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Diane Douglas, an occupational therapist, has purchased the Center Avenue building that once housed Swannanoa Valley Montessori School.

Douglas’ business, The Center Within Black Mountain, will occupy one of the three units of the light commercial building at 130 Center Avenue that was owned by Carol and Carlton Craig. The business will move in August from a 1940s building at 106 South Ridgeway Ave. 

“We've been really happy at 106, but we have big plans as practitioners and need more space to grow,” Douglas said. She said she is leasing out portions of her new building because she wanted to create “sustainable, clean, clear,” work spaces for small businesses. 

“As you all know, this market has created a deep need to be very creative,” she said of the challenges small businesses have with finding affordable digs. “Those of us who still generate our purposeful income by working directly with people are ever challenged to thrive in a market with ever-increasing rents.  The challenge has been to be in front of these increases. This time, I am.”

Douglas serves most of her clients through Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance benefits, she said, which creates a “constant” need to keep indirect client costs down.  “I am thrilled to be able to continue working with clients in Black Mountain. Owning the building that I work from makes a huge difference in sustainability.” She said she plans to expand her practice.

Two additional units in the building will provide space for other businesses. One will be managed by Marianne Mitchell, a shamanic energy medicine practitioner and intuitive spiritual counselor. Mitchell, an ancient wisdom teacher who advises clients worldwide, is also a certified Aquarian Kundalini yoga instructor who has had a private practice in Black Mountain since 2010. The Center Within Black Mountain will be the new home for her energy medicine and spiritual counsel practice.

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