Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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More of what’s going around:

Virgola Italian Wine Bar is planning to open at Biltmore Station, in the same building as the newly relocated Pour Taproom. Along with the wine, Virgola will be a raw bar serving oysters, ceviche, charcuterie, and cheese plates. Virgola, a small franchise, started in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Renovations of the space at 2 Hendersonville Road, suite A4, are underway to create a space with a rustic/industrial feel. Owner Steve Klein hopes to open by May or June.

-Biltmore’s Human Resources Department is hosting four job fairs at Biltmore Career Center, located at 2 Hendersonville Rd., in Biltmore Village. Biltmore is looking to fill jobs in the following categories: lodging, food and beverage, security, guest relations, ticketing, retail, its outdoor adventure center and more, according to a press release. Here’s the schedule:

· Lodging: March 1, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
· Food & Beverage: March 6, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
· Outdoor Adventure Center, Security, Event Logistics Crew: March 8, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
· Guest Relations, Parking & Transportation, Retail, Ticketing and Winery: March 15, 1 – 5 p.m.

Interested candidates should complete an application prior to attending the event at, and should bring a résumé to assist in the interview process. A complete list of current openings on each of these teams is available at For more information, contact Biltmore Career Center, 828.225.6122 or [email protected].

-Noble Cider is holding a 12-ounce bottle release party from 3:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on March 9 at its taproom on Leicester Highway. The event includes live music from The Low Down Sires, food from the Appalachian Chic Food Truck and a photo booth.

-Asheville branding agency Kudzu Brands was recently selected to participate in Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Spring Cohort at Babson College in Boston, Mass., according to a press release. Here’s more:

Launched in 2009, the 10,000 Small Businesses Program is a $500 million initiative designed to help small-business owners increase revenue and create jobs in their respective markets.
Goldman Sachs offers the program on full scholarship to eligible small businesses. Participants are selected through a competitive application process that includes the submission of a business plan along with a demonstrated desire for growth. Other qualifications include being in operation for at least two years, having four or more employees and meeting minimum revenue requirements for the most recent fiscal year.

“We couldn’t be more excited to be chosen to participate in the 10,000 Small Businesses Program. We are in our 8th year of business and are ready to start making plans for the next decade. I am looking forward to everything this amazing program has to offer and being able to bring back what I learn to support the team at Kudzu, as well as other local businesses.” says Murphy Funkhouser Capps, Kudzu’s CEO and Chief Brand Strategist.

Kudzu Brands was founded in 2010 by husband and wife team Murphy and Kenny Capps. The business has grown from their living room to occupying two floors of a historic building in downtown Black Mountain, with a growing staff of 10 employees. Murphy serves as the company’s CEO and Chief Brand Strategist. Her background includes twenty years in corporate training, marketing, and management. Kenny oversaw the print and production side of the business until, due to a health issue, he stepped out of the company and Murphy took over ownership in 2015.

-Asheville School’s boys and girls swim teams took third place at the NCISAA State Championship meet on Feb. 20, according to a press release. While competing in Greensboro, N.C., the Blues earned three state championships and shattered seven school records.
Abby Kriegler won her second consecutive state championship in the 500 Free (4:57.22) (school record), Nathan Alleyne won the state championship in the 100 Free (48.58) (school record) and Joshua Wong won the state championship in the 100 Breast (58.57).

-The American Advertising Federation of Asheville (AAFA) celebrated the winners of the 2016-2017 American Advertising Awards during a Feb. 16 event at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville. Here’s more:

The American Advertising Awards, formerly known as the ADDYs, is among the most prestigious awards programs in the industry. In the local round, marketing and advertising companies from Western North Carolina competed against each other but also against industry standards. By that measure our local competitors did extremely well, taking home three gold and nine silver awards.

The team at Market Connections of Asheville brought home the most awards, including three Silver Awards for Special Event Material – Card, Invitation or Announcement, “Camp Carol” for Carol King & Associates; Logo Design for D.D. Bullwinkle’s & Moose Tracks” for D.D. Bullwinkle’s; and a Silver Award for Book Design with “Keystone Camp – 100th Anniversary.” Market Connections also took home the “Best of Show” Award for its social media campaign, “Drink It In” for the Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority advertising campaign.

Additional Gold Award winners include Real Digital Production’s Internet Commercial Campaign “Skyterra Video Marketing Campaign” for Skyterra Wellness Retreat and Weight Loss Spa, and Big Sushi for their Online/Interactive Social Media Campaign, “Exceptional Pets Wanted” for Mixed Pet Veterinary Hospital.

Maggie Valley based marketing agency, Creative Campfire, won two Silver Awards with their Internet Commercial, “HCC Professional Crafts Wood” for Haywood Community College; and for Logo Design, “Canton, NC Rebrand” for the Town of Canton. In addition, Fuse Media’s Public Service Online Firm, Video & Sound “Crispin ”won a Silver Award, and Earth Fare took home three Silver Awards for Print / Branded Content & Entertainment, “Healthy Holidays”; Integrated Branded Content Campaign, “Live Longer with Earthfare”; and Integrated Branded Content Campaign for “What’s in your…?”

All of the entries that were submitted this year’s Asheville American Advertising Awards were judged in Greenville, S.C. by professionals in the advertising field from Washington D.C. and Houston, Texas.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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