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Local businesses drive Asheville vibe - Mountain Xpress

Walk any downtown Asheville street and you’re likely to encounter some quirky storefronts offering unusual products. Together, these “specialty shops” or boutiques, most of them locally owned businesses, are a key component of the city’s distinctive flavor, attracting thousands of tourists each year and helping fuel the economy. But as Asheville’s national profile rises and more large-scale retail outlets look to stake a claim here, small businesses are taking steps to ensure that this city doesn’t become a victim of its own success. Sum of its parts Just how important are boutiques and small businesses in general to Asheville’s economy? In 2013, “retail trade” trailed only “health care” in the number of people employed in the Asheville metropolitan statistical area,...

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