From scratch: Mountain BizWorks’ humble beginnings

Mountain Microenterprise Fund began in 1989 as a small demonstration project to a shortage of financing for small businesses, particularly those owned by women and minorities. MMF started out as part of Warren Wilson College’s Black Swan Center, which some may remember for its “Green Pages” directory of small businesses in Swannanoa/Black Mountain (the area’s […]

POWER OF THE PURSE: As downtown Asheville and the surrounding area were revived in the 1980s and 1990s, Self-Help Credit Union and its regional director, Joyce Harrison, assisted small businesses and renovated the Public Service Building on Wall Street. Photo courtesy of Joyce Harrison

Remember when, Asheville?

Remember when Stone Soup was the happening place to be seen eating lunch and the Gilberts greeted you with a smile every day with their homemade bread and soups? Remember when Wall Street was deserted (no foot traffic)? Self -Help Credit Union, with the help of Julian Price (and other donors) helped to rehab the […]

How Asheville became (and continues to be) the most exciting small city

Does anyone remember the early 1990s in Asheville, a time when Bill Clinton was president, Jim Hunt the governor of North Carolina, and there wasn’t a parking or traffic problem at all? Mountain Xpress wouldn’t come into being until 1994, the year before Gannett Co. bought out the Asheville Citizen-Times. Fine cuisine? Mark Rosenstein had […]

DIRECT SHOT: Filmmaker Erin Derham, right, interviews musician Andrew Fletcher, left, at 5 Walnut Wine Bar. He often performs there, and on the sidewalk, pushing his piano on a dolly to his location. Also pictured: Director of photography Shane Peters and audio mixer Adam Johnson. Photo by Paul Clark

Local documentary “Buskin’ Blues” premieres

by Paul Clark The biggest challenge to making a movie about the busking scene in downtown Asheville, says Erin Derham, was knowing when to stop. New buskers cycled through town all summer, giving the filmmaker endless possibilities to flesh out her story on the subculture these musicians inhabit. Super-organized and deadline-oriented, Derham gave herself six months […]

PEOPLE POWER: So many people showed up to hear about (and say something about) Asheville's first proposed nondiscrimination ordinance in 1994 that City Council's meeting was moved to the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. Ron Lambe's in the front row, center, wearing a brown suit and a tie. (Photo courtesy of former Asheville Mayor Leni Sitnick)

Making a difference: a decade of activism

The ‘90s in Asheville were definitely a decade of activism — of all sorts. One of the earliest projects was the revitalization of downtown, which took courageous leadership. The Green Line (precursor of Mountain Xpress) was publishing; Asheville-Buncombe Discovery was promoting downtown; the LGBT community was awakening; the environmental movement was fighting back with protests and demonstrations. I was involved in several of these activities, so know of them first-hand.

YESTERDAY'S LANDFILL: In the 1990s, Asheville and Buncombe County faced many challenges, such as where to locate a new landfill. (pictured above, the old landfill). (file photo)

The challenges we faced in the ’90s

The Mountain Xpress was born in a decade — the 1990s — that produced major challenges new to Asheville and Buncombe County. First challenge: Two large construction projects — a new jail and landfill — had been neglected because of their cost and unpopularity. Second challenge: A new source of drinking water was needed to […]