Business Buzz: 11/1/23

November 1, 2023


  • The Bailey Mountain Cloggers, Mars Hill University’s precision dancing team, secured their 31st national championship title at the America’s Clogging Hall of Fame National Championships held in Sevierville, Tennessee. The team won the title in the Young Adult Team category for their 8-Couple Southern Appalachian Hoedown. Additionally, the team clinched eight Grand Championships and scored ten first-place team dances and three second-place team dances. Individual dancers also received awards, including Sammy Locklear, who won National Champion in the Contemporary Male Soloist category. The Bailey Mountain Cloggers, founded in 1974, serve as ambassadors for the college and Southern Mountains’ dance traditions, performing nationally and internationally. The team is led by managing director Danielle Buice Plimpton and assistant director Dallas Moffat. For more information, visit Read the full press release here.


  • Devil’s Foot Beverage and Highland Brewing have collaborated on a new non-alcoholic craft soda called The Dark & Stormy. Inspired by the classic Dark & Stormy cocktail, this soda is part of Devil’s Foot’s Zero-Proof Series and is made with Organic Ginger Root, Dark Brown Sugar, Madagascar Vanilla Beans, and Lime Juice. It’s rested on charred Oak chips for added depth and complexity. The Dark & Stormy will be available this Friday at both Highland Brewing taprooms, at The Mule, and online at Notably, it will be ready in time for Highland Brewing’s Cold Mountain Celebration (Nov. 9-12), offering a perfect craft alternative for those not drinking. 
  • Mars Hill University and South Piedmont Community College have established the Mountain Lion Promise, a direct-entry admissions program providing a streamlined pathway for qualified South Piedmont graduates to enroll at Mars Hill University. The program ensures a clear route for South Piedmont’s associate degree graduates to earn their bachelor’s degrees. To be eligible, South Piedmont students need to maintain a 2.0 GPA, earn an associate degree, and enroll at Mars Hill within one academic year after receiving their associate degree. Additionally, a separate articulation agreement guarantees South Piedmont’s Human Services program graduates admission to Mars Hill’s Bachelor of Social Work program. For more information, interested students can contact Mars Hill University’s associate director of admissions or South Piedmont’s advising team. Learn more.


  • This November, three Asheville Parks & Recreation (APR) community centers are hosting a traveling exhibit called “Navigating Jim Crow: The Green Book and Oasis Spaces in North Carolina.” The exhibit, created by the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, showcases sites important to African American travel during the Jim Crow era. The Negro Motorist Green Book listed 327 businesses in North Carolina, including 13 in Buncombe County, serving as a guide and tool of resistance against racial discrimination. The exhibit features historic photos, traveler testimonials, and oral histories, honoring the legacy of businesses like The Savoy Hotel and Phyliss Wheatley YWCA. The self-guided exhibit is open to the public at select APR community centers in November. Learn more.
  • The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority (BCTDA), Explore Asheville, has approved over $6 million in investments for three major tourism projects in Asheville. These projects include Phase II of Buncombe County’s Enka Recreation Destination, Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville Upgrades, and Western NC Agriculture Center’s Equine Facility Modernization. The investments aim to enhance the county’s competitiveness for multi-day sporting events, disperse visitors countywide, and expand family-friendly activities. The funding comes from the Tourism Product Development Fund (TPDF), marking the largest annual investment in the fund’s 20-year history, totaling over $29 million this year alone. Learn more.


  • The AIGA Asheville Annual Design Weekend, taking place from November 3rd to 5th, revolves around the theme “The Power of Design.” Design, transcending aesthetics, is portrayed as a catalyst for change, capable of problem-solving, storytelling, and stirring emotions. AIGA Asheville President, Alyssa Phillips, and Vice-President, John Hornsby, express their enthusiasm for this second edition. The event features diverse creatives, including architects, fashion designers, printmakers, and graphic designers, aiming to celebrate design’s collective impact across various creative domains. The schedule includes a free social kick-off at Cowork at Center for Craft on November 3rd. November 4th offers a day of presentations at Mojo Coworking, featuring keynote speakers from Adobe, followed by talks, panels, and workshops. The weekend concludes on November 5th with a free PechaKucha presentation at Mojo Coworking, followed by tours of architectural and design spaces in Downtown Asheville. Speakers such as Heather Neff, Nate Huntzinger, and Timothy Brown, among others, will share insights. Individual registration is required for each event day. Learn more & get tickets!
  • The Wortham Center for the Performing Arts is set to host the electrifying contemporary gospel group Trey McLaughlin & the Sounds of Zamar on Saturday, November 11, at 7 p.m. Known for their rich harmonies, powerful vocals, and unwavering spirit of worship, the group, founded by Trey McLaughlin in 2009, infuses their performances with soul-stirring harmonies and breathtaking vocal arrangements. Their music transcends genres and resonates with listeners, garnering millions of fans and followers on social media. The performance, made possible by various sponsors and community support, promises an uplifting and inspiring musical experience. Additionally, a pre-show workshop will feature a community choir of local singers joining Trey for a final song. For more information and ticket purchases, contact the theatre’s box office at 828-257-4530 x1 or visit


  • Buncombe County is accepting nominations for the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award program until February 15, 2024. The awards honor individuals, groups, and businesses making significant community contributions through volunteer service. Nominations are open for various categories, including serving youth, disaster response, environmental stewardship, and more. Nominees can be submitted online or through email. The 2023 Medallion Award winners from Buncombe County included the Land of the Sky Association of REALTORS and volunteers Tricia & Charlie Franck from Asheville-Area Habitat for Humanity. Learn more.
  • The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority (BCTDA), Explore Asheville, is inviting non-profit and government organizations in Buncombe County to apply for the Legacy Investment From Tourism (LIFT) Fund, starting October 31. The LIFT Fund, derived from one-third of the lodging tax paid by visitors, supports tourism-related capital projects benefiting the community and increasing patronage of lodging, meeting, and convention facilities. Eligible projects must be tourism-related, primarily located in Buncombe County, demonstrate the ability to attract tourists and benefit the community, and show a 1-to-1 funding match. Phase I applications close on December 1, and the BCTDA will provide more information at an information session on November 7. Learn more


  • Jim Barrett, CEO of Pisgah Legal Services, a regional anti-poverty nonprofit, has announced his retirement in August 2024 after over 40 years of service, 30 of which he spent leading the organization. Pisgah Legal Services addresses poverty-related issues, including access to healthcare, affordable housing, safety from abuse, and income. Under Barrett’s leadership, the organization has grown to a staff of 130 serving more than 21,000 people annually across eighteen westernmost counties of North Carolina. The Board plans to initiate an executive search process to find Barrett’s successor, aiming for a smooth transition. Pisgah Legal Services depends on donations, grants, and government contracts to provide essential services to low-income individuals. Learn more.