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Full disclosure: I've always been somewhat skeptical of timeshares. I understand the appeal of having a guaranteed vacation home in an area you love and being able to swap your unit for a place halfway around the world.

But I worry that many buyers don't consider all associated costs and mistakenly think timeshares are sound financial investments that will appreciate in value. In fact, sellers rarely make a profit – some only get pennies on the dollar. Plus, the waters are filled with sharks eager to rip off people desperately trying to unload unwanted timeshares.

Before you buy a timeshare, understand how they work, challenges you may face when trying to resell and scams to avoid.


Back in 2011, the Franklin Tourism Development Authority (TDA) and the Macon County Tourism Development Commission (TDC) were informed that they were signing on to the next wave of innovation when they pledged their support behind the Ugotour N.C. Mountains Application.

This new app that was on its way via Smoky Mountain Host was going to revolutionize travel in Western North Carolina. People who had smart phones would be able to download the new application and see interactive videos showing popular locations in the area complete with a story-line. Smoky Mountain Host partnered with Story Point Media. Local businesses would be able to subscribe to services offered by the providers and therefore receive cheap and effective marketing as a result. Promises were made, but most of them fell short and the app was largely considered to be a failure.


The Macon County Business Plan Competition kicked off last Thursday at Macon Bank's corporate office where an open session was held to allow potential business operators the chance to ask questions of successful business owners from the area. The Macon County Economic Development Commission, the Certified Entrepreneurial Community Leadership Team, SiteDart, Southwestern Community College and Western Carolina University have all come together in order to see the competition through.

Each panelist – Cory McCall, coowner of Outdoor 76, Judy Michaud Meadows, owner of Mountain Realty, and Debra Green of Luxury Therapeutics – stressed the importance of having a business plan to those who were in attendance.

“We did have a business plan in place before we opened our doors. We had a mentor group for our business,” said McCall. “We had five gentlemen that we entrusted with our idea, expressed different information to and they obviously encouraged us to take the step of using a business plan. It has been a huge benefit for our business from page one. It's something that I express to a number of individuals who come to me with business ideas. What I always say to these individuals is put it on paper. Fortunately for us I can say that our business plan has kept us on track, though it has changed and it is nothing like it started, a business plan is constantly revisited.”


The Franklin Chamber of Commerce along with Mayor Joe Collins celebrated the opening of Sakura Japanese Grill & Sushi Bar recently with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Sakura is located at 57 Highlands Road in the Shops at Riverwalk shopping center.

Owners Donna and Jerry Qiu, have 10 years of experience in Japanese cuisine including hibachi grill and sushi preparation.

“We plan on adding a Hibachi Grill to our restaurant next year,” says Donna Qiu.

Sakura offers traditional Japanese and sushi cuisine with a lunch menu that can get you in and out in 30 minutes. Offering “Monthly Feature Dishes” is a way for the Qius to “test” new dishes that may eventually be added to their menu.


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