Jason Sandford

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

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Here’s some of what’s going around, including info about a great coat drive and Santa meet-and-greet sponsored by Go Mini Portable Storage and several other good folks:

-A coat drive and meet-and-greet with a socially distanced Santa is happening this week at Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville. Go Mini Portable Storage is hosting the on-site coat drive to help keep folks warm this winter; bring a coat to donate and get a discount on a professional photo with Santa. In addition to that, Asheville’s first COVID-safe “Santa Shell” has been built out of Go Mini’s mobile storage units, and guests are welcome to bring their families (or friendly critters) to safely meet Santa behind a cozy glass wall from 5:30-9 p.m. Stephan Pruitt of Stephan Pruitt Photography will be providing professional photo services. All photography proceeds will be benefiting Asheville Strong,  a nonprofit organization that supports local small businesses with online and crisis relief funding. Harrah’s Cherokee Center will also be accepting coat donations during the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Dec.23. Drop off a coat at 87 Haywood Street and receive a discount voucher for photography with Santa. The event will be taking place outdoors, with masks and social distancing protocols enforced at all times, and hand sanitizer stations available. Other partners on the event include Eblen Charities, Appalachian Santa and Asheville Strong.

Westbase Coworking space on Haywood Road in West Asheville is offering discounted Day Base passes for only $20 a day (normally $35) until the end of the year. More: “Day Base pass includes hot desk use during office hours (9-5) and phone booth use for privacy. Excludes private office use. Add-ons available at membership prices. As always we ask that anyone who enters the building wear a mask in all shared spaces, wash your hands frequently, and please do not come to work if you feel sick.” Westbase is offering gift cards, too.

Earth Equity Advisors, an Asheville-based independent registered investment advisor and certified B corporation, recently launched Align Digital, one of the first entirely sustainable, responsible, and impact (SRI) robo-advisors, elevating the traditional environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards. Founded by responsible investing experts with more than 16 years of experience, ALIGN creates custom SRI portfolios designed to reflect any investor’s values, according to a press release. Here’s more:

ALIGN’s investment universe is comprised of nearly 500 SRI stocks that have been hand-selected by Earth Equity’s proprietary research and rigorous criteria. To get started, investors choose from four goals: saving for retirement, a major purchase, a child’s education, or simply building wealth. Within minutes, ALIGN generates a fully customized portfolio based on a series of simple questions around the investor’s financial situation, risk tolerance, time frame, and impact preferences.

Investors can then further customize their portfolio with an emphasis on one or more of the following SRI themes: renewable energy, gender equity, and companies that are people-friendly, farm-friendly, and cruelty-free. In addition, investors can exclude pharmaceutical firms or include cannabis companies. The result is diverse, unique, well-balanced portfolios that give investors who adhere to the recommendations a high chance of reaching their goals, while making the impact they want on our planet, society, and future.

“At Earth Equity Advisors, we have been providing our clients with sustainable and responsible portfolios for over 16 years,” says Asheville resident Peter Krull, Earth Equity CEO and Director of Investments. “With the launch of ALIGN DIGITAL, we can now offer access to responsible investing at a much lower minimum investment, allowing us to fulfill our vision of sustainable and responsible investing for all.”

-The downtown Asheville bar Top of the Monk has partnered with the Aloft Hotel for a special holiday bar takeover from 3-9 p.m. on Dec. 20 featuring fresh versions of classic drinks, such as a gingerbread Old Fashioned. Kala Brooks, the curator at Top of the Monk, will host the event at the Aloft Hotel on Biltmore Avenue’s outdoor patio (it’s called The Ledge on Biltmore; the Aloft’s bar is the Wxyz Bar). More from the press release: “Jim Beam Suntory will be on hand with some fun surprises, and $1 of every drink sold goes to Asheville Strong, a micro-grant program for small businesses in Buncombe County who are facing a crisis. Stop in, and look out for future bar take-overs and fun pop up events at Aloft’s newly renovated The Ledge on Biltmore @Wxyz Lounge, featuring a renewed chef driven locally sourced menu and a craft bar program.”

-The former North Carolina Industrial Hemp Association has morphed into the Southeast Hemp Association, with 650 members located in seven states. Blake Butler, the association’s executive director, said in a press release that the move aims to help the burgeoning hemp industry build its collaborative efforts. The association will have its offices in Asheville, according to Butler. The new SEHA will work to promote best practices and standards for all facets of hemp, from plant to process to product, according to the press release. More: “The SEHA currently represents growers, processors, retailers, and ancillary service providers and plans to coordinate with existing hemp trade organizations to ensure consistency in messaging and goals. Executive Director Blake Butler added, “State borders should not define us when it comes to this multi-use agricultural commodity. Our goal is to establish a better network of communication to address all the upcoming state and federal challenges in our industry.” New Board members recently installed for the SEHA include Rebecca Hobden (CEO, ECC Test Lab), Shawn Hatley (Co-Founder Aggrist/Growershemp), Susan Crews (CEO, Huntsboro Hemp Company), Chip Miller (Partner, Abundant Labs), and Paul Thomas (CEO, Broadway Hemp). Board Chair Marty Clemons and member Warren Williams will continue to serve out their board terms.

Jason Sandford

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

  • 1

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