Help is at hand for qualifying local businesses seeking to access federal pandemic relief funding. In partnership with Dogwood Health Trust, Mountain BizWorks has opened the application process for a second round of Paycheck Protection Program awards. As with the first round of funding, DHT is committing $2 million to enable Mountain BizWorks to finance loans in advance of the loans’ forgiveness by the federal Small Business Administration.
According to a press release, Mountain BizWorks made 426 loans totaling over $11.6 million in the first round of PPP funding. Those loans contributed to the retention of 2,334 jobs in the region, and 72% of the money benefited rural businesses. Women-led enterprises obtained 56% of the funding, while 25% went to businesses or nonprofits led by people of color.
For more information about eligibility and to apply, visit avl.mx/8wg.
Business complaints increase in 2020
The Better Business Bureau of Southern Piedmont and Western North Carolina released its 2020 annual report. Covering a 37-county service area, the report shows that consumers filed more than 22,000 complaints against area businesses, an increase of 36% compared with 2019.
“The large increase in customer complaints certainly coincides with the year we saw as a whole. With many businesses struggling financially and fighting to remain open, there was much more room for error,” said Tom Bartholomy, the regional BBB president.
Banks generated the most complaints of any business category, followed by home improvement providers, gun dealers, auto repair businesses and new car dealers. The BBB said it had been able to resolve 92% of the complaints submitted. For more information and statistics, view the report at avl.mx/8wh.
- System Logistics Corp. announced plans to invest $3 million in renovations and new technology and machinery at its Arden facility. This project expansion will sustain 124 jobs with an average wage of $34.61 per hour and create 47 additional jobs with an average wage of $32.17 per hour. The company first established a local presence in 2017.
- Earth Equity Advisors launched ALIGN DIGITAL, one of the first entirely sustainable, responsible and impact robo-advisers, to create custom portfolios designed to reflect any investor’s values.
- Gaia Herbs of Brevard was named a 2021 Top Impact Company by Real Leaders.
- Walnut Cove Realty and Beverly-Hanks, Realtors announced a partnership to market The Cliffs at Walnut Cove, a luxury real estate community, beginning Monday, Feb. 1.
- Separately, Cliffs Realty expanded to offer real estate operations services at The Cliffs at Walnut Cove. With the expansion, Cliffs Realty now serves all seven of The Cliffs’ communities.
- Asheville-based Lost Paddle Media announced the acquisition of the Kansas City Boat and Sportshow, Chicagoland Fishing Travel & Outdoor Expo, Suffern New York’s World Fishing & Outdoor Exposition, and the Saltwater Fishing Expo in Edison, N.J. Referencing growth across the entire outdoor industry over the past year, CEO Sutton Bacon said, “Investing in the fishing industry synchronizes well with our background in paddling, cycling, climbing and camping markets.”
Locals in business
- David Harris, the fire chief for the town of Black Mountain, was appointed to the Biltmore Advisory Council of the Local Government Federal Credit Union, representing Madison, Haywood, Buncombe, Yancey and McDowell counties.
- Parker Platt was named president of PLATT, an architecture, construction and interior design firm located in Brevard. Platt is the son of founder Al Platt, who remains with the company as principal architect.
- Brandon Miller was named general manager of Aloft Asheville Downtown by McKibbon Hospitality.
- Climbing guide Richard Wagner launched Pisgah Climbing and Outdoor Guides. With partners Peter Dickson and Melissa Adamo, Wagner recently purchased the outdoor climbing component of Asheville-based Climbmax Climbing from owner Stuart Cowles.
- Mike Pugliese with the Hendersonville office of Terminix Service was named the 2020 residential technician of the year by Pest Control Technology.