If you’ve ever faced the challenge of looking for a reliable babysitter or nanny for your child, you know the cliché, “It’s a jungle out there.” Where do you begin? Do you look for family friends with teenaged daughters with some sitting experience? Perhaps you start asking all your friends if they know any reliable sitters they would trust with their own children. It’s not something you can choose lightly – not when the health and safety of your children could be put at risk.
The solution is College Nannies, Sitters & Tutors of Asheville. Franchise owner Jay Cottrell points out that the company’s core concept gives parents total peace of mind. “We provide families with safe, reliable and convenient childcare,” he says. “We are a personal service that takes the time to get to know our clients and to provide them with a high level of service and access to high-quality, safe, and screened role models for their children.”
Working with College Nannies, Sitters & Tutors has multiple advantages for customers. “Every College Sitter is professionally trained and matched to your child’s unique abilities, interests and style. Can you say that about the kid down the street?” Jay asks. “We’re all about trustworthy childcare. All our sitters are carefully screened and receive ongoing professional training and guidance. And of course, they love children.”
Another advantage is simple, quick, and easy scheduling. “Book your favorite sitters anytime. With our MySitters® app you can confirm in as little as 20 minutes,” Jay says. “We operate locally, know your neighborhood, and most importantly, we get to know your family personally.”
Jay got into the College Sitters business through his own experiences trying to raise a child and work full-time. “I’ve always sought way/jobs/companies that help people,” Jay said. “After selling a small stake in a previous business in the healthcare sector, I decided to pursue real estate as the next chapter in my life of doing something that can truly help people. A couple years in my wife and I welcomed our son Ayden. Once she went back to work we struggled to find childcare and were on numerous waiting lists for daycare centers. Since I had the job with “flexible hours” it fell upon me to take care of our son most of the time. Trying to be a full-time dad and work a full-time job was not the easiest to accomplish and maintain a successful career in real estate.”
Conversations with his father about business opportunities and investments led Jay to his next step. “I found what would have been the answer to my childcare issues and knew that it would be for others as well,” he says. “I saw a company with strong values and a great system for providing families with relief and help when they need it most. I decided to purchase a franchise and move from real estate to helping Build Stronger Families® with College Nannies, Sitters and Tutors.”
Higher income families are the ideal customers for College Nannies, Sitters & Tutors. “A great fit is Millennial Mom that is the ‘CEO’ of a busy and active family,” Jay says. “Our customers are generally higher income ($200,000+) families that can appreciate and afford a professional sitter service.”
Not all customers want college students as sitters or nannies. “No problem!” Jay says. “Despite what our name suggests, we do not only hire college students. We hire college students or older. In fact, we are currently hiring active seniors. For instance, in Asheville we have Pam, who is a mother of 4, nurse of many years, and a rock star sitter! She has tons of experience and is very loving and caring when it comes to working with children. Kids are clearly a passion of Pam's! She will engage with them and keep them active and learning. We know she'll be a great fit for any family!”
Pam describes her affinity for children. She says, “I am calm and patient, I have a background in nursing with an understanding of development. I am an experienced mother, who understands the importance of meeting people where they are. I love children, and I advocate and support families and children.”
Jay speaks of the time a customer called him “in anger” about his service. “This is in jest because they then proceed to tell me that their children had such a great time with one of our sitters that their child actually told them to leave and not come home yet. They wanted to keep having fun with the sitter.”
There is a great difference between hiring the kid down the street to babysit, and contracting with College Sitters. One of those differences is price. “Most people in are used to paying a middle school or high school kid or family member to babysit,” Jay says. “There can be a bit of a sticker shock when they hear the pricing for a professional service like ours. But there is no company that is more committed to making sure that your family is well cared for and that every College Sitter is safe, reliable and professional. Your family’s safety and well-being are our top priority.
At this time, sitters and nannies are available in Asheville, but the tutoring service will be launched in about 12 to 18 months.
College Nannies, Sitters & Tutors Asheville
Focal Point Coworking
125 S. Lexington Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
Across the street from Bhramari Brewing Co.
Also visit College Nannies Sitters and Tutors on Incredible Towns Asheville
Wikipedia describes an artisan as a skilled craftsman who creates functional or decorative items by hand, such as furniture, household items, and decorative arts. We have found a skilled woodworking artisan in Weaverville – Phil Pratt of Silverhawk Woodworking.
Silverhawk Sawdust is a home-based studio in Weaverville, specializing in unique, custom-designed creations ranging from decorative bowls and kitchen items to built-in shelving, cabinetry, stair bannisters, pens, and even large point-of-purchase displays for retail stores. If your imagination can conceive it, chances are good Phil can create it for you.
Phil has been into woodworking nearly 50 years, since inheriting some power tools from an uncle. “Back in 1974, when my wife and I married and had little money, I built a set of unique shelves using wormy cedar,” he said. “My love of woodworking has grown from there.”
Phil’s love for woodworking evolved from hobby to business about ten years ago, when he purchased a high-end table saw. “One might say it was a cabinet-maker’s saw compared to a contractor’s table saw. This meant I could measure the tolerances down to 1/100” versus 1/16”, which makes a huge difference when mitering a corner,” Phil said.
Using the upgraded saw, Phil began making high quality furniture, but still not selling it. “A few years later, my wife gave me my first lathe and I began turning bowls, pens, candle sticks, salt & pepper mills, etc.,” Phil said. “People started wanting to buy them and I was on my way. I started getting orders from corporations for 25 and 50 pens at a time using the exotic woods I purchased locally at Cormark International and Klingspor Woodworking Shop.”
Soon customers began asking for more. “I started making larger things like benches, cabinets and special fixtures for retail stores. The Asheville Visitor Center has become almost a showroom for some of my point-of-purchase displays and pedestals,” Phil said.
Silverhawk Sawdust really stands out for its ability to combine functionality with creativity. “A set of shelves can also function as a banister while being aesthetically pleasing to the eye,” Phil said. “Or a decorative Volcano Dish© can serve as a candy or nuts servicing plate. My small, lidded boxes are not only beautiful pieces of wood but can function as a salt cellar or jewelry box.”
Often the character of the wood itself dictates its unique aesthetic. “I often will use exotic woods (all legal in the United States) such as amboyna, sapele, thuya, bubinga, cocobolo, padauk, and olivewood,” Phil said. “The unique grains and colorings make for high eye appeal and most polish up to be extremely smooth. Next, if I’m turning something on a lathe, I will often allow the wood to tell me what form it wants to take. Sometimes I start turning with one design in mind but by exposing a knot or a check (crack), or maybe unique grain colors appear, I take a whole different approach to the finished item.”
Talking about unique, no two of Phil’s in-store displays are alike. “A few years ago the manager from The Asheville Shop at the Asheville Chamber of Commerce said she wanted a point-of-purchase (P.O.P.) display to handle newspapers, maps, fudge, magazines, etc., and on the back, she needed an organizing system to hold paperwork. These are the projects I love because I must be both creative and functional, plus combine a little engineering for structure and safety. Prior to cutting wood, I provide my client with mechanical drawings showing perspective views so they can better see what my mind is envisioning. Making changes on paper is a lot cheaper than once I start cutting the wood,” Phil said.
Phil’s love of wood totally shapes his “philosophy” of woodworking and wood art creation. “Wood is a fun medium that allows for creativity, strength and beauty,” he said. “Regardless of whether I’m making a P.O.P. display, unique candlesticks, a violin stand, or whatever, wood permits a craftsperson to be imaginative, to generate straight lines or curves, to mix with other mediums, to let the mind reach new artistic levels. This is possible because wood has its own strength, whether it’s a carved table leg or a thinly turned bowl that allows light to shine through the skin. And lastly, it has inherent beauty. I think every woodworker would agree that the most rewarding process is when stain and/or oil is applied to a finished creation and the grain coloring pops! For me, it’s always a WOW moment.”
Among all this creativity and variety, Phil has some favorite products. “My Volcano Dish© comes to mind, as the name is the result of imagination,” Phil said. “I had purchased a chunk of mallee wood, which is from the eucalyptus tree family grown in Australia. I had no idea of what it would become when I started carving it. The outer surface was gnarly, pointed, sharp – almost ugly – and the coloring was non-descript. Suddenly as I dug deeper into the wood, reds and whites and some browns became exposed to where it appeared like a volcano spewing red hot magna from the center and ultimately drying to an outer lava field that was gnarly, pointed, sharp, and almost ugly.
“A second favorite is the Stuffed Animal Cave at the Asheville Shop. Once I asked why several stuffed animals were on the floor under a table and I was told that kids love crawling under there to play while Mom and Dad are shopping. And this often leads to them getting to take one home. I said, ‘Why don’t you make that into a cave?’ and the manager allowed me to go with the idea. Now there’s a sign on it saying, No Adults Allowed!”
There are more favorites. “I could go on and on talking about my Heathered Pens (made from the iconic shrub that grows in the British Isles), or my colorful bangle bracelets made from wood burls and colorful resins, or some unique wood bowls, or … or ... I think you get the idea,” Phil said.
Phil’s enthusiasm spills over into large product creations. “I enjoy listening to clients explain a need, and I’ll take a few notes,” he said. “Within a day or so while my memory is fresh, I’ll submit a perspective drawing of what I envisioned them wanting. More times than not, I’m very close to their wishes and with some minor tweaks here or there, I’m given the go-ahead. Nowadays it may be a few months before I can start their project, but the drawings are there from which to work.
“As examples, one lady asked whether a glass tabletop could be replaced with a wood surface accepting expansion leaves. She was delighted with the result. She then asked for Tao-style shelves that would also function as a bannister protecting a stairwell. To enhance the Asian influence, I turned a Pagoda to be a handhold before descending the stairs. Another person wanted a built-in cabinet using barn wood. Or the Grove Arcade needed a special rack card display that would be versatile to allow different size material to be inserted, which could change periodically.”
We would like to emphasize that although we see Phil as a true artisan in his field, he is far more humble. “One will note my title on my business card is Master Sawdust Creator,” he said. “Having lived in the Asheville area for 15 years, I recognize the phenomenal craftsmanship in the area, some by true master craftsmen. These are individuals who have worked all their lives in the trade, not just as a hobby. Having said that, while I don’t consider myself a master, my clients keep coming back for more of my work which suggests it’s of high quality and creativity. And I’m very good at making sawdust!”
So if you’re looking for some high quality sawdust, along with beautiful and functional wood creations, check out Silverhawk Woodworking.
Watch the Sawdust Master at work:
On the web: https://silverhawksawdust.com
Phone: (828) 450-0189
Are you looking for the perfect gift for the person who has “everything?” We all have friends who don’t want any more “stuff” to clutter up their homes, even if our gifts are thoughtful and given with loving intentions. The perfect solution is a gift from Edible Arrangements. It’s healthy, delicious, and after it’s eaten, it disappears without a trace!
Edible Arrangements owners Diana King and Susan Rossignol strive to connect with every customer to make their occasions special. “We know we are an extension of the message a loved one is trying to deliver,” Diana says, “whether it be a birthday, anniversary or just someone wanting to say thank you. We take it seriously and are so grateful we were chosen to be part of their message. Especially if they need to send a get well bouquet to someone in the hospital, or a sympathy bouquet to a family, we will make it special.”
Edible Arrangements has served the Asheville area since 2005, creating unique gifts for many occasions. “Our number one occasion is birthdays, and we have hundreds of different types of arrangements all made with fresh fruit, “Diana says. “Our focal point is our pineapples that we use to create shapes to define the arrangement. We surround this with fresh honeydew, cantaloupe, strawberries topped with red seedless grapes. Some of the arrangements we make can be with just pineapples and strawberries and others will include oranges and dipped apple shaped like a donut.”
Other special occasions are holidays, especially Valentine’s Day, Mothers Day, and Christmas. “Each holiday we focus our energy on creating special baskets themed to the holiday or events like basketball designs, chocolate Easter bunny pineapples, shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day or snowmen and reindeer during Christmas,” Diana explains. “In the summer, gift creations include fruits like kiwi, watermelon, mangos, and blueberries.”
In addition to amazing edible gift creations, you can also get great fresh fruit smoothies at Edible Arrangements. “This is something a lot of people do not realize we do, and we are working to distinguish ourselves from other smoothie places that use syrupy products,” Diana says. “We have a grab and go section to our store that allows a customer to see our gourmet dipped fruit options and create their own quick pickup boxes of singles, half dozen or even a full dozen of dipped, apples, bananas, strawberries and pineapples.“
Diana says her favorite treats at Edible Arrangements are the smiles she gets from happy customers. “My personal favorite is chocolate dipped apples. We dip Granny Smith apples in chocolate for a delightful tart and sweet combination. A lot of my team will tell you that their favorite is the double dipped bananas that are first dipped in semisweet chocolate and then in white chocolate,” she says.
What makes an Edible Arrangements creation a really great gift? Here’s Diana’s explanation. “We are a fresh take on an old custom of giving flowers,” she says. “We’re a healthy alternative to just chocolate, and we make everything to order every day, so you are guaranteed the freshest fruits that have been cut and put into amazing designs by our well trained fruit experts. It’s this attention to detail and dedication to quality that makes someone’s day a little sweeter when they receive one of our designs.”
Diana says she feels great satisfaction in making people happy with Edible Arrangements. “We never knew how big this would get once we gained name recognition. It’s such a great feeling when we are asked what we do, and are met with OH MY GOSH, I love you guys or I received one of your arrangements and it was so amazing!”
Most of all Diana says she feels part of the bigger picture through her involvement with her business. “I love making a contribution to our community from creating jobs that people can take pride in the many nonprofits we have helped over the years, and to the smiles on the little kids’ faces when they open the door and see us standing there with a delivery. I take pride in mentoring young people who have been part of our team and remain close to lots of team members who have moved on,” Diana says. “I consider it a privilege to assist people by sharing the wealth of knowledge I have gained not just from this business but the corporate world I came from.”
5 Regent Park Blvd, Suite 101
Asheville, NC 28806
Edible Arrangements Asheville Website
Edible Arrangements Asheville Facebook Page
Edible Arrangements Asheville on Incredible Towns
Do you need your carpets, area rugs, or upholstery cleaned safely and effectively? Call CitruSolution of Asheville, serving Western North Carolina in Buncombe, Henderson, and Madison County.
What sets CitruSolution apart from steam cleaning or rug shampooing services? Owner Bryant Smith says it’s the whole process. “We use a natural, citrus-derived cleaning product and a low moisture process that cleans better, dries faster, stays cleaner longer, and smells great!”
The reason it smells so good is that...