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Insider Asheville: How Locals Survive the Local Economy

How Locals Survive the Local Economy

In this issue of Insider Asheville, I shine some light on what the locals do to survive week to week when the minimum wage job isn’t enough to put food on the family table. You might think it involves government assistance or shoplifting, but you’d be wrong. Ashevillians are a proud bunch. We don’t just talk sustainability, we live it too.

For every Asheville native, there are 20 transplants [Ed: this is a made-up statistic]. And transplants bring with them one or more of the following:

• A nest egg
• Retirement savings
• A telecommuting job
• Clients in another city or state
• A truckload of stuff to fill their newly bought home

Considering the Options
At least one of these things is necessary to ensure a successful transition from “visitor” to “resident.” It may take another 10 to 30 years to gain the “local” tag — it depends on your personality, community involvement and persistence. But that’s the subject of another article.

Many have come to stay in Asheville, only to leave in disgrace and heartbreak a few years later. What does it take to survive? Well, nothing speaks louder than money in the bank (or credit union), but not everyone is fortunate enough, talented enough, clever enough or old enough to have saved a boatload of cash.

If you have moved here to telecommute, you have found yourself in that sweet spot: the joys of living in Asheville without having to rely on local businesses and consumers. Whether you’re working for yourself or for someone else, you are telecommuting from paradise. Enjoy it while it lasts.

For the rest of us, we do whatever it takes to stay solvent while living here in Asheville. Some take temp jobs. Some wait tables. Some write cheeky blog posts. But every transplant, at one time or another, has sold some of the stuff brought along to fill the house. Often, the stuff we sell is books.

Used Books to Eat
No one can eat a book, which is why we sell them. Here in Asheville, it’s handy to know the landscape and to have a plan to get the most meat out of your books, so to speak. Here’s a rundown of the Asheville used booksellers.

The Captain’s Bookshelf (captainsbookshelf.com) at 31 Page Avenue specializes in fine and rare books. If you’ve got a first edition, a signed edition, or a seriously old or rare volume, take it to the Captain for the best price in town. Don’t just show up, though, set up an appointment.

The Battery Park Book Exchange (batterybookexchange.com) is not only a great place to linger over a glass of wine with your dog; it’s also a business that will buy your used books, especially if they have a local flavor (fiction, history, cooking, etc.). Even if it’s not about Asheville, North Carolina, or the South, try the BPBE before going elsewhere. Make an appointment with Kyle or Thomas.

Old reliable Downtown Books & News (downtownbooksandnews.com) is a great venue for selling used books, but only on Friday or Saturday. They also buy DVDs, if you still have any of those. The best thing about selling your books here, besides the fair prices they pay, is that it’s right downtown! Cross the street to Izzy’s Coffee Den while you wait. They offer cash or credit.

If you’ve hit all the above businesses and still have inventory to sell, take it to Mr. K’s Used Books, Music and More (mrksusedbooks.com). They’ll often take the rest, including CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray, vinyl, audiobooks, books-on-CD, and even electronics. I go here last because their prices often are lower and they categorize all purchases, meaning that if you sell books and get credit, you can’t use that credit to buy a DVD.

The best strategy for selling books is to pace your loads. Don’t dump everything at once; bring in one box at a time, and you’ll likely sell more. Listen to this voice of experience because even successful blog writers occasionally need extra beer money … um, I mean food money.

Look for more Insider Asheville blogs in the coming months.

About Mark Bloom

Mark is a freelance writer, editor, and videographer who has spent his life playing with words and pictures. He used to think tourists were “endlessly entertaining,” but lately their driving habits have tested his patience. He writes on every subject from parking in Asheville to choosing SEO keywords. He edits fiction and nonfiction. He produces website content, including video. He’s lived in Asheville for ten years, which means he’s a third of the way to being considered a local. You can reach Mark at markhenrybloom@gmail.com or through his professional website at rayaccess.com.