Beer Scout: The Casual Pint and Tasty Beverage Co. take different routes to success

THE GANG’S ALL HERE: Appalachian State University fans enjoy a watch party at The Casual Pint, top, while, bottom, from left, Ashley Blalock, Bryan Smith and Johnny Belflower enjoy a quiet moment at Tasty Beverage Co. Photos courtesy of The Casual Pint and Mike Bromer

With so many businesses in the Asheville-area brewing industry being homegrown institutions, outsiders setting up shop in town are often met with a degree of skepticism from protective, hyperlocal customers.

Such was the case for the father-son team of Brad and Cameron Rogers in early 2018 as they established an Asheville location of The Casual Pint, which at the time had just over 20 other franchises scattered across the country. But as craft beverage fans have gotten to know the loyal locals running the taproom and bottle shop, they’ve embraced the business as the community institution it strives to be.

A former banker, Brad was the chief credit officer for a group that did small-business lending nationwide, and in February 2016, he received a request to finance a Casual Pint store. Already looking for a professional opportunity that he and Cameron, a recent graduate of Appalachian State University, could undertake together, Brad read up on the company. Three months later, he and his wife, Sissy Rogers, signed a franchise agreement, and in February 2018, they opened the store at 1863 Hendersonville Road with Cameron as its manager.

“With the banking background, the operational model was appealing,” Brad says. “Every store learns from the previous one. [Cameron and I] visited about a dozen of them before signing to see how consistent they were. [Cameron] knew beer, I knew business, but neither of us knew about opening and running a business. It’s not easy, but the operational part has made it better.”

Launched in Knoxville, Tenn., in 2011 by another father-son duo, Jon and Nathan Robinette, The Casual Pint opened its first franchise in 2014. The current network of 28 stores in eight states shares information and advice through an intranet and a monthly owners call.

There are also front-of-house and back-of-house managers for the entire company, so when issues arise, owners can reach out for solutions. The Rogerses pay for access to that communal assistance with a monthly fee.

All Casual Pint franchises feature the same design scheme and use uniform point-of-sale software. They also offer the same menu of six standard bar food items (e.g., chicken wings and pretzels). Otherwise, each location is truly independently owned and operated.

“The events we do, the people we hire, the beer we buy — it’s all our decision,” Cameron says. “But having the support and the system is a big help.”

He and his father considered World of Beer and The Brass Tap beer bars, but both franchises involve a full restaurant, and the Rogerses wanted to foremost run a beer store. The freedom to customize the space and tailor the 35 taps and wall of packaged beer to their customers’ preferences was likewise appealing.

In the same way they gradually overcame patrons’ false assumptions that they are from Knoxville, the Rogerses maneuvered stigmas in working with local breweries. One such success story is their account with Burial Beer Co., which took six to eight months to establish.

“It took some of their people coming out here and seeing what we do,” Cameron says. “Some people will look at a franchise and just say, ‘I’m not going there because it’s not local.’ But people who come in here typically don’t leave with something negative to say.”

Door No. 2

While the operational box of The Casual Pint gives the Rogerses the confidence to run their store, Brad applauds entrepreneurs like Johnny Belflower, owner of Tasty Beverage Co., who are willing to strike out on their own. Belflower opened his first bottle shop in Raleigh in 2011, and as the business grew to where expansion made sense, he opted to build a second store in Asheville rather than go the franchise route.

“Most weeks, I spend at least eight hours in the car and am working a couple of days at both shops,” Belflower says. “I often answer ‘Where do you live?’ jokingly with, ‘In my car on I-40 around Statesville.’”

Drawn to a brewing community that he calls “second to none,” Belflower opened Tasty’s Coxe Avenue store just in time for AVL Beer Week 2015. Overall, he feels his business has been embraced in much the same way as the additional locations of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., New Belgium Brewing Co. and White Labs. Many of his weekly customers were born and raised in the area, and a good number of regulars work at local breweries.

The inaugural Brew Horizons Beer Festival is set for Saturday, Feb. 23, at the U.S. Cellular Center. It’s presented by the nonprofit Green Built Alliance, which also produces Asheville’s Ciderfest NC event. Proceeds will help fund the group’s Blue Horizons Project clean energy resource hub.

The festival will feature about 20 Western North Carolina breweries and cideries along with live music and food vendors. Asheville-based breweries compose roughly half of the current lineup, though regional operations rarely seen on the local front — including 7 Clans Brewing of Cherokee, Currahee Brewing Co. of Franklin and Mica Town Brewing Co. of Marion — will also be in attendance. Mead maker Wehrloom Honey of Robbinsville is also on board, as is Asheville ginger beer brewery Ginger’s Revenge. Visit for details and tickets. — Tony Kiss

“I didn’t personally experience any backlash from residents or breweries over Tasty Asheville being our second location, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t people out there with those sentiments,” Belflower says. “I think most people understand how exceedingly different the implications are between Tasty Beverage Co. coming to town, compared to a corporation like Anthropologie or Ben & Jerry’s.”

Regarding franchises within his industry, Belflower is familiar with The Casual Pint and has visited a few Craft Beer Cellar locations. “I thought they all were well-run shops and elevated the craft beer industry,” he says. “I’m glad we didn’t choose that route for growth, but I’m not going to knock them for it either.”

Belflower adds that he supports Unchain Asheville’s mission, and with the exception of “an unhealthy addiction to Bojangles,” he almost exclusively shops and dines at independent businesses.

“The Asheville store’s revenue is reinvested as locally as every other local business, and our profits will never leave the city,” he says.

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Homeless Youth Are Virtually Invisible in Asheville

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — As thousands of tourists fawn each year over the opulent trappings of western North Carolina’s Biltmore Estates — a four football-field-sized homage to America’s Gilded Age — one of the starkest examples of the nation’s homeless problem endures less than a mile away.

The Tarheel state had nearly 9,000 homeless people in 2017, 20 percent of whom were children under the age of 17, according to the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness.

Homeless youth, including those up to the age of 24, are among the fastest-growing segment of North Carolina’s homeless population. And the state’s social services system is working to address the specific challenges of this demographic, which works just as hard to remain under the radar.

Asheville — home to Biltmore Estate — is a prime spot for many of those young people. Asheville/Buncombe County has the highest rate of homelessness in North Carolina, according to 2017 data from the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness. Buncombe County, for example, has seen an explosion in the number of homeless students in the last 13 years.

Asheville annually draws millions of tourists looking to soak up the mountain air, dine in quaint cafes, and browse bohemian art galleries. It has also drawn its share of people who have come to work but have no place to stay. Many wind up on the streets or — if they’re lucky — in a shelter.

The Rev. Amy Cantrell has worked closely with Asheville’s homeless for 17 years. She estimates that on any given day, Asheville has 700 homeless children and young adults. Her assessment provides a more in-the-trenches account of homelessness in Asheville than data from the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness, which does an annual one-night, point-in-time count of Asheville’s homelessness. (NCCEH recorded 8,962 homeless in the state during one night on the last week of January in 2017, the most recent available data.)

But, you’d be hard-pressed to find the younger ones.

Underneath the city’s vibrant economy are sullen socioeconomic realities: The homeless population in Asheville has shifted — women and children now make up the largest share. Compounding the complexity is the fact that homeless youth are considered virtually personae non gratae.

“It’s the most invisible population in terms of homelessness in our community,” said Cantrell, founder of Beloved Asheville, a nonprofit that works with Asheville’s homeless. “You see a little bit of everything. You have LGBTQ kids being kicked out of their homes. Kids running from abusive homes. We’re seeing them in the school systems.”

In fact, the number of homeless students in Buncombe has exploded in the last 13 years. More than 600 homeless students were identified in the Buncombe County school system during the 2017-18 school year, according to county school data. There were fewer than 30 during the 2005-06 school year.

On Chaos Corner, the locals’ name for a four-way intersection in downtown Asheville filled with boutiques, eateries, art galleries, and tourists, Megan Lampe is Hula-Hooping, hoping to get tips. Mostly she gets stares. Chaos is where the homeless like Megan gather. They play music, juggle, read tarot cards, or create other entertainment for passing tourists.

Even those like DeWayne Horton who have managed to find work said Asheville can be a tough place.

“Rents are super high right now,” said Horton, who works at The Hookah Hookup in downtown Asheville. “They’re building a lot of apartments and condos that young people can’t afford. I’ve been homeless twice. So I know the experience.”

The 26-year-old Baltimore native once slept in the woods behind an Asheville grocery store where he used to work and lived for a time in a friend’s Geo car. He now has a two-bedroom apartment.

“I’ve got a roof over my head.”

Scott DeAngelo, his 22-year-old girlfriend and their 1-year-old daughter aren’t so fortunate. The young family ended up at the Western Carolina Rescue Mission in Asheville recently after DeAngelo, 28, said a local motel squeezed the last of their money out of them.

When he complained, the clerk responded, “We’re a tourist town now.”

“People prey on the most vulnerable,” Cantrell said. “We’re in a severe housing crisis. Our housing costs are exploding in comparison to our wages. Many people are paying 50 percent or more of their income for housing.”

These days, she says she is seeing people, including families, living in their cars and tents, particularly since Asheville has no shelters for single fathers with children. Cantrell recalls seeing a mother and her three children outside the library recently after it had closed for the day. The two older children — elementary and middle-school aged — were playing as their mom sat on the sidewalk charging a tablet. Nearby, their car was packed with belongings.

“We have this all over the community. They blend in,” Cantrell said. “I saw all the possessions in their car. That family would be shut out of a shelter system because she had a son older than 12.”

Such observations led Cantrell to write a piece for the Huffington Post last year on “The Asheville that magazines and travel guides don’t tell you about.”

Asheville, she said, tends to “sweep our struggles under the rug.” Police are constantly on the prowl, she said. When she looked at arrest citations and shelter addresses going back a decade, she found “literally thousands of people” who were cited or arrested for trespassing.

“You’re basically trespassing wherever you go if you’re homeless, and trespassing is making homelessness a crime,” Cantrell said.

Richard “Cornbread” Howard has been living on the streets of Asheville since last year, when a rehab center in Henderson dropped him off and wished him good luck. He stays in Asheville because it has more resources for finding steady places to get free food, he said.

Asheville’s tourism-led building boom has made it the second most gentrified city in the nation. It added 18 new hotels last year alone. Such unrelenting construction illustrates “a stark contrast of wealth and homelessness in Asheville,” Cantrell said.

The Salvation Army sits in the shadows of downtown Asheville’s Hyatt Hotel, where the penthouse goes for $800 a night. Luxury condos called the Patton are across the street from the Western Carolina Rescue Mission, where many of the city’s homeless gather daily for hot meals and showers. Likewise, luxury condos are being built across from Beloved Asheville.

Less than a mile from Beloved is the Biltmore Estates.

“It’s always ironic to me,” Cantrell said. “Here are all these tourists coming to look at this famous house with 200 empty bedrooms and we have people living on the street with nowhere to lay their heads.

“It’s a tale of two cities.”

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared at Youth Today and is made possible in part by support from the Park, Raikes, and Tow foundations. Throughout this project, Youth Today will maintain editorial independence.

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Campbell lays out Asheville to-dos at her first CIBO breakfast

STEPPING OUT: Asheville City Manager Debra Campbell left the podium behind as she addressed the Council of Independent Business Owners. Photo by Daniel Walton

Debra Campbell, Asheville’s new city manager, eschewed the podium when introducing herself to the Council of Independent Business Owners at the group’s Feb. 1 breakfast meeting. The symbolic lack of separation between Campbell and her audience seemed to mesh with the philosophy she outlined for her tenure in the city’s top unelected post.

“I did not come to this community to be a mover or a shaker. I came to this community to assimilate — to become a part of the community,” Campbell declared to a crowd of about 50 people. “I think that if I assimilate, then that means that I’m going to collaborate.”

Since leaving her previous role as Charlotte’s assistant city manager to take the Asheville job in December, Campbell said, she has focused on meeting as many community stakeholders as possible. Those discussions, she explained, have led to a slate of priorities with the common theme of making the city “the best partner that we can be.”

Campbell named a shortage of affordable housing as a “tremendous hurdle” to Asheville’s development, noting that high rents and mortgages may dissuade talented employees from coming to the city. She also mentioned the achievement gap between black and white students at Asheville City Schools (see ‘Beat back this monster,’ Xpress, Jan. 30), which has been the worst among all school districts in North Carolina since at least 2015.

“This may be a lane that you all may not think the city ought to be in,” Campbell said, “[but] again, if we’re going to be a premier city, all of our kids need to be educated, and they need to be prepared to be our future workforce.”

Last but not least, Campbell added, was a “significant need” for capital investments. She suggested that, even after Asheville’s 2016 issue of $74 million in bond funding, the city would explore “revenue diversification” through additional streams of income. In November, then-interim City Manager Cathy Ball proposed new sales and prepared food and beverage taxes for potential voter referendums in 2020.

“We cannot continue to have the enormous capital needs that are out there being paid for on the dime of the property tax,” Campbell said. “We’ve just got to figure out a different way.”

The most specific policy Campbell outlined at the meeting came in response to an audience question about “predictability” in the city’s permitting and development process. She explained that, while Asheville’s zoning ordinance outlines specific requirements for projects, City Council and developers often hash out details such as affordable housing incentives after a proposal has already cleared initial review.

“We can encourage Council to adopt a policy that says [affordable housing] is an expectation — not that it’s negotiated at the dais when you come to Council, but that it’s discussed with staff much earlier upstream in the process,” Campbell said. A recent 416-unit subdivision in South Asheville, for example, added an affordable housing condition on the day of its Council approval vote.

In closing, Campbell thanked her hosts and emphasized that her remarks were just the start of her involvement with the business community. “I will be knocking on your door,” she said. “This is a partnership.”

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Affordable housing: MHO to make $2.2M request of Buncombe County for new 95-unit complex

A rendering of the East Haven Apartments, a future 95-unit complex, scheduled to be constructed in Swannanoa.

(Photo: Provided)

SWANNANOA – A nonprofit community development group plans to ask Buncombe County commissioners Tuesday for $2.2 million to help complete a 95-unit affordable apartment complex in the eastern part of the county.

Mountain Housing Opportunities said it begins construction in March on the East Haven Apartments on U.S. 70 in Swannanoa, with plans for residents to move to the property in October 2020, a five-page presentation provided to the county shows. The $16.8 million development is expected to feature one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments available to low-income and disabled residents and families.

Scott Dedman, president and executive director of MHO, said in an email Friday the $2.2 million ask, a loan which potentially would be spread out over three budget years, is the last piece of funding required before construction gets underway.

The organization already has $14.6 million of funding in place from "private investments and other sources," Dedman said. Among those various sources are about $8 million in tax credit equity and an additional $1.25 million from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, a $1 million loan from the Rental Production Program and $890,300 in federal tax credits.


Residents eligible to live in the new complex must have incomes lower than 60 percent of the area’s median income, which, in 2018, ranged from $25,800 a year for a one-person household $36,780 for four people.

"Usually as many as one-quarter to one-third of our residents are retirees or people with disabilities," Dedman said. "We will have some units set aside for veterans."

Details on the development

The scope of the development gradually has grown since its planning process began in 2014. It initially was planned for 40 affordable units until acquisition of additional parcels of land near the original site boosted the number to 60 units, and later 95 units after the county’s Community Oriented Development guidelines called for increased housing density along transit corridors.

The MHO presentation on the project is posted below in its entirety.

It comes at a time where affordable housing continues to be highly desirable in both the city and county, particularly after a 2017 report found the county’s overall multifamily occupancy rate at 97.3 percent — down slightly from 99.2 percent in 2014.

For market-rate inventory, the most recent occupancy rate measured out at 96.4 percent while the same rate for affordable rentals was near 100 percent.

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County Planning Director Nathan Pennington and Donna Cottrell, its business administrator, said Friday the problem in development housing on available land in the county often is related to infrastructure, particularly access to water and sewer. But with the East Haven Apartments, Cottrell said it’s "a win-win location" near an Ingles supermarket, drugstores and transportation, all generally desirable traits for residents.

Pennington said county staff wrote the Community Oriented Development guidelines with projects like East Haven, which he calls "a key project," in mind.

"Not only does it provide affordable housing, but it provides affordable housing that’s accessible, in terms of the corridor, walkability, amenities and jobs in the areas," he said.

Tuesday’s Buncombe County Board of Commissioners meeting begins at 5 p.m. at 200 College St. in downtown Asheville. It’s also streamed live at

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11-year-old girl punched in face outside NC mall; Man charged with assault

ASHEVILLE, NC (Gray News) – A 51-year-old man has been charged with assaulting an 11-year-old girl and two 13-year-old girls outside a mall in Asheville.

An Asheville Police spokesperson told Newsweek that David Steven Bell of Black Mountain, NC, pushed and hit a juvenile girl outside the Asheville Mall on Saturday night.

An off-duty police officer arrested Bell, who was charged with assault on a child under the age of 12 and two counts of assault on a female, a police spokesperson told Newsweek.

Two 13-year-old girls told the Buncombe County Magistrate’s Office that Bell also pushed them during the altercation, which resulted in the two charges of assault on a female.

Videos circulating online show a confrontation between a young girl and a man, who’s reportedly Bell. (Warning: The videos contains graphic violence and profanity. One can be viewed HERE.)

The man in the video shoves a girl several yards back. The girl recovers and rushes toward the man. He punches her in the face, knocking her to the ground. Onlookers scream and run away.

On Saturday the Asheville Mall tweeted: “We are aware of the videos circulating on social media. The @AshevillePolice responded immediately and the situation was diffused. An arrest has been made.”

Bell’s attorney, Andy Banzhoff, said Bell was trying to help a woman being harassed by “a large pack of youths," and that he felt threatened when the youths “trapped and surrounded him” and started yelling threatening remarks.

He said a female youth shoved Bell in the back. Another female youth “stepped towards Bell in an aggressive manner” and Bell pushed her away.

“She then got to her feet and aggressively charged in the direction of Mr. Bell," Banzhoff said. "As she entered Mr. Bell’s personal space, he struck her with his closed fist.”

Banzhoff said his client is undergoing treatment for a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, and that he regrets using physical force.

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Cost of living increases prompt higher living wage — $13.65 — in Asheville area

Asheville Hardware just got re-certified as paying all six of the store’s employees a living wage. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)
Living wage for Asheville rises to $13.65. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)
Just economics of WNC, a non-profit that examines living costs has raised living wage to $13.65 an hour for Asheville area employees.{&nbsp;}(Photo credit: WLOS staff)<p></p>


Higher rents and costs to live in Asheville have led to a new living wage for 2019, according to non-profit Just Economics in Asheville. The living wage has been set at $13.65, up from $13 in 2017. That comes to $28,392 a year for a full-time living-wage employee without health insurance in Asheville.

“We use a formal to do that, using the living wage formula,” said Vicki Meath, executive director of Just Economics. “We know that housing (costs) have increased. You can’t survive almost anywhere in the country, but you definitely can’t survive in Buncombe County on $7.25 an hour (the federal minimum wage)."

North Carolina cities can’t set their own minimum wages because the state has to pass a law to allow them to do so. More than 400 businesses and entities, including medical groups and non-profits in the area have signed contracts with Just Economics, which allows the non-profit to randomly audit an entity to make sure staff are getting the living wage set by the group.

“We have only six employees here. We sell woodworking supplies, tools and lumber,” said Dan Kostin, manager of Asheville Hardware in the South Slope.

The business is newly certified as a living wage company.

“The cost of living in Asheville seems disproportionate to other cities in the state. It is extremely important to be able to pay our employees a wage that enables them to live a fruitful life.”

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(SATIRE) A Funny Taste: Asheville star chefs rebrand to taco-themed restaurants

TACO TAKEOVER: In recent weeks, five Asheville restaurants have announced plans to close and reopen with taco-themed menus. The changes will give Asheville more taco shops per capita than any other city in North Carolina. The Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority has already launched a campaign touting the area’s taco glut.

It’s no secret that tacos have been a rising trend among Asheville’s new restaurants for several years. But a recent flood of press releases from some of Asheville’s top chefs came as quite a surprise. Cúrate, Cucina 24, AUX Bar, Copper Crown and Zambra have all announced they will close after the new year to begin rebranding as taco-themed restaurants.

“We just saw the demand for tacos more than Spanish tapas,” says chef Katie Button, who will shutter her James Beard-nominated downtown restaurant Cúrate in February. “We think, Button’s Burritos will be a perfect fit for Biltmore Avenue, and will complement Button & Co. Bagels nicely.”

“I’m just sick of cooking burgers,” says chef Steve Goff, who has announced plans to rebrand AUX Bar, the Lexington Avenue restaurant he co-owns with Mike Moore, as Stevie G’s Taco Extravaganza. The change could come as soon as March. “If all anyone wants in this town is cheap bar food, our build-your-own taco buffet line is going to be a hit,” Goff says.

Following a string of taco shop openings over the past five years, and with the conversion of these five eateries, Asheville will soon have the highest rate of taco shops per capita in North Carolina. Goff says this shouldn’t come as a surprise — as Asheville’s housing prices continue to rise, wages remain stagnant and customers become increasingly concerned about prices, businesses must inevitably curb their costs.

“It’s just so affordable,” he says. “A little bit of meat, a little bit of veg and a tortilla. We plan to make everything from scratch here, even the tortillas.”

Cucina 24 chef and owner Brian Canipelli seems a little less enthusiastic. “You pour your whole life into a place, but it never seems to change anything. No one cares about fine dining anymore. All they care about is the price point,” he says. Look for Canipelli’s new concept, Canilupe’s Taco Takedown, to open midsummer in the Cucina 24 space on Wall Street, with carryout service from the restaurant’s old deli location. “It’s fine. It’ll be fine,” he says.

“F**k it, we’re serving tacos now,” was all Copper Crown co-owner Kate Bannasch had to say before handing the phone to her husband, Adam Bannasch, executive chef of the East Asheville restaurant. “F**k it,” he echoed. Copper Crown will retain its name after rolling out its all-new menu of tacos, quesadillas and burritos in early spring.

Zambra owner Peter Slamp declined to make a statement, but staff members say they received their new El Duende uniforms at the last staff meeting.

Mandatory draft beer ordinance

After months of debate, Asheville City Council has outlined new draft beer requirements for all downtown businesses. “According to new zoning guidelines, all retail stores, galleries, clothing shops, real estate offices, even toy stores, will be required to have at least one beer tap for every 200 square feet of floor space offering locally made beers as soon as April of 2019,” said Mayor Esther Manheimer at the Council’s Dec. 11 meeting. “We hope this will be a way of sufficiently supporting our ever-growing craft brewing sector.”

“It just seemed necessary, what with 12 new breweries planning to launch before 2020,” says City Council member Vijay Kapoor. “The industry is already so saturated, we just don’t see any other way to sustain these new businesses.”

Councilman Brian Haynes voted against the initiative, noting that Asheville already has the highest drunk and disorderly arrest rate in the state. But he was interrupted mid-speech by a delivery person wheeling in a new kegerator for the council chambers in Asheville City Hall.

“I’m just concerned about the costs,” says Elizabeth Schell, co-owner of Purl’s Yarn Emporium on Wall Street. “We are essentially being required to buy the permits; we’re being strong-armed into selling booze.”

“I think it’s great,” says Kip Veno, owner of Lexington Avenue vintage clothier Hip Replacements. “We’re just going to turn the shop into a lounge, with couches and comfy chairs in the back. It kind of just turns every business in Asheville into a bar.”

High Five and Izzy’s sell to Starbucks

Both Izzy’s Coffee Den and High Five Coffee announced in late December that all locations of both shops have been sold to Starbucks Corp.

The multinational coffee chain has been trying to make inroads into the downtown and West Asheville scenes for decades, but public backlash had held them at bay. The reported multimillion-dollar offers made to the High Five and Izzy’s owners seem to have turned the tides in the corporation’s favor.

“If the breweries can do it, why can’t we?” says Izzy’s employee Chris Ballard with a sigh. “I mean, hell, this town is increasingly becoming a capitalist hellscape anyway. We may as well just give it to the tourists. At least this way, I’ll get benefits.”

When Asheville’s Charlotte Street Starbucks location opened several years ago, it was a target of rampant vandalism for its first few months, requiring police protection until passions ebbed and the people of Asheville came to accept it as part of the changing landscape of the city.

“Asheville people really don’t like Starbucks,” says Amber Arthur, owner of PennyCup Coffee Co., one of the few local coffee chains to withstand the recent corporate buyout.

“We really see no place for corporations like that in this city,” she says, adding after a pause, “I mean, I guess if the money is right. But we balked at their offer of a paltry $11 million. Surely dignity costs a little more than that, right?”

Though the sales of both Izzy’s and High Five will be final in May, the names of the coffee houses are expected to stay the same. “The only way you’ll really notice a difference is that we’ll just start pronouncing and spelling everyone’s name wrong,” says High Five barista Caroline Adams. “That’s mandatory, according to corporate.”

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Asheville NC Real Estate Agent and Co-Owner of Blue Ridge Daylilies Announces the Start of the Peak Bloom Season

Eric Simpson, a Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Mountain Lifestyles and Co-Owner of Blue Ridge Daylilies, is Looking Forward to Welcoming Visitors to the Beautiful Farm Starting on June 11

WEAVERVILLE, NC / ACCESSWIRE / June 10, 2018 / Eric Simpson, an Asheville NC real estate agent with Century 21 Mountain Lifestyles, and co-owner of Blue Ridge Daylilies, is pleased to announce that peak bloom season will be starting soon at the farm. Peak bloom starts June 11 and visitors are welcome to visit the beautiful daylilies farm from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., rain or shine 7 days a week.

To learn more about Blue Ridge Daylilies, which Simpson co-owns with Robert Selman, please check out

As a spokesperson for Blue Ridge Daylilies noted, the farm is located at 872 Lower Flat Creek Road in the beautiful mountains of Alexander, North Carolina. The daylilies farm is at an elevation of 2,300 feet in a mountain valley with several streams surrounded by wooded hills, just 15 minutes north of Asheville and 4 miles past Weaverville.

"The garden includes two acres of daylilies with more than 1,500 registered daylily cultivars and thousands of daylily seedlings, surrounded by extensive display beds and borders filled with conifers, ornamental shrubs and grasses, rhododendrons, daffodils and hardy perennials," the spokesperson noted, adding that the use of color and texture in the landscape over the years along with the well-grown daylilies and a large collection of whimsical garden art continue to delight over 300 garden visitors each bloom season.

In addition to his work at Blue Ridge Daylilies, Eric Simpson is also an Asheville NC real estate agent. He thoroughly enjoys showing his clients homes for sale in Weaverville as well as the surrounding mountain real estate.

"It is such a pleasure to serve the real estate needs of the greater Asheville community with outstanding dedication, timely communication, and the expert care and commitment you deserve," Simpson said.

"Exceeding your expectations and securing your satisfaction is my ultimate goal."

Simpson said he and Selman are looking forward to meeting the hundreds of visitors who are expected to visit Blue Ridge Daylilies starting in mid-June. Guests can also check out a number of upcoming garden events at the farm, including Art in the Garden on Tuesday, June 26.

About Century 21 Mountain Lifestyles:

Century 21 Mountain Lifestyles is a local Real Estate firm in Asheville, NC serving the surrounding Western North Carolina markets in Asheville, Arden, Weaverville, Hendersonville, and Tryon. For more information, please visit


Julia Campbell

SOURCE: Century 21 Mountain Lifestyles

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Uh oh, Asheville, Jim Cantore is headed your way

With memes galore saying if Jim Cantore shows up in your town, you’d better leave because it’s going to get bad, there have been a lot of rumors about where the Weather Channel meteorologist will be for this weekend’s winter storm.

And now we know. Cantore is headed for Asheville.

Early rumors were that Cantore was in Charlotte, but that was disproved when it was determined that a viral image of Cantore, allegedly walking through CLT, was found to be from 2015 in Boston.

(Video above is Cantore during a winter storm in 2017)

WCNC chief meteorologist Brad Panovich posted that he was texting Thursday morning with Cantore when the Weather Channel guy told him he would be going to Asheville.

Panovich posted on his Facebook page: "I love me some Jim Cantore, but he’s not in Charlotte.”

Cantore later confirmed that Asheville is his Friday destination in responses to questions and comments on Twitter. (See below)

Before Hurricane Michael made landfall, the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office posted a tongue-in-cheek trespass poster of Cantore, with the comment, “Everyone knows what’s in store when Jim Cantore shows up. So, we issued a little notice. Lol!”

The poster says: “Person of Interest: Jim Cantore. Special conditions: Non-business related visits only. Winter months preferred.”

The bottom of the poster says, “This is not a real trespass. We like Jim. Just not under these conditions.”

The post was shared more than 16,500 times.

The Weather Channel gave Cantore his first job in 1986, the year he got out of college, and he has worked there ever since. Cantore is one of the most well-known meteorologists on television.

So one of the producers just asked who @JimCantore is. Like sir….REALLY?

— Alexis (@__JustAlexis) December 7, 2018


— Kristen Huddleston (@kayyystrizzle) December 7, 2018

CHECK OUT WYFF:Get the latest Greenville news and weather. For live, local, late-breaking Greenville, SC, news coverage, WYFF is the place to be.

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Farmers, artisans host holiday markets around Asheville, WNC

With the past week of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, it’s nearly impossible not to think about holiday shopping.

Area farmers markets host holiday markets across the region to give you the opportunity to find the perfect gift, all while buying fresh, locally grown groceries.

Each market has a diversity of items, and products and vendors may vary from week to week at a given market. What might you find if you visit one of these markets? An array of produce; value-added gifts such as honey, jams, spices and cookies; crafts, including knitted items, pottery, jewelry, cutting boards and prints; wellness items like tinctures, essential oils and body products; and holiday decorations of wreaths, trees, etc.

Here in the central mountains, there are multiple markets happening throughout the week through December. See the list below.

To find holiday markets throughout other regions, visit “Farmers Market Closings and Holiday Dates” page at

WNC Markets

Following are many of Western North Carolina’s outdoor tailgate markets, according to ASAP. For exact locations and other details, visit

• Asheville City Market: 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays on Market Street. Last day: Dec. 15. Reopens indoors at the Masonic Temple Jan. 6.

• East Asheville Tailgate Market: Holiday market 3:30-7 p.m. Dec. 14 inside Groce UMC Asbury Hall.

• Jackson County Farmers Market: 10 a.m.- 1p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 22, 110 Railroad Ave., Sylva.

Yarn from Colour Visions is typical of the handmade items available at holiday markets around Western NC.

(Photo: Courtesy of ASAP)

• Madison County Farmers & Artisans Market: Holiday market 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 15, inside Spilman Hall on Mars Hills University campus.

• North Asheville Tailgate Market: Holiday bazaar 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 15 at UNC Asheville.

• Transylvania Farmers’ Market: through April. Holiday market 10 a.m.-noon Dec. 2.

• Weaverville Tailgate Market: Winter Market 2-6 p.m. Wednesdays through Dec. 19 inside Honey and the Hive.

• West Asheville Tailgate Market: Holiday market 2:30-6 p.m. Tuesdays inside the Mothlight.

• WNC Farmers Market: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.

This wreath from Gaining Ground Farm is typical of the handmade items available at holiday markets around Western NC.

(Photo: Courtesy of ASAP)

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