Local business news in brief from our July 25, 2018 issue

EXECUTIVE DECISION: Elizabeth Bridgers joined HomeTrust Bank as senior vice president and director of marketing. Photo courtesy of HomeTrust Bank

Gaia Herbs to expand in WNC

Gaia Herbs announced it will build a new facility in Mills River.

The 140,000-square-foot facility will include manufacturing, distribution and office space in the Broadpointe development, which is also home to  companies including Raumedic AG, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Empire Distributors and the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center.

Brian Traylor, Gaia Herb’s vice president of operations, said in a press release that the site offers proximity to the Asheville Regional Airport, shipping hubs and Interstate 26, as well as to the company’s existing facilities in Brevard and Mills River. As the company’s growth continues, he said, “the site will also accommodate a further expansion of 100,000 square feet of space in the future.”

Construction is expected to be completed in summer 2019. Gaia Herbs secured about $300,000 in economic development incentives from Henderson County and the town of Mills River.

In addition to the new site in Mills River, Gaia Herbs will also maintain its current processing facility, laboratory and offices in Brevard, which are located on the site of its certified organic 350-acre farm, where the company cultivates 40 species of medicinal herbs, growing more than 6.5 million plants each year.

What’s news

  • Letitia Walker has indeed opened a new yoga studio at 697 D Haywood Road in West Asheville, as reported in the July 18 edition of Xpress. The correct name of the studio is Purna Yoga 828.
  • Dave Bluth announced that Investec Realty & Business Solutions recently rebranded as blueblaze real estate group to reflect the firm’s rapid growth and innovative listing pricing model.
  • Jackson “Jack” Bebber  of The Van Winkle Law Firm was elected to serve a three-year term on the N.C. Bar Association Litigation Section Council.
  • Blue Ridge Community College has added two job training courses in dog grooming through its continuing education program. The first course, Dog Grooming 101, begins Aug. 20.
  • Champion Hills, a 730-acre residential community located in Hendersonville, has been named one of the “Top 100 Planned Communities” and a “Best Mountain Views” community by ideal-LIVING magazine in its Summer 2018 Best of the Best in Planned Communities issue.

On the move

  • Elizabeth Bridgers has joinedHomeTrust Bank as senior vice president and director of marketing.

  • Blake Butler has been appointed executive director of the N.C. Industrial Hemp Association. Butler, a partner in Adapt Public Relations in Asheville, will fill the duties on a part-time basis until the end of the year, when he will transition to full-time beginning Jan. 1, 2019.

Asheville Chamber to study regional workforce

Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce launched a regional analysis to study workforce and employment challenges in Buncombe and nine other Western North Carolina counties. The project is part of a statewide initiative organized by the North Carolina Chamber Foundation. RTI International will survey businesses in the WNC region this summer and plans to release results this fall.

“Businesses in North Carolina are frustrated. We have a great climate for growth and job creation, but businesses just can’t find the skilled workers they need. To solve that problem, we need to fully understand it — including how the skills gap differs across our state,” said Lew Ebert, president and CEO of the North Carolina Chamber, in a press release.

Businesses of all sizes and across all industries are invited to participate in the project. Information about the project and link to the online survey can be found at avl.mx/54n and on social media tagged #wnctalent.

 

 

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About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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