually ask Santa to bring them: Some kids ask for money. Some have asked for gifts for their siblings. Others asked for snow for Christmas. A lot of video stuff, games and things. Some have cried, and some have also run away when they saw me.

On the most gratifying aspect about playing Santa: Just listening to the kids talk about what they would like to have, and asking them if they have been bad or good—their parents will be standing there, looking at them to see what they say!

On advice he’d give to anyone planning on playing Santa this year: Just enjoy what you’re doing, and treat all the kids the same. It’s so interesting to hear some of the stories some kids will tell you that have nothing to do with Christmas.

After interviewing Smith and considering what a positive outlook the gentleman displays, we came to an inevitable conclusion: We’ve become awfully cynical with age, as regards certain holiday traditions, and Sedaris’ “Santaland Diaries” has undoubtedly contributed to that cynicism. We even found ourselves asking Smith if he had ever witnessed the proverbial “bad Santa” a la Billy Bob Thornton’s boozing conman character in the cult film of the same name. (Smith’s answer was a firm, “No.”) But this is Christmastime—why on earth would anyone want to believe the worst in people, or look for the darkest linings, during this time of year? That said, 2016 has been such a long, protracted study in negativity, thereby upping the ante for cynics everywhere, you can’t really blame them. So allow us to thank you, Rodney Smith, for helping restore our faith in the essential goodness of people. We can only hope that your attitude rubs off on some of those kids who sit in your lap and look up at you and yank on your beard. (Their parents, too.) How does that saying go? Oh yeah… Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus—and he lives in Mountain Home, North Carolina.

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My Side and Yours, offers eight styles of fabric, ranging from breathable mesh to light polyester to thick fleece. Each sheet is hand-cut and hand-sewn. The Lamms are striving to manufacture high demand with care while using only North Carolina manufacturers. That has proven problematic since the textile industry has all but left the state, and the remaining manufacturers tend to be overworked. Fortunately, the couple has found a manufacturer in Raleigh and one in Oxford with whom they are partnering. Launched in February, the company is already taking orders, the Kickstarter investments going toward pre-orders. The first batch is expected to ship before Christmas.

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Wilmington-based GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Southern Nuclear Development, a subsidiary of Southern Nuclear Operating Company. The collaboration will work to develop and license nuclear reactors using GEH’s PRISM technology. PRISM is a sodium-cooled neutron reactor design fueled by spent nuclear fuel. It uses a series of proven technologies trusted to provide clean, safe, reliable, and affordable energy. GEH estimates there are approximately 178,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel stored worldwide. That alone would have enough potential to power all global households, at 3,400 kWh/year, for 200 years.

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machines. In addition to 3D printing, the facility provides a number of other 21st-century manufacturing services like Computer Numerical Control machining and injection molding. Those technologies have been around for years, but they are becoming increasingly complex. 3D printing is Proto Labs’ fastest-growing service. Orders have grown 30% yearover-year. 3D printing is preferred by engineers because it is more customizable than traditional manufacturing processes, and it can machine parts as thin as 0.05 millimeter. As outreach to its new neighbors, Proto Labs made several grants to local STEM programs.

Merging as Demand Downsizes winston-salem

British American Tobacco (BAT) has offered to buy Reynolds American, Incorporated, for $47 billion. The deal would create the world’s largest publicly traded tobacco company and give BAT a stronger presence in the United States, enjoying what Shane MacGuill of Euromonitor International described as “a lucrative, consolidated market with high barriers to entry.” Any cost savings

from the buyout would be incidental. BAT already owns 42% of Reynolds, selling under the Dunhill, Rothmans, and Lucky Strike brands. Reynolds controls one-third of the United States market with top brands Newport, Camel, and Pall Mall. Reynolds would purchase the shares it does not own at a 20% premium, or $56.50 each. Investors would receive $24.13 in cash and 0.5502 of each BAT share’s value. The tobacco industry is shifting in the United States and Europe, where demand for electronic cigarettes has undercut tobacco sales. The two tobacco companies already have a technology sharing agreement on e-cigarette development.

nutritionists, and food safety specialists. Total compensation would be about $2.7 million a year, but most of the employees would transfer to the area. The move would cost Dole about $882,000, but it would bring together under one roof researchers and people making business decisions. The core laboratory building houses collaborations of other businesses and researchers and to date is less than 40% utilized. Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant hopes this is the first step in incrementally persuading Dole to locate its corporate headquarters in town.

Sweet Spuds Got to Ramble

The Friendly Fruit kannapolis

Kannapolis city fathers are trying to lure Dole Food Company, Incorporated, back to the state. They approved a $100,000 incentive package for the pineapple company, should it choose to relocate its East Coast Fresh Fruit Sales Division in space at the David H. Murdock Core Laboratory on the North Carolina Research Campus. Dole would employ nineteen at the facility, including administrators, sales staff, marketers,

the old north state

statewide

North Carolina sweet potatoes continue to figure prominently in lists of top exports to many countries. Following tremendous growth in demand in the last five years, 25% of what is grown is exported, primarily to Europe. While the United Kingdom is the top consumer, the potatoes export to almost every country in the European Union. The smaller No. 1 potatoes are the most popular exports. Sales of processed and fresh sweet potatoes are expected to increase, with

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lots of room for expansion. A growing interest in French fries overseas is also expected to keep the industry healthy. The American Sweet Potato Marketing Institute and the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission do a lot of advertising to promote exports, but they focus on untapped and underdeveloped markets. Canada and South America are deemed to hold a lot of potential. For the near future, growth in exports of sweet potatoes is expected to outpace domestic market growth, even though marketers are trying to find buyers in parts of the country where sweet potatoes are still only a holiday dish.

Collaborative Placemaking raleigh

Robert Hayter has been named chair of North Carolina State University’s pilot Collaborative for Sustainable Placemaking. (“Placemaking,” according to Wikipedia, is “a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design, and management of public spaces [by capitalizing] on a local community’s assets, inspiration, and potential.”) And as the name suggests, the center will bring students of design, architecture, science, and social and economic disciplines together to work on single projects. Hayter has forty years’ experience in placemaking, including thirteen years as an instructor at Sandhills Community College and twenty years’ practice at his own company. Though an urban planner, Hayter’s niche was historic resort landscaping, which led to a number of contracts in New England. The scope of the Collaborative will be broad and experimental; Hayter is charged with making all manmade spaces on the college campus function better. The center attempts to bring professionals out of their silos to address everything from waste management to street tree health to crime prevention; integrating academic, professional, and legislative perspectives. For now, though, Hayter 54

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is working on developing a steering committee to identify revenue streams.

MOSFET Avalanche durham

Wolfspeed, a Cree Company, has developed a 1000-volt silicon carbide metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET). The high voltage rating enables a two-level architecture instead of the three levels required for silicon components. Greater power output is made possible by the smaller footprint because of an ultra-low, 60-picofarad, capacitance. The low capacitance also reduces switching losses, enabling higher switching frequencies, and thus shrinking the size of the resonant tank and losses therein. This, in turn, allows operation with a smaller heatsink. In terms of specs, compared to a silicon MOSFET, the 1000-volt MOSFET uses 30% fewer components, increases power output 33%, and triples power density. On the business side, this means faster charging, smaller systems, improved efficiency, and lower system costs. The new MOSFET is already marketed in a 65-milliohm package, and a 120-milliohm model will soon be available. Wolfspeed is in the business of developing and commercializing energy-efficient components made of silicon carbide and gallium nitride.

Mapping Software Hastens Relief statewide

Preliminary estimates of flood damage in North Carolina from Hurricane Matthew ran around $1.5 billion. An estimated 100,000 homes, businesses, and government buildings were damaged, and nine times as many lost power. Early estimates were derived from state computer modeling, which analyzes data from property records, topological maps, and stream gauge readings. Aircraft and drones were deployed to validate the


model with actual data. The estimate only includes damage to built-up real property, and does not include damages to infrastructure or personal property. Most of the latter is covered by insurance, but insurance companies were at first overwhelmed by record numbers of claims in days when adjusters could not get to work. North Carolina is estimated to have born half the brunt of the storm’s damage in the United States in terms of dollars, and 26 of the 43 lives claimed. In addition to estimating damage, the state’s software helped to direct rescue crews and evacuate facilities, like prisons. The computer mapping project began following Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

Paying for Play winston-salem

Wake Forest University just received another $15 million for its athletics programs from one of the university’s most prolific benefactors. Bob McCreary has, to date, given the university’s athletic department approximately $35 million. The university renamed the Deacon Tower at the BB&T Field in his honor at this year’s homecoming game. The tower is a seven-story press box and luxury seating area opened in 2008 thanks to a previous gift from McCreary. Other donations have funded the Bob McCreary Video Board honoring the class of 1961, the McCreary Field House indoor practice facility, and the university’s strength and conditioning center. McCreary played football as an offensive and defensive tackle at Wake Forest. He graduated in 1961 and was drafted in the fifth round by the San Francisco 49ers. He played one year in the National Football League with the Dallas Cowboys and another in the Canadian Football League. From there, he went into furniture sales and marketing, where he worked twenty years before starting his own company. Based in Newton, McCreary Modern manufactures upholstered furniture for special retailers. Its six plants in Western North Carolina employ 800. December 2016 | capitalatplay.com

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Deep Roots written by derek halsey

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photos by todd bush

According to High Country Christmas tree farmer and winery owner Jack Wiseman, if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.

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JACK WISEMAN

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Avery County’s Jack Wiseman found a way to come home again. When you grow up in Appalachia—specifically, North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, in Wiseman’s case— sometimes you have to leave town to make it in the world. During the Great Migration of the first half of the 20th century, many young men and women of the mountains did just that, either moving north to find work, or going into the military. Wiseman left his beloved mountains as a teenager after being drafted. Following his stint in the military, he returned home, only to leave again to go on another sojourn out west. 58

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Eventually, however, Wiseman was able to return to Avery County and create two wonderful businesses that use the land he grew up on in a positive way. He was a pioneer in the nowflourishing industry of growing and selling Christmas trees in the High Country, and he also owns a winery that is the end result of his nearly life-long passion for making wine and brandy. Currently, North Carolina produces over 20 percent of the Christmas trees sold in the United States, second only to Oregon. A half century ago, Wiseman planted 5,000 seedlings in Avery County with the specific intention of selling them as Christmas trees—a business called Christmas Green that still thrives today. Nowadays, if you drive through many parts of Western North Carolina, you’ll spot steep mountainsides filled with Fraser fir trees. Wiseman also created Linville Falls Winery, located in a beautiful setting just a couple of miles from the world famous Linville Gorge and namesake Linville Falls. All of this success, however, comes at the long end of an interesting journey.


Mountain Born, Mountain Raised “I grew up on the North Toe River as a young boy, about four or five miles over the hill from here,” says Wiseman, while sitting in the tasting room of his winery. “I went to school in Crossnore. The biggest business in Crossnore at that time was Dr. Sloop and his wife Mary Martin Sloop.” Beginning in the 1920s, Dr. Mary Martin Sloop, a physician and educator, and her husband, Dr. Eustace Sloop, a surgeon, not only established a medical practice in Avery County, they also created the now-famous Crossnore School. By the 1930s, the Crossnore School featured 20 buildings, including dormitories for school kids who could not travel long distances. Before the Crossnore School, many 19th century mountain kids had little to no education, and even the December 2016 | capitalatplay.com 59


JACK walking around Linville Falls Winery.

teachers in the one-room schoolhouses that did exist were not particularly educated themselves. The Crossnore School, funded by the sale of used clothing and by organizations like the Daughters of the American Revolution, became a destination for orphans and abandoned children. In the 1950s, Dr. Sloop wrote her autobiography, Miracle in the Hills. She would die in early 1961. “Because it was a charitable school,” explains Wiseman, “the Sloops collected potatoes and apples and canned goods and old clothes from the Belk family and other people in Charlotte. Because of that, it was the biggest business in Crossnore. They were the people that God sent here to doctor and feed the mountain people, who were pretty poverty-ridden back in the 1920s. The Sloops rode horses here and started a practice over in Plumtree, but there was already a doctor there named Dr. Burleson, whose family lived in Plumtree. The Sloops weren’t welcomed there because there was too much competition.” Wiseman’s life would change forever a few years before he attended Crossnore School, however, when his mother left for the West Coast without him. “My parents were separated, and my mother raised me until I was eight,” says Wiseman. “Then, my mother went to California, and my grandparents raised me from eight years old on. I met my dad once. My parents were never together. My mother went out to California to make a living. She starved out here in Avery County. Out there, she was the governess for one of the relatives of the Marx Brothers in San Francisco. She would send money back for me to get my teeth fixed and so forth. My grandparents were farmers, and I was raised on that farm, where I hoed corn and put up hay and fed the horses. No tractors, all horses, and I didn’t even know what a chainsaw was.” To this day, when Wiseman talks about his mother leaving town without him, you can see in his eyes that the reality of it still affects him deeply, even over 70 years later. “It was pretty tough to lose your mama. It doesn’t go away. I had no idea she was leaving. She needed to go. She needed to go to make a living and probably for other reasons. I was eight years old so I knew what was going on, but I didn’t know why. I was very comfortable in my grandparents’ home because I had been in and out of there from the time I was born. They were the stable people in the family. That was where the milk and the butter and the cornbread was.” Early on, Wiseman was mischievous in school and was quickly heading in the wrong direction. As he recalls it now, “They had too many rules for me. I didn’t like all of the rules, so I revolted. I went fishing and did things that kids without good supervision would do.” An opportunity arose, however, that set him on the path to learning about being responsible and working as a team member. The experience would help him turn his life around. “When I got into high school over in Cranberry, I was a pretty good athlete,” says Wiseman. “Eventually, they got a new coach at Crossnore School, and he came over to my little community 60

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THE TREES are hand carried out of the fields, after being cut down. December 2016 | capitalatplay.com 61


and asked if I would come over and live in the dormitory at Crossnore School and play sports there. That way, I could live there full-time and have food and medicine. It was just like going to college. But, I had to clean my act up. I started making my bed and cleaning my room. My job was to sweep the gymnasium two times a week for my room and board. I loved that because I was right there playing basketball anyway.” The realities of the bigger world soon knocked on Wiseman’s door when he was drafted into the armed services after finishing high school. The Korean War was in full tilt then and he found himself being shipped out. “I went in as an infantryman, but I also had medical training while in basic training in Camp Pickett in Virginia, so I was transferred as a medic. The war was just kind of a dream. If you went a little bit crazy over there, you just didn’t get any worse. You tried to stay at that level. I still remember several of those guys, but I have never contacted them.” After Wiseman came back from the Korean War, he went to Blanton Business College in Asheville for a few months and then had a desire to go west. He ended up in San Francisco, where he was finally reunited with his mother. “She was the main reason I went there,” he says. “I worked in the shipyards there. I was a sheet metal worker. During the weekends, I would go up to Napa Valley. The guys that I worked with got acquainted with some people up in Napa that were making brandy. So I made them a small moonshine still that they used to make brandy. The winemakers were there and I was there, and I loved wine and I loved to make it. I had been making moonshine all of my young life, and wine and brandy and other good stuff.” Wiseman came back home to North Carolina in the 1960s to take care of his grandparents and to be with a girl he’d met. For a year or two, he moved to Charlotte to build and run a janitorial business. In 1962 he also got married, to Jo Anne Aldridge, with whom he would go on to have two sons and a daughter (not to mention six grandchildren).

Dawn of the Fraser Fir Industry It was another side job back in California, however, that put an idea into his head on how to make a living back in the High Country. The concept of “one thing leads to another” sent Wiseman’s life into a new era: Sometimes you have to create opportunity where there was none before. “For a couple of years in the Bay Area and in Napa, I helped a friend sell Christmas trees that he had cut up in Oregon and had brought back to California,” recalls Wiseman. “My people back here in North Carolina were mostly in agriculture. So, when I came back in 1960, I started talking about planting Christmas trees. In 1962, I planted 5,000 Fraser firs. I did it on my own land. I bought 62

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EACH TREE is selected and cut by workers, no machine cutting here.

a 25-acre farm for $7,000 with a house on it. The 5,000 seedlings probably only took up two acres or so. I got the seedlings from the Beutell Family over in Sylva.” Sylva is located in the Great Smoky Mountains section of Western North Carolina. What is interesting is that the Fraser fir trees that were previously grown in the area were sold as landscaping fauna, and maybe were trimmed to make Christmas boughs and wreaths on the side. They were not sold as whole Christmas trees. A report from the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension, “How Fraser Fir Made It Off the Mountain and into Christmas,” details how in the 1950s, brothers Tommy and Russell Beutell approached people about cutting down their Fraser firs and selling them as Christmas trees. Tommy Beutell, quoted in the article, noted, “They were shocked by our request. They thought the idea of cutting down a tree, which produced an annual income versus a one-time income, was foolish.”

The Beutells and others (among them, Sam Cartner, whose Newland-based Cartner Christmas Tree Farm was detailed in the November/December 2012 issue of Capital at Play) moved forward with growing Fraser fir trees as Christmas trees in the region. Sensing

Yes, you can go down to the local Christmas tree lot in the big city and buy one after work. But wouldn’t it be cool to take a romantic or adventurous weekend drive up into the North Carolina mountains? an opportunity, Wiseman also began to do the same in Avery County. “The Beutells were growing Fraser fir transplants near Cherokee, and I found out about it and I bought five thousand from them,” continues Wiseman. “The next year, I bought December 2016 | capitalatplay.com 63


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five thousand more, and the third year, we bought more than five thousand. The first trees were looking even better by then, but it was kind of like rolling the dice as it takes years for them to grow. In about ten years, we had 50,000 trees. It takes about six or seven years before the trees are ready to sell. But we never, ever had trees that we could not sell.” Wiseman didn’t just plant trees and wait for people to find him and buy them. He became a member of the National Christmas Tree Association and traveled extensively, networked, and got the word out. “I would go to Seattle; I would go to Maine; I’d go to St. Louis; I went all over the United States. I went to Texas and California, to every trade show to tell people what I had to offer. They would look at you a little bit crazy and say, ‘What did you say was the name of the tree?’ I’d say, ‘It is the Fraser fir.’ ‘Well, I’ve never heard of that.’ It took a long time. “At first we took our sales down to Charlotte, and it caught on quickly. The first year, we had our own retail lot. On the second year, we sold most of them to various city clubs, and we did that for a while. We’d also sell to other retail guys, who would set up shop here and there on the corners. Then we branched out to Atlanta and Raleigh to the farmer’s markets there. We kept expanding, and it didn’t take too many years before people realized the Fraser fir was a beautiful Christmas tree. We sold our first trees for five dollars’ retail.” Once the industry grew and became established, the concept of “choose and cut” began to flourish. Yes, you can go down to the local Christmas tree lot in the big city and buy one after work. But wouldn’t it be cool to take a romantic or adventurous weekend drive up into the North Carolina mountains, the highest peaks east of the Mississippi River, where the trees are still growing in the ground on a mountainside farm and you can pick out your own? On the business side of things, Wiseman’s tree company really took off when they hooked up with a national retail corporation that was based two counties over, in nearby Wilkesboro, at the time called Lowe’s Hardware. “What helped our numbers so much was when we began to sell to Lowe’s Home Improvement 34 years ago,” says Wiseman. “They had never bought any real Christmas trees until 34 years ago. They were good people to deal with and kind of local, based right here in the High Country. Now they ship Christmas trees all over the United States. Every year we sell them in the 200,000 tree range, and Lowe’s sells well over a million total trees a year. They outgrew us.” THE OPER ATION to get trees to Lowe’s is no small task! December 2016 | capitalatplay.com 65


Having a Grape Time, Wish You Were Here Wiseman’s Linville Falls Winery location also grows and sells Christmas trees under the Red Barn Tree Farm name. “This little farm is 40 acres and is in a trust for my grandchildren,” notes Wiseman, proudly. “It just happens to be in a great location for a vineyard and a winery and a tree farm. For the last fifteen years, we have also been a ‘choose and cut’ operation here. This is the only ‘choose and cut’ farm out of all the farms we own. While the kids are out there picking a Christmas tree, the parents are sitting in here having a glass of wine.” Wiseman had the idea for creating a winery and vineyard for years, going back to his younger brandy-making days. Most of the grapes that he uses to make wine are grown on his own land, with three Riesling grape farms alone. Unlike the desert environment in Napa Valley, Wiseman’s grapes are grown a little bit over 3,000

feet high. Linville Falls Winery has a good array of wines, from the unique Trillium blend to various reds and whites. Wiseman’s latest wine is called Elevation, using only grapes that have been grown at around 3,200 feet. And you can find his famous blueberry wine at the winery as well.

“If you are really going to like what you are doing and you have a passion for it, then you are in the right profession. But if it is not something that you wake up to and you really want to get into it every morning, then you are probably in the wrong business.” “I’ve been making wine for over 60 years,” he says. “The Riesling grape loves to grow in a cool climate at high elevation where it ripens slowly, with cool evenings and low

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humidity. And the grape loves the side of a mountain. Well, we’ve got plenty of that! So, we stick them up on some steep hills and we have great minerals in the ground here in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We are selling a lot of wine and it makes me feel happy. It is a dream come true.” Wiseman has set up his interests as a family business and, according to him, all indications are that the grandkids are showing a desire to learn and be involved in the business, and to keep it going. As for what he has learned over the years from his business experiences and life lessons, Wiseman keeps it simple. “I just hired a young man that just graduated from nearby Appalachian State University. [He] studied fermentation science there and he is a very smart boy, yet I spend half of my time during the day explaining how things happen. We talk about what he needs to concentrate on outside of the classroom because most of what he has learned up to this point was found in books. Now, it is hands-on application, and you almost have to train people from ground zero. You have to combine being very smart with numbers and chemicals with common sense. I just try to paint the picture, because if you are really going to like what you are doing and you have a passion for it, then you

are in the right profession. But if it is not something that you wake up to and you really want to get into it every morning, then you are probably in the wrong business. It has to be a passion, and I didn’t have that passion until I was way past 30 years old.” Ultimately, Wiseman appreciates the journey he has been on, meandering though it was at times. “God has been good to me. To be able to keep moving forward is something that I was just born with. Now, I try to make sure that three families are well taken care of financially. I can say that with most everything that I have attempted to do, God has allowed that to be successful. I attribute all of the reasons why they have been successful to the fact that I am a very Godly person. “When I look out into that vineyard and look at those mountains, I don’t just see vines. I see God’s creation. I try and keep a clean mind and always know who is in charge.”

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The Water Cycle seaford, virginia

In a hangar at the York River Treatment Plant, Hampton Roads Sanitation District General Manager Ted Henifin is experimenting with wastewater treatment. His goal is to replenish the area’s aquifers, now being depleted by thousands of industries and half a million households. Not only is the water source running dry, the land is subsiding at a rate of four millimeters a year, a situation described as a “slow-motion nightmare.” Henefin is currently comparing the advantages of reverse osmosis and carbon filtering. If he is able to get the approval of the Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Department of Justice, about thirty 500-foot holes will be drilled for the replenishment project. Similar projects are successfully operating in

]

arid lands like the San Joaquin Valley in California, where the ground has sunk 28 feet since the 1920s. If approved, sometime before 2030, the facility would be the largest of its kind in the world, recharging the aquifer with 100 million gallons of freshwater a day.

of Law and an adjunct assistant professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California – Los Angeles. In a paper recently published in the Boston College Law Review, he argues computers should receive credit for their inventions because doing so could incentivize more and better inventive computers. Patents would then be assigned to the computers’ users. Abbott is somewhat of a futurist, exploring ethical concerns with the emerging roles of artificial intelligence. Among other endeavors, he is interested in the displacement of human workers by robots and the legal consequences of human injury caused by artificial intelligence.

Carrots and Sticks for Computers guildford, united kingdom

The Oral-B CrossAction toothbrush was invented by a computer. So were a growing number of inventions, but only humans are credited on United States patents. Patent Attorney Ryan Abbott wants to change that. In addition to practicing law, Abbott is a professor of law at the University of Surrey’s School

Stop, Thief! phoenix, arizona

Leonard Stock was upset after watching a late-night television program about high-speed police chases. One scene in particular bothered him. An innocent driver was T-boned. It rattled Stock so much, he woke up at 3AM with full plans for a better way. Currently, police either have to get in front of a vehicle to deploy stop sticks or play “smashup derby.” The

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Grappler, by contrast, is carried on the front of police vehicles. It consists of a Y-frame laced with nylon tape. At the push of a button inside the car, the net extends in front of the car. The cop only has to get the scoop under a rear tire, and the nylon will bind on the wheel axle and unravel to allow the vehicle to come to a safe stop. It took Stock eight years to get the device ready to market to police forces. It now has received widespread interest.

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of Clear Channel Communications. It now operates more than 130 music venues worldwide. It merged with Ticketmaster in 2010 to form Live Nation Entertainment. AC Entertainment will continue business as usual with no foreseen layoffs in its theatres or offices in Knoxville, Nashville, and Chattanooga.

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Bundling Tickets knoxville, tennessee

Live Nation Entertainment, the largest concert promotion company in the United States, purchased a controlling interest in Ashley Capps’ AC Entertainment. Capps went into promotions in Knoxville in 1980, founding AC Entertainment in 1991 after closing his music venue, Ella Guru’s. AC has since grown to promote over 1000 shows in the Southeast a year. Capps started working with Live Nation when they purchased an interest in the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, which he cofounded with Superfly Productions in 2002. The fit was good, and leadership at the two companies saw ways the two companies could grow together. Live Nation was founded in 2005 as a spinoff

Three of Japan’s largest container shipping companies (Nippon Yusen, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, and Mitsui OSK) will merge. The decision follows a trend in Europe and Asia, the most significant shakeup in the industry occurring when Korea’s largest container shipper, Hanjin Shipping, went bankrupt in August. (See our October 2016 issue for details.) As the companies struggled, it seemed a better idea to create a monopoly than to have no container shippers at all. The combined business will be a $2.9 billion company operating 256 ships and handling 7% of the global market by volume. Shares will be split 31-31-38, with Nippon Yusen getting the larger amount. The merger is expected to save the shippers over $1 billion a year. Industry factors forcing mergers and

national & world

acquisitions include an overall reduction in global consumer trade, limits to the prices shipping companies are allowed to charge, and a shipping bubble. Business volumes were rising and projections optimistically encouraged shippers to invest in new ships that were never needed.

Tata Chooses to Be Unprofitable mumbai, india

Tata Motors will continue to produce the $1,500 Nano car at a loss. The decision accompanied the ousting of Cyrus Mistry, chairman of the board for Tata Sons Limited. Mistry had argued the line must be shut down for the company to remain profitable, and said the reasons for deciding against him were emotional. It is believed that changing manufacturing locations hurt production, while public expectations that the car would be flimsy hurt sales. The car first hit the market in 2008, but this year, sales dropped 60% to only 4459 cars. Some of the costs of production have been written off, but the company denies any “aggressive accounting” alleged by Mistry. Ratan Tata is now serving as interim chair of Tata Sons, while Mistry

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Adidas is selling only 7,000 pairs of a limited-edition sea plastic sneaker. The sports shoe company has partnered with Parley for the Oceans, an organization dedicated to finding productive uses for plastic littered at sea. Ninetyfive percent of the shoe’s upper will be made from plastic scooped up near the Maldives, each pair containing the equivalent of about eleven plastic bottles. The rest of the shoe will be made largely of other recyclables. A prototype was 3D printed, but it appears the line of 7,000 will be produced with standard manufacturing processes, the bottles being spun into yarn. The shoes will retail online and in stores, as the UltraBOOST Uncaged Parley, for $220 a pair. In the coming year, Adidas hopes to make a million pairs of shoes with Parley ocean plastic. The company also hopes to get to a point where the only plastic it uses will be recycled.

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After twenty years of construction, NASA has completed the James Webb Space Telescope. The work was a collaboration with the Canadian and European space agencies. The new three-story, $8.7 billion scope will replace the Hubble; its light-collecting area is seven times larger. An array of eighteen hexagonal, gold-coated, adjustable refracting mirrors is said to have acuity sufficient to detect a bumble bee at 240,000 miles. The telescope will be used to observe exoplanets, distant galaxies, and the atmospheres of other planets. It will undergo two more years of testing before launch to its home, where it will


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Add this to the list of Uber-for-X staffing: Coople, an on-demand staffing app, began in Switzerland in 2011, where it serves 100,000 registered workers and 5,000 employers. It is now unfolding in the United Kingdom. Employers advertise openings and hourly rates. Registered employees sign up for the jobs, complete the work, and get paid through the app. Afterward, the employer and employee rate each other. Coople’s UK managing director, Jacques de la Bouillerie, told how the app answered a call for 400 staff members when Coldplay added a date with eight days’ notice. Another advantage is employers can pool trained talent instead of paying for downtime. This works well, for example, for airport baggage handlers, who require a lot of screening and training. Instead of working for a single airline and waiting around in between flights, they can now work for multiple airlines.

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J. Crew is exiting the bridal business. The clothing retailer began selling wedding clothing in 2004, offering an affordable, more casual style. The company is given credit for revolutionizing bridesmaid attire. Instead of sticking with the classic stiff taffeta, designs became more fluid and mix-and-match. Shoppers also could choose their own colors from a wide variety of styles. A

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With more businesses finding themselves needing marketing campaigns, both for advancing the brand and simply getting their names out, public relations firms have been enjoying a latterday renaissance of sorts. As a result, the PR landscape has also been getting progressively more crowded as the firms compete for clients. In early November, B2B ratings and review firm Clutch announced its top PR agencies of 2016: Bateman Group, BIGfish Communications, Pinkston Group Inc., EMSI Public Relations, Marketing Maven, Jones Social & PR, TrizCom PR, Blanc and Otus, Newman PR, Firecracker PR, Taylor & Co., MediaSource, Shelton Interactive, Sonata Venture Solutions, and JJR Marketing Inc. Clutch employs a quantitative approach to judging the companies’ respective approaches to crisis management, strategy development, and media exposure via an algorithm that maps each firm’s focus on public relations against their track record in delivering positive results to their clients. “To have a solid PR strategy is a crucial element to any company’s success in their industry,” said Jenna Seter, business analyst at Clutch. “Strong PR agencies, like the ones featured in our report, have a really great opportunity to capitalize on the growing need for strategy development on all different media platforms.”

EILEEN FISHER

typical bridesmaid getup would cost just over $300, whereas traditional investments could run in the thousands. The brand was well-known for its quality. J. Crew did not publish financials specific to its bridal lines, but it is assumed the decision to close had to do with profit margins. Overall corporate sales for the first half of 2016 were down 6% following an initial drop in 2015. Last June, when 175 layoffs were announced, Tom Mora, head of women’s designs, was replaced by Somsack Sikhounmuong. It is possible the line’s demise had something to do with it mainstreaming bridal attire to the point it no longer needed a special line.

CELEBRATING 20 YEARS

remain positioned in the earth’s shadow. There, with heat shields, it will be able to observe infrared frequencies, which the Hubble couldn’t due to interference from the sun and Earth. It is expected to collect data for five years, but it will have enough fuel for ten.

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savory

~2016 ~ written by marl a hardee milling

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leisure & libation

If you dream it, you can bring

it into reality—at least that’s the case for six cottage industry entrepreneurs profiled here in our annual “Sweet & Savory” feature, all residing in the Western North Carolina area and who have turned passions and hobbies into full-time money making ventures. Some work out of their basements and garages. Others, who work with food products, work in certified kitchens to prepare their delicacies with FDA approval. The common thread that runs through all of their stories is a genuine love for what they are creating. They also share a desire to offer things other people will love, too.

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leisure & libation

MARION HEARTH

photos courtesy Goddess Ghee

Goddess Ghee The seeds of the Barnardsville-based Goddess Ghee company were planted during a friendly conversation among friends. Right after Marion Hearth gave birth to her first child, a friend told her about the health benefits of ghee and how nourishing it is for new moms. “What’s ghee?” she asked. Her friend gave her a jar and a recipe. Marion soon began making her own frequently to keep her kitchen stocked. “Ever since the first time I made it, I knew I never wanted to run out,” says Marion. “It started going in everything I cook and became my main cooking oil. I would make extra and keep it going.” So, what exactly is ghee? Many people mistakenly think it’s the same thing as clarified butter, but Marion says that’s not the case for what she produces. “We simmer butter, and over a long period of time all of the water evaporates and milk solids separate from the oil. We cook it longer so the milk solids get caramelized. That’s the difference. Clarified butter is clear butter oil and ghee is a caramelized butter oil.” The growing business sources its butter from Ireland through French Broad Co-Op in Asheville. The brand 74

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Kerrygold is pure Irish butter and is chosen for its high quality. “Because we make the ghee with butter from grass eating cows and they aren’t eating grain, it’s higher in vitamins A, D, K, and E than it would be,” says Marion. It’s also lactose and casein-free, and doesn’t have to be refrigerated. Marion originally moved to North Carolina from Colorado to do an internship on a farm to learn how to grow food and how to homestead. She met her husband, Sterling, who is from Brevard, and the rest, as she says, is history. “I feel a strong connection to this area and it feels like home more than anywhere I’ve ever lived. I’m really thankful to be raising children here and starting a business and putting in lots of roots.” She believes food is medicine and says, “Everything I make is coming from the desire to nourish myself and my family first and make extra for the community around me. I’m focused on health and healing and general well-being. I would never sell anything that I wouldn’t eat or feed to my children.” Marion kept making ghee, had another baby, and became passionate about telling friends about the amazing health benefits. They encouraged her to start selling it. She had been wanting to develop some sort of home business to allow her to stay home with the kids, so expanding her ghee production became a natural fit.


Her home kitchen was certified for production, and she began producing larger quantities of ghee, a medicinal turmeric infused ghee, and also bottles of an Elderberry Elixir. It’s a wellness syrup that combines elderberries, raw honey, apple cider vinegar, and a few other ingredients. It can be used as an immune booster, but Marion says it can also relieve symptoms of cold and flu if you do get sick. It also serves as a cough syrup. She makes it in small batches without preservatives, which means it needs to stay refrigerated. She first got her ghee into French Broad Co-Op and then began making plans to do the circuit of area tailgate markets. At that point, she asked her husband, Sterling, to quit his job and develop Goddess Ghee as a family business.

they started looking for a commercial kitchen and a new one opened up five minutes from their Barnardsville home at Ashe Springs Farm. They book a couple of days a month for production. “We try to produce ghee by the ancient Ayurvedic method using the moon cycles. We make ghee on the waxing period of the moon or on the full moon,” she says. “Production is about two days per moon cycle. We use 120 pounds of butter for each batch. We’re doing about 240 pounds of butter per moon cycle. We get about 100 pints of ghee per batch.” Marion and Sterling are very hands on with the work and do everything they can themselves to save on costs. That

“I tend to be the one dreaming up recipes and creating different blends, and he carries the business along to remember to order jars and butter and all that sort of stuff.” “I tend to be the one dreaming up recipes and creating different blends, and he carries the business along to remember to order jars and butter and all that sort of stuff,” says Marion. “We make a great team and have different talents. We both make the ghee and both sell at market. We alternate every other week between the Asheville City Market and the North Asheville Tailgate Market [in the regular season], and in the winter we just do the City Market inside the Masonic Temple.” In addition to French Broad Co-Op, Goddess Ghee is found at West Village Market in West Asheville, Asheville Direct, The Chop Shop, Roots & Fruits in Black Mountain, and several other small stores in the region, as well as sales through their website and the Etsy site. They’ve also received interest from Earth Fare and Whole Foods and are in the process of filling out paperwork. The business has grown to the point that Marion’s home kitchen was no longer adequate to produce the amount of ghee needed, although she still produces the Elderberry Elixir at home. Some great synchronicity occurred when

includes building their own website, doing photography, designing labels, fulfilling orders, and going to the markets. “We do have two paid helpers—kitchen goddesses who come in and help us with production those two days a month.” Experimentation with new flavors is ongoing. Honey ghee has become a hot seller at the markets, and Marion recently developed some holiday versions. She made a spiced honey ghee and a dark chocolate ghee. She recently took samples to market with her. She had made 10 four-ounce jars of the chocolate ghee and put one out for samples. When customers wanted to buy a jar, she had to admit, “I don’t have any left. I ate them all. It was so good. I will be making more, and next time I’ll make my own jar so I have some left to sell.” In addition to the markets and retailers mentioned, you can find the product at www.goddessghee.com.

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MEG SCHEARER

photos by Steve Schearer

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Whisk avl In Laura Esquivel’s novel, Like Water for Chocolate, a character named Tita evoked great emotions through her culinary expertise—those partaking of her creations experienced her emotions, whether it was great sadness, happiness, or contentment. If it’s true that a cook can infuse her own feelings into a menu, then Asheville baker Meg Schearer, of Whisk avl, is definitely adding in multiple helpings of laughter, spontaneity, creativity, and unbridled joy. Her infectious spirit draws people in from the moment she meets them. Meg is also a great example of someone who takes life’s lemons and transforms them into an iced cake fit for a king. She’s endured setbacks and surprises in her career, but keeps moving forward and she credits many helpful people in the community for keeping her on track. The roller coaster began when new owners took over the West End Bakery in West Asheville and decided to discontinue making cakes and other desserts. Meg was the dessert chef there and had to scramble when she received her notice. “I was laid off on May 4, 2015. I cried for awhile and then picked myself up and started Whisk on May 9, 2015,” she says. She had orders to fill, but she needed a place to make her cakes and desserts. “I literally put it on Facebook,” she says. “I put it out in the ether. I was like, ‘Hey, does anybody know of a community kitchen I could possibly rent?’ And the ether gave me Cecilia. A friend of a friend says, ‘You’ve got to talk to this woman. She’s amazing. She’s so kind and so generous. She might not be able to help you immediately, but she’ll have an option for you.’ I emailed her and she called me back in 10 minutes. I came to look at her space and wrote her a check immediately.” She’s talking about Cecilia Marchesini, who runs Cecilia’s Kitchen on Merrimon Avenue, and Ceci’s Culinary Tour food truck. Working at Cecilia’s Kitchen helped Meg establish her own business as a premier cake and dessert maker in Asheville, and that led to other opportunities. While maintaining her business, she gained confidence baking bread for the Lexington Avenue Brewery for four months, and then moved to Westville Pub on November 1, 2016. “They’re having me do all their fresh breads now, so all of their burger buns, sandwiches, and specials are made by me at five o’clock in the morning rocking it,” she says. “The owner has bought the space in between Orbit and the Pub [on Haywood Road in West Asheville] and they’re going to use it to build a brewery. They’re going to knock out the wall and have more storage. Right now is a transitional phase. They are co-branding with me—Whisk at Westville—so it’s a very good thing for me,” she explained. What this means is that Meg is paid to make Westville’s breads and desserts, and then she uses their kitchen space and equipment to run Whisk. She arrives by 5AM to begin baking bread. While the bread is processing, she will clock out, make a cake, and clock back in. She keeps her work separate and fits it into the schedule, and then also continues to bake after her work for the Pub is finished. She’s frequently booked for wedding cakes, but she makes a wide range of products using local eggs and local produce, everything from birthday cakes to cookies and her favorite thing to make—pies. “My


dad has nine apple trees, so I make a lot of apple pies. The apples are super organic and super delicious,” she says. Special dietary requests are welcomed, including gluten-free items, vegan, egg-free, and dye-free. She’s even had some customers trust her with a favorite family recipe, and she always delights them with the results.

take to open a business. So that was a little terrifying. Luckily, I have no debt, but I also have no credit. This is a good time for me to build credit with my business in a safe space where I can continue to make money for the business as I’m getting paid. That was a wonderful course. I gained a lot of confidence in numbers and what needs to happen. It makes you think outside the box and realize, let’s crunch these numbers. If your rent is five grand a month and you’ve got to pay three people and your equipment costs, you’re looking at $12,000 a month. That’s a lot of cake—a LOT of cake! This is a good fit for me for a few years. They are investing a fair amount of money into this situation at the Pub, so I am lucky to reap the benefits of brand new mixers and brand new ovens.” She says word is also getting out in the neighborhood that she’s returned to West Asheville. Many remember her from her seven years at West End Bakery. “Being back in a place in walking distance with signs up that say ‘Hey, do you miss Meg?, She’s BACK!’ is pretty awesome.” “I’m proud of myself every day,” she says.

“This is a good fit for me for a few years. I am lucky to reap the benefits of brand new mixers and brand new ovens.” Her ultimate goal is to use this new opportunity to build capital to one day open a bakery in her own space. “I took the Birds Eye Business Planning class at Mountain BizWorks and that was unbelievably eye-opening for me,” she explained. “I didn’t have much of an idea about what it would take to open a business, how much capital it would

View some of Schearer’s many creations at www.whiskavl.com.

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Essential Journeys Driving down Vermont Avenue in trendy West Asheville, you might never suspect what creations are coming to life just out of sight. A purple bike suspended above the porch and a mosaic walkway are just hints of the whimsical business hidden in Kimberly Masters’ newly expanded and renovated basement. She spends her days crafting uniquely designed soaps with luxurious aromas, and then cuts and sells them by the slice. As she talks, five-year employee Mike Mahoney works steadily to wrap and label the individual slices of soap. “A few stores order by the loaf and slice for customers,” says Kimberly. It’s fun to scan the shelves of brightly colored soaps with intricate patterns and shapes: Some have letters on them, others feature multi-colored spirals inside the soap, and yet others have designs of such things as a bicycle, a white squirrel, or a black bear in the mountains—very appropriate for the Western North Carolina region. The process begins by making the soap in big bread makers. Each batch takes a couple of hours. She creates the inspiring designs by layering different shapes in molds and then pours a background cover around them. Once they are hardened inside bread loaf pans, she pops the large soap blocks out and stacks them neatly on shelves lining the walls. The basement space is so well-lit and well-utilized with plenty of space for the equipment, molds, and finished products, it’s hard to imagine that she worked out of the upstairs part of her house for 12 years before expanding into the basement. “In 2015 I moved out of my kitchen and bedrooms to this dedicated space,” she says.

photos courtesy Marla Hardee Milling

Her inventory is offered on her website, as well as in 150 stores, including many local retailers. Of those, Mast General Store is her biggest customer. The name of her business—Essential Journeys—is a nod to her wanderlust lifestyle. She’s traveled all over the world and even lived for five years in Alaska, where she showed her bravery maintaining a household without electricity or running water. Even though she’s settled in Asheville now, she still satisfies her travel bug by leading bicycling trips all over the world. She works as a contract guide for a tour company and accepts seven to 11 assignments a year, which are one-week adult locations. Last year, she spent five 78

KIMBERLY MASTERS | December 2016


weeks in Italy. She’s also led tours in France, Bermuda, the Outer Banks, Maine, and even in Western North Carolina. Her soap-making venture began innocently enough. When Kimberly moved to West Asheville from Alaska in 1999, she bought a book on how to make soap. She grew up in a household where creativity and making things was always encouraged: Her dad raised bees, while her mother was a watercolor artist and made clothes. In Alaska Kimberly had a business making fleece hats and headbands, so she was already in an entrepreneurial mindset. She learned to make soap and then began working on the design element and working with different mold shapes. She developed her own way to transform soap into art and turned it into a full-time business in 2004. Her inventory is offered on her website, as well as in 150 stores, including many local retailers. Of those, Mast General Store—with locations in Boone, Asheville, Hendersonville, Waynesville, Winston-Salem, Knoxville, Greenville, and Columbia—is her biggest customer. The best seller is a lavender soap bar featuring the design of a dragonfly, but there are dozens and dozens of designs and scents to choose from. The soaps are offered in 10 themed collections: Aromatherapy, Floral Botanicals, Citrus Sensations, Fruits & Berries, Novelty Collection, Holiday Collection, Sugar & Spice, Valentine Collection, Herbal Collection, Coastal Collection, and Everyday. There’s also an opportunity for custom orders. She sees a lot of wedding business and gives brides a chance to match the wedding invitation and pick out color, scent, and design. “We can make their wedding soaps, whether they want 12 slices or 200,” says Kimberly. She has also branched into other products including lip balm called “Lube for the Lips” (five flavors), goat’s milk body lotions, arnica bath salts, soy candles, and the newest product—a Rosemary Mint Arnica Salve. “We do a beer soap in slices, and I’m working now on a formula to put beer in liquid soap,” she says. “For our soy candles, we take wine bottles or whiskey bottles from some of the restaurants on Haywood Road and we cut them, sand them, and pour the soy wax inside.” As for the future, Kimberly says, “We’re always expanding and doing new things.” Shop online at www.essentialjourneys.com.

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LARGE SHOP SELECTION December 2016 | capitalatplay.com 79


leisure & libation

photos by Anthony Harden

Ober Metalworks After 16 years working in facility maintenance, with the last two spent at Memorial Mission Hospital, Patrick Ober loves his new commute—a simple walk downstairs to his garage at his West Asheville home. He can take just a couple of steps outside to survey the chickens running the length of his chain-length fence and to inspect his bee hives. This new lifestyle is the culmination of years of work as a metal artist, while maintaining a regular income. He’s been living in Asheville for three years and made the leap in October 2015 to focus full-time on his craft as he designs intricate titanium and silver bracelets and watch chains, spinning tops, rings, and even pieces of body armor. “It was a long slog to know what I was doing,” Patrick says. “I have collected the tools and skills to do it, and I’ve learned how to price things.” While working with titanium and silver isn’t cheap, he’s developed a line of products in a wide price range to

PATRICK OBER

accommodate just about any budget. His items range from $15 to $3000. He actually began learning how to make armor when he was 14 years old. He learned from his brother, who was in college at the time. That fueled his inspiration to earn a Fine Arts degree with a concentration in sculpture at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York. He continued on by taking classes at the Maryland Institute College of Art. That’s where he learned to solder silver and begin making pieces of jewelry.

He relies almost exclusively on online sales for his work, but he does go to one big knife show every Labor Day in Las Vegas.

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His garage is equipped with an impressive display of machinery—big, heavy duty pieces that craft much smaller items for sale. “Most of the chains I make now are based on European, Japanese, and Persian chainmail, and the other branch of the stuff I make is


a whole family called loop-in-loop, which is much older. Chainmail is 2,000 years old, give or take. Loop-in-loop is 3,000 or 4,000 depending on what book you read. It’s a technique that was lost for a couple hundred years and then rediscovered in the 1860s in Italy by a family of goldsmiths,” says Patrick. He points out the five-ton and 20-ton hand punches that he uses to punch out each individual ring that he uses in the jewelry. It’s time consuming work, but the result is a stunning bracelet or chain that will stand up to the test of time. “All of my equipment is hand machinery. I don’t want anything I can run with a computer and doubt I ever will,” he says. “I enjoy the process of figuring out the best process to use. A variety of rulers are the most extravagant tools I have. Most everything is done by eye. It’s take a lot of practice and a lot of breaking things.” Spinning tops have proven to also be good sellers for Patrick. He pulls one out of a box and sets it in motion. He creates these using a lathe. They have a bronze middle and titanium on the outside. The average spin time is 10 minutes, although it varies due to size and weight. “I had been making lanyard beads for years on a lathe and a friend here in Asheville says, ‘Have you ever thought about making a spinning top? They’re becoming popular.’ I had never thought of doing that. I figured out how to do it.” He relies almost exclusively on online sales for his work, but he does go to one big knife show every Labor Day in Las Vegas. “I’ve also done a local event, an outdoor artist market at Burial Beer,” he says. “I just went to one, but next year I’ll try to sign up for all of them.” Hanging near the garage doors are two body armor shirts, crafted from the hand-punched titanium rings. The pieces are extremely intricate. Patrick says it’s more intensive to punch all the rings than it is to assemble all of them into a shirt. Customers for this type of work are typically those who frequent Renaissance festivals and Markland events, where there are Medieval battles. “They do fights,” he says. “There will be 30 to 60 guys in full armor with weapons.” (Ironically, his girlfriend makes her living as a wound care nurse.) “I like making things that are going to last basically forever,” he continues. “People are still digging up chains across Europe. There’s no reason my chains can’t last as long.” To view the product line and Ober’s photo blog, go to www.obermetalworks.com.

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leisure & libation

Woogie Foods

photos by Anthony Harden

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Jim Brooks sips a cup of coffee at Karen Donatelli Bakery & Café on Haywood Street in downtown Asheville—the latest business to embrace Woogie Foods’ beer mustard sauce. Donatelli is preparing to open a restaurant on the downstairs level, and she’s already keyed in to Woogie’s Beer Mustard & Dippin’ Sauce becoming a regular staple. “I’ve been making it for more than 25 years and giving it as Christmas gifts,” he says. It’s a tradition started by his mother, nicknamed Woogie (pronounced Woo’ ji), but he says his recipe has evolved to be a little bit different from hers. His mother makes it with a lighter beer. He prefers a darker beer and crafts his mustard with Highand Brewing’s Oatmeal Porter. “We always have a keg of great beer on site at all times. We also have something called our Co-Brew Program where we’ll make mustard with local brewers’ beer,” he says. “On the lid it would name the brewery and name of the brew. We did a bath with Twin Leaf Brewery’s hoppy IPA.” In early 2015, he decided it was time to start making the mustard on a larger scale. He rents space at Blue Ridge Food Ventures (BRFV), but is planning to build his own production facility as soon as he can raise the capital. He doesn’t have the refrigerated storage at BRFV to meet a heavier demand, so he knows building his own facility will be a necessary step. He’s currently scouting potential locations in the Swannanoa and Mills River areas. Jim’s background includes 15 years in software development and 20 years as a builder. He’ll return to the past a bit as he builds and sells a couple of houses with his brother to raise money for the new Woogie Foods facility. “We’ll spend six to nine months turning a couple of houses. For the last year and a half, I’ve been working on the mustard pretty much full-time. For the next six months, it will probably be 50/50. My days start early and end late as I switch hats. I’m hopeful by this time next year I’ll be in my own facility. “Getting into (more stores) is driving me to get my own space where I can produce 40 to 80 gallons a day,” he continues. The mustard is already in 18 retail locations, including two local Earth Fare locations, French Broad Co-Op, and a variety of breweries and shops in Asheville, Hendersonville, and Brevard. Jim also sets up booths regularly at the tailgate markets in Weaverville, West Asheville, and at the Transylvania Farmers Market, as well as various in-store demonstrations.


MARIZA BROOKS & JIM BROOKS

“We don’t sell it. We introduce it and it tends to sell itself,” says Jim. The thing that has surprised Jim most about this business is the creativity people use when coming up with ways to use and enjoy the mustard. He’s been introduced

He’s very enterprising and found a way to create his own auto stirrer. “This is all new to me. If you’re not learning, you’re going backwards,” he says. “I love what I do.” The business includes his niece, Mariza, who Jim describes as his protégé. Right now she’s working with him about 25 percent of the time and helping with production, selling at markets and going to demos. “I hope she’ll take it over one day. A food product is almost as chancy as a new restaurant. Once I get to the point that I’m in my own space, I’d love to bring on employees. At that point venture capitalists will come into play unless we do so well that we use our own capital,” he says. “I’ve got a lot of things to learn still and things to put together. As long as I have time for a round of golf, I’ll be happy.”

“This is all new to me. If you’re not learning, you’re going backwards,” he says. “I love what I do.” to using the mustard as a base on pizza, as part of mixture of Chex mix, and as a marinade for salmon and meat. He also has a knack for making people’s mouths water when he describes how he uses the mustard on grilled shrimp, and as a sauce for wings. He also says it’s amazing in deviled eggs. When he started, he made the mustard in five gallon batches, but he’s now gone up to 20 gallons per batch.

A directory of markets and retailers where Woogie products are found can be viewed at www.woogiefoods.com.

December 2016 | capitalatplay.com 83


Kelly Davis

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T. Jeff Covington

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John D. Kimberly


K AREN PALY

photos by Anthony Harden

Karen’s Spice Kitchen The aroma of curry frequently fills the air at the Paly household in East Asheville. Karen Paly developed a love for curries growing up in South Africa. She’s now devoting her focus to helping others prepare curry dishes in a quick, efficient way. It all started when she visited her father and stepmother in Australia. A friend invited her in for a home cooked meal and told her, when she arrived, that she was going to prepare a curry dish. Karen knew what this meant—hours of preparation before they would be able to eat. When the dinner bell rang in 45 minutes, she was incredulous. “How did you make this so fast?” she quizzed her friend. The secret was a pre-blended spice mix created by an Australian company. Karen bought dozens of their blends and then approached the company with an offer. She and her husband wanted to become the United States distributors for the spice packets. Company managers weren’t interested, but they invited her to develop her own packets. December 2016 | capitalatplay.com 85


leisure & libation

Karen’s background is in graphic design, but she has always loved cooking and baking, so this challenge inspired her. She spent about four months developing recipes and coming up with a process for blending and packaging the spices. Her husband never complained as she served up curry night after night in her attempt to get the recipes just right. She also sent spice packets to friends around the country and used their feedback to keep tweaking. In January 2016, she officially launched Karen’s Spice Kitchen. She works in a production facility on land near her home that she and her husband own, and she blends the spices, hand packs, heat seals, inserts into bags, and labels them. Her mother helps her, but it’s very labor intensive. She dreams of the day when she can afford to buy a machine that will automate some of the steps they are doing by hand. Each spice packet has a specific recipe included on the back and each variety is made with three simple steps. “The method is you chop an onion, add the garlic and spices, and

then the rest of the ingredients,” says Karen. To make it even easier, she has created YouTube videos to show the step-by-step process. There are currently 12 varieties, with the Chicken Tikka Masala, Butter Chicken, and Thai Satay coming out as the best sellers. Each packet is color coded. Pink is for chicken, green for lamb, orange for beef, yellow for vegetables, and purple for shrimp. Labels with two colors mean you can

“I love to hear people say, ‘You’ve made my life easier. I can make a delicious meal that I normally wouldn’t make.’ I’ve ground all the spices, so it’s ready to go.” use either type of protein for that dish. But Paly encourages creativity and experimentation. “Feel free to make substitutions,” she says. “You can use fish or tofu or tempeh or just vegetables. I have a lot of friends who say, ‘You’ve finally found a way to make tempeh taste good.’ If a recipe calls for cream, you can substitute with coconut milk.”

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All of the spice blends are mild, but she includes a separate small bag of hot chili powder for those who want to add some heat to their meals. She ships the packets to buyers all over the country, but there are also about 22 retailers who sell them as well, including the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, Asheville Direct Brand Gallery, Foreign Affairs Oriental Market, French Broad Co-Op, Lee’s Asian Market, MTN Merch, The Chop Shop, West Village Market and Deli, and Willow’s Dream in Asheville; The Artsian Gourmet Market and Common Housefly in Black Mountain; Savory Thymes in Boone; Food Matters in Brevard; and others in Fairview, Hendersonville, and Hickory. She initially asked friends if they would want to chop an onion during preparation or have dried onion included in the spice packet. All agreed—cooking an onion creates a wonderful aroma and you feel like you’re putting forth effort for your family, even though Karen has created a very simple process. “I love to hear people say, ‘You’ve made my life easier. I can make a delicious meal that I normally wouldn’t make.’ I’ve ground all the spices, so it’s ready to go.” New flavors are currently in the works. She’s planning a Moroccan chicken or lamb recipe and hopes to launch it by the end of the year. You can also order from Paly directly at www.karensspicekitchen.com.

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1. Christy West & Selena Hill (KH) 2. Erin Durham with Theodore (PY) 3. Angie Wilt & Carey Cook (PY) 4. Asheville Community Theatre dancers Rebecca

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O’Quinn, Jacob Walas, & Fleming Lomax (KH) 5. Priestley Ford & Brent Ford (PY) 6. Rachel Davis ready to shake a leg! (PY) 7. Cassidy Cloyed & Dr. David Crouch (PY)

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8.Asheville Humane Society staff members Carla Musgrove, Evie Schenkel, & Sydney Bartson (PY) 9. Brayden Pitcairn, Meredith Riddick, Dale Pitcairn, & Trudy Pitcairn (PY)


Asheville Humane Society’s Taste of Compassion: “A Night at the Moulin Rouge” Presented by Animal Hospital of North Asheville Morris Hellenic Cultural Center | November 5, 2016 photos by Kristi Hedberg Photography (KH) & Pamela Yvonne Photography (PY)

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10.Elaine McGuire, Debbie Finn, & Asheville Humane Society Executive Director Tracy Elliott (PY) 11. Volunteer Cindy Leve with Alvin (PY) 12. Katie Hild & Danny McClinton (PY)

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13. Kathryn Budnik at the Massive Booth (PY) 14. Will Gentry & Tara Maria Hackett (KH) 15. Virginia Scotchie & Milton Oates (KH) 16. Michelle Baker & Kim Sweetland (PY)

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17. Brian Munzer, Letitia McKibbon, & John Haas (PY) 18. Kurt Biedler & Tammy Jones (KH) 19. Ariel and Alex Appelt & Erin Durham (KH) December 2016 | capitalatplay.com 89


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december 1- 4 , 8 -11, 15 -18

december

EVENTS december 1- 31 Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland

6:30-10PM WNC Agricultural Center 1301 Fanning Bridge Road, Fletcher, NC

Now in six cities, Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland is the world’s largest scene of its kind. The Shadrack people scream, “Joy to the world!” with thousands of channels programming who knows how many Christmas lights in colorful patterns. Visitors don’t even have to leave the car. They just tune their radio to the right station and watch the lights dance to the music.

> Admission: Car $25, Van/Limo $40, Bus $80 > 888-321-7547 > shadrackchristmas.com/asheville

Music on the Rock: A Celtic Christmas

Flat Rock Playhouse 125 South Main St, Hendersonville, NC Three singer/storytellers, backed by ambient musicians, will perform in a misty, candlelit room. Carols will be the best because everybody knows the best hymns with the best chording come out of the British Isles.

>Tickets: $28 > 828-693-0731 > flatrockplayhouse.org

spoiler alert, sexual innuendo and frequent boozing) and stars well-known local actors such as Darren Marshall and Tracey Johnston-Crum. It’s directed by Jeff Catanese and produced by our very own Chall Gray.

>Tickets: $24 > 828-239-9250 > themagnetictheatre.org/ december 1 - january 5 2016 National Gingerbread House Competition™ 3 PM

december 1- 3 , 8 -10 , 15 -17, 21- 23

Bernstein Family Christmas Spectacular

7:30PM (extra 10PM late shows 10th & 17th) Magnetic Theatre 375 Depot St, Asheville, NC

This annual holiday sketch comedy romp has sold out nearly every performance for the past six years. It’s described as an “R-rated screwball skewering of various holiday traditions and tropes” (including,

The Omni Grove Park Inn 290 Macon Avenue, Asheville, NC Gingerbread houses made by the world’s best decorators will be on display in this now famous tradition. They look so much like cottages from an expensive train set; you can only smell the gingerbread. The winners were selected November 21. Half of the proceeds from parking will go to local charities, for which the event raised $190,000 in the last two years.

> Parking: $10 and up > 800-438-5800 > omnihotels.com

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december 1- 31

stage by Richard Hellesen, with original music and lyrics adapted from period classics by David De Berry?

Candlelight Christmas Evenings

>Tickets: $15-$40 > 828-693-0731 > flatrockplayhouse.org

5:45-10PM Biltmore House 1 Lodge Street, Asheville, NC

By reservation only, romantics can enjoy the majestic estate by the light of fireplaces and candles. The grounds will also be lit with a thousand points of light, but those little twinkles will use electricity.

>Tickets: Adult $70, Youth, $35, Child (0-9) FREE > 800-411-3812 > biltmore.com

december 1- 4 , 7-11, 14 -17 A Christmas Carol Times vary. Consult schedule. Flat Rock Playhouse 125 South Main St, Hendersonville, NC A great tradition to get genuine during the holiday season would be to take a moment of introspection and contemplate the plight of the less fortunate. What better way than to watch the State Theatre of North Carolina interpret Charles Dickens’ classic, as adapted for

december 2

Christmas with the Celts

7-9PM The Walker Center 1328 South Collegiate Drive, Wilkesboro, NC

W hat? Another Celtic Christmas? Nah. This one’s a fusion of the Ghosts of Christmas Ancient and Christmas Modern. Carols will hark back as far as the 12th century. As if the rich polyphony of monastic voices echoing off stone walls were not enchanting enough, this presentation will be infused with electronic DJ sounds. Mixing it up another way, traditional carols will be played on traditional Celtic instruments. Most importantly, the performers will share recitations of hope in the Scottish dialect.

>Tickets: Adult $44, Senior $42 > 336-838-6260 > walkercenteronline.org

december 2 - 4 , 9 -11, Snowbound

16 -18

7:30 (Fri & Sat), 2:30 (Sun) Asheville Community Theatre 35 East Walnut Street, Asheville, NC The story is told of Christmas Eve in 1955 at a small-town train depot. The weather has caused delays, and so to pass the time, strangers share memories of former Christmases. Friendships forge, grow, and just keep getting better. The soundtrack is original bluegrass played by local favorites Buncombe Turnpike and Sons of Ralph.

>Tickets: $12-$18 > 828-254-1320 > ashevilletheatre.org december 2 - 3

Winter Choral Celebration Concert

7:30-10PM (Fri), 3-4:30PM (Sat) Bo Thomas Auditorium, Blue Ridge Community College 180 West Campus Drive, Flat Rock, NC This used to be called the Carolina Concert Choir Christmas Concert. It is a chance to hear the “Christmas

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events

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portion” of Handel’s Messiah and other Christmas selections. The choir will be backed by an orchestra.

>Tickets: Adult $22, Student $5 > 828-393-5737 > carolinaconcertchoir.org december 2 - 4 , 9 -11

Heaven in Your Pocket 7:30PM (Fri, Sat), 2PM (Sat, Sun)

Nordic

Hendersonville Community Theatre 299 South Washington Street Hendersonville, NC

November 23 - January 16

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This musical tells the story of three female vocalists, all in the same family, going to the big-time in Nashville, but being sidetracked by a strange inheritance. A handsome cowboy, a decorator, and a handywoman of sorts are woven into the plot in this musical by Mark Houston.

>Tickets: Adult $26, Student (18+) $20, Youth (0-17) $15

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> 828-692-1082 > hendersonvilletheatre.org december 2 - 4 , 9 -11, 16 -18

Snowbound

7:30 (Fri & Sat), 2:30 (Sun) Asheville Community Theatre 35 East Walnut Street, Asheville, NC The story is told of Christmas Eve in 1955 at a small-town train depot. The weather has caused delays, and so to pass the time, strangers share memories of former Christmases. Friendships forge, grow, and just keep getting better. The soundtrack is original bluegrass played by local favorites Buncombe Turnpike and Sons of Ralph.

>Tickets: $12-$18 > 828-254-1320 > ashevilletheatre.org

december 3

Christmas in the Park 8:30AM until

Tate-Evans Park 210 Park Avenue, Banner Elk, NC Santa will be at Dunn’s Deli to start the day with breakfast and friends like you. As the day goes on, you can look at the displays, such as a live nativity scene, and ride the Santa train. You can bake cookies or craft up some ornaments at local businesses. Other activities include a 5K, a candy cane hunt, and reading with Santa. The day before, there will be a ceremonial lighting of a tree and a menorah at 6PM, followed by a free screening of Elf.

> 828-898-8395 > bannerelk.org december 3

Appalachian Ski Mountain Anniversary Weekend 9AM-4PM

Appalachian Ski Mountain 940 Ski Mountain Rd, Blowing Rock, NC To celebrate 55 years of skiing on the mountain, ticket prices will be rolled back to 1962 rates. Ski rentals are additional, and there is more to do up there than just ski if you want.

> Day Session Tickets: $5 > 828-295-7828 > appskimtn.com december 3

An Appalachian Christmas

7:30-9:30PM

Grace Lutheran Church 115 East King Street, Boone, NC Joe Shannon, of Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music, began this tradition who knows when. His buddy, Dave Johnson, will co-host a lineup of who knows


whom. They’ll be jamming to raise funds for the Hospitality House and Santa’s Toy Box. The notice says, “Yes. The concert is free – but bring your checkbooks.” That’s plural.

> 828-964-3392 > mountainhomemusic.com december 3 , 10

Santa on the Chimney

11AM-2PM Chimney Rock State Park 431 Main Street, Chimney Rock, NC Santa goes down the chimney, right? So, you’re invited to watch him rappel down “the most famous chimney of all.” All 200 feet of it. Mrs. Claus will be there to protect Santa from all his groupies, and park rangers will be on-hand to talk about what the animals are doing for Christmas. Cookies and hot cocoa will be served. Prices remain reduced during the elevator outage.

> Admission: Adult $13, Youth (5-15) $6 > 800-277-9611 > chimneyrockpark.com

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december 4

Bar Wars Final Mixoff—Asheville Takes Manhattan Salvage Station 468 Riverside Drive, Asheville, NC

Following nine days’ worth of celebrating the art of cocktail creation at various venues—this year’s challenge will be to create the perfect Manhattan—the final four mixologists will have one last mixoff to determine who’s the best via an Iron Chef style competition. (Consult website for times and details.)

TREAT YOURSELF THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!

>Tickets: $10 > 828-777-2038 > spiritsavvycoctails.com

With a visit to The Largest Consignment Store in WNC… 20,000 sq ft of shopping fun!

december 4

Baroque Music Benefit for Animal Haven

3PM Animal Haven 65 Lower Grassy Branch Road, Asheville, NC Asheville’s chamber music company is playing to benefit the refuge that now houses 64 rescued farm animals. The music will feature Kate Steinbeck on flute, Rosalind Buda on bassoon, and Barbara Weiss on harpsichord. They will play selections

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events

from Baroque masters, most notably Johann Sebastian Bach.

> Donations welcome > 828-254-7123 > panharmonia.org december 7

Reuter Center Singers Holiday

7-9:15PM The Reuter Center’s Manheimer Room, UNC-Asheville One University Heights, Asheville, NC The university’s lifelong learning center’s in-house choral group will perform Christmas songs from classical collections, popular hits, and shows. The audience will get to sing along and enjoy light refreshments afterward.

> 828-251-6140 > olliasheville.com

december 10

december 7-10 , 14 -17, 21- 23

All Is Calm

7:30PM North Carolina Stage Company 15 Stage Lane, Asheville, NC The story is told (No. This is another story.) of the historic moment when, during World War I, Allied and German soldiers laid down their weapons of war to celebrate Christmas. Music includes patriotic and holiday songs from both cultures sprinkled with readings from letters, journals, and interviews from those who participated.

> Admission: $16-$40 > 828-239-0263 > ncstage.org

28th Annual Warren Haynes Christmas Jam

7PM US Cellular Center 87 Haywood Street, Asheville, NC This annual celebration is a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity hosted by Asheville’s own former Allman Brother. Big names in this celebration include Haynes’ own band Gov’t Mule, Bob Weir, Michael McDonald, Jamey Johnson, Alison Krauss, and the Last Waltz Band. The London Times has rated the event one of the top-ten concerts in the United States.

>This event is currently sold out, but aftermarket seats are going for a premium. > 828-259-5544 > xmasjam.com

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december 10

Henderson County Crafters Association Christmas Arts & Crafts Show

10AM-3PM North Carolina National Guard Armory 2025 Spartanburg Hwy, East Flat Rock, NC All items are locally-made, quality, and juried; just fine for unique Christmas gifts. This is the second of only two annual shows put on by the 33-member guild.

> 828-489-2494 > hendersoncountycrafters.org december 10

A Carolina Christmas

3-5PM Blue Ridge Community College 180 West Campus Dr, Flat Rock, NC

The Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra and Greenville Chorale, led by maestros Thomas Joiner and Bingham Vick, Jr., will share sacred and seasonal selections. This will be the collaboration’s tenth anniversary. The Greenville News says this is “powerful, radiant, and jolly.”

>Tickets: $40 > 828-697-5884 > hendersonvillesymphony.org december 10

Christmas at the Zoo

10AM-5PM Jackson Farm & Petting Zoo 2025 Gilliam Mountain Road, Hendersonville, NC

The farm will have extra Christmas decorations, including a nativity scene with live animals. Along with over 100

animals, Santa, too, will be there, waiting to greet the children.

> Admission: Adult $8, Youth (6-12) $6, Tot FREE > 828-551-2883 > jacksonfarmandpettingwzoo.com

december 14 -18

The Santaland Diaries 35below 35 East Walnut Street, Asheville, NC This one-man-act depicts an out-of-work slacker who takes a job as an elf in Macy’s Santaland. This is actually a memoir by David Sedaris of his career-altering gig as Crumpet the Elf.

>Tickets: $15 > 828-254-2939 > ashevilletheatre.org

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december 15

The 15th Annual MakeA-Wish Christmas Party Benefit Concert

7:30PM The Orange Peel 101 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville, NC Featured bands include the Dirty Soul Revival, White Soul, Log Noggins, The Company Stores, and Up Dog.

>Tickets: $12 > 828-398-1837 > theorangepeel.net

It’s Our Business To Make You Look Good. 7 Convenient Locations! Call (828) 253-3691 Or visit Online at swannanoacleaners.com

december 15

Do-It-Yourself Messiah

7:30PM Tryon Fine Arts Center 34 Melrose Avenue, Tryon, NC

Joy to the world! This year’s conductor, Pam McNeil, and the soloists and instrumentalists will do the heavy lifting. Everybody else is invited to join in on the choruses. This event is made possible by a Polk County Community Foundation Community Matters Grant.

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> FREE > 828-859-8322 > tryonarts.org december 17

Ultimate Foodie Tour in Black Mountain

2-4:30PM Creative Mountain Food Tours West State Street, Black Mountain, NC

This is a chance to stroll about historic Black Mountain and see some of the behind-the-scenes history. Stops will be made at half a dozen shops and restaurants for exquisite food and beverages. Advance registration is required.

>Tickets: $48 > 828-419-0590 > creativemountainfoodtours.com

december 19

Tory Lanez

9PM The Orange Peel 101 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville, NC Lanez’ debut single, “Say It,” climbed to #1 on Rhythmic and Urban Radio and #23 in the Hot 100. His single “Luv” is now climbing the charts. His debut album is I Told You. Special album bundles and a VIP Meet & Greet are available.

>Tickets: Advance $22, Door $25 > 828-398-1837 > theorangepeel.net december 26 - 31

Family Animal Encounters 2-2:30PM Chimney Rock State Park 431 Main Street, Chimney Rock, NC

A park naturalist will introduce the park’s inhabitants, that might include groundhogs, hawks, and owls. He will talk about how and why the animal may have chosen to live in the park, his role in the ecosystem, and what children may do to help protect habitat. Afterward, visitors are free to take a self-guided tour of the Great Woodland Adventure Trail; a brochure and twelve interactive education stations will do the interpreting.

> Admission: Adult $13, Youth (5-15) $6 > 828-277-9611 > chimneyrockpark.com

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 events@capitalatplay.com. Please submit your event at least six weeks in advance.


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Capital at Play December 2016  

Vol 6 | Ed 12 - Western North Carolina's Business Lifestyle Magazine - Holiday Gift Giving

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