Ashley Flowers Family Dentistry – Sparta

Before Ashley Flowers opened her dental practice in Sparta in July 2009, many local residents had to drive over an hour to get access to basic dental services. Alleghany County had only one active dentist per 11,000 residents in 2008, compared to the state average of one dentist per 2,300 residents.



The Rural Center provided a $36,000 grant through its Rural Health Care Initiative to renovate a former office building for Flowers, who is now Alleghany County’s only full-time dentist. She served more than 880 patients in her first year.



The dental practice boosted the local economy by employing seven staff members. The practice is the only one in the county to accept Medicaid, allowing Flowers to cater to underserved populations. Flowers and several of her staff members speak Spanish, which allows them to provide services for Hispanic residents as well.

Other health care projects


Ashe Services for Aging

Ashe County

Ashe Services for Aging in West Jefferson, which provides a wide range of services for seniors and disabled adults in Ashe County, constructed an adult care home that will enable the creation of 30 jobs. Grant amount: $360,000


Industrial Opportunities Inc.

Cherokee County

IOI, a nonprofit that provides developmental and vocational training for people with disabilities, added a 22,400-square-foot expansion to its Andrews-based facility.IOI expects to create 40 full-time jobs as a result of the expansion. Grant amount:$480,000