Starting a new business is never an easy undertaking, but it can be an exciting adventure that will lead someone in a new direction. Launching a business is a demanding task, but the rewards of owning and running your own business can be great. It is the American capitalistic way, the essence of our country.
[dropcap]B[/dropcap]lue Ridge Food Ventures (BRFV) in Candler is an organization that offers support in product development to food and natural product entrepreneurs—from farmers, food truck owners, bakers, caterers, and natural product producers. They provide a shared use industrial kitchen (rented by the hour 24/7), refrigeration and storage space, and bottling, packaging, and labeling equipment to new entrepreneurs. It takes a huge economic burden off the shoulders of the producer when starting.
Western North Carolina is indeed fortunate to have such an incredible facility with so many well informed, helpful staff members. BRFV is a division of AdvantageWest, a nonprofit economic development organization that started approximately twenty years ago to help with the economic development of the 23 counties of Western North Carolina. With a reputation for being an industry leader, AdvantageWest was started by the North Carolina General Assembly, but last year the General Assembly discontinued their connection. The volunteer board of directors is led by W. Thomas Alexander of Burnsville. A large part of their operating funds comes from grants and corporate supporters, both public and private.
All six companies in this Sweet & Savory article have turned to BRFV to bring their product to fruition. All sing their praises. Some travel a considerable distance to use this facility and learn from the staff. They all mention that the atmosphere at the facility is incredibly warm, friendly, and noncompetitive. All there help each other with ideas and suggestions. The staff of BRFV directs the producers on the best route to succeed on their business journey, offering regulatory, branding, and monetary advice. They help turn dreams into reality, whatever the dream might be. They help them succeed in their business venture.