May 2014

Heinzelmӓnnchen Brewery to expand into new Dillsboro location

Heinzelmӓnnchen Brewery, currently located on Mill Street in Downtown Sylva, is planning to move to the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad’s warehouse at 119 Front Street in Dillsboro.

The move was officially announced at Heinzelmӓnnchen’s tenth anniversary celebration on Thursday, April 24, which was held at the future location in Dillsboro. Nearly 500 people attended the event over a four-hour period.

Guests at the anniversary event were able to view architectural renderings of the new location, tour the warehouse, and give feedback on what they would like to see at the future location.

Rendering by O'dell architects.

Rendering by O’dell architects.

Dillsboro leaders welcome the brewery’s move. “We’ve never had a brewery before. I think Heinzelmӓnnchen is going to be good for the town,” said Mayor of Dillsboro, Mike Fitzgerald.

Owned by Dieter Kuhn and Sheryl Rudd, Heinzelmӓnnchen Brewery specializes in old style German beers made with purity, freshness and tradition. They also brew root and birch beer for customers who prefer non-alcoholic beverages.

“Dieter and Sheryl want to be really involved with the town. They are already getting involved before they officially get here. I think Heinzelmӓnnchen will give a new energy to Dillsboro,” said Lisa Potts, co-president of the Dillsboro Merchants Association and co-owner of Nancy Tut’s Christmas Shop.

As part of the tenth anniversary celebration, Heinzelmӓnnchen Brewery launched the ‘Gnome Gnation’ Founders Club, a crowdfunding campaign.  This campaign allows supporters to donate funds to this expansion project.

Image taken by Terri Clark photography.

Image taken by Terri Clark photography.

Heinzelmӓnnchen Brewery began in 2004 as the only brewery west of Asheville and remained the only one until 2010.  Today there are seven breweries west of Asheville and four in the planning stages.

After the move to Dillsboro, Heinzelmӓnnchen will have more space to distribute beer across the South, bottle and can their beer.

For more information about the expansion, ‘Gnome Gnation,’ or to give suggestions for the interior design, contact Sheryl Rudd at 828-631-4466 or email



Burrell of Rabbit Creek Pottery wins town of Dillsboro Business Plan Competition

As part of the Dillsboro Business Plan Competition, roughly a half-dozen aspiring entrepreneurs and existing small business owners transformed their ideas into business plans over the past four month while regularly attending free weekly seminars through Southwestern Community College’s Small Business Center.

Annie Burrell claimed the $5,000 grand prize during an awards banquet last month at SCC, but organizers said the town of Dillsboro will ultimately be the big winner as several viable business ideas emerged from the competition.

“We really hope everyone who participated will follow through and put the business plans they developed into action,” said Sonja Haynes, SCC’s dean of Workforce Innovations who spoke on behalf of the judges. “We feel like every single one of them has the potential to be very successful.”

Burrell, who opened Rabbit Creek Pottery in October with sister Jenny Patton, entered the competition to help formalize a business plan.

Coordinated and overseen by Tiffany Henry – director of SCC’s Small Business Center – and taught by Tonya Snider, the sessions gave participants an opportunity to collaborate with other aspiring entrepreneurs and existing business owners as they developed strategic plans for their business ideas. A project of the Dillsboro/WCU Partnership Committee, the competition was co-coordinated with WCU’s Small Business and Technology Development Center.

The eight-week series covered topics such as “Zero in on Your Market” and “Financials for Small Business” and were part of the NC REAL (NC Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning) interactive, business planning series.

Winning the grand prize was a huge bonus for Burrell, who teared up while describing the impact that money will have on her business.

“I’m overwhelmed and overjoyed,” said Burrell, who lives in Franklin. “My sister and I are potters, and we’ve been struggling because we haven’t had a gas-fired kiln. I’ve had a kiln in the backyard covered up by a tarp because we couldn’t afford to get the gas hook-up, and this is going to make it possible.”

Attending the award presentation banquet were roughly two dozen community leaders, including the competition’s sponsors and officials from both SCC and Western Carolina University – including Dr. Don Tomas, president of SCC, and Dr. David Belcher, chancellor of WCU.

Other participants who completed viable business plans while attending the series of seminars didn’t walk away empty handed. Dillsboro Mayor Mike Fitzgerald offered to waive the license fees for each.

Also present were co-finalists John Faulk and Megan Orr of Sylva and Anthony Brown of Haywood County. Henry and Tommy Dennison, a business counselor at WCU, addressed the crowd prior to the announcement of the winner.

SBPC Winner“It was such an honor to be a part of this,” Henry said. “Watching these business plans come to life over the past few months has been very rewarding.

Dennison summed up the evening – and the competition – with a quote from Napoleon Hill: “It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.”

Dr. Betty Farmer, a communication professor at WCU, has helped coordinate revitalization efforts with Dillsboro for years and was particularly happy with how the contest brought together several key partners.

“This project has been special because of the WCU/SCC connection and because of the way our local governments, chamber and business partners came together to sponsor this,” Dr. Farmer said. “I’m really proud of this collaboration. I think it shows what can be accomplished when people work together for a common cause. We are all in this together!”

For more information about SCC’s Small Business Center, contact Henry at or 828.339.4211.

To learn more about WCU’s Small Business & Technology Development Center, contact Dennison at


Green Energy Park is energizing Dillsboro with renovations and additions

Jackson County’s Green Energy Park never has an ‘off season,’ but is constantly improving and expanding services to better serve the town of Dillsboro and Western North Carolina.

JCGEP Pic DDThe aim of the JCGEP is literally turning trash into treasure. This environmentally friendly facility turns methane gas from the town’s old landfill into fuel for local artisans to create their craft. This not only improves the air quality in Jackson County, but also stimulates the economy by helping local artists.

Timm Muth, director of Jackson County Green Energy Park, said artists draw tourists to Dillsboro and, ultimately, help the community thrive.

“We are looking at this from a community standpoint. We want to provide another reason to bring people to the region, because once they get here, they’ll enjoy it and want to come back,” said Muth.

Extensive planning and improvements have been made through the winter months at JCGEP. The park rebuilt the glass shop, allowing for much needed maintenance and repairs. A new Glass Torchworking, Mosaics, and Stained Glass Shop was added, creating a new workspace and providing for additional classes in those areas.

The classes at JCGEP have been successful in the past, allowing students to learn new skills and create their own pieces of art regardless of their current knowledge of the craft.

“The classes give anybody, even beginners, a chance to create art,” said Muth.

There are many ways to get involved with the Green Energy Park. Both private and group classes in glassblowing are offered at the JCGEP facilities, taught by local artisans. Patrons can even rent a glass, pottery or metals studio to practice creating unique art. Festivals and events are also held throughout the year, including the annual Youth Arts Festival every third Saturday in September.

For more information, go to

Click here to view the video!

Both history and food are served at The Well House

The Well House is not just a local restaurant, but is built around its namesake – a well. The well dates back to the 1880’s and was the first in Dillsboro. This hand dug well gave William Allen Dills, the first to build a home in Dillsboro, and his family water and eventually led to the thriving community we now today as Dillsboro.

Well House DDFast forward more than 100 years and The Well House is a successful restaurant and local favorite located beneath Oaks Gallery on Craft Circle just off busy Highway 441.

“The Well House just grew out of a good idea,” said owner Mike Dillard.

The restaurant began as a fluke when Susan and Bob Leveille decided to start selling a few sandwiches in their shop upstairs and called it the Cheddar Box. What began in the Cheddar Box developed into a full-blown business made successful by both locals and tourists looking for a quick bite to eat in Dillsboro.

Mike Dillard stumbled into the restaurant business, as well. Dillard was looking for a part-time job out of college and went to the Well House in 1984. He ended up managing the restaurant for several years under different owners and finally bought the business in the mid-nineties.

“We have a good local clientele that has kept us going,” said Dillard.

Dillard says their most popular dishes are the “cashew chicken salad, the Reuben and the triple treat.” Thursday and Friday evenings are prime rib nights – also a customer favorite.

The Well House is open Monday through Wednesday and Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. and Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. The restaurant is closed on Sundays.

Like The Well House on Facebook at

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