DILLSBORO, N.C. (WLOS) — It's been an economically challenging three years for a lot of businesses. But several Dillsboro businesses are hitting the refresh button in 2023 courtesy of some financial help from Duke Energy.
The pandemic brought challenges to manDOGWOOD HEALTH TRUST ROLLS OUT NEW GRANTMAKING PROCESSy businesses, especially small ones. That's why Duke Energy has awarded 11 businesses in Dillsboro some grant money for them to fix up those businesses, including the Whistle Stop Inn.
Gladys Pilarski and her husband arrived in Dillsboro three years ago from Atlanta and turned a 145-year-old home in the center of town into a bed and breakfast.
"Owning a bed and breakfast, there's always something," Pilarski said.
But they fell in love with it and wanted to give it what she called the "safe haven" feel of her grandmother's home.
"I know that I wanted to give it that same atmosphere to people," Pilarski said.
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The result was a cozy, comfortable place for visitors to stay when enjoying the surrounding amenities and attractions. Making it even more comfortable are plans to fix up the outside patio.
"We'll have extra seating outside. We're going to do a propane fire pit. We want to give it a nice stone finish," Pilarski said.
Plans are also in place to improve access to the inn for those with mobility issues.
"They don't have to come across those small stones," Pilarski said.
Helping to pay for the work is money from Duke Energy Foundation's Hometown Revitalization Grant Program, administered through the Nantahala Health Foundation.
"Twenty-five hundred dollars," Pilarski says about the money she's receiving.
Locally businesses receiving the money are calling the endeavor "Refresh Dillsboro." It's ringing the bell with approval at the Whistle Stop Inn.
"We want to refresh it and keep it up and coming so that when the tourists come into town, they enjoy it as much as we do," Pilarski said.
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Duke is divvying up $25,000 to 11 businesses, shops, and restaurants
"We got 15-hundred," Catamount Electric's Operations Manager Cheyanne Bradley said.
"The light, the sign--we're going to use it for the landscape lighting and the wooden sign along the roadside," she said.
The grant is powering a brighter economic light for Dillsboro moving into the new year.
"We're excited about it," Pilarski said.
She expects work to begin next month and her patio to be ready for guests later this spring.