The Biz

A steady stream of curiosity seekers seem to be wondering just exactly what’s going on in the vacant space at the corner of Patton and French Broad Avenues in Asheville, across from the Federal Building. You wouldn’t know it from all the people stopping by, but the new shop isn’t quite open for business yet, and Larry Hyman keeps having to turn away would-be customers.

Hyman, who hails from Boston, has been doing woodworking, remodeling and restoration work since the 1970s. He now lives in Weaverville, which he says happens to be home to the biggest woodturning group in the country, with more than 200 members.

Over the years, Hyman found he particularly enjoyed guiding homeowners through the construction process, teaching them how to do it themselves. He mostly worked with folks who’d ended up in a jam after starting their own projects (usually after watching a TV program such as This Old House) and then not being able to find a contractor who was willing to advise them as opposed to taking on the whole job themself. Along the way, Hyman began offering a consulting service over the Internet, and his new retail shop — Do It Yourself Woodworking — takes that concept one step further.

Besides serving as a hands-on teacher and consultant, he’ll make available the kind of custom tools usually found only in professional woodworking shops. Often costing tens of thousands of dollars, such equipment is typically out of reach for the amateur carpenters Hyman is targeting. The closest other shop he’s found that provides access to professional-grade tools is in Norwalk, Conn.

DIY Woodworking will feature about a dozen individual workstations, each outfitted with a complete set of hand tools. The big equipment — things like lathes, planers, drill presses and high-tech table saws — will be in a common area. A special vacuum system will keep dust to a minimum; he’s also building a special spray room for painting projects.

He’ll use an intake form to gauge a customer’s skill level, and for beginners, there’ll be special classes on basic woodworking skills and shop safety. Other local businesses, such as Asheville Hardware (now at 10 Buxton Ave. downtown), already offer specialty classes and certifications, but Hyman says he hopes to capitalize on the growing local interest in his craft.

“There are plenty of top-of the-line woodworkers in Western North Carolina who offer great classes, but there’s no place for folks to actually come practice,” Hyman explains. “You can get all set up here — have your own workstation, paid by the hour, the day, the week, whatever time you need.”

Hyman says he hopes to have his new shop open the first week of August.
For more information, call 828-505-3538 (e-mail:

Enter stage right

The curtain goes up July 28 for public input on the proposed Asheville performing-arts center. Architects from William Rawn Associates and Calloway Johnson Moore & West will unveil a model of the proposed structure and explain some design elements. An Asheville Design Center task force will also be exhibiting conceptual information concerning the surrounding area. The target site, a 2.4 acre city-owned parcel just south of Pack’s Tavern, is now a parking lot for city employees.

Current plans envision a mixed-use development a 2,000 seat concert hall, black-box and studio theaters suitable for smaller groups and meetings, a digital media-arts center, and assorted educational spaces. It would also front on the new Pack Square Park, adjacent to City Hall.

Members of the public can view the proposed design and meet with project representatives Wednesday, July 28, from 1 to 2:30 and 5 to 6:30 p.m. on the second floor of the Grove Arcade.
For more information, visit

Weil of fortune

Asheville CPA Stephanie Weil has opened a new full-service accounting firm at 40 N. Merrimon Ave. Besides providing traditional accounting services, she’ll offer tax planning, business valuations, financial forecasting and other consulting work. Weil, who holds a master’s degree in finance from DePaul University, has more than 20 years’ experience in the field. A member of the American Institute of CPAs and the National Society of Accountants, she served two terms as president of the Western Chapter of the North Carolina Association of CPAs.
To learn more, visit or call 828-545-2021.

Country comfort food in Swannanoa

Swannanoa has its newest full-service restaurant and by all indications, they’re going strong. Stephanie's Roadhouse Bistro held its official grand opening July 17, though the doors have been open since May. Owner Stephanie Coleman says she was tired of having to range far afield to find affordable, quality “country comfort food,” which is what she serves: fried catfish, meat loaf, rib-eye steak. Her signature dish, though, is fried chicken and waffles — you read that right — a yummy combination of savory and sweet.

“Word of mouth has been incredible,” Coleman reports. “We’ve steadily built our business over the last few months, and almost everyone who’s eaten here has cleaned their plate.”
Open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays, Stephanie's Roadhouse Bistro is at 2077 Old U.S. 70 in Swannanoa. For more information, contact Stephanie Coleman at 828-299-4127 (e-mail:

This won’t hurt a bit

The People's Acupuncture of Asheville is offering free community acupuncture treatments Sunday, Aug. 1, from noon to 5 p.m.; music and refreshments will be provided. Also on offer will be chair massages by Chenin Duclos and chiropractic services by R.J. Burle.
The People’s Acupuncture is at 55 Grove St.; for more information, call 828-254-4098, or go to

Send your biz news and tips to Michael Muller at 251-1333, ext. 154, or to


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