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SCORE Offers Webinars and Resources to Small Businesses and Non-Profit Groups in the High Country from Retired Business Leaders


October 8, 2020  Through the generous volunteer efforts of retired business leaders, small businesses and non-profit organizations in the High Country have access to professional guidance and support in planning and managing their operations. Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that was founded in 1964 and Asheville was the first region to have an organized chapter. SCORE has a large network of volunteers that work tirelessly to help small business owners not only get their business off the ground, but also grow their business to new heights. There are approximately 10,000 volunteers in more than 250 chapters nationwide.” By Nathan Ham

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Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster Up and Running in Banner Elk


May 29, 2020 High Country visitors and residents have another way to experience the Blue Ridge Mountains with the Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster. Located at 3265 Tynecastle Highway near the Sugar Mountain Resort in Banner Elk, the coaster opened May 9 under Gov. Roy Cooper’s phase one reopening. The anticipated opening of the Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster was originally scheduled for early January, but was pushed back. By Harley Nefe

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Chetola Resort Reopens to Guests and Locals


May 27, 2020 Chetola Resort reopened to locals and guests May 22 after a two-month closure. The 78-acre resort, named after the Cherokee word for “haven of rest,” has long been known for its open spaces, fresh mountain air and endless activities. Enhanced safety measures are in place. Chetola is participating in the Count On Me NC public health initiative for restaurant and lodging businesses, and recently received the 2020 AAA Inspector’s Best of Housekeeping Award.

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We Will Overcome & Survive


April 10, 2020 Dear Covid-19, We don’t love you, but we shall rise above you! As the sun peaks each day on our breathtaking lush green mountains, it is hard for most of us to focus on the beautiful tree buds blooming or to notice the daffodils dancing in the wind. Spring has come at the perfect time for a reawakening. Stop to listen to the sounds of the birds with every cheerful chirp, as better days will come. The COVID-19 virus has led not just some of us but all of us to make adjustments in our lives. One of the hardest hit areas is the tourism and special event industry. For now, we are forced to reflect and practice patience, as it is a virtue. When you sit and reflect on the day’s events of what is going on within our world today, it is extremely hard not to be distracted by the negativity on the news or in the media.  By Elizabeth Hempfling

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How Small Businesses in Boone are being Impacted by the COVID-19 Coronavirus

March 16, 2020 As America braces for the unknown with the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus from coast to coast, it comes as no surprise that everyone is worried about their health and the health of their loved ones. What might go unnoticed are the hours upon hours put in by local, small business owners and employees that are trying their best to keep up and keep the doors open during a scary time. “We are here, open regular hours and will try and keep our staff their regular hours and keep them employed,” said Jeff Collins, owner and operator of Peabody’s Wine & Beer. With students on an extended spring break at Appalachian State, classes shifting to online-only for the remainder of the spring semester and tourism taking a hit across the country with the threat of the coronavirus now is the time when your favorite local businesses need your help the most. “It’s important for all businesses. Support them as much as you possibly can,” said Jeff. By Nathan Ham

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Piedmont Federal Savings Bank Adds Two New Board Members

January 29, 2020. Piedmont Federal Savings Bank just announced the addition of two board members, Richard E. Shore Jr. and Virginia Hardesty. Richard E. “Ricky” Shore Jr., former president and owner of Aladdin Travel and Meeting Planners, was recently elected to Piedmont Federal Savings Bank’s Board of Directors. Shore previously served as a director for Piedmont Federal from 2015-16. Shore joined Aladdin in 2004 and took ownership of the company in 2011. Aladdin handled corporate travel, event and vacation planning, and study abroad logistics for U.S. based clients before being purchased by Direct Travel in 2018. Prior to Aladdin, Shore spent 25 years with Wachovia Bank. “We are delighted that Ricky has returned to serve on the Board,” said Scott Cawood, Chairman of the Board. “His strong business and financial background, in addition to his commitment to and knowledge of our community will be assets in ensuring Piedmont Federal’s continued success.” 

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North Carolina Ranks Second in National Study of Christmas Trees Grown and Harvested


December 23, 2019. Last year, Americans decorated more than 32 million Christmas trees. No, not artificial trees from a box or Amazon, real Christmas living trees. This year is expected to be another banner year for Christmas trees. With evergreen on our minds, we here at Zippia set out to see which state was making the most green from all these Christmas tree sales- and which states have the most jobs created from the Christmas tree biz. We chopped through the data like it was a towering evergreen, and here’s what we found about the biggest Christmas tree producing states in America:

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Realtor Sales Up 8 Percent to Start 2019


March 14, 2019 Regional home sales for the first two months of the year have been the busiest in a decade, according to the latest monthly report from the High Country Association of Realtors®. Home sales are up 8 percent compared to the start of last year, and up 29 percent compared to the start of 2017. Meanwhile interest rates continued a slow decline through February, and remain below their levels a year ago. In the first two months of the year, area Realtors® sold 287 homes worth $90 million, according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service. It records all Realtor® activity in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties. 

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Carolina West Wireless Hosts Grand Opening of New Location on Blowing Rock Road


November 12, 2018. Carolina West Wireless has a new home in Boone. A special ribbon cutting event took place on Friday morning, November 9, at the newest location for Carolina West Wireless, 1126 Blowing Rock Road. The event was hosted by the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce and featured several fantastic prizes for people that chose to come out to the open house event. The grand prize was a pair of tickets to see the Carolina Panthers take on the Seattle Seahawks on November 25. Other prizes included three months of free service, gift cards to local restaurants, local attractions and golf courses, premium products such as tablets and speakers, Appalachian State tickets and more. “I just wanted to thank the Chamber for coming out and hosting this opportunity. The chamber always does a fantastic job of supporting local business and we’re grateful for their support. They’re customers of ours so they certainly practice what they preach in supporting local businesses,” said Todd Elledge, Director of Marketing for Carolina West Wireless. By Nathan Ham

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Monkee’s of Blowing Rock Owners Jess and Kenneth Discuss Their Community Involvement and New Summer Trends


June 25, 2018. On Main Street in Blowing Rock, there’s a bright little fashion store that’s always happy and welcoming. Monkee’s has been open since 2001, when Wendy Burgette and her daughter Melissa White used to own it. However, in 2012 Jessica and Kenneth Wehrmann, a lovely young married couple, bought the store from them. Since then they’ve really changed how the store operates, and how involved it is in the Blowing Rock community. By Elly Murray

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Inside Scoop: Ben & Jerry’s Coming to King Street Once Building Renovation Is Complete


Feb. 26, 2018. The old PNC Bank at 671 West King Street is being renovated into a Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop, according to a company representative. “We do have a new shop opening in Boone, likely late spring or early summer,” said Lindsay Bumps, Public Relations Media Maven for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. “Our local franchisee is working on renovating a historical building to house the new Scoop Shop.” Although the franchisee, Lee Warden, was unavailable for comment, Bill Dixon, principal for Appalachian Architecture, said the former PNC bank would see a return to its old aesthetic from the 1940s. By Luke Weir

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Boone Welcomes reFresh Your Space to the High Country During Chamber Ribbon Cutting Event


Feb. 23, 2018. Eric Reeves has done a lot of traveling in his years as a flight attendant, but the Appalachian State graduate decided to return back to where it all started and open up his new business, reFresh Your Space. reFresh Your Space specializes in home staging for customers that are trying to sell their properties and need that clean, fresh look to catch a buyer’s attention. The company works with both home owners and real estate companies. Reeves graduated from Appalachian State in 1991 with a degree in advertising. After graduation, he got the opportunity to travel around the world as a flight attendant for United Airlines for 18 years. While he was a flight attendant, Reeves lived in Chicago and attended the Harrington Institute for Interior Design.. By Nathan Ham

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The Blowing Rock Chamber Presented Its Awards Luncheon On Tuesday at the Green Park Inn


Feb. 14, 2018. The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce hosted its 31st Annual Awards Luncheon on Tuesday at the Green Park Inn. Charles Hardin, president and CEO of the chamber welcomed the packed dining room and gave an overview of chamber news for the past year. The chamber ended 2017 with 519 total members and 28 chamber partners. The luncheon featured award winners and recognitions of chamber members. 

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2018 Begins With Busy Month of Home Sales; 136 Homes Worth $34.61 Million Sold in January


Feb. 14, 2018. Rising interest rates didn’t deter home buyers in January, with local Realtors® marking the new year with continued brisk business. The first month of the year – with its traditional snow and wintry weather mix – is usually one of the calmest, but not in 2018. Home buyers remained active in the High Country area, with sales within Ashe, Alleghany and Avery counties the best in more than a decade. There were 136 homes worth $34.61 million sold in January, according to the High County Multiple Listing Service. It records all Realtor® activity in the four-county area. It was the busiest January since at least 2007, when 112 homes worth $29.26 million were sold. It’s a 32 percent increase from last January (103), and a 19.3 percent increase from January 2016 (114). 

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Hobby Lobby to Open Boone Store Early Next Year

Feb. 12, 2018. Hobby Lobby will open a new store in Boone next January, according to the corporation’s communications coordinator, Bob Miller. The new Hobby Lobby is rumored to take the place of JCPenny and adjacent storefronts in the Boone Mall, according to shop owners familiar with plans. Currently, Hobby Lobby has 28 locations in North Carolina, according to Miller, and opened their 800th store nationwide on Jan. 8.

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The Williams YMCA of Avery County is a High Country Sports and Fitness Activities Jewel


Jan. 5, 2018. Something for everyone. Perhaps no other term better personifies the many programs offered at the Williams YMCA of Avery County for people of all ages and any physical fitness level. Since its opening in 2007, the Williams YMCA of Avery County truly has fulfilled its mission statement of: Putting Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all. By Tim Gardner

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Celebrating the New Year with the High Country’s Bars

For the adults ages twenty-one and up, the High Country bars are inviting you to celebrate New Year’s Eve with the best. Depending on where you are staying, here is a list of some  of the High Country bar celebrations.

  • Bayou Smokehouse and Grill
  • Boone Saloon
  • The Cardinal
  • The Local
  • Lost Province Brewing Company
  • Twigs Restaurant and Bar

Compiled by Kate Herman

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F.A.R.M. Cafe Celebrates the Holidays with Art Unveiling, Tree Decorating, & Volunteer Thanks!

Dec. 6, 2017. F.A.R.M. Cafe invites everyone to come and celebrate the holidays in a unique F.A.R.M. Cafe style on Friday December 8 at 5 PM.  The celebration will be a thank you for all the volunteers who help to make the Cafe happen.  Everyone is invited to contribute an ornament featuring a food or farm theme to the decoration of the F.A.R.M. Cafe Community Christmas Tree.  In addition, there will be an unveiling of a new Downtown Boone Community Scene above the historic lunch counter where the classic model train will once again come back into operation.

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High Country Impact Fund, Area’s Only Angel Investor Fund, Seeks To Support Local Startups


Nov. 2, 2017. When Pete Catoe founded ECR Software as a college student at Appalachian State University in the late ‘80s, he could have benefitted from an organization like Startup High Country, which provides seed-stage capital and mentorship to young, high-growth companies. “Certainly. I had an angel investor who basically loaned me $7,000, and I was able to pay off some debts, so I could start my company,” Catoe said. “Absolutely, it would have helped.” By Jesse Wood • Photos by Ken Ketchie

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Ramer Named Senior Director of Public Relations of Premier Sotheby’s International Realty

Oct. 30, 2017. Elise Ramer has joined Premier Sotheby’s International Realty as the company’s senior director of public relations. Ramer’s public relations career spans over fifteen years with experience including luxury brands, residential and commercial real estate, and consumer products. “Elise’s strategic public relations background and strong media relationships developed over many years will be an important asset to our company,” said Nicky Lutgert, Vice President of Marketing for Premier Sotheby’s International Realty.

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Eagles Nest Marketplace To Celebrate Grand Opening, Ribbon Cutting Oct. 20 in Banner Elk


Oct. 19, 2017. The Waterfront Group, owner of The Lodges at Eagles Nest, is celebrating the grand opening of the Eagles Nest Marketplace, formerly known as the Sunrise Shopping Center, on Oct. 20 from 3 to 7 p.m. The Eagles Nest Marketplace is located at the base of Beech Mountain Parkway, just on the outskirts of downtown Banner Elk. This shopping center used to house establishments like Zuzda before the Waterfront Group began renovations to the 20,000-square-foot facility. By Jesse Wood

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