TDA could earmark $5 million for local tourism businesses
Sen. Chuck Edwards, R-Henderson, announced he will introduce legislation to the N.C. General Assembly to allow the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority to make grants to local tourism businesses hit hard by coronavirus closures.
Grants of up to $50,000 would go to businesses that provide a direct experience for visitors, such as restaurants, retail stores, galleries, entertainment venues and others. The money would help the businesses restart operations once restrictions have been lifted. Expenses such as payroll, inventory and other costs incurred in reopening could be covered by the grants.
Lodging businesses such as hotels would not be eligible.
The emergency funding would come from the TDA’s Tourism Product Development fund, which receives a quarter of the revenue from the county’s 6% occupancy tax on lodging. According to a press release, “Preference will be given to small businesses that are local and independently owned.”
A-B Tech launches Startup Asheville
A new digital resource for entrepreneurs aims to connect those starting businesses with resources, training, peer connections and inspiration. A project of the Small Business Center at A-B Tech, Startup Asheville is one of 10 similar initiatives getting underway this year under the direction of Western North Carolina community colleges and their presidents through the N.C. Rural Community College Alliance.
More information is available at startupavl.com.
Asheville chamber announces Salute to Small Business Week
In place of in-person celebrations of Small Business Week, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce announced virtual events the week of Monday, May 4, to Friday, May 8.
A three-part web-based workshop presented by Meridith Elliott Powell, Turning Uncertainty to Opportunity, begins Monday, May 4, at 10 a.m. A training event focused on SEO strategies for small business, led by Travis Cole of Integritive, takes place Thursday, May 7, at 10 a.m.
And for those who miss business networking, a virtual networking event Thursday, May 7, 4-5 p.m. can help scratch that itch. A chamber press release promises, “The chamber is offering a FUN, interactive, socially inspiring opportunity for you to engage with other businesses in our area and just enjoy being together!”
More information is available at ashevillechamber.org.
Good to know
- Game giveaway: Well Played Board Game Café will host a quarantine-friendly game giveaway on Wednesday, April 29, beginning at 4 p.m. until supplies are gone. To participate, drive or walk up to 58 Wall St., where a gloved and masked helper will hand over a mystery bag containing one of 86 available board games plus surprises. According to a press release, “Toilet paper may be included.”
- Free legal advice: Asheville law firm Fisher Stark P.A. is offering a free living will to all essential workers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The advance directive form allows those workers to establish their preferences for end-of-life choices such as feeding tubes and artificial hydration.
- Takeout encyclopedia: The Asheville Independent Restaurant Association launched a new online portal, FoodInAsheville.com, with updated listings of area eateries offering takeout or delivery service. Businesses looking to be added to the list should email Jane Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Survey says: The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce has released its second survey to measure the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on local businesses. In its introduction to the online questionnaire, the chamber explains that the results will “allow us to advocate with our elected officials on your behalf to help get the relief and support businesses in our community need.” Take the survey at avl.mx/73h.
- There’s an app for that: A network of local business executives joined forces to develop and release COVIDMobilize, an app that matches those with urgent needs related to the coronavirus pandemic with resources. The platform is free, and more information is available at covidmobilize.com.
- Clean machine: Area Autobell Car Wash locations are offering a free interior disinfecting treatment to first responders and government workers with a government-issued ID. A fogging product fills the vehicle’s interior, followed by a one-minute activation period.
- Thanks a lot: Over the next two months, employees of Republic Services, which provides industrial and commercial waste collection in WNC, will receive a weekly meal, a weekly dinner for employees and their families and biweekly $100 gift cards ($400 per employee) to be spent locally. According to a press release, “In the Asheville area, Republic Services is providing meals for 185 employees per week. To date, $37,000 has been spent with local restaurants including Bellagio Bistro, The Fireplace Restaurant and Haywood Smokehouse.”