No More Phoenix Talk Here

First Trax

Over the last month we’ve covered the story about Eric Hunter’s "dream" of making Phoenix Mountain in Ashe County a bonafide, first-class ski resort. Yesterday we threw in an addendum that sparked several emails to me from people thinking that we had soured on the idea. That isn’t the case at all. I don’t have many talents, but one that I am pretty good at is reading people and reading between the lines. One email this morning stated, "It looks like SkiNC doesn’t WANT another ski area in the region because then that would mean more competition. Let’s give the guy (Eric Hunter) a chance to see if he will make it become a reality before you guys start writing that it won’t make it EVEN BEFORE the dust clears!"

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! Why WOULDN’T we want another ski resort in the region. Competition is ALWAYS good. It makes everyone work harder, better and nicer. What we wrote yesterday (see the archives) was that Sheldon Good & Company was no longer promoting the 477 acres as a ski resort. Any mention of it being a possible ski resort has disappeared from ALL of their promotions. That alone should signal some obvious conclusions, however read between the lines. Consider this:

Eric Hunter HAD BEEN on the newspaper circuit talking up Phoenix as a great new ski resort. Articles that ran in the Jefferson Post, Mountain Times and on all included strong momentum about Phoenix as a ski resort. Sheldon Good & Company’s THREE INCH THICK promotional materials (we read every page) mentioned Phoenix as a ski resort hundreds of ways. Sheldon’s website promoted the 477 acres as a potential ski resort.

No matter how intense Mr. Hunter’s "dream" was, it appeared to dim quickly. Because now his quotes are, "I am convinced that there WILL BE a R-E-S-O-R-T on Phoenix Mountain." Notice the absence of the word "ski" prior to the word resort. That is now missing. So is ANY mention of the 477 acres as a potential ski resort in ANY of Sheldon Good & Company’s promotional data. Add to those facts, the fact that the closed bid auction that was scheduled for October 15th has been moved back to November 15th. None of these newest moves or changes in the promotional gameplan were done without consulting Mr. Hunter first. Therefore it is easy to discern that Mr. Hunter has decided to at least consider other ideas and possible offers. It is also obvious that no bids were forthcoming by the October 15th deadline. This happens all of the time in the real estate world, so it is no shock. What IS disappointing is that nobody has come along to partner Mr. Hunter’s ideas.

Could it still happen? It is highly doubtful now.

A few people have emailed asking the question, "If Mr. Hunter has the money, resources, land AND the desire to ski skiing in Ashe County, why has he dropped the ball at the eleventh hour?"

That is a good question, that can only be answered by Eric Hunter. Word has it that he’s very distracted by a new business venture in London and he just doesn’t have the time to see this thing through.

Mr. Hunter is a physicist, a very successful businessman and one busy dude. Hunter was co-founder of Cree, Inc., a market-leading innovator and manufacturer of semiconductors. You know the little LED Lights, LED backlighting, etc. The company he founded made millions and was a NASDAQ star. He decided to start another company, C3, Inc. in June of 1995 which basically created a new jewel called Moissanite. It reportedly has more fire and brilliance than diamonds and is being sold at major venues all over the world, including J.C. Penneys. The company is now Charles & Colvard…and it too has been a NASDAQ star.

There are stories floating all around these two companies and the Hunter family that would make a phenomenal movie of the week, or at least an episode of Dynasty…but suffice to say that Hunter emmersed himself in the Phoenix project until he became heavily involved in what must be yet another amazing success story waiting to happen in the U.K. The guy is as brilliant as his Moissanite Jewels. However it is that schedule that has him looking to "outsource" his dream. We have some ideas on the subject but have yet to speak with him for more than the two minutes it took to setup the meeting that didn’t happen.

So for now, until we get to speak with the man himself, there will be no more stories about Phoenix Mountain. We’ll leave that to the more appropo publications, like "Homes and Land" or "The Real Estate Guide"…rather than a promotional S-K-I venue like SkiNC and SkiSoutheast.

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