Shop local-ish

It’s impossible to walk in downtown Asheville without receiving the message loud and clear: This city supports its local businesses. Locally based brands like Spicewalla, Roots Hummus and Buchi Kombucha appear regularly on store shelves. Stickers promoting Go Local Asheville (formerly the Asheville Grown Business Alliance), a locally focused economic alliance, adorn window fronts. A […]

Biz Briefs: Blue Ridge Pride debuts LGBTQ+ business alliance

Blue Ridge Pride, a nonprofit supporting the LGBTQ community in Western North Carolina, launched an online business directory for LGBTQ-owned and inclusive businesses called the Blue Ridge Pride Business Alliance on June 25. The directory, available at BlueRidgePride.org/Business, includes retail, food and drink, leisure and services and other categories. Businesses listed in the BRPBA directory […]

Q&A with Kareen Boncales, director of entreprene­urship at Mountain BizWorks

Many people who volunteer with the Peace Corps consider it a life-defining experience. Kareen Boncales is one of them. She served in Cameroon from 2009-11 in small enterprise development, teaching basic business skills to everyone from farmers to boutique owners. “I really admired that entrepreneurial spirit of turning challenges into opportunities,” she recalls. “I knew […]

New Black-owned businesses populate The Block

Over the past year, the addition of such Black-owned businesses as the Noir Collective collaborative shop, Jawbreaking fashion store, Asheville Iridescence Yoga and Sole82 sneaker boutique has suggested a renaissance for the former Black Wall Street. Yet in a rapidly changing city where obstacles for minority entrepreneurs remain rampant, sustaining that growth could prove challenging.

Solar at Burton Street Peace Garden

Green in brief: Solarize reaches lowest pricing for community solar

The Solarize rate of $2.45 per watt of electricity generation is roughly 9% cheaper than the statewide average of $2.67 per watt listed by EnergySage, an industry website. The program, spearheaded by the nonprofit Blue Horizons Project, is able to offer the discount through bulk purchasing of solar equipment for Buncombe County residents.

Cigar wrapper tobacco field

Cigar wrapper tobacco could revive disappeari­ng tradition

The Asheville-based Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture project has found that the number of Western North Carolina tobacco farms declined by 97% between 1997 and 2012, largely due to the federal tobacco buyout. But Matthew Vann, extension specialist and assistant professor at N.C. State University, believes a different variety could make the crop more economically viable for local growers.