Business Buzz: 9/20/23

September 20, 2023


  • In celebration of their 40th anniversaries, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity and MANNA FoodBank are engaging in a unique exchange of services to highlight the importance of volunteer support. On Friday, September 22, leadership and board members from both organizations will swap roles for a day, with MANNA assisting in building homes and operating a retail store, while Asheville Habitat participates in the warehouse operations addressing food insecurity. This endeavor aims to underline their shared commitment to community service. Additionally, ten dedicated volunteers who serve both organizations regularly will be honored for their devotion to service during a special happy hour event. Both organizations attribute their success to community support and engagement, emphasizing the importance of addressing basic human needs. This collaborative effort showcases their dedication to creating a better community for all residents.
  • The Mast General Store has announced a delectable collaboration with Poppy Handcrafted Popcorn, just in time for the autumn season. They are introducing Mast Store Provisioners Apple Butter Popcorn by Poppy, available at all their locations. To celebrate this Appalachian-inspired flavor, Poppy representatives will be at the Downtown Asheville Mast Store on Saturday, September 23, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., offering samples of the new flavor as well as other favorites. Order some here.


  • The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners has officially declared September 15th to October 15th as Hispanic and Latino Heritage Month, recognizing the contributions of these communities to the county and beyond. The proclamation highlights the significance of September 15th as it marks the independence anniversaries of several Latin American countries. The county aims to honor the valuable contributions of Hispanics and Latinos, celebrate their diverse cultures, and work towards a more inclusive and prosperous society.


  • The Festival of Neighborhoods is scheduled for Saturday, September 30, at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Asheville’s Neighborhood Advisory Committee is extending an invitation to the entire community for a day of neighborly engagement, learning, and family-friendly fun. The event’s primary aim is to strengthen the connections among residents, neighborhood associations, and local organizations, fostering a harmonious and thriving community. The festival offers free admission and welcomes everyone. Highlights include the opportunity to meet representatives from 11 different neighborhood organizations, learning about their contributions to the city and discovering projects and volunteer opportunities. The event also promises inflatable obstacle courses, a pop-up bike park, electric bus rides, fire truck tours, and delicious food options. Attendees can interact with various city departments and local service providers, including emergency preparedness information from the Asheville Fire and Sustainability departments. Learn more.
  • Dogwood Health Trust will hold its 2023 Annual Meeting on Wednesday, October 18 from 11:45 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. via Zoom webinar. As part of Dogwood Health Trust’s commitment to accountability within the communities it serves, the organization holds an annual open meeting with the public each year. All members of the community are invited to attend but must register here in advance. A meeting recording will also be posted on Dogwood’s website after the event. Casey Cooper, CEO of Cherokee Indian Hospital and a member of the Dogwood board of directors, will provide the keynote address followed by a moderated discussion led by Mark Constantine, senior vice president of community investment for Dogwood. A panel of Dogwood’s Community Investment Team leaders will share plans for 2024 and the ways in which the organization will increasingly collaborate across its strategic priority areas of Housing, Education, Economic Opportunity and Health & Wellness. Individuals interested in submitting questions in advance of the meeting can do so here. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions during the meeting.


  • Sabrina Delk has taken on the role of director for the newly established Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at Mars Hill University. Her responsibilities encompass student recruitment, organizing extracurricular activities, fostering business partnerships, and providing students with practical skills for a seamless transition into the professional world. Delk will also oversee the center’s various programs, including a small business incubator, Main Street economic development facility, community outreach, financial literacy initiatives, and programs related to student scholarships, internships, and consulting. Delk, a seasoned project manager and development professional, previously worked at the North Carolina Outward Bound School, where she held various roles, including development director. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of South Carolina and a master’s degree in public administration from Clemson University. Read more.


  • Champion Credit Union, a well-established financial institution serving Western North Carolina for over 91 years, has announced the upcoming merger with Ecusta Credit Union. This strategic move aims to enhance financial services and member experiences while expanding the institution’s reach. The decision to merge was made after careful consideration of the benefits for both credit unions and their members. The merger is set to leverage Champion’s strengths to offer members a broader range of financial products and services, competitive loan rates, expanded branch and ATM access, and digital banking solutions. It reinforces the financial stability of Champion Credit Union and extends its commitment to community involvement. The merger process will be executed carefully to minimize disruption to members, with ongoing communication to keep them informed. Existing Ecusta Credit Union members will receive detailed transition information in the coming months. Read more.


  • Mars Hill University has received high rankings from two national magazines in their college ranking guides. For the second consecutive year, Mars Hill University has earned a spot in the top 20 colleges in the South in the U.S. News and World Report rankings. The university also excels in various categories, including being recognized as a top performer in social mobility, a “best value” school, and one of the best colleges for veterans. In the U.S. News rankings, Mars Hill is placed 33rd among Southern colleges for social mobility, up from 52nd the previous year, highlighting its commitment to enrolling and supporting economically disadvantaged students. Additionally, the university is ranked 20th in the category of Best Regional Colleges in the South and 27th in Best Value Schools in the South. In the Washington Monthly annual College Guide and Rankings, Mars Hill ranks 74th nationally among nearly 250 schools based on criteria such as social mobility, research, and public service. Notably, the university ranks 13th in Pell Performance and is recognized for its faculty’s research engagement and students’ commitment to service. Read more.