Tourism Isn’t the Enemy

Part 2 Asheville City Councilman Vijay Kapoor, who plans to resign this summer and move to Philadelphia, spoke in-depth to Asheville Watchdog founders Sally Kestin and Steve Keeble about the pandemic and lean times ahead for city government, the controversy surrounding tourism and hotel development, and Mission Hospital. Q: Asheville’s economy is so heavily dependent… READ MORE >

Political Power in Asheville

Part 1 of 2 Asheville City Councilman Vijay Kapoor, who plans to resign this summer and move to Philadelphia, spoke in-depth to Asheville Watchdog founders Sally Kestin and Steve Keeble about who holds the power in local government, why the council isn’t serving the needs of many residents and what’s needed to prevent undue influence… READ MORE >

$5M TDA relief bill for small businesses helps hotels too

When the Rev. Tami Forte Logan learned that the Buncombe County Tourist Development Authority and allies won legislative approval to offer $5 million to small businesses crushed by the pandemic, she didn’t join the chorus of congratulations. “This bill is making sure that the hoteliers don’t fall, making sure that they will be OK,” said… READ MORE >

Pandemic Put Pause On Mission’s Troubles

The biggest health crisis in a lifetime hit Asheville shortly after the one-year anniversary of the biggest upheaval in local healthcare: the $1.5 billion sale of the nonprofit Mission Health System to HCA Healthcare, the nation’s largest for-profit hospital management chain. The transition from local nonprofit to profit-hungry behemoth has not gone smoothly, and not… READ MORE >

The Fear of Re-Opening: Small Business Owners Opt Out

Asheville retailers finally received approval to reopen Friday after seven weeks of forced closure, but some are choosing to remain closed. Their biggest fear: exposing themselves and their employees to the coronavirus. Patrons are advised to abide by social distancing, but wearing masks is not required under Buncombe’s order, and few downtown visitors appear to be… READ MORE >

Local Boutiques Struggle to Survive

While every small business is suffering due to the coronavirus lockdown, Asheville’s boutique apparel stores face their own financial and operational challenges.  In an industry that relies on foot traffic, they must adapt to remote operations to weather the state-mandated closure of their brick-and-mortar locations. The downtown area – the crown jewel of Asheville’s tourism… READ MORE >

Soaring Food Need

The main floor of Manna FoodBank’s warehouse in Asheville is a beehive of activity as scores of staff and volunteers pack, load and wrap food for distribution. Boxes, pallets, and forklifts still abound, but the vibe has changed. In her office, Manna CEO Hannah Randall shifts in her chair. The data points she sees on… READ MORE >