Wednesday, June 24, 2009

School to Farm brought to you by Posana Cafe

Posana Cafe, a new player in Asheville's culinary scene, started things off right in Asheville by raising a little money to send school field trips to visit a local farm. The Posana Cafe owners seem to be big farm to table folks, which is excellent, the field trips will help the children learn where their food comes from and the importance of local farms. The field trips are part of a program with Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.

I haven't had the chance to visit Posana Cafe yet, but the many makes me drool a good bit. They have a Chamber ribbon cutting coming up on July 2nd at 4:30. Join us and welcome them!

Posana Cafe, located on Pack Square, hosted a Benefit in a unique partnership with the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP). The donations have been tallied with inspiring results.

Five bus loads of school children will now be able to visit local area farms thanks to the benefit dinner hosted by Posana Cafe and ASAP. Many school buses have the capacity to carry more than one classroom at a time so approximately 10-15 classes of school children will now be able to visit farms thanks to this initiative.

“We are so happy to have been part of a restaurant opening that could also benefit our local school children and farms,” reports Emily Jackson, Director of Growing Minds, the ASAP School to Farm program .

Posana Cafe is thrilled to be offering items from East Fork Farm, Dark Cove Farm, Full Sun Farm, Hickory Nut Gap Farm, Imladris Farm, Blue Hill Farm and is always looking to expand their menu with products from other local growers.

The Cafe is a contemporary European Coffeehouse specializing in Fair Trade Organic coffees, Organic teas and Chinese Tonic Elixirs. Their full service dining menu features freshly prepared food showcasing products from local farms, and offers an abundance of gluten-free menu selections including pastries, hand-crafted ice creams and desserts all prepared in house on a daily basis.

They are now open for Sunday Brunch 7:30am-4pm, Breakfast and Lunch Mon-Sat 7:30-4pm and Dinner until 11pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday Evenings.

BB&T Tops Lenders in Amount of SBA Loans

NC Magazine released an article showing which banks in North Carolina are giving out SBA loans and BB&T tops out the list. It looks like BB&T gave out about 20% of the 465 SBA loans in NC between October 2008 and May 2009.

Here is an excerpt from NC Magazine:
North Carolina banks are putting out sizable amounts of loans to small businesses, and one of the state’s most recognized industry organizations is leading the way.

Data from the North Carolina district of the US Small Business Administration showed that BB&T made 90 loans through the SBA’s guaranteed loan program between October 2008 and May of this year. These loans, classified as 7a loans, have been used for everything from working capital to equipment purchases and beyond.

Click here for the full article

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mountain Xpress Dining Guide Hits the Streets!

Last week the new copy of the Mountain Xpress' new dining guide hit the streets and one copy landed on my desk. I took a few moments to browse through and was once again so thankful to live in Asheville where at anytime, in any part of town I know I can get great food.

Big thanks to the Mountain Xpress for putting together such a great resource for all of us looking for our next great meal!

Xpress‘ Eats & Drinks guide hit the streets today, featuring more than 500 local bars and restaurants in one easy-to-use publication. And our online Dining section has been revamped as as a one-stop shop for dining news and views.

The 96-page Eats & Drinks lists eateries by cuisine, and also includes a handy map, a guide to local tailgate markets, our food critic’s picks of 20 don’t-miss drinks and dishes, and Xpress readers’ picks from our annual Best of WNC balloting. It is available in hundreds of area locations, including special boxes mounted atop newspaper boxes in downtown Asheville.

The new online Dining section features an easy-to-search guide, as well as connections to local gastronomical blogs and the Xpress‘ recent food and bar articles.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

22nd Annual Operation Blood Drive

This is the American Red Cross, Asheville's larget blood drive of the year! To schedule an appointment call 258-3888 ext. 402 or visit and enter sponsor code 10411.

If you can't make it there the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Asheville Board of REALTORS are hosting a blood drive here at the Chamber on July 1st!

Next Step Recovery’s Benefit Concert Will Support Substance Abuse Recovery

On Sunday, August 23, 2009, Next Step Recovery will host a benefit concert at the Orange Peel to raise money toward the purchase of the homes that currently house the nonprofit’s transitional living program for adult males recovering from substance abuse.

Some of the region’s hottest bands will help Asheville rock out for recovery including local favorite Jen and the Juice, Greensboro’s retro-funk Hot Politics, and Asheville’s eclectic Wilsin.

The benefit concert starts at 7 p.m. and will include a silent auction. Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the door.

Since opening in 2006, Next Step Recovery has helped more than 230 adult men by providing safe, structured transitional living facilities and substance abuse recovery programs in three residential homes located in Asheville’s historic Montford neighborhood.

Over the next 3 to 5 years, Next Step Recovery hopes to raise $1 million to purchase the homes it currently leases. Ownership will provide greater security for its recovery programs and help the organization direct more of its resources toward services.

Next Step Recovery has already broken ground on a Japanese-inspired Serenity Garden that will provide rest and recreation for its residents and their families. The Serenity Garden will also commemorate all the donors who have contributed to the organization’s capital campaign.

Next Step Recovery is currently seeking concert sponsors and is offering a variety of thank-you incentives for businesses and individuals who want to rock for a good cause.

For information about sponsorship opportunities and to purchase advance tickets, contact Next Step Recovery at 350–9960 or

For more information about Next Step Recovery’s programs and services, please visit or call Executive Director Susan Stader at 350–9960.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Photos from the 2009 Chamber Challenge 5k

The 2009 Chamber Challenge 5k presented by Dixon Hughes saw a record turnout this year! We would like to thank each and every spectator, runner, walker, and volunteer for making the event such a success!

Photos by Rebecca D'Angelo:

Tickets on Sale Saturday For Baseball and Beers

Tickets for the first-annual “Baseball and Beers” festival, scheduled for Saturday, August 22, from 4-8 p.m. at McCormick Field, will go on sale Saturday morning, June 6, at 10 a.m. at the Asheville Tourists box office as well as Ticketmaster outlets. The event is being sponsored by the Asheville Brews Cruise and Wild Wing CafĂ©, with more than 30 vendors featuring hand-crafted beers from throughout the Southeast providing their products at the ballpark.

Four bands will play during the “Baseball and Beers” festival. From 4 p.m. until 4:45 p.m., the Firecracker Jazz Band will take the stage at McCormick Field. Kellin Watson will follow, beginning at 5:05 p.m. Jar-E will play from 6:10 until 6:55 before Woody Wood and Hollywood-Red conclude the festivities, from 7:15 to 8 p.m.

Prices are $20 for a ticket and a commemorative beer mug and $35 for a ticket, commemorative beer mug and t-shirt and a light meal consisting of a sandwich, chips and a non-alcoholic drink. There will also be 100 VIP tickets sold at $40 each, which includes a complete meal in the Asheville Citizen-Times Clubhouse Suite in addition to the ticket, mug and t-shirt, and $10 designated driver tickets for those opting not to the sample the beers. Commemorative t-shirts will be on sale for $15 each. Those attending “Baseball and Beers” must be 21 years of age.

The Tourists will not play a game at McCormick Field on the day of the event, although everyone buying a festival ticket will also receive a general admission baseball ticket, good for any game (excluding July 4-5) during the 2009 season, at the time of their festival purchase.

“The response has been outstanding and we’re looking forward to hosting one of the summer’s biggest events,” said Mike Bauer, executive director of Palace Baseball. “Right after we announced we were hosting the event, Asheville and Portland, Oregon, were named the top craft-beer towns in the country. Everything appears to be dovetailing for a fun and exciting time for everyone involved.”

Ticket purchasers along with breweries and vendors wishing to participate or needing additional information should contact the Tourists front office at (828) 258-0428.

Deltec Homes’ Living Green “NC Healthy Built” Model Grand Opening Celebration.

Deltec Homes builds the most energy efficient round homes in the US.

Deltec Homes’ new model in Mars Hill, NC (near Asheville,NC) was completed as a North Carolina Healthy Built Home in October 2008. Grand Opening Celebration of the Model is scheduled for Sunday June 28, 1-5PM and Monday June 29, 10am-4pm in Mars Hill, NC. Ribbon cutting will be Monday June 29th at noon. Take I-26 west to Exit 9 and follow signs. (275 Manor Rd., Mars Hill, NC)
  • Tours of the New Round, Energy Efficient, 3800 sq ft home
  • Visit Exhibitor Booths
  • Talk with Green Experts
  • Attend Educational Seminars (Designing a Green Home (20-30 min),Introduction to Solar Energy (20-30 min),Understanding Financial Incentives for Building Green (20 min))
Utilizing many of the latest green building practices, the new Deltec Homes’ model home promotes a comprehensive approach to sustainability by integrating the key components of green building design and construction, including site selection and development, energy and water efficiency, materials selection, resource efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and homeowner education.

At about 3800 square feet, Deltec’s model home is projected to use up to 50% less energy than homes of similar size. In addition to the remarkable energy efficiency of the home, there are many systems in place to enhance and improve the indoor environmental quality. Fresh air is continually circulated throughout the home by a special ventilation system, and a sealed crawlspace lowers energy use and provides excellent moisture management. Low VOC finishes were used extensively along with formaldehyde free cabinets. Highly efficient heating and cooling systems maintain exceptional comfort with minimal energy use. The home also promotes exceptional durability through mold and termite resistant framing, fiber cement siding, and a structural shell that was built in a controlled environment to limit exposure to building materials during construction.

Deltec produces all of its homes with 100% renewable energy. The prefabricated, panelized structural shell is built with 78% less waste than a typical stick-built home through Deltec’s extensive recycling and reuse program. Click Deltec Homes for more information.

About Deltec Homes
Deltec Homes, located in Asheville, North Carolina, is a family run business for over 40 years that has been building energy efficient, hurricane resistant, circular homes.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Climate Change in 2009: Global Changes…Local Impacts

Monday, June 8th 7:00pm

The local Asheville Chapter of the American Meteorological Society presents:
Climate Change in 2009: Global Changes…Local Impacts

Join the distinguished panel of local and national experts to discuss the Asheville Climate Initiative at the Diana Wortham Theatre. Last week, Asheville won a competitive proposal process to host the new Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites. The new institute will use a variety of detection methods to observe and forecast the impacts of climate change on our environment. Please join us to learn of the great opportunities the Institute will bring to our community! For further information, please contact Pamela McCown, 828-713-9959,

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Growing National Business Based in Asheville

Harmony Crisis Management Group:
Out of Asheville Comes a New Nationwide Life Coaching & Counseling Agency

Harmony Crisis Management Group is a new, innovated life coaching and counselingagency whose mission is to help individuals, youth and families achieve excellence through life empowerment coaching. Harmony has been developed and grown out of Asheville. Harmony’s unique philosophy of life coaching and counseling empowers and equips each family with the tools needed to choose the best program for their youth and to become successful. With headquarters located around the country, Harmony is reaching people and changing lives on a national scale. Our CEO and President is entrepreneur Larry Spain, and our Executive Director, Angelina Stefanini, is a certified life coach and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

In recognition of tough economic times, Harmony’s fees and packages meet the needs of families and individuals of all income levels. Families are able to receive discounts and Harmony employs an income based fee structure. This includes three, six, and 12 month payment options. Harmony specializes in using Life Empowerment Coaching and counseling as an affordable and action-oriented option for families in crisis or for those who need guidance and support. We support family unity and engender hope. Harmony’s team of expert staff are stationed around the country and work in collaboration to create a strong foundation of support for its clients. Staff on board include licensed professional counselors, life coaches, psychologists, educational specialists, wellness experts, financial experts, and many more.

Harmony’s services include innovative feature, including the unique blend of traditional counseling and life coaching. Furthermore, Harmony sponsors a free, bi-weekly life coaching group in Asheville. For more information, contact Angelina Stefanini at or toll-free at 877.240.0999.

Learn more by visiting

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Meet Clark Duncan

Over the next few months we will be highlighting some of our Chamber staff members so that you can better know your Chamber team.

Clark Duncan

Years in Asheville:
6 years

Years at the Chamber:
1+ years

What part of town do you live in?
5-Points & Chestnut Hills

What do you do at the Chamber?
I manage Existing Business & Industry Services for the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville & Buncombe County. In short – I deliver programs and services that aid in the retention and expansion of employers that drive our diverse economy.

When you are not at the Chamber what are we most likely to find you doing?
Running and spending time with my son, Sam. Most weekends you’ll also find us at the Asheville City Market downtown helping my wife with the family business – an organic flower and produce farm.

A Great Dane, a mutt, and a three-legged cat.

What do you like most about your job?
Economic development is really about community development, and education, and opportunity, and quality of life. In my job I get to work with the best and brightest people – on plant floors, in small business, in government, here at the Chamber - that love this town and want to see it flourish. That’s hard to beat.

Clark Duncan can be reached at 828.258.6134 or at

Monday, June 1, 2009

Bank of Asheville Ranked 69th in Community Banks Nationwide

We received an email from Randall C. Hall, CFO of the Bank of Asheville, to share some good news. Bank of Asheville has been ranked #69 in the top 200 community banks. It is always great to hear one of our members getting some national recognition.

Here is a link to the article with all the ranking information.

Here is what Mr. Hall had to say about the ranking:
Weststar Financial Services Corporation, parent of Bank of Asheville, was recently ranked #69 among the top 200 community banks in the U.S. based on a 3-year return on average equity (see attached). In last year’s publication we ranked #119. I am in the process of drafting a news release for Buddy Greenwood; however, he won’t return from vacation until next week. Since I know you’re working with a deadline, I wanted to provide you with a copy of the article from US Banker Magazine, which notes our performance.

There are approximately 1100 publicly traded community banks in the U.S. At #69, this places Bank of Asheville in the top 10 percentile.

We are honored not only to have been ranked among America’s top 200 performing community banks, but to have improved in ranking from 119th to 69th. Our success is largely attributable to the support we receive from our growing customer base in Western North Carolina, to our dedicated associates, who constantly strive for excellence, and to the Board of Directors, who inspire us through vision, leadership and integrity.

Adopt a Cat Month and Photo Contest

Two great yet serious announcements from teh Asheville Humaine Society. June apparently brings lots of cats to the Humaine Society so they are waving pet adoption fees on cats 9 months or older. They are also organizing a cat photo contest, so get out that camera.

Feline Frenzy: June is Adopt-a-Cat Month at AHS
Adoption fees waived in June for cats 9 months and older

May 28, 2009 ---- It’s that time again; spring and summer, when Asheville Humane Society (AHS) becomes inundated with kittens. Kittens are usually born in the warmer months of the year. When owners neglect to spay or neuter their cats, the resulting litters are often surrendered to the AHS shelter.

“We’ve been reviewing our 2008 statistics and were astounded to see that our intake of cats and kittens more than tripled in June of last year compared to how many we received in January,” says Shelly Moore, president and CEO of AHS. “This clearly demonstrates what an impact it has on the community when you don’t spay or neuter your pets. In fact, it’s so important to adopt cats in the summer that we are waiving our adoption fees on cats nine months and older in June.”

In addition to waiving adoption fees on cats nine months and older, AHS is bringing attention to the swelling numbers of felines at the shelter, by holding an Adopt-A-Cat Month Photo Contest. The winner of the contest will serve as ‘spokescat’ for next year’s Adopt-A-Cat month. For more information on the contest such as rules and photo submission deadlines, and to learn how you can adopt a cat, visit: