Not only would a brick-and-mortar location allow Smash Box Mobile Kitchen owners Ashley and Nestor Teran to serve more customers and grow their events business, but it would also accommodate an expansion of their Latin-inspired menu to include more complex dishes. Photo from the Terans' crowdfunding page

Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfundi­ng initiative­s

Each week, Xpress highlights notable WNC crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd. This week features a Smash Box’s expansion into a brick-and-mortar location, two locals’ efforts to empower citizens of Nepal to build resilient housing and The Village Potters’ new wood kiln project.

Photo by Daniel Stewart

WNC paddle sports on the rise: River use is up locally and nationally­; area retailers seeing more revenue

Few people spend more time on Western North Carolina’s rivers than Chris Gragtmans. Our waterways, he says, have become increasingly popular with outdoor enthusiasts in the past few years — a sentiment echoed by a number of local leaders in the paddle-sports industry. What’s more, the trend is national. And while local excursion providers, rental […]

Smoky Mountain LME/MCO holds community gatherings every couple of months to promote discussion and transparency.

Smoky Mountain’s decision to cut mental-health providers meets objections

A WNC mental-health agency faced tough questions earlier this week about its decision to limit its publicly funded services to a select group of providers. Western North Carolina’s lead mental-health agency, Smoky Mountain LME/MCO, held a community forum Tuesday, June 23, that packed Asheville’s First Baptist Church. After a brief presentation by agency staff, a question-and-answer segment […]

NEW MOON: Modern day distillers in WNC are bringing the region's most-storied spirit into the 21st century. Photo by George Etheredge.

Bottled lightning: Appalachia­n moonshinin­g in the 21st century

Western North Carolina is now home to a growing number of craft distillers making legal moonshine. Blending traditional recipes with new technology and methods, these pioneers are bringing Appalachia’s most fabled and misunderstood product into the 21st century, changing cultural perceptions even as they adapt to shifting economic realities.