The Biz: WNC Business Briefs

Buying time: Concierge services liberate busy Ashevilleans

Caped crusader: Former Asheville City Council member and current sustainability consultant Robin Cape will headline the Mountain BizWorks Women's Business Conference in May.

Not enough time on your hands? Two new concierge services have emerged since the beginning of the year to help busy local folks get things done.

"Everyone can use a little help," says Kayce Cheatham, one-half of the Busy Betties concierge service (motto: "It's Better 'n Doin' It Yourself!"). The company consults with potential clients to determine what services Busy Betties can best provide, whether it's shopping or child care or gardening.

Cheatham and Celeste Adams launched their business after researching the concierge concept; both had spent time working odd jobs in Asheville's service industry. "We said, you know, there's got to be a niche for us. It's like buying back your time: That's priceless."

Likewise, Taryn Gentry kicked off Geaux Girl Concierge (motto: "Consider It Done.") last month after searching for employment in Asheville. Unable to get in the door with a business-development background, she decided to strike out on her own.

"I know Asheville is really receptive of entrepreneurs," she says. "Especially women in business." Like Cheatham and Adams, Gentry meets with clients to determine their needs. "It can be anything. It's really tailoring a service around what someone needs."
To learn more, visit (989-8785) or (335-9816).

AdvantageWest Economic Summit slated for March 29

AdvantageWest, Western North Carolina's regional economic-development commission, will host a March 29 panel discussion on WNC's economic future. "Pathways to a New Economy" will feature guest panelists ranging from N.C. Commerce Secretary J. Keith Crisco to the heads of several corporations based in the state. A 5:30 p.m. reception at the Diana Wortham Theatre will kick off the event.
For registration information, go to or call 687-7234. Attendees can submit questions in advance at

Crowne Plaza owner buys Asheville Racquet Club

Crowne Plaza Tennis & Golf Resort owner Dennis Hulsing announced March 16 that he'd purchased the 36-year-old Asheville Racquet and Fitness Club off Hendersonville Road. Hulsing says he plans to upgrade the facilities, guided by input from members. The club will hold an April 23 open house to explain the planned changes.

Hulsing Hotels Inc. also owns the Four Points by Sheraton hotel in downtown Asheville, the adjacent Chop House restaurant, the Clarion Inn near the Asheville Airport and several businesses in other states.

Chamber luncheon spotlights local legislative delegation

The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Legislative Luncheon Friday, April 16, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at The Country Club of Asheville.

The event gives state lawmakers a chance to speak to Chamber members' concerns. In recent years, state budgetary issues have dominated the discussion. A meet-and-greet for legislators, Chamber members and staff will precede the lunch.
For registration information, visit under "Chamber/Events."

Cape to address Women's Business Conference

Former Asheville City Council member Robin Cape will be the keynote speaker at Mountain BizWorks' May 27 Women's Business Conference, the nonprofit has announced. Since her unsuccessful write-in re-election bid last year, Cape has been running a consulting company advising clients on sustainability issues.

Mountain BizWorks describes Cape as "a self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur who's taught piano lessons; designed and woven hand-loomed clothing; sewed and painted kites in her own shop on the beach in Florida; had a calligraphy, graphic-art and sign-painting company in Chapel Hill; sold antiques; made jewelry out of salvaged materials; crocheted and knitted fun and wacky hats; and designed and sold handmade clothing in Asheville. She owned and operated Preservation Hall Architectural Salvage in Asheville and Weaverville, a green business before green business was cool."
The Women's Business Conference will be held Thursday, May 27, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at A-B Tech's Enka campus. For details, go to

Asheville Hardware correction

Last week, we reported that Asheville Hardware was moving. We failed to note that the downtown establishment no longer sells nuts and bolts to the general public: Instead, it has become the only woodworkers' supply company in WNC. It also has plenty of on-street parking, not a parking lot. Our apologies for the errors.

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