The Biz: Business news around WNC

Local attorney bakes cakes to drum up business

You can't flip a channel without seeing a TV ad for a personal-injury attorney in Western North Carolina. But Asheville attorney Ruth Smith has come up with an innovative way to advertise her business: She's baking cakes.

"I've just started my injury law firm, and although I've been practicing since 1999, it's hard to be heard in this area over the barrage of personal-injury mills that spend half a million or more just on advertising," she notes. To get the word out, she's been baking cakes for local police departments, doctor's offices, wrecker services and other businesses.

"It's amazing what a cake can do to break the ice when you meet people. People seem to appreciate the personal touch and the fact that I would take the time to do that for them. It shows that if I treat them well, it would follow that I treat my clients well." Sounds good to us. Delicious, in fact.
For more information, visit Smith's Web site at or call 255-1569.

FLS Energy helps Guilford go solar

In what's being billed as an unparalleled effort, Asheville's own FLS Energy has announced plans to install 188 solar-hot-water panels atop the dormitories at Guilford College in Greensboro.

The new system, to be installed beginning in April, will provide 9,000 gallons of hot water a day, cutting 113 tons of carbon emissions per year.

FLS Energy is doing similar sustainability projects at UNC-Chapel Hill, Wake Forest University and Mars Hill College. "Guilford is raising the solar bar for all colleges and universities across the nation," declares Asheville Vice Mayor Brownie Newman, who's also FLS Energy's director of finance.

A-B Tech to offer free entrepreneurial day camp

The A-B Tech Center for Business and Technology Incubation is holding a free, weeklong summer day camp for high-school juniors and seniors. The Young Entrepreneurial Scholars Camp aims to give students a better understanding of local entrepreneurship as a viable career option, to interface with successful local business leaders, develop critical-thinking and leadership skills, and to identify opportunities here in WNC — all in a fun atmosphere.

YES! Camp will be held July 19-23 at A-B Tech's Enka campus; enrollment is limited to 16 students.

The deadline for submitting application and recommendation forms is Thursday, April 15.
For more information, contact Jill Sparks ( or 254-1921, ext. 5849).

Wingate University expands pharmacy program to Asheville

Wingate University, near Charlotte, has announced plans to expand its doctor of pharmacy program to serve the Asheville/Hendersonville area. The expanded program is expected to begin in the fall of 2011 and employ 13 full-time faculty and staff. The four-year doctoral program, the first of its kind in the area, will enroll 72 students.

The school is already training some of its fourth-year pharmacy students in clinical sites in and around Asheville.

Students in the Asheville/Hendersonville program will do their clinical practice in affiliated community pharmacies, long-term-care facilities, clinics and at Park Ridge Hospital in Fletcher and the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville.

In addition to establishing clinical-education sites, the university will offer doctoral-level classes and labs at a centrally located facility in the area.

Mountain BizWorks offers small-business courses

Mountain BizWorks is offering three courses designed for small-business owners. All classes will be held at the nonprofit's Asheville office (153 S. Lexington Ave.).

"Marketing for Small Business" will start April 5 and meet for five consecutive Mondays from 6 to 9 p.m. The course will cover the basic principles of crafting a marketing plan, and participants will emerge with a plan for their specific business needs. Facilitator Marilyn Ball is president of 12Twelve Collaborative Solutions.

"Payroll in QuickBooks" will begin April 16 and meet for two consecutive Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon. Learn about how to set up payroll information, schedules, writing and printing checks, paying taxes and tracking tax liabilities, as well as creating and filing tax forms. Faciliator Candy Williams is a certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor.

The third offering, "Financial Tools," starts April 22 and runs for five consecutive Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m. Topcs will include bookkeeping basics, setting up a company, customer issues such as invoicing and receivables, vendor issues including payables, and how to generate financial statements. Certified QuickBooks Pro Advisor Candy Williams will facilitate.
Fees vary per course, and preregistration is required. For more information or to register, contact Erika Rodriguez at or at 253-2834, ext. 27.

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