Robust local economy remains right on the money.
In 2017, Asheville has a strong economy for many reasons. Several large companies and small businesses are experiencing great success, and also helping to bolster the local economy is Asheville Regional Airport.
Large and in Charge
The largest private employer in Asheville is Mission Health System, with more than 3,000 employees at its 800-bed Mission Hospital. Other private companies with at least 1,000 employees include The Biltmore Company, which oversees Biltmore and its accompanying historical sites; Ingles Markets, with its food and beverage stores; and The Omni Grove Park Inn.
With more than 750 employees is Eaton Corp., which manufactures electrical components and appliances, while companies in Asheville with at least 500 employees include Sitel, a provider of administrative and support services. Other 500-plus-employee companies are Arvato Digital Services (computer and electronic products manufacturing), BorgWarner Turbo Systems (transportation equipment manufacturing), Guthy Renker Fulfillment Services (administrative and support services), MB Haynes Corp. (constructing buildings) and Thermo Fisher Scientific (manufacturing).
Companies with 400 to 499 employees include Black Mountain Neuro-Medical Treatment Center, which oversees nursing and residential care facilities; Kearfott Corp., a transportation and equipment manufacturer; and Walmart Supercenter No. 1317.
Small and Strong
About 90 percent of companies throughout the region are small businesses with 25 or fewer employees, according to the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. Those businesses range from restaurants and microbreweries to retail stores and medical device manufacturers. One example is Diamond Brand Outdoors, which manufactures military gear, outdoor gear and water sports items such as tents, backpacks and nautical wear. Their customers include the U.S. Department of Defense and Boy Scouts of America.
Another prospering small business is SimplyHome, which provides innovative and customized solutions for people with health restrictions who want to continue enjoying independent living in their home or apartment. For example, SimplyHome solutions can include enabling individuals to operate beds, lights, TVs and doors via tablet or voice activation.
Open 24/7/365 and serving 700,000 passengers annually is Asheville Regional Airport, located near Interstates 26 and 40 in the town of Fletcher, 9 miles south of Asheville. ARA provides nonstop passenger travel to 10 destinations, including Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago and New York. The airport serves passengers in western North Carolina as well as upstate South Carolina, eastern Tennessee and Georgia.
In October 2016, construction began on a five-story parking garage that will provide covered walking access f to the terminal building. Construction will be completed in October 2017, providing 1,300 parking spaces. During the $22 million project, passengers will still have numerous available parking spaces in the existing short- and long-term lots.