Business news


Burt Shavitz, the Burt behind Durham-based Burt's Bees who co-founded the natural cosmetics company before it sold to Clorox, has died. He was 80.

A spokeswoman for Burt's Bees says Shavtiz died Sunday at his home in rural Maine, surrounded by family and friends.

Shavitz was a hippie making a living by selling honey when his life was altered by a chance encounter with a hitchhiking Roxanne Quimby. She was a single mother and a back-to-the-lander who impressed Shavitz with her ingenuity.

News & Observer

Volvo Cars will build a $500 million plant in South Carolina that will eventually employ up to 4,000 people.

The company announced Monday morning that the plant about 30 miles from the Port of Charleston is expected to make about 100,000 vehicles a year, initially.

The company says it expects to employ about 2,000 people at the Berkeley County plant over the next decade. That could grow to 4,000 workers eventually.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley planned a news conference later Monday morning to formally announce Volvo's decision.

A German company that makes medical equipment is building a plant in Henderson County that will employ nearly 140 people.

Raumedic Inc. announced Tuesday it will spend more than $26 million and create about 138 jobs in Mills River over the next five years.

The company makes tubing, molded parts, catheters and modules for the medical and pharmaceutical industries.

A statement from Gov. Pat McCrory's office said the average annual salary for the operation in Henderson County will be more than $55,000.

The county's average wage is about $34,000.

The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina held its tenth annual Power of the Purse luncheon today. The event celebrates women in philanthropy by raising funds for Women for Women, a part of CFWNC.

Part of today’s presentation was to recognize four organizations receiving grants from the women’s fund this year, groups that help improve the lives of women and girls in Western North Carolina.

Through the Women’s Fund, more than $2 million has been given to non-profits and organization that support that mission over the last ten years.

Asheville Voice for Animals wants City Council to ban circuses that feature exotic animals.  Ringling Bros. closed its’ recent run in Asheville Sunday.  Those attending performances at the civic center walked past protesters critical of the circus and its treatment of elephants. Asheville Voice for Animals says Ringling Bros. uses cruel and abusive training methods and should not be allowed to stage its productions in the city.  A spokes-woman for the protesters says her members are planning to meet with Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer next week to urge her to support the ban. 

The investigation continues as officials with PSNC try and determine the cause of last Fridays' gas pipe line rupture and fire in Buncombe County.  Utility officials say service has been restored to nearly all of the seven hundred its customers who were without service following the rupture.  David Hurand spoke with PSNC Energy Vice President of Gas Operations George Ratchford about the company's initial findings.

Gas prices are expected to remain stable in the Asheville area through Independence Day. David Hurand spoke with a senior petroleum analyst with Gas Buddy Dot Com.

It's been a record setting wet Spring for much of Western North Carolina. David Hurand spoke with Atmospheric Sciences Professor and WCQS weather expert Ed Brotak about why the region has seen so much rain and the June to November Hurricane Season.

A delegation  from Ural Federal University in Ekaterinburg, Russia recently spent ten days in Western North Carolina.  David Hurand spoke with members of the delegation following lunch at the Rotary Club of Asheville.