Waynesville is stepping up to the plate to solve a parking bottleneck in Hazelwood Village, with plans to double the size of the public parking lot and spiff up its curb appeal.
It was barely 11 a.m. and Hazelwood was hopping. The scent of freshly roasted coffee beans spilled out of Smoky Mountain Coffee Roasters. Two doors down, a pair of workmen on ladders balanced a sign for a new artist studio. Across the street, a pack of women with shopping bags on their elbows strolled out of Hazelwood Soap Company.
Recently released figures on the impact of tourism in Western North Carolina are encouraging. More visitors are spending more money, and that means new jobs and increased sales tax revenue.
But there’s even more relevant news for those of us who believe that tourism should be viewed as a long-term, viable industry for the region. A study conducted in Buncombe County found that successful tourism marketing leads to direct increases in more traditional manufacturing jobs. Those jobs are increasingly difficult to attract in this era of cheap overseas labor.
Marlowe Mager isn’t an economist by trade, but a little-known data set at his fingertips puts him on par with the nation’s best forecasters.
As a tourism expert in the Southeast, Dr. Steve Morse has been asked to judge competitions at festivals all over the region.
His hectic schedule doesn’t allow him to participate in all of them, but he recalls one event he couldn’t turn down — judging entries at the National Banana Pudding Festival in Hickman County, Tennessee.
Higher education in North Carolina got some good news with the release of an economic impact study last week, which put its collective economic impact during 2012-13 at $2 billion in the 11 western counties and $63.5 billion statewide.
It’s been a tough few years for the tiny town of Dillsboro. Ever since the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad moved its depot in 2008 to Bryson City, the town has seen rough times, reflected in the vacant storefronts of the many tourist-oriented business that have closed their doors since then.
Maggie Valley officials are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel after experiencing several tumultuous years.
Town officials took time to revel in their 2014 accomplishments while setting goals for 2015 during a recent retreat. While 2013 marked a tough year for the town with a divided board of aldermen, some big staff changes, unhappy residents and businesses and a struggling local economy, 2014 was far more productive.
June Tassillo loves real estate, but she never knew how exciting it could be until she worked her first all-or-nothing, one-day-only sales blitz for a comeback development.
• The quest for the perfect comp
• Macon’s reval: unplugged and uncensored
• What you really want to know when new property values arrive in the mail
• Meet Richard Lightner, the eagle eye of Macon’s reval
When the gates swung open the morning of the big day, in rushed a line of prospective buyers with every intention of snagging their dream lot before the day was out.
Each year an economic report card issued by the North Carolina Department of Commerce determines which counties will be given first dibs on state grant money — and each year no one seems satisfied with their grades.
Haywood’s status improved, for instance, but Economic Development Director Mark Clasby wasn’t rejoicing.