Leadership Cashiers - A Community Engagement Initiative

Leadership Cashiers, a community engagement initiative of the Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the 2019 inaugural class at the Opening Retreat in February with a mission to inform, connect, and engage leaders by looking intensively at the issues affecting our area, and by building strong working relationships to prepare and motivate participants to provide enlightened, dynamic leadership. 





Jackson County Tourism Development - Now Accepting Grant Applications

The Jackson County Tourism Development Authority is now accepting grant applications for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. This year the TDA reworked the grant program and those who applied in past years should study the changes, Jackson County TDA Director Nick Breedlove said.

TDA grants are used to assist with promoting and supporting events and initiatives that generate overnight visits and increase tourism, along with enhancing visitors’ experiences to Jackson County. Funding comes from occupancy tax collected in Jackson County that is reinvested in the local communities through the grant program.

“We took a wholistic look at the grant program from ease of application to how we could support more tourism-related initiatives in addition to advertising,” Breedlove said, noting he is pleased with the streamlined program the grant program review committee and full board adopted.

Several key changes were made to the grant program:

  1. For profit entities are now eligible to apply for grant funding, with a one-to-one cash match eligibility
  2. A pre-application workshop is now included as part of the process, helping applicants determine how to best generate a successful funding request
  3. The application is now easier to fill out and is provided online only, allowing those completing the application to submit documents, budgets and copy/paste information easily into the new form.
  4. There are now two grant windows, allowing applicants greater flexibility:
  • July 1 – Dec. 31 events and initiatives applications are due March 1, with award notification March 30; required grant workshop Feb. 7, 4 p.m. 
  • Jan. 1 – June 30 events – Due Sept. 1, with award notification Sept. 30; required grant workshop Aug. 8, 10 a.m.

“We have given more than $115,000 to our partners for advertising the great things happening here,” said Breedlove. “The grant program was created to support the community and to encourage visitation to the area through our one-of-a-kind events and initiatives, so we want to encourage our partners to apply for these grants and take advantage of the funding.”

Applications must be received by March 1 for consideration in the first cycle of the upcoming fiscal year’s budget. The grant application may be filled out online and is available online here.

This fiscal year, the TDA awarded grants to Cashiers Plein Air Festival, Cashiers Valley Leaf Festival, Colorfest, Front Street Arts and Crafts Show, Greening Up the Mountains, Dillsboro Lights and Luminaries, Pots on the Green, and the WNC Pottery Festival.

Those with questions may call the Jackson County TDA at 828-848-8711.

Mission Health Joins HCA Healthcare

Mission Health, is now a new operating division of HCA Healthcare that will include Highlands Cashiers Hospital. Read the full press release from HCA Healthcare here. 

Mission Health and HCA Healthcare entered in an Asset Purchase Agreement in 2018 which includes Highlands Cashiers Hospital. The local hospital board unanimously voted to support this transaction and the Mission Board gave its final approval. This is a great opportunity for the health and wellness of the Cashiers Area and for ensuring sustainable, quality medical care on the Plateau. 

Stay up-to-date as Mission Health joins the HCA Healthcare network on

It is our pleasure to serve as an information source for the community. We will continue to keep you updated on the regulatory review and other related matters that affect our communities.

Highlights of a Successful Year

January, 2019 | The Laurel Magazine

By: Stephanie Edwards, executive director of the Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce

2018 was another busy year for the Cashiers Area Chamber, representing more than 425 businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals across the Plateau. The business league’s core purpose is to provide extraordinary Leadership as an Advocate for Business, Information Source for the Community and Conduit for building destination awareness and responsible growth.

Since Cashiers is an unincorporated village without town government, the Chamber work closely with Jackson County to protect and enhance the local quality of life. It finances destination branding such as welcome signs for Cashiers and Glenville and the Crossroads community banner stand. It recently paid more than $4,000 for a topographical survey needed to engineer a core sidewalk system and works closely with TWSA on water resource issues critical to growth. This year it founded the Cashiers Area Legacy Fund, a 501(c)3 charity to support local public works projects.

Its economic development strategic initiatives include workforce development, pedestrian mobility and safety, broadband connectivity and community engagement. The Chamber created and maintains, an online jobs board with regional advertising to recruit workers to the Plateau. It hosts annual job fairs and regional summits to expand the employee base and ensure adequate housing, training and retention of workers.

The Chamber operates the Jackson County Visitor Center at Cashiers and is actively involved in the county’s tourism development authority to develop marketing strategies and ensure a quality visitor experience. It maintains information kiosks throughout the area featuring maps, waterfalls and attractions. It publishes the popular Cashiers Area Visitor Guide & Membership Directory and Cashiers Area Shopping & Dining Guide, available at which also features timely news and announcements.

As an important community information source, the Chamber launched and maintains, a comprehensive online community calendar. Non-profits and member businesses are invited to submit event information for promotion and use the chamber office as a convenient ticket outlet for charity events.

Business advocacy and promotion remain the priority focus of the Chamber and throughout the year members enjoy exclusive benefits, referrals, celebrations, recognitions, events, legislative updates, publicity, networking opportunities and other support. To join or for more information, visit or call 828-743-5191

Chamber Board Aligns Strategic Focus with Community Needs

Members of the Cashiers Area Chamber Board of Directors recently met for their annual strategy session to discuss organizational and community priorities in 2019.

“We believe it’s important to recalibrate our strategic focus every year, reaffirming our long-term vision and our near-term programming,” explained chamber executive director Stephanie Edwards. “We evaluate everything we do against our Core Purpose ‘to provide extraordinary leadership in the Cashiers Area as an advocate for business, information source for the community and conduit for building destination awareness and responsible growth’.”

Board President Mary Lanning, of Hampton Inn & Suites Cashiers/Sapphire, welcomed new board members Ashton Harris of the Country Club of Sapphire Valley, Wendy Lupas of Gracewear, and Donnie Shuey of Signal Ridge Marina and recognized Lec Hobbs of Highland Hiker who was out of town.

Chamber officers for 2019 are Lanning, President-Elect Glenn Ubertino of Zoller Hardware, Treasurer Ben Harris of Harris Custom Builders, and board Secretary Edwards. Returning board members are: Justin Allman of FireMoss Pottery; Tony Austin of Lake Toxaway Company; Ken Fernandez, Chair/Economic & Community Development, of Old Cashiers Realty; Debby Hattler of Sotheby’s International Realty-Cashiers Office; Sarah Jennings of Lonesome Valley; Kathy Korb of Laurelwood Inn and Brandy Letson of Cashiers Valley Pharmacy. Malice Grant of Sounds Essential and past-president of the chamber board serves in a courtesy board role in her capacity as president of the Cashiers Area Legacy Fund.

The group reviewed the Chamber’s Core Purpose and Values and discussed ongoing and potential new programming and member benefits. Harris presented more details on Leadership Cashiers, a developing community engagement initiative, and also on the group’s continuing work to create a sidewalk system in the village core. (Last quarter, the Chamber paid for a comprehensive topographical survey which will be used as a planning tool to execute engineering for future sidewalk construction. An inner-loop segment -- encircling the Village Green, public amenities and nearby retailers -- has been identified as the initial priority in a community-wide pedestrian network.)

In preparation for activity planning, directors carried out several exercises to determine awareness and value of past events and programs and brainstorm new possibilities. It was agreed that a special efforts will be made to promote retailer success, including forming a task force to brainstorm coordinated marketing opportunities. Continuing focus will be directed on workforce development through the Chamber’s various outreach and research, pedestrian mobility and safety, broadband connectivity, infrastructure development (in particular, water resources), and community engagement including the Cashiers Area Legacy Fund, a 501(c)3 foundation to support education and public works, created by the Chamber in 2018. It will also continue its support and involvement with the Lake Toxaway Business Alliance, led by Chamber Director Tony Austin of Lake Toxaway Company and Chamber member Carol Hargis of The Blind Mule Restaurant.

In an unincorporated area with no municipal government and with more than 400 business, nonprofit and associate members, the Chamber plays a critical leadership role in economic and community development. It actively represents Cashiers Area’s interests before county, state and federal officials to ensure tax revenue and other reinvestment supports measured growth. It also serves as a contracted agency to the Jackson County Tourism Development Authority to operate the southern gateway Visitor Center and promote effective tourism management.

Among the Chamber’s notable contributions are funding and construction of local destination signs and funding, construction and management of the community banner display at the Crossroads. It publishes and distributes 50,000 plus copies of the annual Cashiers Area Visitor Guide & Membership Directory and the Cashiers Area Shopping & Dining Guide and pedestrian map in addition to maintaining a digital presence with a comprehensive website and an online community calendar To join or for more information, visit or call 828-743-5191.

(Pictured: Members of the 2019 Cashiers Area Chamber Board of Directors)

Christmas Parade Award Winners Announced!

The Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the award winners of the Cashiers Christmas Parade Block Party held Tuesday, December 11 from 3:30-5:00PM on Frank Allen Road.

Cashiers Christmas Star - CAMP MERRIE-WOODE

Entry displaying the best overall creativity, appearance and originality

Elfin Magic Award - CUB SCOUT PACK #222

Entry best featuring children


Entry with the most enthusiastic participants


Best marching or walking entry


Entry with best musical performance


Entry with the best theme in motion as float or other motorized vehicle

Vintage Vehicle Award - BLUE RIDGE PUBLIC SAFETY

Entry for best car or truck display


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