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Forget the Coastal Towns, Mike’s Inland Seafood in Boone Serves Up the Best Seafood in the State

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If you ask co-owner Mike McKibbin, Mike’s Inland Seafood in Boone serves the best damn seafood in the state. “People will drive all the way from Raleigh to just come up and eat and turn right around, and people from Florida will say, ‘Why don’t you put one down in Florida?’ They say it’s the best seafood they’ve ever eaten,” McKibbin said. “Jim and I will put it up against anything on the coast. They can’t touch us because of our quality.”
BY JESSE WOOD
Photo by Ken Ketchie

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Business Spotlight: Rock ‘N Roll Emporium & The Happy Place Stay Outside the Mainstream, Keep Boone Funky

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When someone asks Krista and Rawn Kull, owners of The Happy Place and Rock ‘N Roll Emporium, for business advice, they’ll reply, “Is it fun?” “The very number one thing is it has to be fun. If its fun, it will work out. It might take some time, but if you aren’t having fun, it’s not going to work,” Rawn said. “That’s the moral of the story.”
BY JESSE WOOD
Photo by Ken Ketchie

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Business Spotlight: After Three Decades in Boone, Red Onion Still Evolving With Renovations, Revamped Menu

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On the Fourth of July weekend, a visitor of Boone filled out a comment card after a dining experience at the Red Onion. This patron wrote, “I have been coming to Boone and driven by your place for years. Well, this will be the last time I just drive by. The food was awesome.” Red Onion owner Danny Mauney recounted that story when asked what has been the most satisfying as a career restaurateur over the past 35 years in the business and 30 years as owner of Red Onion.
BY JESSE WOOD
Photo by Ken Ketchie

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Business Spotlight: The Incredible Toy Company Keeps the High Country Young for 21 Years and Counting

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The Incredible Toy Company first opened its doors 21 years ago in 1993, after owner Kathleen Rowell decided she had enough with driving down the mountain or poring over countless catalogues just to find a suitable interactive and innovative toy for her three growing sons. After 11 years in the area working for the Mast General Store, Rowell decided that a drastic change in careers was in order. “I finally said ‘fine, I’m doing it!'” Rowell said, sitting on the front porch of the little red toy store between Boone and Blowing Rock. By Madison V. Fisler – Photos by Ken Ketchie

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Business Spotlight: Boone Bagelry Stays Fresh 26 Years Later, Adds New Location off N.C. 105, Business Partner

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In two weeks, Boone Bagelry will turn 26 years old, which is the same age as Natalie Nicastro, the oldest daughter of owners Tony and Donna Nicastro. Natalie, who was practically raised in the downtown restaurant, is now a business partner with her parents. She became a joint owner of Boone Bagelry when a second location opened beside the iconic waterwheel along N.C. 105 last September.
BY JESSE WOOD
Photo by Ken Ketchie

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Business Spotlight: Gamekeeper Restaurant Opens After Two-Month Hiatus, An Experience that is Elegant, Unpretentious, Exotic and Local – All at the Same Time

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The elegant yet unpretentious Gamekeeper Restaurant, famous for cuisine that fuses the traditional with the exotic, is back open after a two-month hiatus to address what was essentially bad luck on top of the costs of doing business. Just over a year ago, the owners of the Gamekeeper Restaurant had to dig a new well because of a planning oversight that occurred years before Ken and Wendy Gordon bought the restaurant in 2000.
BY JESSE WOOD
Photo by Ken Ketchie

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Business Spotlight: Grandfather Mountain Nursery Garden Center and Landscaping Uses an Old Fashioned, Hands On Approach with a Women’s Touch

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If you take a look around the Grandfather Mountain Nursery Garden Center and Landscaping, you will be greeted by the smell of flowers, the sights of spring and one very particularly fluffy puppy. “Someone once said that the earth laughs in flowers, and I agree,” said Theresa Foxx, owner of the company. “I am grounded by everything here, no pun intended.” By Madison V. Fisler – Photo by Ken Ketchie

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Business Spotlight:The Stewart Family of The Mustard Seed Market Ditch the Grind for a New ‘Leaf’ on Life

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“So far, so good,” said Danielle Stewart with a laugh. Stewart and her husband, Robb did what many people only dream of doing 22 years ago, and some people just plain called them crazy. In 1992, the Stewarts quit their corporate jobs, packed up their 5-month-old daughter and opened up what is now a High Country gardening institution. For more than two decades, the Stewarts have operated The Mustard Seed Market in Blowing Rock. By Madison V. Fisler – Photos by Ken Ketchie

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Business Spotlight: Owners Blessed To Operate 42-Year-Old Family Business – Boone Rent-All & Parties Too!

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Leslie Sullivan was in high school whenever her father Harris Campbell, a reputable banker in Boone, started renting port-a-johns on the side. In 1972, Harris decided to buy a trailer load of these portable restrooms on the way back from vacationing in Newport News, Va., and parked them in a vacant lot behind their home on Farthing Street. To say the least, Sullivan wasn’t thrilled about the prospects of having a backyard full of portable toilets.
BY JESSE WOOD
Photo by Ken Ketchie

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Business Spotlight: The Wedding Resource Center on King Street is the High Country’s One Stop Wedding Shop

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The dress, the cake, the venue and everything else are all just puzzle pieces that together make up the complete picture of a perfect wedding day. But wading through all the choices, making decisions and finding the right vendors and services for the big day is a daunting and intimidating task for many High Country brides. Elizabeth Hempfling, a Boone native and longtime professional event planner found the answer when she launched the Wedding Resource Center two years ago. Now centrally located on King Street in downtown Boone, the resource center pledges to help brides find exactly what they are looking for in a sea of options. Story and Photos by Madison V. Fisler

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Business Spotlight: Elevating To Make a Great Pie: After Nearly a Decade, Capone’s Pizza is an Institution in Boone

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Celebrating its ninth anniversary this month, Capone’s Pizza has become an institution in downtown Boone, thriving in a location that once was dubbed cursed because of the many businesses failing before “partners in crime” – Chris Staggs and Pete Shurba – opened the pizzeria in March of 2005. “Now, people say we have a great location, but it didn’t start out like that,” Staggs said.
BY JESSE WOOD
Photo by Ken Ketchie

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Business Spotlight: Sugar Mountain Resort’s Sports Shop Kicks Off Annual Spyder Sample Sale Thursday, Feb. 27

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It’s almost that time of year again. That’s right, the highly-anticipated annual Spyder Sample Sale will kick off at Sugar Mountain Sports Shop on Thursday, Feb. 27 and continue until the very end of the ski season. The sample sale allows guests to snag a first-look at Spyder’s entire 2015 line, and nab some product at fantastic prices. By Madison V. Fisler – Photo by Ken Ketchie

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Business Spotlight: Carving a Family Business in Blowing Rock: Klutzes Run Restoration House, Possum Hollow Antiques

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About 30 years ago during a major renovation period, representatives from the Biltmore Estate recruited Tommy Klutz to live onsite and work at the Biltmore House, restoring the impressive furnishings and architecture in the French Renaissance-styled mansion in Asheville. Tommy, however, turned down the offer. After all Blowing Rock is home – as it has been for the Klutz family since the Civil War.
BY JESSE WOOD
Photo by Ken Ketchie

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Business Spotlight: With a Retro Decor, Troy’s 105 Diner is a Blast from the Past with a Local, Fresh Twist in Boone

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While epitomizing the classic diners of the ‘50s with neon lights and retro memorabilia on the walls, Troy’s 105 Diner serves anything but your run-of-the-mill diner food. No. It serves “fresh, comfort food,” said Troy and Sandy Bryum, who bought Mel’s Diner nearly ten years ago and immediately revamped the line of ingredients while maintaining the décor. “We do a lot of things fresh as opposed to before when it was frozen or canned,” Troy said. “That’s important to me.”
BY JESSE WOOD

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Business Spotlight: Edge of the World Offers Snowboarders Decades of Experience and Dedication

https://www.hcpress.com/?p=39556Edge of the World Snowboard Shop, located in Banner Elk, started out as a great shop for locals and visitors alike, and became the shop for serious snowboarders who only want the best. Jeff Johnson has been at the reins of the operation since 2007, heading up a spectacular team of ten employees that keep the shop running day in and day out. This shop is truly run for boarders, by boarders. by Madison Fisler – Photo by Ken Ketchie

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Business Spotlight: Snow Toys in Banner Elk Has the Gear Without the Hassle with Small Town Friendly Service

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Through the years, Snow Toys has become synonymous with spectacular, personalized service from Ric Crosby, the “head ski guy” in Banner Elk. Guests can expect the employees to come out from behind the counter to help get customers into their gear, make sure they are fitted correctly, and ensure that they have the proper safety equipment. It is those kinds of customer experiences that Snow Toys hangs its hat on. By Madison V. Fisler – Photo by Ken Ketchie

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Business Spotlight: Couple Dives Headfirst Into Business During Recession, Now Mountain Tile Expands Showroom

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“Are you crazy?” That’s how Trudy Shell responded to her husband’s idea to buy Mountain Tile in 2010. But what else were David and Trudy Shell going to do. Several months earlier both lost their longtime jobs – cast aside like so many other individuals during the Great Recession. David had been employed for 25 years as a regional sales manager in the flooring industry and Trudy worked 22 years with a company that distributed business forms such as checks and business cards.
BY JESSE WOOD
Photo by Ken Ketchie

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Business Spotlight: Farmers Ski Shop Carries on 40 Year Family Legacy of Customer Service and Excellence

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Farmers Ski Shop might just be the oldest ski shop in Boone, but everything the shop offers, from equipment to tune ups and everything in between, remains timeless. Farmers Ski Shop opened its doors in 1969 on the top floor of what used to be Farmers Hardware. In 1976, the shop was expanded to its current location on Depot Street by David Greene. Owned since its inception by the Greene family along with The Shoppes at Farmers Hardware and Farmers Rentals, Farmers Ski Shop is a family operation to its core. By Madison V. Fisler – Photo by Ken Ketchie

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Business Spotlight: Blue Ridge Realty & Investments Comes Full Circle With Renovated Building, New Owners

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Blue Ridge Realty & Investments has come full circle since John Rice founded the company in 1981. In the early ‘80s, Rice opened an office in the same building that Able Body would eventually move into a decade later. Now more than 30 years since Rice began the enterprise, Blue Ridge Realty has since repurchased the property along N.C. 105 in Boone and recently finished renovations to what is now its main office.
BY JESSE WOOD
Photo by Ken Ketchie

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