Melanee Lester has been sorting through a 4-inch-high stack of applications on her desk for the last couple of weeks, trying to get Mast General Store fully staffed for the long tourism season ahead.
It happens like clockwork every year. As the calendar creeps toward May, the roads get crowded, lines at the grocery store get longer, and the wait for a table on Friday night mounts. Right on cue, tourist season arrives, seemingly overnight.
• Hospitality help is hard to find
• Tourism’s future in the hands of frontline workers
• BRNHA tackles the $50,000 question of hospitality training
• Casino strategizes to keep good hires on board
It’s a conundrum the best minds in tourism have been trying to crack for decades.
Haywood County is the latest in steady wave of communities across the mountains to shed its long-standing political and cultural hang-ups over alcohol by allowing a countywide vote this fall on whether to legalize beer and wine sales in the county at large.
Google the name of almost any trailhead in Western North Carolina, and you’re likely to come up with pages of links to a plethora of online mentions and trail descriptions aimed at helping readers do just the hike you’re looking for.
Old Town Bank shareholders overwhelmingly approved the sale of the start-up bank headquartered in Waynesville last week, ending its nine-year run as a small independent local bank in light of the changing landscape facing financial institutions in the post-recession world.
An interesting anomaly played out in the mountains in the Presidential primary last week.
In an effort to bring together the artistic hearts and minds from around Western North Carolina, the “LEAD:Arts” summit was hosted last week by Western Carolina University in Cullowhee.
“The arts and artists are essential elements for a healthy community,” said moderator George Brown, dean of WCU’s College of Fine and Performing Arts. “Art improves the quality of life. Artists make good neighbors. This conference will go beyond discussion of the role of arts in the community. Western Carolina University and Western North Carolina will come together through art to take action and foster a better tomorrow for the region.”
It’s all about the song. That’s what the goal is for Joe Lasher Jr. At 19, the country singer has spent the better part of the last four years zigzagging around Western North Carolina and Southern Appalachia, stepping in front of the microphone in countless dive bars, restaurants, festivals and your backyard if the mood is right.
Hailing from Weaverville, Lasher proudly embraces his Southern roots, with a keen awareness of family and friends, that feeling of your place in the world amid those who know you best — around the bonfire, on the lake, in the backwoods and everywhere in-between.
Half a year after launching a program that makes breakfast and lunch free for every child in school, the financials are looking good for Jackson County Schools’ child nutrition program.