Friday, June 29, 2012

Advance Auto Parts Opens 1st store in Candler

Advance Auto Parts, Inc., a leading automotive aftermarket retailer of parts, batteries, accessories and maintenance items,opened its first store in Candler at 1151 Smokey Park Highway next to Bank of America on June 21st.
Company officials said they chose this location for the store because it’s convenient to where their customers live and shop as well as the garages where they take their vehicles for repair.
 Oscar Ramirez is the new General Manager and works with nine other Team Members at the new Candler location. A 12-year veteran of the automotive and retail sales industries, Mr. Ramirez has been with the Advance Auto Parts Team for eight years.
The new store offers customers a wide range of parts and recognized national brands as well as several free services. Store Team Members will install windshield wipers for free and also install batteries following a complimentary check of the vehicle’s electrical system and old battery. The store offers fast parts delivery to local commercial customers such as professional mechanics and garages. Customers also can drop off used motor oil and batteries for recycling – ensuring that these materials don’t end up in landfills where they could harm the environment.
            “Advance Auto Parts is committed to bringing our Promise – Service is our best part – to life not only for our customers, but also in the communities where our customers and Team Members live. As part of this commitment, we are pleased to announce a $1,000 check has been donated to Samaritan’s Purse,” said Oscar Ramirez, General Manager for Advance Auto Parts.
 Vehicle know-how is made easier than ever by Advance. The Company’s web site,, offers articles, online videos and audio and video podcasts on the web site’s “Advance Know-How” section.          
            “This new store’s ten Team Members will delight our customers with dependable and fast service every job, every day,” said Christopher Crawford, District Leader for Advance Auto Parts. “The right parts at the right price are as important as the right advice to finish the job.”
The store is open Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Other area stores are located at 905 Patton Avenue, 801 Fairview Road, Suite 14, and 2005 Hendersonville Road in Asheville.

New Ace Hardware Store opens in South Asheville

America’s most celebrated “helpful place” opened its doors on April 1, 2012 in Asheville, NC. The new Ace Hardware South Asheville store, located at 1888 Hendersonville Rd, brings the company’s unique blend of nationally recognized customer service and quality home improvement knowledge and products to Asheville residents.

Ace Hardware South Asheville is the 3rd store opened by local father and son owners Bill and Erik Young. The store has been designed to reflect the needs of the South Asheville community, including solutions to everyday home improvement needs, as well as an extensive array of high-quality products in categories such as paint and lawn and garden.

“Our mission is to provide customers with convenience combined with superior service through one-on-one expert advice and assistance.” says Erik Young, owner of Ace Hardware South Asheville. “We look forward to becoming a helpful and valuable neighbor to the South Asheville community, both inside and outside the walls of our store.”

The 10,000 square-foot store is packed with thousands of essential products and supplies, including some of the most respected brand names and best-selling items in the home improvement marketplace. Key product offerings include paint, lawn and garden, hardware, electrical, plumbing, automotive and home d├ęcor as well as niche products such as STIHL Outdoor Power Equipment, Carhartt, Benjamin Moore paints, and Craftsman tools.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Blackbird Restaurant goes downtown

As construction on downtown’s newest hotel and mixed-use development nears completion, the McKibbon Hotel Group of Gainesville, Georgia has announced that Asheville’s favorite destination restaurant, The Blackbird, will  bring hand-crafted Southern food to Aloft Hotel guests and visitors to downtown Asheville when the restaurant relocates to 51 Biltmore Avenue this September.

The all-new restaurant space is part of an independent retail area on the ground level of the mixed-use development, fronting Biltmore. The bright and airy location will provide chefs and owners Bobby Buggia and Roz Taubman with nearly three times more dining and kitchen space than their previous location. Architect Diana Bellgowan is working closely with the team to create a fresh look for the three-year-old restaurant concept that reflects urban energy and buzz to complement the downtown environment.

“Bringing The Blackbird downtown will provide us with so many new opportunities,” said chef/owner Roz Taubman. “The additional space and presence along Biltmore Avenue will allow us to continue to delight our established customers, along with bringing many new guests in to experience our menu of fresh, Southern foods and exceptional desserts that we’ve become known for.”

The Blackbird’s dynamic new location brings lunch and dinner dining opportunities to both hotel guests and visitors to downtown. The restaurant will also provide room service options to the Aloft Hotel, along with catering services for meetings and special events held in the hotel.

“We have invested considerable effort to find just the right fit for our guests in our preferred restaurant partner,” explained John McKibbon, Chairman of McKibbon Hotel Management, Inc. “I believe that we have found a fresh, hand-crafted food concept in The Blackbird that will not only serve our hotel guests well, but will become its own dining destination in Downtown Asheville.”

The Blackbird has created an affordable and vibrant fresh menu that combines the best of Southern comfort foods andlocal farm products with cutting edge flair. They take great care in serving seasonal items from local farmers and micro-brewers, and will continue to offer both lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch menus, along with periodic special events featuring unique menu items.

The Blackbird joins the mixed-use development at 51 Biltmore Avenue that includes the 115-room Aloft Hotel, along with several additional retail spaces and the new City of Asheville ParkingGarage. For more information, visit or call (828) 669-5556.

John Miles recognized as Small Business Leader of the Year, 16+ employees

At the 115th Annual Meeting, the Chamber honored nine community members with our annual leadership awards. This is the second installment in our series profiling the award winners.

John Miles of integritive, Inc. received the Small Business Leader of the Year in the category of 16 or more employees. The Small Business Leader of the Year Awards (sponsored by HomeTrust Bank) are presented each year to two individuals who reflect quality and dedication in their business operations and who have exhibited leadership accomplishments in the areas of innovation, initiative and civic responsiveness. 
"John is a true renaissance man and has become a leader in the community, setting the bar for others to follow," said Andrew Nagle.

John launched integritive in 2001 as an Asheville firm specializing in integrated online strategies,which includes web design and development, strategic planning, social media and e-marketing

As CEO and "Chief of What's Next" at integritive, John routinely practices innovation and creativity and is driven by values in all he does.

John mindfully cultivates democracy in the workplace, encouraging collaboration. For the second year in a row, integritive has been recognized on the WorldBlu List of Most Democratic Workplaces alongside, New Belgium Brewing and WD-40. 

"I'm always interested in how sharing professionally and personally with those around me can be of benefit to us all," John said.

Being involved in the community is important to John. He serves on the Board of the Asheville Chamber and the Executive Association of Greater Asheville as well as being involved in TEDx and other leadership and charitable programs. In addition, integritive donates 10 percent of net profits to community non-profits.

John said, "As a small business owner, I believe collaborating with other leaders in the community and supporting each other is critical for success." 

John and integritive, Inc. previously appeared on our blog as Entrepreneur of the Month in April.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Entrepreneur of the Month: Twang, LLC

The Chamber is pleased to recognize Twang, LLC as Entrepreneur of the Month. 

Kata Bates and Brittany Turner teamed up to create Twang, LLC, a full service marketing company  bringing together more than 26 years of combined experience in strategy, design and marketing.

Twang offers customers expertise in brand strategy, marketing, identity, design, social media, publication design and content, and public relations.

 “We are proud that we have built a successful branding and marketing business in a challenging economy thanks to a tremendous amount of hard work, as well as support we have received from the community including the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, our clients, strategic partners, vendors and, of course, our families and friends, ” Bates said.

Twang has experienced phenomenal growth over the last few years, growing by almost 200% from 2010 to 2011 and has received accolades including  a 2012 Silver ADDY for a Camp Highlander brochure and a Superior Communication Award for AdvantageWest’s 2010 Annual Report from the Southern Economic Development Council.  

“It has been remarkable to watch Twang grow over the past year but not surprising,” said Pam Lewis, the Chamber’s Director of Entrepreneurship.  “Twang exhibits excellence in everything they do, and through their work they've been able to transform the brand and image of clients further helping them to grow and be successful.  When we speak of the creative class in Asheville - Twang is on the list.”

From left: Chamber Board Chair LaVoy Spooner, Kata Bates, Brittany Turner, Carol Rovello (Chamber Vice Chair of Small Business and Entrepreneurship)
Bates said, ““We pride ourselves on delivering smart ideas, sophisticated design and exceptional client service without ‘big’ costs typically associated with marketing firms. We are proud that our work has helped more than 30 businesses and organizations in North Carolina build positive brand awareness and grow over the last two years.” 

Local clients include Just Ducky Originals, AdvantageWest, Colton Groome & Company, Beverly-Hanks & Associates, Yesterday's Tree Home Furnishings and many more.

“We are grateful to live in a community that truly supports creative businesses. We couldn't succeed without the support of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, Asheville-Buncombe Economic Development Coalition, all of our amazing clients, vendors and partners!” 

“Entrepreneurship to Twang means we get to do what we love -- creating powerful brand messages that help businesses, companies and organizations get the responses they want -- while contributing to the economic success of our region. It means thinking strategically and acting creatively, so we can provide the best branding and marketing services to clients in all types of industries from healthcare to economic development to financial solutions to nonprofit organizations, so we can continue to make our city and North Carolina an amazing place to live, work, experience and enjoy. Entrepreneurship means anything is possible!”

McGuire, Wood & Bissette managing partner receives award for Excellence in Law Practice Management

Thomas C. Grella, managing partner of McGuire, Wood & Bissette in Asheville, N.C., today was named recipient of the Samuel S. Smith Award by the American Bar Association’s Law Practice Management Section. The award is presented annually to an individual who has demonstrated excellence in law practice management. He will receive the award at a reception Aug. 3 during the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Grella, a former LPM section chair, serves on the LPM Executive Committee in his role as a member of the ABA House of Delegates and on the Editorial Board of Law Practice Magazine. He is a fellow of the College of Law Practice Management and the National Institute for Teaching Ethics and Professionalism.  He is co-author of The Lawyers Guide to Strategic Planning. At McGuire Wood, Grella is chair of the firm’s Management Committee.

“I cannot think of a more deserving honoree than Tom Grella. He epitomizes everything this award was created to recognize,” said Thomas Mighell, chair of the ABA Law Practice Management Section. “Tom stands out as a leader in LPM, the ABA and his law firm. His commitment to the improved growth and education of law practice management is steadfast, as demonstrated through his continued participation and leadership in LPM section activities.”

The Samuel S. Smith Award, named in honor of the late Samuel S. Smith, a founding member and early chair of the section, who later became ABA Treasurer, was established in 1999 to mark the section’s 25th Anniversary. It is the highest honor bestowed by LPM, recognizing an individual who has demonstrated outstanding lifetime achievement in the field of law practice management.

The ABA Law Practice Management Section is a professional membership organization providing resources for lawyers and other legal professionals in the core areas of the business of practicing law -- marketing, management, technology and finance.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.