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NC Secretary of State visits Western North Carolina

SYLVA – During a brief walking tour of downtown Sylva on Monday, N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall tried her hand at fly-tying.

She also met with community leaders, sampled some handmade chocolates and toured a local craft brewery.

However, Marshall’s visit was about more than enjoying the typical tourist experience. She visited the region to check out the impact of Southwestern Community College’s Small Business Center and her own Rural RISE (Resources for Innovators, Start-Ups and Entrepreneurs) NC Initiative.

“I’m real pleased to see the entrepreneurial activity here in the Jackson County area, and a lot of it gives credit to the small business assistance that’s available through Southwestern Community College,” Marshall said. “We really want to emphasize for those who are thinking about starting a business, or those who’ve already started one and run into some problems: Contact your community college. Go ahead and make an appointment. They are experts and helpful. They know how to make connections and can help you with business plans and so much more.”

Marshall’s day started with a listening session in Bryson City, where she heard from entrepreneurs about some of the challenges they face in the rural part of the state.

She then visited Tuckasegee Fly Shop, Baxley’s Chocolates and Innovation Brewing in Sylva. Accompanying her on the tour were several local elected officials, Jackson County Economic Development Director Tiffany Henry as well as Don Tomas, SCC’s President, and Marne Harris, who oversees SCC’s Small Business Center.

“We were glad to have Secretary Marshall visit the area and meet with some of the entrepreneurs who make this such a wonderful place to live,” Harris said. 

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

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