Friday, July 31, 2009

Your Online Reputation

Every customer is now a critic, that is the new reality of business. With blogs, twitter, and websites that allow customers to review your business each and every customer has the power to broadcast their experiences both good and bad. So how do you keep control of the situation, how do you even know what is being said. There isn't one single answer to that question but the NY Times just released a great article that every small business owner should read entitled, Managing an Online Reputation.

The article provides some quick tips for business owners:

Quick Tips:
  • Set up automatic alerts to notify you when your business is mentioned in a review or blog.
  • Local search sites are the new Yellow Pages -- make sure your business is listed. The more complete your listing, the more likely you are to get good search results.
  • Respond to reviews to show readers that you are listening and that you care about customer service.
  • Online reviews are a gold mine of business intelligence. Analyze metrics to get a better sense of your customer demographics.
  • Don’t write false reviews to puff your business or trash a competitor. You can severely damage your reputation...and look really silly.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


One of our new Chamber members is and they are making a big impression on our community. I have seen social media mention her new site and even some press in the Citizen-Times. The premise of Jobbitz is simple, you have things that need to be done, Asheville has people who can do them. Take a few moments and check out the site today.

Here is what a few people have to say about jobbitz: is Asheville’s new locally created website, designed to connect people who have immediate “help-wanted” needs with people who need or want to earn extra cash. It is a community-based website that hosts free postings of neighborhood jobs available immediately. Examples of job categories include general house/yard work, skilled, professional, childcare, volunteering, bartering, etc.

Samples of job postings so far have included re-setting a mailbox in exchange for Italian porcelain (barter section), weeding, home remodeling, junk-hauling, wood-chopping, yellow-jacket nest removing, electrical outlets updating, painting – the list goes on and on!'s goal right now is to get more jobs posted! Our plea is to think about any odd jobs or “honey-do's” and post it on Give your neighbors a chance to earn money while helping you out at the same time.

Visit to read testimonials from your Asheville neighbors who have already used the website. You can also visit to see video reviews on YouTube.

Ask the economists...

Following the 2009 Economic Outlook presentation the Asheville Citizen-Times sat down with both presenters and asked a few questions that were submitted by viewers watching the presentation online.

If you missed the Economic Outlook presentation check out to watch it in its entirety.

When the Closet and Office Meet...

The Erin and Greg Mosher of Closet Tailors have purchased Office Environments. Both Office Environments and Closet Tailors are very active Chamber members, together this will make one powerful combination in the Asheville community.

Office Environments of Asheville will transition ownership from Nina and Chris Young to Erin and Greg Mosher effective August 1st. The Moshers are current owners of Closet Tailors of Asheville.

“As important to us as the business background of the Moshers, is the fact that they share our philosophies regarding customers, employees, and community involvement,” said Chris Young.

“Erin and Greg are a talented, impressive husband/wife team,” said Nina Young, “Erin’s background in the office furniture industry, and Greg’s experience across many industries will help Office Environments continue growing.”

In its 25th year of operation in Western North Carolina, Office Environments provides performance-based solutions for the commercial office furniture and flooring markets.

“We’re very excited to be joining the Office Environment’s team,” said Erin Mosher, who will serve as president of the company. Greg Mosher commented that “the Young’s have built a company on a foundation of great employees, and giving back to the community, we hope to carry on that legacy.”

Chris and Nina Young will join their son, Brian, and his team in their newly named business, Clean Environments. Clean Environments will provide commercial carpet and upholstery maintenance utilizing the MilliCare dry cleaning method, will offer SaniGlaze ceramic tile and grout restoration, as well as janitorial services.

Office Environments has earned a reputation for giving back to the community through its owner and employee involvement in community related organizations and projects.

Office Environments has been creating innovative workspaces since 1984 and has remained a market leader in every area they service. With a rich history of growth and customer satisfaction they have been recognized as a Steelcase Exemplary Performance Dealer, a Milliken Vision Award Winner, The Asheville Chamber of Commerce Small Business Leader of the Year and The Outstanding Business in Philanthropy in the Asheville area.

Office Environments is a woman-owned business, and a HUB (Historically Underutilized Business) designated organization. They currently employ 45 people and operate out of a 36,000 square foot facility in East Asheville, NC, located at 1070 Tunnel Road, Asheville, NC, 28805.

The company represents Steelcase, Turnstone, National, HON, and others in the commercial office furniture market. In the commercial flooring market they represent Milliken, Shaw, Lees, Mohawk, Mannington, Armstrong, and others. All product and service portfolios focus on helping the customer make best use of their existing assets with complementary services offered to help extend the life of those assets.

More information is available on the company website at, or by contacting Greg Mosher at 828-299-3300,

Forget white...Green is now in for weddings

The North Carolina Arboretum launches a new green wedding program to compliment their existing facility rental program. The press release is below:

The North Carolina Arboretum has launched a green wedding program that will add an additional component to the organization’s successful facility rental program.
“The new program expands our ability to meet our mission of cultivating connections between people and plants,” said Arboretum Executive Director George Briggs. “Weddings are intimate occasions celebrated with family and friends, and we are honored to be able to extend our public service reach to the local community and beyond and offer a green component as part of these activities.”

The Arboretum’s natural setting provides a scenic – and sustainable – stage for these important celebrations. As part of its educational mission, the green wedding program will allow the Arboretum to educate the public about the importance of being a good steward of the natural environment within the context of the wedding event.

Arboretum property and facilities offer excellent lessons in sustainability through green buildings, gorgeous landscapes, natural products, water conservation and recycling. Information about these components will be incorporated into the green wedding program. In addition, couples will follow guidelines for using organically grown and natural products as part of their wedding activity and pledge to a reduction in consumable products during their celebration.

The Arboretum’s green wedding program will support the Asheville area as a wedding destination and help foster growth in this economic sector. Focusing on the green wedding niche allows the Arboretum to be part of this activity while meeting its mission of education, conservation, economic development and stewardship.

The 434-acre North Carolina Arboretum is nestled in the Southern Appalachian region – one of the most botanically diverse areas in the world. In addition to its economic development and educational initiatives, the Arboretum serves as a public asset and recreational resource to the State of North Carolina offering 65 acres of landscape exhibits, 10 miles of forested hiking and biking trails, Segway tours, innovative outdoor and indoor exhibits, and one of the finest, most unique bonsai collections in the United States.For more information about the Arboretum’s new wedding program, including fees, timeframes and restrictions, visit or call 828-665-2492.

Monday, July 27, 2009

An unwelcome visitor to the visitor center

The other morning one of our staff walking up from his car to the building got quite a surprise with a bear rummaging through our trash cans. It is rare we have a visitor at the Chamber that isn't welcome but this one we can do without.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

2009 Asheville Metro Economic Outlook

The Asheville Citizen-Times preview the 2009 Economic Outlook with Tom Tveidt, Director of Research, Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County. The Citizen-Times will be broadcasting the event live through the website.

Meet your Travel Companion

If our membership is one thing it is certainly diverse. A few weeks back we had a new member join that made me sit up and take notice. The member was Travel Companion, LLC, a one women show by Joyce Woodard. Now, I had never heard of a travel companion before and luckily I had the chance to meet Joyce at our new member orientation this past week and learn more about what she does.

It sounds like a fun concept:
  1. Assures safe travel for families, children, seniors and the disabled, whether travelling to or from Asheville.
  2. Experienced travel companion at your side is great because you will always have someone to talk to or consult. Travelling with a companion has the advantage of sharing food, accommodations, et cetera.
  3. Caretaking services as well, such as house and pet sitting.
  4. For visitors to the Asheville area I can pickup them up at the airport and take them to to their hotel.
Learn a little more about Joyce and read some references at

FastTrac Your Business

Mountain BizWorks and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce are partnering to bring FastTrac to Asheville.

A little about FastTrac:
Be the entrepreneur you want to be whether you're starting or growing a business. FastTrac programs will help you live your dream at each stage of business growth. And through your FastTrac experience you'll:
  • Develop key business insights and skills
  • Determine your business strategy
  • Be coached by entrepreneurs and experts
  • Tap into entrepreneurial resources
  • Network with other entrepreneurs
09.09.09 – Take Charge of Your Business
Be the entrepreneur you want to be whether you're starting or growing a business. FastTrac programs will help you live your dream at each stage of business growth. FastTrac is a practical, hands-on business development program designed to help entrepreneurs hone the skills needed to create, manage and grow a successful business. *Special offer: Asheville Chamber members receive $100 off the course investment fee.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Grove at Haw Creek Grand Opening

Community Grand Opening Sunday July 19th 1pm-5pm

Community Cookout with Food provided by Hickory Nut Gap Farm, Games for the whole family, and chances to win prizes.

The Grove at Haw Creek is a planned community that allows you to build an earth conscious life from the ground up. This is a place where sustainable living is the focus, from the convenient location to the design of the neighborhood. No detail has been overlooked, no stone left unturned in creating a community where quality of life and a love for the majestic surroundings go hand in hand.

The creators of The Grove at Haw Creek have teamed with the region's preeminent architects and builders to give buyers the option of selecting from a portfolio of homes that combine timeless designs with earth-friendly materials and systems. Residences in the collection are Energy Star and NC HealthyBuilt Homes certified, blending renewable materials and tight building envelopes to improve comfort and energy efficiency while reducing the impact on the land.

Contact Eclipse Real Estate Solutions (828) 252.3726 or email to

Directions: I-240 to Exit 7 onto US 70 East through 2 lights; just past 3rd light (at Beverly Rd) take immediate Left onto Governors View Rd. Take 1st Left onto Pinedale Rd. The Grove at Haw Creek is on the Left.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

American Cancer Society Inaugral Decades Ball

The American Cancer Society announces its Inaugural Decades Ball - The Roaring 20's. This 1920's themed party takes place August 22nd from 7-11:00pm in Downtown Asheville at The Venue on 21 N. Market St. Entertainment will include a Silent Auction, Chance Drawings, Charleston Dance Lessons and live music by The Firecracker Jazz Band. This event is going to be the Cat's Meow, so all you Guys and Dolls don your zoot suits and flapper dresses and Charleston down to The Venue!!Tickets are $75 person. For more information contact Nancy Caine at your American Cancer Society at 254-6931 or email

Friday, July 3, 2009

Sneak Peek at Luella's Bar-B-Que on Merrimon

I was invited for a sneak peek at Luella's Bar-B-Que tonight, they were doing some staff training and needed some warm bodies. They did a great job renovating the space, I am sure I will be a frequent visitor. They open to the public on Monday July 6, stop in for some great barbecue.

Inside Posana Cafe

A few photos of the new Posana Cafe in downtown Asheville at 1 Biltmore Avenue. They hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony with the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce on July 2nd. Stop in and make them feel welcome!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Asheville NC Dealer Named Go Mini’s Dealer of the Year

Robie Campbell was named the Small Business Leader of the Year for a company with 15 employees or less at last night's Chamber Annual Meeting. He was also recently received national recognition from Go Mini's. Here is the press release

Go Mini’s, the leading provider of portable storage solutions, names North Carolina Dealer Robie Campbell as its 2009 Dealer of the Year.

Robie Campbell a principal of Go Mini’s Asheville was named 2009 Go Mini’s Dealer of the Year. The announcement came as part of the closing ceremonies at the 2009 Go Mini’s Annual Dealer Conference held in Jacksonville, Florida. “With more than 200 locations serving the United States, Canada, and Mexico it is truly an honor to be recognized as the Go Mini’s Dealer of the Year” said Robie Campbell.

“I’m extremely proud to be associated with a person of Robie Campbell’s caliber, and even more proud that he is part of the Go Mini’s dealer family. He is tireless in his efforts to provide his market with the best service available” said Bill Norris, CEO of Go Mini’s. “The award was presented to Robie in recognition of his outstanding achievement and selfless contributions to the growth of the Go Mini’s brand, as well as his personal contribution of extensive time, effort, and assistance to other dealers by sharing his knowledge and experience” said Norris.

Mr. Campbell is well known for his leadership ability and business savvy. He has been previously recognized as the Small Business of the Month, a Rising Star Award winner, and a two-time recipient of the Sky High Growth Award. In addition to being a principal in three different Go Mini’s Dealerships, Robie Campbell is also a partner in Union Transfer & Storage, an agent for United Van Lines, and RJT Relocation, an agent for Mayflower Transit. Because of his success as a Go Mini’s dealer, Mr. Campbell also oversees the Dealer Training Program for new Go Mini’s Dealers.

Windows on the Park featured in NC Magazine!

Those Girls of Windows on the Park are featured in this month’s NC Magazine, the official publication of the North Caronia Chamber of Commerce. The three page spread highlights the difficulties these entrepreneurs have had to overcome during the construction of Pack Square Park and a slipping economy. Entitled “Strong and Creative in a Down Economy: Those Girls Thrive in Asheville” the article is quite coup for Those Girls, given that the entrepreneurial profiles in the magazine are generally about individual male business owners. You can read the article here.

Asheville Arts Center Hires New PR Director

The Asheville Arts Center welcomes Michael Wilson to the Arts Center family as the new Director of Public Relations! Brought in about a month ago, Michael has already been working diligently to further the Arts Center’s current marketing strategies and dreaming up new, innovative programs with a strong community focus. His grand vision is strongly tied to the notion that the Asheville Arts Center is a major resource for performing arts education in our community. The key to success is supporting the community that supports the Arts Center.

Michael Wilson has two talents: performing and marketing. His first experience with the Asheville Arts Center was this past Spring, playing the title role, Tommy/Narrator, in “The Who’s Tommy.” While rehearsing the show, through several conversations with the owners of the Arts Center, Michael was offered the opportunity to combine his two talents. Needless to say, this is a dream come true. He jumped right in.

Cliff Hanger Now Open!

Ghost Town in the Sky is Now Open Daily! The 2009 is in full swing and the Wild West fun has begun!

AHS dogs available for adoption

Brandi sent over a few photos of some of the many dogs they have available for adoption. I could not resist posting them. Visit them at

Basset Hound/Retriever
4 years 7 months

Chow Chow/Mix
4 months

Retriever, Labrador/Mix
4 months