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Creative Community
Asheville’s a magnet for the arts, invention and entrepreneurial spirit
2013 | sponsored by the asheville area Chamber of CommerCe

Top 10

Places to Start a Fall Foliage Tour


Asheville made the list.

Top 10 Places to Start a Fall Foliage Tour
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Introducing the Top 10 Lists New lists every month | Not your average lists | Not your average website


4 Welcome to Asheville
An introduction to the community

Things to Do

Farm to Fork

Savor the Flavor
A sheville’s farm-to-fork movement supports businesses and community

14 Local Flavor Eating Asheville 16 Arts & Culture Engaging Ashevillians

North CaroliNa

2013 EdiTiOn

vOluME 11

18 Sports & Recreation Beautiful on the Outside

22 West Asheville Go West!
W est side gets accolades for neighborhood vibe


26 Culture of Innovation

Creative Community
A sheville’s a magnet for the arts, invention and entrepreneurial spirit

33 Health To Your Health 36 Education Smart Approach

39 Community Profile



42 Business Overview
44 Working Here They Mean Business
W ide spectrum of local companies experience success

On The Cover and above Asheville Art Museum (2012); Gallery view of Mel Chin: High, Low and In Between. Featured installation: Mel Chin, The Funk and Wag from A to Z, 2012, excised printed pages from The Universal Standard Encyclopedia, 1953-56, by Wilfred Funk, Inc., archival water-based glue, paper. Total of 524 collages, each varies from 8 x 11 inches to 17 x 23 inches. Courtesy of the Artist and Asheville Art Museum. Photo by Brian McCord

48 Chamber Report 49 Economic Profile
All or part of this magazine is printed with soy ink on recycled paper containing 10% post-consumer waste. PlEaSE rECyClE ThiS magaziNE

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Visit the website for more great photos and stories about Asheville, North Carolina.
PhoTos & viDeo

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Creative Community
asheville’s a magnet for the arts, invention and entrepreneurial spirit
2013 | sPonsoReD by the Asheville AReA chAmbeR oF commeRce

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Things To Do
Find the must-do attractions, activities and dining in Asheville.

Learn about Asheville’s schools, health care, education and neighborhoods.

Get info on top employers, jobs and success stories in Asheville. Follow us @livability Like us at Follow us at

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editor | Mitch Kline contributing Writers | Melanie Kilgore-Hill, Joe Morris, Jessica Mozo, Kate Parham content coordinator | Jessica Walker staff Writer | Kevin Litwin Proofreading manager | Raven Petty lead Designer | Erica Lampley senior Graphic Designers | Stacey Allis, Laura Gallagher, Kris Sexton, Jake Shores, Vikki Williams Graphic Designers | Kara Leiby, Kacey Passmore creative technology Analyst | Becca Ary lead Photographer | Brian McCord senior Photographer | Jeff Adkins staff Photographers | Todd Bennett, Michael Conti, Martin B. Cherry color imaging technician | Alison Hunter integrated media manager | Ruth Martineau sales support Project manager | Sara Quint Ad Production manager | Katie Middendorf Ad traffic Assistants | Krystin Lemmon, Patricia Moisan Web Project manager | David Day Web Development lead | Yamel Hall Web Designer ii | Richard Stevens Web Product manager | John Hood Digital Project manager | Jill Ridenour chairman | Greg Thurman President/Publisher | Bob Schwartzman executive vice President | Ray Langen senior v.P./sales | Todd Potter senior v.P./client Development | Jeff Heefner senior v.P./operations | Casey Hester v.P./sales | Jarek Swekosky v.P./content operations | Natasha Lorens Audience Development Director | Deanna Nelson creative services Director | Christina Carden Distribution Director | Gary Smith Photography Director | Jeffrey S. Otto Web services Director | Allison Davis controller | Chris Dudley senior Accountant | Lisa Owens Accounts Payable coordinator | Maria McFarland Accounts Receivable coordinator | Diana Guzman it Director | Daniel Cantrell executive secretary | Kristy Duncan human Resources manager | Peggy Blake Receptionist | Linda Bishop

2013 EdiTiOn

vOluME 11

Livability Asheville, NC is published annually by Journal Communications Inc. and is distributed through the Asheville Area chamber of commerce and its member businesses. For advertising information or to direct questions or comments about the magazine, contact Journal Communications Inc. at (615) 771-0080 or by email at For more information, contact: Asheville Area chamber of commerce 36 montford Avenue • Asheville, nc 28801 Phone: (828) 258-6101 • Fax: (828) 251-0926 visit Livability Asheville, NC online at ©Copyright 2012 Journal Communications Inc., 725 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 400, Franklin, TN 37067, (615) 771-0080. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. Member The Association of Magazine Media Member Custom Content Council Member Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce

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Asheville, North Carolina
a quiCk, Comprehensive overvieW of What’s Great about the Community











Inspiration comes easily in Asheville. It’s around every corner in the city’s eclectic downtown. It’s in the Blue Ridge Mountains that offer breathtaking views and rewarding hikes. It’s in the people who live, work and play in this city where creatives thrive. luSCiOuS liviNg Residents of Asheville enjoy the full beauty of all four seasons. The city’s blossoming culinary scene includes many restaurants that offer locally produced vegetables and meats. Asheville is the world’s only Foodtopian Society, where daily life is centered around eating. It has 12 farmers’ markets, nearly 250 independent restaurants and has been crowned “Beer City, USA” four years in a row. There are more than 50 beers brewed and bottled here and five annual events that celebrate beer. On tap for adventure seekers are whitewater rafting trips, mountain biking, ziplines and horseback riding. The city’s park system includes greenways, athletic fields, playgrounds and pools. A multitude of spas, hotels and nightspots serve up plenty of ways to relax. BuSiNESSES FlOuriSh Asheville has emerged as a hotspot for innovation, technology and creativity. Business leaders find that the quality of life Asheville offers keeps their workers happy, healthy and more productive. Small businesses and entrepreneurs flourish in this environment, and it’s become a target for advanced manufacturing, science, health care and high-tech companies. Asheville was ranked as the sixth-best place to do business in the U.S. by Forbes in 2010. Asheville’s low unemployment rate, access to major transportation routes and incentives make it an attractive place to set up shop. You’ll see what makes Asheville a great place to live.


Black Mountain Swannanoa








Residents and tourists enjoy Asheville’s vibrant music and arts scene, world class restaurants and outdoor activities. It’s easy to see why Good Morning America named Asheville as one of the Most Beautiful Places in America.


Charlotte, NC, 129 miles Atlanta, GA, 208 miles Lexington, KY, 284 miles




National Average: 30”


asheville area Chamber of Commerce
36 Montford Avenue Asheville, NC 28801 Phone: (828) 258-6101 Fax: (828) 251-0926

Featured as one of the “Most Beautiful Places in america” by Good Morning America



Pack Square Park

Pack square Park in downtown asheville includes 6.5 acres of public space for visitors to relax and linger. the park features a splash pad, sculptures, restrooms and an information center.

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ThinGs TO dO
Asheville’s must-do attractions, activities and dining

Tour the Grounds

stop by Biltmore to enjoy a tour of the property. the home, completed in 1895, includes 250 rooms covering three floors and a basement, while the gardens feature a rose garden with more than 250 varieties.

Art Center




Home to the Southern Highland Craft Guild, the Folk art Center is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway near downtown Asheville. The facility features three galleries that comprise both traditional and contemporary crafts, a library and the Allanstand Craft Shop.

TAkE A hikE
Hiking enthusiasts can choose from a variety of top-notch trails in Asheville such as Mt. Pisgah hiking Trail, Graveyard Fields, devil’s Courthouse, Fryingpan Tower and the art loeb Trail, which covers 30 miles and ends at the top of Black Balsam Knob.

Asheville residents quench their thirst at the city’s many microbreweries including highland Brewing Co. – the largest of its kind in Asheville – as well as lexington avenue Brewery, asheville Brewing Co., Jack of the Wood and more.

With more than 250 restaurants, Asheville is a foodie-friendly city. Fine-dining restaurants such as Corner Kitchen and savoy are available, while more casual eateries include Tupelo honey Cafe, The lobster Trap, Mamacita’s, FiG bistro and more.




Festivals and Events




Bele Chere features live music and art, and the lake eden arts Festival – commonly called LEAF – also offers live music and artwork from more than 50 artisans. shindig on the Green includes a concert and casual jam sessions at Pack Square Park.

Serving the city for more than 60 years, the asheville art Museum showcases American art from the 20th and 21st centuries. In addition to featuring more than 2,700 pieces of art, the museum hosts public programs open to both adults and children.

rElAx AND uNwiND
Asheville lays claim to several spas that provide rejuvenating services such as massages, facials, manicures and pedicures. shoji Retreats, spa Theology, sola Therapeutic salt Cave, and The spa at The Grove Park inn are just a few of the city’s offerings.

gO FOr A ziP
If it’s high adventure you seek, look no further than Asheville’s zipline tours. asheville Zipline Canopy adventures is based near downtown, while navitat Canopy adventures is in nearby Barnardsville, and adventure america Zipline Canopy Tours is in Bryson City.

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Savor the




he farm-to-table movement that helped Asheville earn its status as a “Foodtopia” continues to grow as more restaurants, grocery stores and farmers markets offer meats, vegetables, fruits and other foods that were locally grown and produced. This expansion of farm-fresh food has been embraced by residents and visitors who receive the benefit of eating the freshest foods they can find, while also helping the local economy. Purchases of such locally produced items as trout caviar, hand-picked blueberries, heirloom apples, and artisan breads and cheeses support both the establishment where the transaction occurs and the farms located on the outskirts of town.

matthew panza picks peppers at asheville’s Gladheart farms, which sells their organic vegetables to local restaurants and farmers markets.

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More resources is an online directory to farmers, farmers markets, CSAs, restaurants and more in Western North Carolina and the Southern Appalachians. Visitors can plan and map local food and farm visits. helps the community connect and includes farmers market updates, recipes and more. The general organizational website is, and the Growing Minds Farm to School site is

diners at early Girl eatery on Wall street

ASAP Yes, this Southern community has joined together in a commitment to buy local whenever possible, an allegiance made stronger by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. The organization is devoted to honoring farming traditions while nurturing the area’s agricultural future. For example, farm partners in ASAP’s Appalachian Grown certification program proudly display the logo alerting customers they support the area’s culture, land and economy. “In Asheville, locals and visitors alike seek out Appalachian Grown businesses to support, make weekly visits to their neighborhood tailgate market, purchase Community Supported Agriculture shares, and take opportunities to meet and interact with their farmers,” says Maggie Cramer, communications manager at ASAP. 10

“That means Ashevillians can put a face with their food. They can ask questions of farmers about their land and about their growing practices and methods, leading to a more transparent food system, one that strengthens the local economy, boosts farm profitability, increases sustainable production practices and improves individual and public health.” rESTAurANTS gO grEEN Restaurants all over the city are jumping on board with this concept, and ASAP even provides a guide for chefs with farm contacts and information about local products they can purchase. “Green restaurants that source ingredients from local farms are supplying their customers with the freshest food possible,” Cramer says. “They’re also giving diners the opportunity to eat with the seasons and experience the unique flavors of our area.”

For example, take Plant, a vegan restaurant, where the menu revolves around made-fromscratch food using only ingredients “from the earth,” that are seasonal, local and organic (don’t miss the raw enchilada!). Or The Market Place, a downtown restaurant specializing in handcrafted cuisine made from organic ingredients sourced within a 100-mile radius of Asheville. Or Early Girl Eatery, which buys from 20 local farms, 10 local distributors (everything down to water and salt) and two local markets. The list goes on and on. “Asheville restaurants are also using renewable energy, recyclable and compostable materials, recycling their cooking oils, and much more,” Cramer adds. BEyOND ThE TABlE Additionally, area restaurants are supportive of the Growing Minds Farm to School Program,

people eat lunch in the dining room at laurey’s Gourmet Comfort Food.

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Chefs work in the kitchen at Plant, which is a vegan restaurant in asheville.



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More FarM-to-Fork eateries table offers “market-driven seasonal new american” fare on handmade maple tabletops. the chef at lexington avenue brewery raises his own beef nearby. sunny Point CaFé serves comfort food made with local ingredients and even has an on-site garden.

Corner Kitchen in biltmore village

West Asheville Tailgate Market
the West asheville Tailgate Market offers fresh produce, baked goods, pastries, coffee, tea, honey, jams and preserves, and other items. the market also sells meats including bison, beef, pork, lamb, chicken and fish.



where they visit classrooms and teach children how to cook with fresh local food, develop school gardens, host farm field trips and get local food onto cafeteria menus, Cramer says. One such restaurant is Laurey’s Gourmet Comfort Food, a full-service catering company in downtown Asheville and one of the Appalachian Grown partner restaurants. Not only is a lot of Laurey’s menu sourced seasonally from local farms, but its chefs also make regular trips across the street to the weekly tailgate market. In addition, Laurey’s hosts local dinners and events where diners can meet their farmers and connect with the source of their food. Laurey’s sources many of its vegetables from another AG partner, Gladheart Farms, a certified organic vegetable farm using biofuel to power its greenhouse and farm equipment. Bottom line: “Visitors will notice solar panels and innovations in waste reduction, but what they’ll remember is the food,” says Dodie Stephens, senior communications manager at the Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Menus here are inspired by what’s local, organic and in-season; our chefs forage, they farm and they even keep their own bees. No matter how creative or lofty the menu, respect for the land and mountain food traditions is a common thread in Asheville restaurants.” by Kate Parham by staff photographer Brian McCord


Savor the




Matthew Panza picks peppers at Asheville’s Gladheart Farms, which sells their organic vegetables local restaurants to farmers markets. and




he farm-to-t able moveme its status as nt a “Foodtopia” that helped Asheville earn restaura continues to grow as meats, vegetabl nts, grocery stores and farmers marketsmore and produced es, fruits and other foods offer . that embraced by This expansion of farm-fres were locally grown residents and h food has been eating the freshest visitors foods they can who receive the benefit local economy of find, while also . Purchases helping caviar, hand-pic of such locally produced items the ked blueberr breads and as trout cheeses support ies, heirloom apples, transaction both the establish and artisan occurs and ment where the farms located on the outskirts the of town.


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Eating Asheville

the City’s foodtopia reputation is shoWCased in area restaurants There’s no shortage of things to eat (and drink!) in Asheville, the city dubbed Foodtopia. The area is home to more than 250 independent restaurants, 16 annual food festivals (plus five annual beer festivals), 13 farmers markets and nearly a dozen microbreweries. By Kate Parham
Ethnic Food

For something ethnic, try Asheville’s international restaurants such as Nine mile, a Jamaican restaurant in the Montford Historic District. Or stop by mr. Frog’s Soul & Creole, the newest home of award-winning chef Vijay Shastri. The restaurant, located in the neighborhood known as The Block, dishes out contemporary African-inspired Southern soul food. Nightlife Hot Spots

For one of the best views of downtown Asheville, check out Sazerac, famous for its craft cocktails and small plates (think truffled parmesan popcorn). Overlooking Pack Square Park in a historic building is Pack’s Tavern, which offers pub food at its finest. Restaurants and Gourmet Shops

Embark on the walking food tour Eating Asheville, which leads you through half a dozen of the finest and most delicious sights and tastes the city has to offer, from places like Table and Cucina 24 to Chai Pani and Strada.

SAlSA’S “Do not miss if you’re in Asheville. Drive out of the way if you’re passing nearby. Plan to visit if you’re not going to be anywhere close. Just don’t avoid eating here. The food here has this amazing quality of making me want to cry it’s so good.”

Environmentally-Conscious Eats

To kick it up a notch, make your way to Corner kitchen, where none other than President Obama and the First Lady dined when they came through Asheville. The farmto-table restaurant is one of the longest standing sustainable restaurants in the city; it’s right in the Historic Biltmore Village. Don’t miss the pecan crusted mountain trout. In keeping with sustainability, be sure to stop in at green Sage, one of Asheville’s first green restaurants – solar panels and composting are just two of the many ways this downtown café keeps things eco-friendly. Be sure to B.Y.O.Mug. Check out more fun places to eat in asheville at

Coffee Break

asheville has long been famous for biltmore, its gorgeous scenery and craft-breweries, but coffee is a new game for the city. head to dynamite Roasting Co., a roaster in black mountain, where coffee is served up alongside crocheted checkerboards and record players. you can also find its coffee in the valdez stout from Pisgah Brewing Co., not to mention in ice cream flavors around town.



Eating In

WhaT’s COOKinG
summer slaW With Creamy Jalapeno-Citrus dressinG
Convenient access to approximately a dozen regional farmers markets means Asheville area chefs can easily make any dish “local” with fresh, grown-at-home ingredients. Visit for a list of popular markets and swing by one to gather supplies for this refreshing salad.
inGredients Creamy Jalapeno-Citrus dressinG

• 3 cups greens, such as kale, spinach, collard greens and/or Romaine lettuce • 1 red pepper, julienned • 1 green pepper, julienned • 3 carrots, julienned • 2 fresh beets, julienned • 2 fresh radishes, julienned • 2 green onions, sliced thin

• ½ cup jalapeno orange jam (or marmalade mixed with red pepper flakes) • ½ cup buttermilk • ½ cup light mayonnaise • ½ cup sour cream • ¼ cup red wine vinegar or lemon juice • sugar, salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix dressing ingredients together and chill. 2. Meanwhile, clean and rinse fresh veggies and julienne. To slice greens, roll up lengthwise and slice chiffonade style. 3. Mix with dressing. Serve chilled.
Recipe courtesy of Prep Time: 10 minutes


Engaging Ashevillians

residents and visitors enJoy musiC, art, museums and more With art-focused festivals, musical events, a variety of fun attractions and much more, Asheville is home to a diverse, well-rounded cultural scene. By Jessica Mozo and Jessica Walker


Tour the city with ash eville historic Trolley Tours or Gray line Trolley Tours of ashevile.

A Little Bit of Everything

Shopping in Asheville is anything but ordinary, thanks to unusual shopping destinations such as the grove Arcade. Built in 1929 and recently restored, the Grove Arcade is a 269,000-square-foot public marketplace that houses locally owned restaurants and specialty stores. Other cultural destinations include: The grove Park inn, Biltmore, the North Carolina Arboretum and Chimney rock. Festivals

ENjOy muSiC, ArT, FOOD
lake Eden Arts Festival, commonly known as LEAF, takes place in nearby Black Mountain. The event features live musical performances and includes original artwork created by more than 50 artisans, as well as gourmet food, a poetry slam and other offerings. Another fun festival is All go west, a free, one-day event held in West Asheville in front of Harvest Records. Attendees enjoy performances from bands as well as beer and barbecue tastings, a fashion show, exhibits and more.

asheville embraces just about every kind of music, whether it’s rock, jazz or bluegrass, and all you have to do to experience the city’s diverse musical menu is spend an evening club-hopping. The Orange Peel and Jack of the Wood in the city’s downtown area and The Grey eagle near the french broad river in West ashveville are great places to start. there’s also plenty of music to be heard outdoors from spring through fall at community celebrations such as shindig on the Green, downtown after Five and Goombay Festival.

Music venues, Events



on Location: The Hunger Games

FAmOuS Film DrAwS TOuriSTS
Asheville and the surrounding areas have set the stage for several films including one of the most popular movies of 2012: The Hunger Games. Tourism dollars have come to the state as fans clamor to visit locations where filming took place. A Hunger Games itinerary is available on The tour includes stops at the cast’s favorite restaurants and the hotels where they stayed, while nearby cities showcase the places where important scenes were filmed such as “The Reaping.” A variety of additional movies have been filmed in the region including Dirty Dancing, Hannibal, Cold Mountain and Patch Adams.

photo Courtesy of murray Close

“Very cool and hip use of the old Woolworth’s space. Love the open concept that allows you to walk around and see a number of artists’ work and then purchase with a convenient check-out. Also really enjoyed the soda counter luscious grilled cheese sandwiches, old school cokes and egg creams!”


the 434-acre public garden has access to hiking and biking trails along with numerous individual gardens – including a bonsai collection. north Carolina arboretum is southwest of asheville near the blue ridge parkway and is open daily except for Christmas.

North Carolina Arboretum

Beautiful on the outside
outdoor enJoyment options are numerous There’s plenty of room to roam in Asheville. Outside Magazine called it one of the best cities in America for outdoor recreation.
Greenways outside-the-Box Recreation

outdoor Fun

With three public courses within Asheville and many more just a short drive away, there is no shortage of great places to play golf. The golf Course at the grove Park inn, Asheville municipal golf Course, and Crowne Plaza resort are all open to the public. Private courses in the community are Biltmore Forest Country Club and The Cliffs at walnut Cove. high Carolina golf Course is slated to open in early 2013.

Buncombe County greenways and trails are designated for bicycling, walking and jogging along corridors that safely connect to natural areas, parks, cultural attractions, neighborhoods, schools, community destinations and commercial areas.

Asheville is located near several ski resorts. Among the closest is the Cataloochee Ski Area, just 30 minutes away. Asheville Adventure rentals offers a variety of boats and camping gear for river trips and extended hikes. Meanwhile, hot-air balloon tours are provided by Asheville hot Air Balloons llC. Baseball Team

Carrier Park offers a bicycle velodrome, roller hockey rink and lawn bowling court. Other interesting features among Asheville parks include a shuffleboard court at harvest house Center, disc golf at richmond hill Park, a climbing wall at the montford Complex, and dog parks at Azalea and French Broad river parks. Don’t forget to visit mount mitchell State Park – it features the highest peak east of the Mississippi River.

FrENCh BrOAD rivEr
French Broad river greenway links three of Asheville’s parks: Hominy Creek, Carrier and French Broad River. The two-mile asphalt trail follows the river, coursing through a wooded strip of land, through the parks and among some residential and light commercial sites.

ThE AShEvillE TOuriSTS
The Asheville Tourists, a Class A farm team for the Colorado Rockies, plays home games at mcCormick Field, which was renovated in 1992 and holds 4,000 people.

Check out more fun things to do in asheville at



outdoor adventure activities like whitewater rafting, kayaking and canoeing are popular in asheville, and the area includes four Class v rapids along with hundreds of Class ii-iv stretches on multiple rivers in the area. those looking for lighter water fare can fish in the many rivers and lakes or visit sliding Rock, a natural water slide on a 60-foot slab of well-worn rock. speaking of rocks, climbers come to the region for its many mountain rock faces, most notably looking Glass Rock, the most popular climbing spot in north Carolina.

Adventure Activities

Montford Tailgate Market

Customers buy produce from vendors at the Montford Tailgate Market in asheville. the market, which is held every Wednesday, is hosted by the asheville area Chamber of Commerce in the visitor Center parking lot. see more photos that showcase asheville’s unique offerings at



Schools, health care, education and neighborhoods in Asheville

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hen Men’s Journal named West Asheville one of the best neighborhoods in the Southeast back in 2009, locals feared that an influx of new people would wreck the area’s funky charm. Happily, that hasn’t been the case, and the unique vibe that sets West Asheville apart is still very much in evidence.
NO CArS NEEDED FOr rESiDENTS The area is known for its small, unique Craftsman-style homes, many of which include large, well-tended yards and gardens. The main thoroughfare of Haywood Road is dotted with restaurants, galleries and more, all walkable from the residential streets that intersect it. Walkability and charm were the draws for io design & illustration’s Hugh Munro, who has been living and working in West Asheville for 10 years now. “It’s a real neighborhood,” Munro says. “You end up knowing all your neighbors and you can walk to parks, get to bike paths, all sorts of goodness. You can access pretty much everything you might need without having to drive.”



Sunny Point Café
sunday & monday 8:30am - 2:30pm tuesday - saturday 8:30am - 9pm

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an antique printing press is used to create wedding invitations at asheville Bookworks.

“It’s a real neighborhood. You end up knowing all your neighbors and you can walk to parks, get to bike paths, all sorts of goodness.

wEST AShEvillE SCENE ThrivES West Asheville has also proven to be fertile ground for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Flora is a full service floral boutique that creates arrangements for weddings and special events. Asheville Bookworks offers classes, workshops and studio space for artists working on print and books. Over at the Sunny Point Café, the patio has expanded to become an all-season gathering spot for locals who want to pick up breakfast,

lunch or dinner, as well as just hang out and people-watch. At Nona Mia Ritrovo, what Chef Peter Affatato calls “ItalianAmerican soul food” dominates the menu, including everything from pizza and sandwiches to Nona’s Penne with Sunday Gravy, along with weekly specials. Second Gear is a consignment shop specializing in outdoor equipment and clothing, including bikes, backpacks, tents and snowboards. A private, independent and alternative educational program



is offered at Rainbow Mountain Children’s School. Lastly, there’s Burgermeister’s, which serves up the American classic in both meaty and meatless versions, as well as soups, salads and more. The awards keep coming, so something’s definitely being done right. Even as new businesses take root here, the locals work to ensure that the small-community feel doesn’t ever go away. That’s something that’s unique to West Asheville, Munro says, and part of why he’s pleased to have made a home here. “It’s very popular, and people come here a lot, especially on the weekends,” he says. “But the area has that small feel to it, probably because we have small houses. There are certainly no mansions in West Asheville! It has been great to be in a community and see it grow and succeed, but also stay just like it is.” by Joe Morris by staff photographer Brian McCord

melissa metz works in the garden at sunny Point Cafe, located in West asheville, nC.


GROve aRCade lOCaTiOn
107 o’henry avenue, asheville, nC 28801

daily, 9am to 6pm

(828) 252-7799



isitors to Asheville find both excitement and relaxation in the city’s many indoor and outdoor recreational and cultural activities. In fact, many people who came here on vacation now call themselves residents, lured by the city’s appeal to those who see things a little differently.
The creative vibe is in full display throughout Asheville, where companies of all sizes thrive in an atmosphere of can-do entrepreneurship. That’s definitely the case at integritive inc., a Web marketing and design firm which was set up by John Miles in 2001 after he himself had fallen for Asheville’s charms. “It really came out of the need to provide service in this region that wasn’t being provided, as well as create a job for myself and some other people,” Miles says. “I saw that a marketing and design firm with a creative culture is
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mountain made, an art gallery, features pottery, paintings and more.

the grove arcade in downtown asheville houses various shops and galleries including mountain made and Battery Park Book exchange.

bonnie hollingsworth shops in Jazzy Giraffe at Grove arcade in downtown asheville.

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vendors sell merchandise outside of the Grove arcade in downtown asheville.

something that could be built here. I also found this to be a city where a guy in his late 20s could build a business like that, which I don’t think would be true in a city like Baltimore or Atlanta or Charlotte.” Miles found himself in Asheville for the first time about a dozen years ago, visiting family between rock-climbing stints in Europe and the western United States and Mexico. He realized that “there was plenty of climbing to be had here,” and quickly succumbed to the region’s charms. “It’s a great place to live and raise a family,” he says. “It’s an urban center with a lot of creativity, and livability is on people’s minds. This is a place where, if it’s snowing outside, people are expected to wrap up work and go snowboarding.”

CulTurAl ACTiviTiES ABOuND iN AShEvillE Indeed, this is a town that thrives on sports and recreation, but indoor culture as well. The Asheville Art Museum holds pride of place for the city’s arts aficionados, offering up a roster of exhibitions and public programs along with its permanent collection of 20th- and 21st-century art and works which highlight western North Carolina’s rich artistic heritage. On a slightly bigger scale, there’s the Grove Arcade, a downtown commerce center that has been a hub for small shops and services since opening in 1929. After serving various functions over the years, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic

John miles, Ceo of integritive

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Asheville Art Museum (2012); (Shown in foreground: Robyn Horn, Curled Around (Slipping Stone Series), 2002, bocote wood. Gift of Robyn and John Horn. Asheville Art Museum Collection, 2011.19.29.32.)

Read more about Asheville’s art scene at

Places and now features shops, restaurants, offices and 42 luxury apartments. And in addition to a deep bench of local entertainment options, large-scale concerts and other activities find a showcase at the U.S. Cellular Center, which recently underwent renovations to its banquet hall, seats and concession areas, as well as upgrades to the concourse and the addition of a new, pre-function space. In short, finding a work-life balance in Asheville is a challenge, but it’s definitely possible. “Most businesses here really don’t encourage the 80-hour workweek,” Miles notes. “Everyone here wants to do good work, but they also want to live. We have a growing number of socially responsible entrepreneurs who work to build their businesses, but also work to build the town that we all live in.”  by Joe Morris  by staff photographer Brian McCord

Asheville Art Museum (2012); Cycle: Hoss Haley, 2012, recycled and enameled steel, (main formation shown) 147 x 74 x 75 inches. Installation sponsored by the Windgate Charitable Foundation. Artworks Project Space, Asheville Art Museum Collection, 2012.02.33.

Named one of 15 Destinations on the Rise by



u.s. Cellular Center in downtown asheville

“It’s a great place to live and raise a family. It’s an urban center with a lot of creativity, and livability is on people’s minds.”

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liviNg: HEALTH

To your Health

more healthCare serviCes mean more ChoiCes for asheville families Healing and Asheville have long gone hand in hand. From state-of-the-art cancer therapies to tech-savvy hospitals, Western North Carolina is a destination for health. By Melanie Kilgore-Hill
Specialized Care Pediatrics

Asheville families turn to CarePartners health Services for all types of illness, injury or in-home care. Staffed by 1,000-plus dedicated health experts, CarePartners is a private, 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation providing home health, private nursing, adult day services, orthotics and prosthetics, and the CarePartners Rehabilitation Hospital, an 80-bed regional referral center in Asheville. Hospital

Just a block from Mission Hospital, All kids Pediatrics treats Asheville’s youngest residents with comprehensive, specialized care. Staffed by four board-certified pediatricians and an experienced nursing team, All Kids Pediatrics welcomes patients six days a week and offers a walk-in sick clinic every weekday morning and on Saturdays. optometry

Asheville’s mission hospital is a regional referral center for western North Carolina. Licensed for more than 800 beds, Mission Hospital boasts 500-plus physicians in more than 50 specialties including neurosciences, weight management and cardiac care. In 2011, the hospital celebrated the opening of the SECu Cancer Center, a freestanding, state-of-the art facility located on Mission’s 90-acre campus. The five-story, $59 million building is designed for convenience and a healing atmosphere, with its own 350-space parking deck that links directly to services by level. The center is the region’s only Cyberknife radiosurgery facility and houses Mission’s integrative health Care department, which offers cancer therapies including acupuncture, healing touch, massage, pet therapy, art therapy, tai chi and yoga.

Located in downtown Asheville, Envision Eyecare was rated No. 1 in the Best of Western North Carolina reader reviews for 2011. And it’s no wonder. The locally owned practice offers much more than eye exams and eyewear. Topnotch service and complimentary gourmet coffee make Envision Eyecare a hands-down favorite among Asheville locals. Quick Care

Award-Winning Care

in 2011, Mission hospital was named by thomson reuters as one of the 57 best-performing systems in the u.s. based on 285 organizations analyzed.

Sisters of mercy urgent Care provides immediate help for non-life-threatening illnesses or injuries. Each year, the clinic treats more than 67,000 men, women and children, regardless of ability to pay. The Sisters of Mercy operate urgent Care clinics in South Asheville, West Asheville, Weaverville and Brevard, and can fill most urgent Care prescriptions on site.
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liviNg: HEALTH

Down-to-earth dentistry with an emphasis on compassionate, patient-centered care.
New Patients Are Always Welcome
HOURS Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Friday 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
Pictured L-R: Cassandre Joseph, DMD, ABGD Kevin T. Fox, DDS, PA and Barbara Ford, DDS

Russian and Spanish speaking team members
2 Iris St. • Asheville, NC 28803 (behind Biltmore Village)

(828) 252-2791



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Smart Approach

eduCation system remains stronG on all levels Asheville is home to excellent education opportunities including public schools, private institutions, and colleges and universities. In 2012, the Lenoir-Rhyne University Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville opened, offering residents another place to earn master’s degrees.
Public Schools

Asheville’s prize-winning public school districts are two of the many reasons why families choose to call the area home. The Asheville City Schools system has two high schools, one middle school, one alternative school, five elementary magnet schools and one preschool facility. Buncombe County Schools is the state’s 11th-largest school system and the largest district in Western North Carolina, serving more than 25,000 students. North Carolina New Schools Project

Both public school districts, ACS and BCS, are taking part in the North Carolina New Schools Project. The project’s purpose is to improve public high schools and implement more effective means of serving students. The districts are working to reduce the number of dropouts, increase graduation rates, and alleviate problems with both attendance and discipline. Higher Education

Options for higher education include the university of North Carolina at Asheville, AshevilleBuncombe Technical Community College, montreat College and warren wilson College. Warren Wilson students are required to work an on-campus job (which pays for part of their tuition), perform 100 hours of community service in four years, and complete a requisite curriculum of academic work to graduate.



Private Schools

Parents who prefer private education have plenty of options in Asheville. Among them are Asheville Catholic, Asheville Christian Academy, Emmanuel lutheran, Nazarene Christian and Odyssey Community schools. hanger hall is an all-girls middle school with an average class size of 12 students, while Christ School, a boarding school, educates approximately 245 boys in grades 8-12. Meanwhile, Carolina Day School has 660 students, with nearly 100 percent of its graduates advancing to college. Asheville School is the oldest private school in the region and hosts classes six days a week for approximately 270 students in grades 9-12. find out more about asheville’s schools at

Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville

lenoir-Rhyne university Center for Graduate studies of asheville opened in august 2012, using space in the building where the asheville area Chamber of Commerce is located. students at the asheville campus can earn master’s degrees in business administration, community college administration, counseling, nursing, public health, sustainability studies, teaching and writing.

AB Tech Community College Asheville City Schools Asheville Savings Bank

visit our

The AAA Diamond Rated Quality Inn & Suites Biltmore East is conveniently located just minutes from downtown Asheville and Biltmore® – America’s largest home and near the VA Hospital.
Free, Full, Hot Breakfast Buffet • Free Wireless Internet Access Free Business Center • Free Local Calls • Free Newspaper Free Cookies at Check In • Free Coffee and Tea Fitness Center • Seasonal Outdoor Pool and Gazebo Biltmore® Tickets Sold • Five Miles from Biltmore® Near Restaurant Row 1430 Tunnel Rd. • I-40, Exit 55 • Asheville, NC 28805 (828) 298-5519 • Toll-free: (877) 299-5519

Asheville School Bankers Insurance LLC BMW of Asheville Buncombe County Carolina Day School Christ School CoveStar Investment Realty Advisors Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community Four Seasons Fox Dental Associates Frontier Communications Givens Estates Retirement Community Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina Inc. Love Asheville Realty MAHEC OB/GYN Specialists Mission Hospital Parsec Financial Pisgah Valley Retirement Community Quality Inn & Suites The Farm – A Gathering Place



White Black Hispanic Other

COST OF liviNg

Median Household Income

Median Home Price

19 and under 20-54 55 and Over

Median Rent for a Two-Bedroom Apartment

January Average Low July Average High

Median Travel Time to Work



84° 76°

16 minutes
Closest Airport: Asheville Regional Airport

January Low National Low

July High

National High

10 miles


Highland Brewing Company

beer is bottled on the production line at highland Brewing Company in asheville. the city has won the “beer City usa” title conferred by readers of examiner. com for three years in a row. see more photos that showcase asheville’s unique offerings at nc/photos-video.



Info on Asheville’s top employers, jobs and success stories

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an asheville entrepreneur makes and sells african djembes (drums) and teaches drumming out of his skinny Beats drum shop & Gallery on eagle street.

Entrepreneurs Thrive

An Eclectic Business Blend
asheville’s business sCene stays eCleCtiC and oriGinal Asheville’s creative vibe is evident all around the city and that creativity spills over into the local business scene, which is rife with quirky entrepreneurs and unconventional small businesses.
off-the-Wall Businesses Major Employers

A slogan you’ll see on many bumper stickers in Asheville sums up the local business scene: Keep Asheville Weird. The entire community, and especially the downtown business district, is known for artistry and originality. Take, for example, a downtown store called jewels That Dance on Haywood Street. The shop designs jewelry with diamonds, platinum and precious stones and incorporates some interesting twists. It’s a popular stop for people looking for a one-of-a-kind engagement ring or birthstone. Over on Depot Street things have gone to the dogs. The Soapy Dog is Asheville’s first do-it-yourself dog wash. It was opened in 2003 by Roni Davis, who has expanded to include Sleep Dog, a boarding kennel and Artful Dog, a pet portraits studio. One of the most beloved bookstores in the city is Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe, which was founded in 1982 by Emoke B’Racz. The store carries best sellers and books by regional authors while the cafe serves treats from local bakeries and organic, fair-trade, locally roasted coffee.

Asheville enjoys a low unemployment rate and strong job growth, which are fueled by a stable population growth, a healthy housing market, robust small businesses, health-care industry growth and a steady tourism industry. Some of the city’s biggest employers include Buncombe County Public Schools, ingles markets inc., mission health System and hospital, the City of Asheville, The Biltmore Co. museums, The grove Park inn resort & Spa, and Buncombe County government. Business-Friendly Location

Asheville’s convenient location is attractive to businesses, with easy access to Interstates 26, 40 and 240. Asheville regional Airport is serviced by AirTran, American Airlines, Continental, united, uS Airways, Delta and Vision. It offers non-stop service to Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Houston, Minneapolis, Orlando, Tampa, New York City and Newark.



Business Spotlight
The Boggs ColleCTive
The mission at The Boggs Collective is to produce beautiful furniture to sell at its headquarters in Biltmore Village. The company fosters high levels of design and craftsmanship, plus integrates sustainability by purchasing logs and wood from local landowners.

Troy & sons DisTillers
The Asheville distillery produces a white whiskey that it proudly refers to as North Carolina mountain moonshine. Its corn-liquor recipe is hailed for taste and purity, and is an especially smooth whiskey with hints of vanilla.

Asheville CommuniTy yogA
This center offers classes that not only involve exercise, but also delve into yoga’s basic wisdoms of yama (ethics) and niyama (restraints). Students learn about the many aspects of yoga’s spirituality and philosophies.

mojo Coworking
The philosophy of Mojo Coworking is that independent professionals and those with workplace flexibility actually work better together than they do alone. As a result, co-working spaces in Asheville are open to the public, based around the ideas of collaboration, community, openness and accessibility.

BellAgio everyDAy
This clothing store sells versatile and innovative clothing, jewelry and accessories for the modern woman at work and on the go. A broad range of prices and sizes are available at the store in downtown Asheville.

Livingthe ground up. green starts from
Living green is making sure the air in your home is healthy for your family to breathe. Test your home for radon and build radon-resistant. It's easy. That's living healthy and green.

Just call 866-730-green or visit

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They Mean


kroger gift cards are fresh off the printer at plasticard-locktech international, the largest key card company in the world.



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Jupiter Road

Echoview Fiber Mill

Julie Jensen purchased echoview farm in Weaverville and established echoview Fiber Mill, which provides quality fiber processing. the mill is leed certified and features solar energy, geo-thermal wells and sustainable materials.

ulie Jensen grew up on a farm in Wisconsin before professional life took her to Washington, D.C. for 25 years. When she wanted another change, she returned to her farming roots by moving to the Asheville area where several of her friends resided. Jensen ultimately purchased Echoview Farm in Weaverville and established Echoview Fiber Mill in early 2012.
“I enjoy Asheville’s art and music scene, plus there is a strong local food movement, so it was easy to piggyback onto it with a local fiber idea I wanted to pursue,” Jensen says. “I enrolled in milling classes, and today Asheville area farmers sheer their sheep, goats, alpacas, llamas and rabbits, then bring the fleece to Echoview where eight full-time employees turn the fleece into yarn, felt and anything in between.” All production at Echoview occurs in a LEED-certified mill, with the processed fiber eventually sold to clothing manufacturers. “We utilize solar energy, geo-thermal wells and sustainable materials to produce our fiber,” Jensen says. “We run a good business and leave a light footprint on the Asheville environment.”
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interstate 26


an additional asheville success story is eagles nest Outfitters, which has specialized in distributing hammocks from its asheville headquarters since 2001. today it conducts sales through retailers nationwide as well as online. “We sell six different styles of hammocks and accompanying products such as pillows, underquilts and rain tarps,” says bobby Jackson, eno sales manager. “asheville is ideal for us because residents here enjoy the outdoors, which is what our products are all about.”

Quite an outfit

kEy CONTriBuTOr Echoview Fiber Mill is one of the newest companies experiencing success in the Asheville area, while numerous other businesses have long histories of achievement. One such company is PlasticardLocktech International, which

has been part of the community for more than 20 years. “We are the largest hotel key card manufacturer in the world, contracting with virtually every major corporate hotel chain,” says Mark Goldberg, PLI president/ CEO. “Another one of our growing markets is gift cards. We produce

cards for major corporations like Target, Barnes & Noble, Bass Pro Shops and Kroger.” PLI is currently undergoing a 30,000-square-foot expansion to its Asheville headquarters that will bring the size of its production facility to 100,000 square feet. “Asheville has the arts, nature,

Should I buy or should I lease?
Global Reach Local Knowledge
CoveStar turns the improbable into reality to help you find the answer by integrating extensive reach and local knowledge with personalized solutions to find space for growing business. 828.274.4009 • Asheville Region



new Belgium Brewing, who produces the popular fat tire amber ale, is constructing a 150,000-square-foot brewery in the river arts district. the company looked at dozens of locations in several cities before settling on asheville.

New Brewery

mountains and access to anything you need, plus is close in proximity to large cities such as Atlanta and Charlotte,” Goldberg says. “It was an easy decision for us to expand in Asheville, where we will add 40-50 positions over the next couple of years to bring our total workforce to 250 employees.” rAiSE yOur glASS Another established business that has decided to expand into Asheville is Colorado-based New Belgium Brewing, which will construct a 150,000-square-foot brewery that will open in 2015 in the River Arts District. “We chose Asheville because it is ideally situated for distribution along the East Coast, and our company’s philosophy reflects the Asheville scene,” says Bryan Simpson, New Belgium Brewing media relations director. “The brewery will initially create 50 new jobs. New Belgium produces nine beers, including our popular Fat Tire Amber Ale, Sunshine Wheat and Ranger IPA.” by Kevin Litwin by staff photographer Brian McCord




ulie Jensen grew up on a farm in Wiscons professional life took her in before years. When to Washing ton, D.C. for she wanted to her farming 25 another several of her roots by moving to the change, she returned Ashevill friends resided. Echoview Farm Jensen ultimate e area where in Weaverv Fiber Mill in ille and establish ly purchased early 2012. ed Echoview
Kroger gift cards at Plasticard-L are fresh off the printer ocktech Internationa largest key l, the card company in the world.


Mill Julie Jensen purchased Echoview established Farm in Weaverville Echoview Fiber Mill, fiber processing. and which provides The mill is quality solar energy, LEED certified geo-therma and features l wells and sustainable materials.

Echoview Fiber




“I enjoy Asheville’s art and music plus there is scene, a so it was easy strong local food movement, into yarn, felt and to All production anything in between.” local fiber idea piggyback onto it with at a says. “I enrolledI wanted to pursue,” Jensen LEED-certified mill, Echoview occurs in a with the processed eventually sold today Asheville in milling classes, and fiber to area farmers “We utilize clothing manufacturers. sheep, goats, solar energy, alpacas, llamas sheer their wells and sustainable geo-therma then bring and rabbits, l the materials to our fiber,” Jensen eight full-time fleece to Echoview where produce says. “We employees business and turn the fleece leave a light run a good Asheville environmen footprint on the t.”
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Intersta te 26


Jupiter Road






s Hill







DigiTAl mAgAziNE
Read it online or on your tablet and quickly share articles with friends.
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Ad Index
37 AB Tech communiTy college 13 Asheville ciTy schools 47 Asheville sAvings BAnk c4 Asheville school 15 BAnkers insurAnce llc 46 BmW of Asheville 19 BuncomBe counTy 25 cArolinA DAy school 3 chrisT school 46 covesTAr invesTmenT reAlTy ADvisors 17 DeerfielD episcopAl reTiremenT communiTy 35 four seAsons 34 fox DenTAl AssociATes c3 fronTier communicATions 35 givens esTATes reTiremenT communiTy 31 gooDWill inDusTries of norThWesT norTh cArolinA inc. 39 love Asheville reAlTy 34 mAhec oB/gyn speciAlisTs 32 mission hospiTAl 43 pArsec finAnciAl 3 pisgAh vAlley reTiremenT communiTy 38 QuAliTy inn & suiTes 48 The fArm – A gAThering plAce


Connect, Engage, Thrive
Asheville is a place where quality of life is key and people are committed to making the area a great place to live, work and do business. “Many businesses are focused not only on their own prosperity but also on the well-being of the community at-large,” said Amy Jackson, the Chamber’s director of engagement. Over the past year, the Chamber has introduced a new branding campaign that captures

CampaiGn helps members make an impaCt and suCCeed
that mentality and encompasses the goals of its members: Connect. Engage. Impact. Thrive. “Often the first word that comes to mind regarding the Chamber is ‘connect,’” said Erin Leonard, the Chamber’s director of communications. “We encourage businesses to connect with the Chamber and with one another. The Chamber also connects locals and visitors to businesses and resources.” Ongoing events offer numerous opportunities for local businesses and professionals to connect. The Chamber’s Web site,, features a searchable member directory, area statistics and visitor and relocation information. “The word ‘engage’ comes into play because it isn’t enough just to connect,” said Jackson. “We want members to create meaningful interactions and to develop mutually beneficial relationships.” Making an impact on the business environment is also important for the Chamber and its members. The Chamber serves as a collective voice for local businesses and advocates for governance that helps make Asheville a great place to do business. In addition to fostering prosperity for members, economic development activities support new business growth and expansion of existing businesses with a focus on the strengths and assets of Asheville including its diversity and quality of life. All of that leads to the last point of the brand – Thrive. “All of our work stems from the mission of building community through business,” said Leonard. “Ultimately, we want our members and our community to thrive.” by Kevin Litwin
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City Sales and use Tax

County Sales Tax

High School Graduate Associate Degree Bachelor’s Degree Master’s Degree

State Sales Tax

$100,000+ $30,000-99,999 $29,999 and under

Total Sales Tax


Buncombe County Public Schools, Ingles Markets Inc. City of Asheville, The Biltmore Company Museums, Buncombe County Government BorgWarner Turbo & Emissions Systems, CarePartners Nursing & Residential Care Facilities


Annual Retail Sales


Annual Hotel and Food Sales

1,0002,999 750999

Total Number of Firms