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Asheville, North Carolina News

Archive for September, 2016

Asheville Metro Economy Outlook Demographic and Economic Trends

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

ASHEVILLE NC – The 17th Annual Asheville Metro Economy Outlook announced today it will feature Dr. Jim Johnson of the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC Chapel Hill, a nationally renowned expert on economic development and U.S. workforce trends. As the keynote speaker at noon on Monday, September 12, Johnson will present impactful demographic trends reshaping the U.S., state, and local economy. Johnson will highlight strategies for how local businesses and communities can better compete despite market ambiguity and shifting diversity in the workforce.

“Employees and communities that understand how to respond effectively to the new normal of ‘certain uncertainty’ in the highly volatile global economy of the 21st century will be the most competitive and sustainable,” said Dr. Johnson.

Fast Company named Johnson one of the “17 brightest thinkers and doers in the new world of work.” Johnson frequently appears on national network news programs and is widely quoted in national media on U.S. workforce trends. He will discuss solutions to the achievement gap affecting communities’ and businesses’ ability to compete in a hyper-competitive global economy. He’ll also provide a toolkit to help individuals weather an environment where uncertainty is the new certainty.

Dr. Johnson is also the William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of strategy and entrepreneurship and director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center at the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. Before coming to UNC Chapel Hill, he spent 12 years on the faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a Ph.D. from Michigan State University.

We remain highly focused on talent attraction and development so local businesses can continue to be successful.” said Heidi Reiber, Director of Research for the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and EDC. “Dr. Johnson’s insights on demographics and the changing economic landscape will be extremely valuable and timely.”

The Economic Development Coalition (EDC) will share an update on AVL 5×5: Vision 2020, Asheville and Buncombe County’s five-year job creation plan to create 3,000 new direct jobs paying an average annual wage of $50,000, attract $650 million in new capital investment, and facilitate 50 new “high-growth” companies in Asheville that raise $10 million in equity investment.

The program will be held at noon at the new Mission Health / A-B Tech Conference Center on A-B Tech’s campus. The Metro Economy Outlook is presented by Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP and Parsec Financial Wealth Management.

The Metro Economy Outlook is open to the public and will be held at the new Mission Health / A-B Tech Conference Center at 340 Victoria Road in Asheville. Registration and networking starts at 11:30 a.m., followed by the program and lunch at noon, provided by Everyday Gourmet. Free parking is available in the adjacent parking deck. Tickets are $25 for Asheville Chamber members, $30 for the public, and $12 for students. Attendees must register in advance on the Chamber’s website: http://web.ashevillechamber.org/events.

The event is hosted by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County (EDC).

Sponsors of the 17th Annual Asheville Metro Economy Outlook include Dixon Hughes Goodman, Parsec Financial Wealth Management, Duke Energy Progress, ERC Broadband, Johnson Price Sprinkle PA, Carolina Alliance Bank; McGuire, Wood & Bissette, P.A.; BMW of Asheville, HomeTrust Bank, UNC Asheville, WCQS Public Radio, and FASTSIGNS.

The Economic Development Coalition (EDC) for Asheville-Buncombe County is a public-private partnership committed to: creating and retaining high quality jobs, community leadership, and being a resource for better business decisions.  The EDC accomplishes this mission through its four core services: business retention and expansion, small business and entrepreneurship, research, and marketing and recruitment. The EDC is funded by Buncombe County, the City of Asheville, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and over 80 private investors through AVL 5×5. Visit www.ashevillechamber.org/economic-development. Learn more about AVL 5×5 at www.asheville5x5.com.

The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce is a member organization with over 1,700 member businesses and organizations. Chamber members collaborate with community organizations and coalitions to support the community and each other with the mission of building community through business. The Chamber is home to a 4,000 square foot Visitor Center which welcomes over 208,000 visitors per year. To get active in the Chamber, visit www.ashevillechamber.org.

Kitchen 743 at Isis Music Hall Wins WNC Battle of the Burger

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

ASHEVILLE NC – They came, they saw, they devoured.  Over 1,500 eager foodies joined a panel of celebrity judges Sunday, Aug. 21 for the third annual WNC Battle of the Burger in Asheville.

After the last taste was tested, a new ground chuck champion was crowned.

Kitchen 743 at Isis Music Hall has taken home the coveted title of WNC Battle of the Burger winner.

“We were surprised with the win because there’s some seriously awesome burgers in this town, but we’ve never doubted that our burger is really tasty,” said Josephine Woody, of the family-owned Kitchen 743. “We’re excited that we entered and won, and can’t wait for folks to come in and enjoy our burger and all our other amazing menu offerings.”

The win gives Isis a golden ticket to the nationally televised World Food Championships in Kissimmee, Fl. to complete for the title of World’s Best Burger.

The Isis Burger stacked Hickory Nut Gap beef, heirloom tomatoes, baby romaine, shallot aioli, aged sharp cheddar and savory nueske bacon on a soft housemade roll.

“Isis was the last burger we were served in a blind tasting of 10 burgers, and as soon as we all tasted it, the five (judges) at the table kind of moaned in unison, ‘That’s the one,” said food writer and WNC Battle of the Burger celebrity judge Jonathan Ammons. “It’s funny, because I think most of us at that table tend to think of Isis as a music venue more than a restaurant, but that was a damn fine burger and I was definitely surprised when they revealed who it was we’d selected as the winner.”

Isis went head-to-head against fierce competition, beating out former champions, and 2016 People’s Choice winner Rankin Vault.

About Isis Restaurant and Music Hall

Isis Restaurant and Music Hall, located at 743 Haywood Rd., in Asheville, NC is a premier concert venue, bar, and eatery in the heart of West Asheville. In 2015, Isis Restaurant and Music Hall was honored with the Momentum Award Venue of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association. Their name gives a nod to the building’s history – a single screen cinema built in the mid 1930’s. The Isis Theater was a community hub for nearly two decades. Today, this art deco style venue hosts some of the best artists and musicians in the nation. With two stages, multiple bars and pet-friendly outdoor patio, this family-owned and operated venue is one of the hottest spots in the city for an eclectic array of live music and fine casual dining.

Inaugural Event at Historic Biltmore Village

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

ASHEVILLE NC – Farm To Village “Dining under the stars” September 8, 2016 @ 6:00 PM Boston Way.  Restaurants and breweries in Historic Biltmore Village have come together to create a new and unique event. This event will serve as a fundraiser for Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project .

Join us as we line Boston Way with farm tables and serve a 5-course gourmet dinner, from appetizers to desserts outside under the stars. Guests will have a chance to meet and mingle with our award winning chefs, brew masters, local farmers and a vineyard owner.   ASAP works diligently to promote local farms and we will be serving fresh produce and meats supplied by those farms.

The event is sponsored by Mtn. Merch, Saint Paul Mountain Vineyard, Southern Seasons, West Carolina Water Treatment, Wells Fargo, and The Village Group of Oppenheimer and Co. Inc. The meal will feature some amazing dishes provided by The Cantina., Catawba Brewing, Corner Kitchen, Doubletree Catering, Fig, Hi-Wire Brewing, Red Stag Grill, Rezaz and The Village Wayside.

Tickets are limited to the first 100 people and are priced at $100 p/person. This includes food, wine and craft beer along with a gift bag for each person.

To purchase tickets on line please go to www.historicbiltmorevillage.com/farmtovillage

You can also find more information at www.historicbiltmorevillage.com/events and www.asapconnections.org/farmtovillage.

About Historic Biltmore Village: Located directly across from the world famous Biltmore Estate, The Historic Biltmore Village is truly one of the south’s most unique touring and shopping environments. The Village features a collection of independent, regional and national retailers along with the most sought after restaurants and outstanding lodging. It’s the perfect night out for foodies, brews and friends. It’s a must see site for history buffs and architecture aficionados. In short, it’s a destination like no other.

About Asap: Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project is a 501C (3) Non-profit organization whose mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food.


Asheville’s Diana Wortham Theatre Leadership Transition

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Asheville Diana Wortham TheatreASHEVILLE NC – The Diana Wortham Theatre is pleased to announce an upcoming leadership transition. After 20 years as Managing Director, John Ellis will retire in June 2017 and Rae Geoffrey, the theatre’s current Associate Director, has been named the organization’s new Managing Director effective July 1, 2017.

Under Ellis’s leadership the theatre has grown to be one the most active venues in all of Western North Carolina. He created the Mainstage Series of touring artists while also making the theatre a welcome home to many local arts groups. He has also developed a strong board of directors and a dedicated staff, making Diana Wortham Theatre a cornerstone of the cultural life in the area.

Ellis shared, “With my upcoming retirement, the Board of Directors has planned a phased transition process to support our theatre’s growth. I look forward to working closely with Rae and also focusing on the upgrades to our theatre and development of additional venues.”

Geoffrey has a long background in theatre, community outreach, and arts management. She was hired in 2001 as the Director of Outreach, creating a successful education series serving 10,000 students each year, establishing the Y.E.S. (Youth Education Scholarship) Fund, and building a solid volunteer core. She was promoted to Associate Director in 2008 and in that role oversees staff management, organizational planning, and artistic programming. She has worked closely with Ellis to lead the theatre through its “Vision for the Future” Project to create and implement an organizational vision and plan.

Geoffrey’s leadership has been recognized by peers and colleagues who recently elected her as Board President of the North Carolina Presenters Consortium, a state-wide trade organization of presenting theatres across North Carolina and neighboring states, with more than 200 members including theatres, agents and managers.

“John’s contribution to our organization has been invaluable and his leadership has made us what we are today and we cannot thank him enough.  We are very fortunate to have another great leader within our organization who can lead us forward for the next 20 years. Rae’s experience here at Diana Wortham Theatre over the past 15 years has prepared her to take the helm when John retires, and I can speak for the board to say we are all excited to have such a highly qualified, competent, and passionate new leader in 2017,” notes Hardy Holland, Board President of the theatre.

The Diana Wortham Theatre presents entertaining, enlightening, and enriching programs to residents of, and visitors to, Asheville and western North Carolina with live performances of music, theatre, dance and more by nationally touring artists (the Mainstage Series) as well as a wide array of performances and events by more than 35 professional and avocational regional arts groups.

ASAP Announces 2016 Southeast Farm to School Conference

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

ASHEVILLE NC – ASAP is hosting the 2016 Southeast Farm to School Conference, the first regional farm to school conference serving the entire Southeast. The conference will be held on September 23-24, 2016 in Greenville, SC, serving teachers, early childhood educators, parents, community health professionals, and child nutrition staff from an eight state region. These stakeholders will come together to strengthen existing programs and jump start new farm to school efforts. The conference is a two day event: a full day of workshops and networking, a pre-conference day with field trips to sites in upstate South Carolina, and a local foods reception.

“Farm to school programming connects classrooms, the cafeteria, and the community—helping children develop healthy relationships with food and enriching the overall educational experience for children and adults alike,” said Emily Jackson, ASAP’s Growing Minds Farm to School Program Director. “The 2016 Southeast Farm to School Conference, hosted by ASAP, is the perfect entry point for those beginning with farm to school or for those who want to take their own farm to school expertise to the next level.”

With more than 15 years of experience in farm to school training and programming, ASAP’s Growing Minds Farm to School Program offers a combination of creative ideas and practical applications for school environments. The 2016 Southeast Farm to School Conference is designed to provide school staff and community members the training and resources necessary to implement successful farm to school programs.

The conference will feature workshops focused on six specialized tracks (including an early childhood track) as well as networking opportunities and state meetings for individuals from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama. Each track will feature content for attendees new to farm to school as well as those that want to improve their existing programs.

All attendees will receive certificates of completion for continuing education purposes. The Early Childhood track has been pre-approved as a training opportunity by North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. In addition, the full conference is pre-approved by the Commission on Dietetic Registration as a continuing education opportunity for Registered Dieticians.
The 2016 Southeast Farm to School Conference is made possible with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm to School Program, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, and other community sponsors.

Registration for the conference is now open at growing-minds.org. Attendance for the main conference day is $100 per person. Field trips and the reception are $35 each. More information on the conference and ASAP’s Growing Minds Farm to School Program is available at growing-minds.org or by contacting the ASAP office at (828) 236-1282.


ASAP’s mission is to help Western North Carolina and Southern Appalachia’s farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. Growing Minds, ASAP’s Farm to School program, has been in operation for more than a decade, connecting farms and schools and providing children positive experiences with healthy local foods. Experiences include farm field trips, nutrition education, school gardens, and local food in cafeterias.