TIDAL WAVE: Walter Vicente is a master stitcher, sample maker and worker-owner at the Valdese-based company Opportunity Threads. With nearly half of local businesses owned by baby-boomers, economic analysts are working to draw attention to the impending mass retirements of these owners, while others advocate alternative succession plans, like employee cooperatives. Photo courtesy of Opportunity Threads.

Passing the torch: What happens when local business owners retire?

With 45 percent of business owners in Buncombe County alone facing retirement in the next decade, local groups and service providers are encouraging them to start planning for their company’s next chapter, while simultaneously devising ways to turn an impending crisis into an opportunity for employees to shoulder new responsibilities.

GET FIRED UP: Darren Stephens' patent-pending wood-fired oven cooks a 20-inch pizza in just 90 seconds.

Amazing Pizza Co. rolls out mobile franchise plan

Western North Carolina’s (and the nation’s) mobile food trend continues to roll along: Darren Stephens of Mills River believes he may have found a new market niche with mobile pizza kitchens. Nearly two years of research and development and about $60,000 pumped into the Asheville-area economy have yielded a compact, wood-fired oven that cranks out […]

Survey says Asheville unfriendly toward small businesses

If you’re thinking of starting up a small business in North Carolina, Asheville may not be the best choice according to a new Small Business Friendliness Survey from Thumbtack and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The survey, conducted over 38 states and 82 metropolitan areas and including responses from over 12,000 small business owners, ranked Asheville dead […]

A place to hang your shingle

Any city looking to become a top-tier place to do business needs certain amenities. And in Asheville, where commercial office space can be pricey and where thousands make a living as freelancers, telecommuters or home- or small-business owners, one key amenity is the availability of so-called “virtual offices.” Just plug in: Owner Doug English and […]

The Biz

There are many roads to prosperity, but most folks don’t think of dead farm animals and livestock poop as particularly promising raw materials. One local firm, though, is building a booming business helping the state’s agricultural industry turn these and other organic waste byproducts into sweet, loamy compost that slashes costs while helping protect the […]

The Biz

The first visitor you’re liable to come into contact with at Blaze-n-Skyy Pet Boutique & Wellness Center is “Blitz,” a spunky Pomeranian in a designer sweater. Whether sporting sweaters and nonslip doggie socks, riding in a swanky Dooney & Bourke handbag, lounging on a $300 canine sofa bed, or munching on organic, gourmet treats that […]