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Franklin aldermen vote no to hospice grant

Hospice House of WNC suffered a setback last week when the Franklin Board of Aldermen made a split decision not to support the organization’s application for a $100,000 Department of Commerce grant. 

“It’s a worthy cause. That was not the question,” said Verlin Curtis, vice-mayor. “The problem was it looked like that their raising the money and being able to complete the project on time was not going to happen.”

Changes on table for TDA grant funding

People seeking funds from the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority spend hours filling out grant applications, and all the tourism agency gets for the applicant’s trouble is paper skyscrapers.

State grant bridges the gap for Jackson greenway

Jackson County will begin building the first leg of a long-awaited greenway along the Tuckasegee River this summer.

Lots of winners in festival grants

The Haywood County Tourism Development Authority will hand out a bevy of grants for festivals and niche tourism projects throughout the county this year — most of them old standards but a few new events.

Folkmoot back in the tourism grant fold

fr folkmootThe Haywood County Tourism Development Authority will restore annual grant funding for Folkmoot USA, reversing a move last year to cut off the highly popular international folk dance festival. 

Swain lands state grant for riverside pocket park in Bryson

Plans for a riverfront park behind the historic courthouse in Bryson City got a boost thanks to $150,000 from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund.

Business community lends a hand with start-up grants

Two businesses — Copper Pot and Wooden Spoon, and Belle on Main Salon and Spa — came out winners during the Haywood Chamber of Commerce’s seventh annual Business Start-up Competition this year.

Thirteen entrepreneurs contended for the $10,000 prize purse this year. The competition is judged by a four-person panel of representatives from the economic development and financial sectors in the county. The field is then narrowed to two before a winner is announced. However, this year, both finalists were named victors, splitting the money in half.

“Both have a great deal of passion. They have a passion that they eat, breathe and sleep,” said Charles Umberger, chairman of the Chamber’s Business and Economic Development Committee and president and CEO of Old Town Bank.

Contestants had to submit a detailed business plan describing their concept, current progress and future goals. While the winning businesses get a tangible boost in their start-up venture, one virtue of the competition is simply encouraging entrepreneurs to formulate a business plan, so even those who don’t win are still better off for going through the process.

The winning submissions had “lots of good things,” Umberger said.

Small businesses account for millions and millions of new jobs in the U.S. every year. That is why the chamber and other sponsors continue to reward quality small business ideas annually, Umberger said.

“Small business matters in the United States. It matters big time,” Umberger said.

A key pillar of economic development is to promote the start-up and expansion of local and small businesses in Haywood County.

“I have never been anywhere as entrepreneur-friendly as Haywood County,” said Ken Flynt, a longtime banking executive, finance professor at Western Carolina University and Chamber board member. “This really is a great place for entrepreneurs.”

In addition to the chamber, other competition sponsors include BB&T, Old Town Bank, Evergreen Packaging, Haywood Vocational Opportunities, Beverly Hanks, Clark & Leatherwood, Northwestern Mutual, Smoky Mountain Development, Haywood County Economic Development Commission, the Western Carolina University College of Business, Haywood Advancement Foundation, Aermor and Haywood Community College’s Small Business Center.


Artisan foods, salon take prize for best business plan

The winners of this year’s Haywood County Chamber of Commerce Business Start-up Competition represent the two sides of business — goods and service.

One provides a valued service to consumers, while the other sells quality products. Each received $5,000 for winning the contest for entrepreneurs with the promise of creating jobs this year.

Belle on Main Salon and Spa

Belle on Main Salon and Spa opened less than a month ago on South Main Street in Waynesville. The business is a full-service salon and owned by Joey Del Bosque, who previously worked solely as a masseur.

“I’ve been self-employed for a very longtime, and this was an opportunity to branch out,” Del Bosque said.

Del Bosque is a certified massage therapist with 16 years experience and received his certification in cosmetic arts from Haywood Community College. He also holds a business and accounting degree and worked as an accountant for 10 years.

The salon is “ clean, bright, new, modern,” said Charles Umberger, the president of Old Town Bank who announced the winners on behalf of the chamber at a luncheon last week. The business plan was impressive because it exhibited Del Bosque’s money management background, with goals, projections and budgets, Umberger said.

The salon has been a dream for Del Bosque for a while, and he was able to reach out to others for help.

“By God, he pulled it off,” Umberger said. “Through family, friends and angels, he got some start-up financing.”

Del Bosque will use the money from the competition to advertise his new business, helping to ensure its success.

“(The money) means an opportunity to launch our name,” Del Bosque said.

Copper Pot and Wooden Spoon

The second time’s a charm for Copper Pot and Wooden Spoon. After entering the competition last year, the owners, a pair of sisters-in-law, decided to try again and took home half of this year’s $10,000 prize.

Dayna Stubee and Jessica DeMarco started the venture about a year ago and are the sole employees. The business makes and sells jams, pickles and other artisan foods using ingredients from six local farms.

“It is something we have always done as a family thing,” DeMarco said. Both women have degrees in culinary arts.

The business has no storefront currently, but they sell their goods at the Historic Waynesville Farmers Market and on Etsy.com. With the money, the pair plans to hire a part-time employee and expand their production.

Part of the reason they were chosen was because of their focus on handcrafted items and local sustainability, Umberger said.

HCC gets $2 million grant to re-train workers

Two million dollars in grant money is coming to Haywood Community College for laid-off workers to find a new place in the workforce.

The money is part of a grant from the Department of Labor that’s been handed out across the state. HCC got the funding by going in with nine other community colleges to try for money from the advanced workforce training pot.

“As one of 10 community colleges in the NC Advanced Manufacturing Alliance, HCC will participate in the creation of a new learning model to place the unemployed, dislocated workers and others in viable advanced manufacturing jobs,” said HCC President Rose Johnson in a statement.

The funding is geared towards training in advanced manufacturing, giving the unemployed an avenue into the more skilled sectors of manufacturing.

Schools in the alliance will share a total of $18.8 million over a three-year period.

Local and regional manufacturing outfits such as Sonoco Products, Consolidated Metco and West CATV Supplies are also a part of the project, along with Workforce Development Boards and JobLink centers across the state.

In total, the money will help unemployed workers in 17 counties, including Haywood and Buncombe, where A-B Tech also got a cut of the grant, though its share was much smaller at $357,645.

Across the country, only 32 community colleges were awarded funds from the $500 million grant allocation, though 200 applied.

A large component of the programs funded by the grant will obviously be designed to retrain low-skill workers, but the colleges will also be working with the industries these students are likely to end up in, assessing their needs and tailoring the programs to meet them. Online learning will also be given a boost by the money.

Elsewhere in the state, Robeson, Beaufort County, Craven, Fayetteville, Nash, Edgecombe, Davidson County and Surry community colleges are a part of the alliance that won the funds.

Officials at HCC said it was a bit too early to announce with certainty exactly what the influx of cash will fund; the awards were only handed out last week.

But a committee was scheduled to meet over the weekend to discuss just where the money should go.

There are, however, restrictions on what can be done with it. The federal grant can only be used to retrain workers and improve their skills, not for other college projects like building repairs.

Fund for Haywood County announces $16,000 in grants for recession relief

The Fund for Haywood County recently handed out $16,000 in grants to county nonprofits providing services for recession relief.

The Fund for Haywood County, an affiliate of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, was established in 1994 by a group of local residents as a permanent endowment and resource for charitable efforts that benefit Haywood County.

The grantees are:

• The Community Kitchen — $2,600 to support a food ministry that provides hot, nutritious meals and food boxes to poor and struggling individuals in Canton.

• Crabtree, Iron Duff, Hyder Mountain Community Development Club — $1,400 toward emergency assistance with heating and utilities to keep residents safe and warm in their homes despite economic hardship.

• Fines Creek Community Association — $2,000 to purchase a freezer, increasing storage for the distribution of nutritious foods through the federal Emergency Food and Assistance Program, especially for seniors and mothers with children in this rural community in Haywood County.

• Good Samaritan Clinic of Haywood County — $4,000 toward operating expenses including medical supplies, staffing and other necessary expenses to continue the free medical clinic serving uninsured adults.

• Long’s Chapel United Methodist Church — $2,000 toward the Open Door program that provides food and emergency assistance to families struggling with basic needs as a result of the recession in Haywood County.

• REACH of Haywood County, Inc. — $4,000 toward operating expenses of the emergency shelter providing housing to women and children displaced from their homes due to domestic violence

To help The Fund for Haywood County, donate online at www.cfwnc.org or by mail to The Fund for Haywood County, P.O. Box 627, Waynesville, NC, 28786. Contributions of any size are welcome and are tax-deductible. For more information, contact 828.734.6791.

Grants aim to preserve and promote Cherokee culture

Cherokee Preservation Foundation has awarded 29 grants totaling $3.6 million during its spring cycle.

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