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Entrepreneurial Spirit Is Alive in Asheville, NC

Asheville thrives with a creative energy that both fuels and feeds off businesses

By John McBryde on January 19, 2015

Asheville / Courtesy of JB Media

For at least one small business in Asheville, inspiration comes through online marketing.

For another, it flows from off-road bicycling.

Regardless of the types of companies – or even the size, for that matter – Asheville’s creative energy seems to be a key ingredient in the success of the city’s business world. There appears to be an ever-circling vibe in which entrepreneurs both contribute to and take nourishment from the city.

“One of the advantages of being a creative company in Asheville is that we can be more creative than we can be in other places,” says Adrianne Gordon, director of marketing and operations for JB Media Group, an Internet marketing firm. “Businesses here are interested in new creativity, new ideas, in taking some risks and exploring new concepts. We’re really able to help them expand their business because of their willingness, and that’s just part of the creativity that’s part of the business in Asheville.”

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Business Support

Gordon knows the nuances of entrepreneurship and startups in Asheville. Before joining JB Media Group, she helped develop innovative programs for small and mid-sized companies as a counselor and educator with the Small Business & Technology Development Center. One of her clients, in fact, was JB Media Group, which was founded in 2011 by Asheville native Justin Belleme.

She believes part of what makes Asheville so attractive to new and current businesses is the share of support that is found here.

“When you have businesses popping up to support entrepreneurship, that kind of gives you a sense that people are willing to engage in it,” Gordon says. “There are a lot of resources here, nonprofit and government agencies, to help businesses – everything from consultants to coworking facilities to education programs. It has all kind of come together.”

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The same is true for the employees at Industry Nine, a relatively new company that manufactures both road and off-road bicycle tires and hubs for customers throughout the U.S. and in 50 countries. It’s a firm that has found Asheville to be the ideal home.

“The big draw for our employees is that Asheville offers exceptional outdoor opportunities, particularly for our staff to ride world-class trails and roads,” says Jacob McGahey, operations manager for Industry Nine. “That is combined with the fact that Asheville has a really vibrant downtown community, with great restaurants, good arts and a lively music scene. That allows us to bring in staff who are here not just for a job but because they want to be a part of this community.”

It’s not just the small, “niche” companies that benefit from Asheville’s energy and intimacy.

Nypro, Inc., a global plastics manufacturer headquartered in Clinton, Mass., and with locations in 15 countries, opened a plant in Asheville at least partly because of the city’s positive atmosphere.

“With a dynamic downtown, rural country sides, and a wealth of education and recreational opportunities, our employees can strive to reach their full potential and enjoy the lives they choose to lead,” says Joe Freitas, plant manager for the Nypro site in Asheville.  

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