A Gathering of Localists

Growing a New Economy for All

Thank you to everyone who came out to enjoy a day long conference packed with inspiring speakers, engaging workshops and small business tours.

We covered topics including Marketing and Branding Strategies, B-Corporations, Democratizing Ownership and Coops, and Growing with Creative Financing.

Vortex Doughnuts and the French Broad Food Coop supplied us with a lovely breakfast and GO Kitchen Ready, a project of Green Opportunities provided the locally sourced lunch.

Video of our plenary session with Dr. Darin Waters and keynote speakers, Stacy Mitchell and Eric Henry follows:

Keynote: Stacy Mitchell

Keynote: Stacy Mitchell

Co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its Community-Scaled Economy Initiative, which produces research and analysis, and partners with a range of allies to design and implement policies that curb economic consolidation and strengthen community-rooted enterprise. Described as “the Joan of Arc of the independent business movement” Stacy has led collaborative efforts to build stronger organizing and advocacy networks among local businesses. She is the author of Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America’s Independent Businesses, which has appeared on several top-ten lists, and has written for a wide range of publications, including Business Week, Salon, The Nation, and Wall Street Journal. In October 2012, she gave a provocative and widely discussed TEDx talk on “Why We Can’t Shop Our Way to a Better Economy.”


Plenary: History Session with Dr. Darin Waters

Plenary: History Session with Dr. Darin Waters

Professor of African American Studies in WNC, University of North Carolina at Asheville

Dr. Waters is a historian and UNCA professor on African-Americans in WNC, facing the reality of American tragedy and the importance of power and democracy in public spaces.

From informing Ashevillians about the reality of the area’s history, pushing to change the public square, hosting a radio show, speaking at numerous events and organizing the first African-Americans in WNC history conference last Fall, Dr. Darin Waters has shaped the discussion and debates going on throughout our city on multiple fronts.

The UNCA professor, whose family has its own long history in the area, sat down in his office recently for an interview by The Asheville Blade about the truth of slavery in our region, the tragedies our culture is reluctant to face, the institutions behind social change and the deep ties between Asheville’s past and future.

Photo by Max Cooper of Dr. Waters speaking at a Martin Luther King Day event at Kenilworth Presbyterian. 


Keynote: Eric Henry

Keynote: Eric Henry

President, TS Designs

Eric Henry was born in Radford, VA. When he was three, he moved to Burlington, NC, where he’s lived most of his life.  He attended NC State University for two years to study agriculture, and then transferred to UNC at Chapel Hill to study economics. Before the start of his senior year at Chapel Hill, Eric left school to join Tom Sineath as co-owner of TS Designs, Inc. Eric has been in the screen printing business for more than 30 years. His duties at TSD range from sales and R&D to marketing. His boundless enthusiasm and energy have gained him a certain level of notoriety at most of them, even winning him the Sustainability Champion award from Sustainable North Carolina in 2009.

Outside of TS Designs, Eric devotes much of his time to furthering the sustainable agenda in various community organizations. He founded the Burlington Biodiesel Co-op in 2001 and has run his car (which now has more than 300k miles!) on biodiesel (or straight vegetable oil). He, along with Charles Sydnor and Sam Moore, founded a co-op grocery in downtown Burlington that reconnects local agriculture to Alamance County. He serves on numerous boards including the Burlington Downtown CorporationNC GreenPowerGreen America., BALLE: Business Alliance for Local Living Economies,and the Advisory Board at the Doherty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business at Elon University.

His most recent start-up is the Burlington Beer Works Co-op, which will build on the success of the grocery and is planning a 2016 opening. He and his wife are also working on converting the 20-year-old home on the property to a “net zero” energy home, and in the last two years they have installed a geothermal system, 4.3lHw solar array, and a wood stove insert.

“I want to push the window of sustainability in order to change the direction of the American society.”

Schedule

(Subject to Change)

Friday Sept. 25th, 2015


 8:00 am

 

Check-In with Breakfast & Coffee by Vortex Doughnuts & French Broad Food Coop

Conference Check-in with a light breakfast and coffee by Vortex, savory munchies by French Broad Food Coop.

Location: Catawba Brewing, 32 Banks Ave., South Slope of Downtown Asheville


 9:00 am

 

Welcome & Opening Session

A warm welcome from your conference host, Franzi Charen, director of the Asheville Grown Business Alliance and Billy Pyatt, co-owner of Catawba Brewing.

Centering session with Kris Moon of  One Center Yoga.

Introduction to our Plenary session by Stephanie Swepson-Twitty, Eagle Market Streets Development Project.

Location: Catawba Brewing, 32 Banks Ave., South Slope of Downtown Asheville

Time: 9:00 am – 9:30 am


9:30 am

 

Plenary Session: Looking Back to Fly Forward

Travel in time with an insight into the history of black-owned businesses in downtown Asheville and the deleterious effects of urban renewal. Assess the present state of our downtown and understand the power our decisions today have to shape the path of the future we want.

Moderator: Kimberly Hunter, Business Strategist & Educator

Dr. Darin Waters, UNCA | Sasha Mitchell, Color of Asheville | Stephanie Swepson-Twitty, Eagle Market Streets Development Corp.

Enjoy a historical photographic presentation of downtown Asheville curated by architect and historian, Rich Mathews.

Location: Catawba Brewing, 32 Banks Ave., South Slope of Downtown Asheville

Time: 9:30 am – 10:30 am

 

 


10:45 am

 

Breakout Sessions

(choose one when you check-in)

Flocking Together: Cooperative Models

Join us for a discussion of cooperative models and the power they have to democratize ownership in our ever increasing struggle with inequality. We will discuss this growing movement including worker ownership, Employee Stock Ownership Plans and business succession, buying cooperatives and real estate coops.

Moderated by: Meg Williams Jamison, Future Trace Strategies

Molly Hemstreet, Opportunity Threads |  Thomas Beckett, Carolina Common Enterprise | Lyle Estill, Piedmont Biofuels | Julie Shneyer, Center for Participatory Change | Libertie Valance, Firestorm Cafe & Books

Location: Buxton Hall BBQ 32 Banks Ave., South Slope of Downtown Asheville

Time: 10:45 am – 11:45 am

The Nest Egg: Finding the Capital

Finance and investment leaders present opportunities for entrepreneurs to find the capital they need to launch or grow their ideas.

Moderated by: Jane Hatley, Self Help Credit Union

Carol Pepe Hewitt, Slow Money NC | Patrick Doran, Mountain Bizworks | Tommy Dennison, The Support Center | Kimberly Daggerhart, Freelance Communications and Crowdfunding Campaign Manager

Location: Catawba Brewing, 32 Banks Ave., South Slope of Downtown Asheville

Time: 10:45 am – 11:45 am

Writing in the Sky: Key Strategies for Branding your Business

Imagine no limits to making your brand known in your community and beyond. Create a strategy for your brand that transcends costs, benefits and features and speaks directly to the heart of your customers. Successful branding starts inside your company and in your community. Only you can catch an employee or customer being a good ambassador and reward them for it. Only you can insure consistency in use of name, logo, and tagline. Join this group of experts as they discuss the key strategies for branding a business.

Moderated by: Jodi Rhoden, Short Street Cakes & Birds Eye Consulting

Jenny Greer Fares, Sound Mind Creative | Jim Bixby, 828 Design | Shantanu Suman, Open Door Design Studio | Reggie Tidwell, Curve Theory | Jack Becker, Element Advertising

Location: Twin Leaf Brewery 144 Coxe Ave., South Slope of Downtown Asheville

Time: 10:45 am – 11:45 am

Back to Nature: A Case Study of a Closed Loop Industry in WNC

Join us for this fascinating case study on how the Natural Products sector creates a viable economic development cluster in WNC. Our businesses are strengthened through partnerships, infrastructure building, expanding the Blue Ridge Naturally value chain, training opportunities, and unique programs.

Moderated by: Annice Brown, NC Natural Products Assoc.

Jennifer Flynn, Blue Ridge Naturally | Margaret Bloomquist, NCSU Dept. of Horticultural Science | Jeannie Dunn, NC Natural Products Association | Heather Wood Buzzard, Featherbs

Location: Catawba Brewing Rick House, 32 Banks Ave., South Slope of Downtown Asheville

Time: 10:45 am – 11:45 am


12:00 noon

 

Locally Sourced Lunch with GO Kitchen Ready

Join the talented Chef Liam of GO Kitchen Ready as he prepares a bountiful buffet of locally sourced delights.

Location: Catawba Brewing, 32 Banks Ave., South Slope of Downtown Asheville

Time: 12:00 noon – 12:40 pm

 


12:40 pm

KEYNOTE with Stacy Mitchell

The last few years have seen a remarkable resurgence of neighborhood grocers, independent bookstores, farmers markets, and credit unions. Surveys show more people are shifting their spending, while new research is finding that communities with a large share of locally owned businesses are more prosperous, equitable, and resilient than those dominated by a few big corporations.

But as encouraging as these trends are, “local” is still a small fraction of the economy, poverty is on the rise, and environmental collapse looms on the horizon. In her keynote talk, Stacy Mitchell will look at how we can accelerate change in our communities and bring about a deeper shift.

Stacy Mitchell, Institute for Local Self Reliance

Location: Catawba Brewing, 32 Banks Ave., South Slope of Downtown Asheville

Time: 12:40 pm – 1:30 pm


1:45 pm

Breakout Sessions

(choose one when you check-in)

Flocking Together Part 2: Cooperative Models & Reshoring an Industry

As the US economy dove into the Great Recession, two important changes occurred in the American textile industry. For one, US consumers shifted to support domestic production which creates an impact for us to rebuild our economy. Secondly, companies of all types focused attention to quicker cash-flow, shorter lead-times, and being responsive to consumer demands. Molly, founder of Opportunity Threads also helped create The Carolina Textile District to help entrepreneurs, existing companies, and local economies to benefit from the solutions only an American supply chain can provide. Join us for a discussion with community leaders as we take an in-depth look into a cutting edge network of textile manufacturers and related companies to connect clients with a one-stop-shop of resources, and to guide the process from ideas, to development, to production, to distribution.

Moderated by: Meg Williams Jamison, Future Trace Strategies

Molly Hemstreet, Opportunity Threads | Thomas Beckett, Carolina Common Enterprise

Location: Catawba Brewing Rick House, 32 Banks Ave., South Slope of Downtown Asheville

Time: 1:45 pm – 2:45 pm

B-Corp is the Word: Building Better Business

B Corps are certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

Today, there is a growing community of more than 1,000 Certified B Corps from 33 countries and over 60 industries working together toward 1 unifying goal: to redefine success in business. Our state of North Carolina is host to 30 B-Corps.

Join us for stories from those that have been certified and those currently undergoing the certification process.

Moderated by: Cortina Caldwell, Visit and Venture

Lyle Estill, Piedmont BioFuels | Eric Henry, TS Designs | Adrian Zelski, New Earth Musiq | Jeannine Buscher, Buchi Kombucha

Location: Catawba Brewing, 32 Banks Ave., South Slope of Downtown Asheville

Time: 1:45 pm – 2:45 pm

Wind Beneath Your Wings: Launching Local Marketing Campaigns

Expect your business to reach new heights, when you become an effective marketer, advertiser and promoter of your company. Launching a marketing campaign takes a series of coordinated steps, an understanding of your audience, and a knowledge of the different marketing channels and methods available in the area. Gain a solid foothold in the marketplace and help ensure the success of your company by understanding the power of a good local marketing plan. Understand how to make it happen locally, with locally-sourced vendors, from this panel of local marketing and advertising experts.

Moderated by: Jodi Rhoden, Short Street Cakes & Birds Eye Consulting

Jenny Greer Fares, Sound Mind Creative | Jim Bixby, 828 Design | Shantanu Suman, Open Door Design Studio | Reggie Tidwell, Curve Theory | Matt Levin, Element Advertising

Location: Twin Leaf Brewery 144 Coxe Ave., South Slope of Downtown Asheville

Time: 1:45 pm – 2:45 pm


3:00 pm

KEYNOTE with Eric Henry

Founded in 1977, TS Designs began as a small, manual screenprinting operation.  After a few short years, TS became a fully automated manufacturing company, printing shirts for the big brands (Nike, Tommy, Polo, GAP, etc.).  After the 1993 implementation of NAFTA, however, TS Designs watched its customers flood to Mexico for its lower labor cost.

Instead of following many of their peers and calling it quits, CEO Tom Sineath and president Eric Henry turned to fellow business owner and long-time friend Sam Moore for a new direction.  Sam introduced to Tom and Eric the triple-bottom-line business model focused on three equally important bottom lines: People, the Planet, and Profits.

Armed with their new business model and a healthy amount of crazy, Tom and Eric sought to align themselves with, and cater to, a then-fringe group: The Green Movement.

Today, TS Designs still sells largely to local, environmentally and socially-conscious businesses and organizations that make up The Green Movement, but also prints for any organization looking for a better quality product with a better environmental and social impact. Hear his story of a successful triple bottom line business and how it works to continuously work to improve its social and environmental influence.

Eric Henry, TS Designs

Location: Catawba Brewing, 32 Banks Ave., South Slope of Downtown Asheville

Time: 3:00 pm – 3:40 pm


3:45 pm

 

 

Stay for Networking or Take a Tour

(choose one when you check-in)

Tour of South Slope Businesses: Group A

Take a tour of Sow True Seed & Twin Leaf Brewery. Learn the history of how they got started and delve into the intricate details of day to day business from their perspective.

Sign up for the Tours at check in Sept. 25th.

First come first serve, 25 people max.

Location: South Slope of Downtown Asheville, meet your group at Catawba Brewing, 32 Banks Ave.

Time: 3:45 pm – 4:45 pm

Tour of South Slope Businesses: Group B

Take a tour of French Broad Chocolate Factory & Green Man Brewery. Learn the history of how they got started and delve into the intricate details of day to day business from their perspective.

Sign up for the Tours at check in Sept. 25th.

First come first serve, 25 people max.

Location: South Slope of Downtown Asheville, meet your group at Catawba Brewing, 32 Banks Ave.

Time: 3:45 pm – 4:45 pm

Tour of South Slope Businesses: Group C

Take a tour of One Center Yoga & Empyrean Arts. Learn the history of how they got started and delve into the intricate details of day to day business from their perspective.

Sign up for the Tours at check in Sept. 25th.

First come first serve, 25 people max.

Locations: South Slope of Downtown Asheville, meet your group at Catawba Brewing, 32 Banks Ave.

Time: 3:45 pm – 4:45 pm

Birds of a Feather: Guided Peer Networking Session
Join us to explore living and thriving together.
What do YOU bring to the table?
How can we connect around needs and offers?
How can we work together to make a stronger community and to bring business to each other?
Come prepared to participate and for real connection to be made.  Although we will have under an hour for this session we will also be connecting online for further engagement with Trusted Sharing, a local online platform for having conversations.  The online portion will include extended networking, lead passing and  exercises to weave a tighter community.
Facilitators: Ty Hallock of Creative Facilitators, Autumn Woodward, Massage Therapist and Cheri Torres of NextMove.is

Location: Catawba Brewing, 32 Banks Ave., South Slope of Downtown Asheville

Time: 3:45 pm – 4:45 pm


4:45 pm

Closing Remarks and Happy Hour at Catawba Brewing

Franzi Charen, Asheville Grown Business Alliance

Location: Catawba Brewing, 32 Banks Ave., South Slope of Downtown Asheville

Time: 4:45 pm – 5:00 pm


 

HUGE THANKS TO ALL OF OUR SPONSORS

 

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