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PDF: Charlotte's Spirited Entrepreneurs


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PDF: Charlotte's Spirited Entrepreneurs

  1. 1. Charlotte’s Spirited Charlotte’s Spirited Entrepreneurs 1
  2. 2. We thank the following companies for their support of the Charlotte Chamber’s economic development efforts. PLATINUM SPONSORS SILVER SPONSORS BRONZE SPONSORSAd Art Company, The Compass Group North America MindshareADT Security Services First Citizens Bank NELSONArtistic Images, Inc. G4S Secure Solutions (USA) Inc. Otis Elevator CompanyBELFOR Hendrick Automotive Group Performance TeamC.E. Holt Refrigeration Inc. Insight Global, Inc. A Staffing Services Co. Phillips — Van Heusen Corp.Call One, Inc. Jones Lang LaSalle Smart Apparel, USCarolina Handling, LLC K&L Gates SOICato Corporation, The Lincoln Harris VF CorporationColumbia Sportswear/Bryenton Louis Raphael - Kizan International, Inc. Weyco Group Enterprises, Inc. Miller Group, The Charlotte Chamber Economic Development 330 South Tryon Street, Charlotte, North Carolina 28232 U.S.A. | 704.378.1300 |
  3. 3. Charlotte: Where Entrepreneurs Take Root The entrepreneurs of Charlotte speak many business languages — Web, food, transportation, medicine, finance, to name a few. Their dialogue supports an open and energetic startup atmosphere in a community also known for some of America’s largest companies. No matter what your startup does, Charlotte is a smart place to locate. Here are a few reasons why. Charlotte-based leadership expert Sherri Baldwin has worked with the largest and smallest companies in the nation, but she keeps a special place in her heart for entrepreneurs. She says that for them, “It’s about pursuing their passions and applying three defining traits of leadership. They are committed, have deep conviction and courageous.” Charlotte’s Spirited Entrepreneurs 3
  4. 4. Baldwin’s company, LeadAdvantage, builds in mortgages. However, New American Steve DeCarlo, was a 2009 Ernst & Youngexecutive success through one-on-one work, Mortgage is thriving, in part because it Entrepreneur of the Year winner in theleaving a track record of personal growth and reinvented the real estate agent and lender financial services category.leadership. She adds, “Charlotte is a unique relationship, even co-locating in some agentvenue for leaders to grow. The city has a offices. New American Mortgage was started Entrepreneurs know that funding is thebusiness confidence and camaraderie. People by former Carolina Panthers wide receiver grease for the wheels of business. Charlottehere know when to collaborate and when to Casey Crawford and mortgage veteran Toby business DealCloud brings efficiency to thecompete. That kind of on-the-job collegiality Harris. capital raising and M&A process. The conceptand respect isn’t taught in a classroom was incubated at a private equity firm thator dictated by a few people. It is built by New American Mortgage swam against needed a higher grade of industry-specificeveryday performance. That kind of business the financial current. The Charlotte Business knowledge for its work. “The growing numberenvironment builds enduring success.” Journal named the company among the of firms and professionals participating fastest of its Fast 50, saying in December in the M&A industry has created demandEach year, the Charlotte Business Journal 2011, “After increasing its revenue nearly for efficient workflow and organization inrecognizes the Fast 50 — the 50 fastest 300 percent between 2008 and 2009, the sourcing, executing and consummatinggrowing companies headquartered in company followed that with 223 percent deals,” says Ben Harrison, a founder ofthe Charlotte area in terms of revenue. growth the following year. The number of DealCloud. “We provide a secure andThese companies help lead Charlotte’s employees, meanwhile, has jumped from interactive platform to execute transactionsentrepreneurial engine. Here are a few recent six in January 2008 to nearly 400 today, with and manage relationships.”high achievers.Higher education inspired a successful startup.Campus Crest Communities, Inc. decided “Charlotte is a unique venue for leaders to grow. The city hasthat the old model of student housing could a business confidence and camaraderie. People here knowbe reinvented. Now students across theUnited States are linked to a fast-growing when to collaborate and when to compete. That kind ofCharlotte business: a vertically-integratedplatform for first-class student housing business environment builds enduring success.”properties. According to the company, a — Sherri Baldwin, LeadAdvantagestudent-housing surge began in the 1950swhen the baby boomers started college. Highrises with shared facilities were thus quicklybuilt to meet demand. offices in 10 states. The growth is the result For investment bankers and advisors, of expanding into new territory and gaining DealCloud is a secure, web-based tool toThose facilities have aged, and today’s share in existing markets. … It’s on track to manage deal marketing, diligence activitystudents have different demands, close $1 billion in loans this year.” and sponsor coverage. Says Harrison, “Ournecessitating better student housing. networking features and proprietary databaseEntrepreneurs Mike Hartnett and AmWINS Group, Inc. is another finance- help investment bankers and advisors targetTed Rollins founded Campus Crest oriented success. The company has relevant buyers and investors. As a financialCommunities with a vision to develop become the largest wholesale insurance sponsor or strategic buyer, the right deals canthe best “fully loaded” student housing broker in the U.S. based on premiums find you.”properties in the industry. Their company’s placed according to Business Insuranceintegrated model handles the demand (October 2011). The firm has expertise The easiest way to describe DealCloudfrom site selection to construction to across a diversified mix of property, is to compare it to other more genericmanagement of the property. Today, there casualty and group benefits products and technology platforms. Harrison drew theare 33 operating properties and six under also support services including product analogy, “DealCloud is meetsdevelopment for delivery in fall 2012. development, underwriting, premium LinkedIn and a virtual Data Room specifically and claims administration and actuarial for the M&A industry.  The M&A processPerhaps among the most challenging services. Formed in 1998, AmWINS now has is cumbersome, and our customers areindustries to create innovation after the 2008 82 locations across 19 countries including excited about the efficiency and ROI they arefinancial meltdown is finance, specifically 50 locations in the U.S. AmWINS’ CEO, experiencing with DealCloud.” DealCloud is4 Charlotte’s Spirited Entrepreneurs
  5. 5. DealCloud’s offices are in Packard Charlotte’s Spirited Entrepreneurs 5
  6. 6. David Jones, president & CEOof Peak 10. Jones co-foundedPeak 10 in March of 2000.6 Charlotte’s Spirited Entrepreneurs
  7. 7. only one way that Charlotte entrepreneurs A third of Peak 10’s 350 people are in have leveraged technology for successful Charlotte. Peak 10 has 23 data centers in 10 startups. markets in the U.S. The Charlotte Business Journal reports that in 2010, Peak 10 “was Skookum Digital Works is in the heart sold to a private-equity fund in a deal valued of Charlotte’s uptown and at the heart of at more than $400 million, giving Peak 10 web-tech. Skookum formulates, builds and the highest valuation of all data center packages mobile apps, webapps, custom companies in the U.S.” software and data visualizations as business products and services for its customers to own Charlotte tech startup YAP Inc. was sold and resell. “All Web developers like the first to Amazon in 2011. Started by brothers 80 percent of this business. We actually like Victor and Igor Jablokov, YAP developed the last 20 percent, too. We want to launch an advanced, cloud-based mobile speech your product. We want to hand over our hard recognition platform. The company was a work and see it live. We want your business to finalist in Silicon Valley’s elite TechCrunch “In addition to a strong, skilled technology base, there is a ripe investor community and a contagious local entrepreneurial spirit. We’re also fortunate to have great weather and a lower cost of living compared to other technology hubs.” — Josh Oakhurst, creative director at Skookum. generate its first revenues. We want your boss event and was awarded North Carolina’s to give you a promotion,” says Bryan Delaney, Early Stage Company of the Year. Igor is vice president and co-founder. also a founding member of the Speech Technology Consortium, which is dedicated Why did Skookum locate in uptown? “In to growing the market and increasing addition to a strong, skilled technology base, innovation in speech recognition technology there is a ripe investor community and a and applications. With well over a dozen contagious local entrepreneurial spirit. We’re patents pending, he was named an industry also fortunate to have great weather and luminary by the editors of Speech Technology a lower cost of living compared to other magazine. technology hubs,” says Josh Oakhurst, creative director at Skookum. Tech takes on a different dimension in this healthcare company — Prodigy Diabetes Peak 10 Inc. is another tech success Care. The World Health Organization story. Peak 10 aims at mid-sized firms that states that one in 10 adults worldwide need to store data securely off-site, using has diabetes, costing billions of dollars to managed services and cloud providers with treat and creating risks of heart disease, data centers. David Jones, president and kidney failure and blindness. In response to CEO, recently announced an expansion in this, Richard Admani and brother, Ramzi Charlotte. A new 62,000 square foot facility Abulhaj, founded the company, which in the University Research Park area, north has become one of the fastest-growing of uptown, takes Peak 10’s footprint to more companies in the Charlotte area. Says than 129,000 square feet. The company has its Admani, “My brother and I have watched headquarters facility in south Charlotte. members of our family suffer the effects Charlotte’s Spirited Entrepreneurs 7
  8. 8. diabetes and related complications. Ramzi electronic merchandise on display at top Lindon Hayes, CEO, says that Charlotte hashas had Type 2 diabetes for years, and our global retailers. InVue’s objective is to a “secret sauce” for entrepreneurs: “Whatgrandfather was diagnosed with diabetic increase the profitability of its customers by you will find in Charlotte are people withretinopathy. This led to our commitment helping increase their sales while decreasing ethics, intelligence, loyalty, and a workto create innovative, high-quality diabetes the theft of their merchandise. InVue does ethic. Moreover, you can afford to hireproducts to improve the health care of all business in over 60 countries and has the them. What else do you need to build apeople living with diabetes, especially those industry’s largest sales and service network. business?”with low-vision and blindness.” The Prodigy® InVue was founded in 1972 as Alphaproduct line offers talking meters, which are Enterprises Inc. in Canton, Ohio. The RED F, a full-service advertising agency basedespecially beneficial to low-vision or blind company relocated to Charlotte in 2002. In in Charlotte, has a reputation for helping itsdiabetic patients. The Prodigy Voice® is the 2007, InVue Security Products was formed clients “Join Life.” National company clientsonly meter of its kind to earn awards from by Jim Sankey after the divesture of the including UnitedHealthcare, Time Warner Cable,both the National Federation of the Blind Alpha product line to Checkpoint Systems. TIAA-CREF, Norton and Fifth Third Bank haveand the American Foundation for the Blind. gained from RED F’s expertise in both general Utilipath designs and builds networks market and multicultural strategies and creativeBusiness runs on information flow, but the for many of the largest companies in executions. CEO Sara Garces says, “Diversity isright information has to be monitored.Finding the information needle in thehaystack can be a challenge. Qualitech “What you will find in Charlotte are people with ethics,Solutions, Inc., a software company,helps capture strategic information and intelligence, loyalty, and a work ethic. Moreover, you canextract critical tasks to a single portal for afford to hire them. What else do you need to build aa variety of world-wide industries such asnuclear, energy, health care, government, business?”manufacturing, professional services, — Lindon Hayes, Utilipath CEOtransportation, technology and banking.With an early emphasis on providingmission-critical software to the highlyregulated energy industry, Qualitech built the world. The company is providing not a trend — it’s today’s reality. Messages needitself on a foundation of exacting quality intelligent building systems, enterprise to speak many languages and connect withand safety standards. That lays the base for networks, wireless, carrier services, network people on a personal, culturally-relevant process improvement success in outsourcing, data center, and outside plant We continue to get the most out of traditionalother industries. services to projects in 45 U.S. states and marketing channels, but we’re also seeking out in Canada. The company counts 5 of the new ways to help our clients and their brandsStealth Components built success on 5 largest telcos, 4 of the 4 largest CATV join consumers’ lives.” As a result, MWBE-certifiedgetting key parts — sometimes hard to find providers, and 3 of the 5 largest global RED F continues to grow and has been namedparts — in the hands of its customers. It is systems integrators in its customer base. to the Inc. 500|5000 list of the fastest growingan around the clock global supply chain companies four times.partner for technology-driven companies. Founded in 2003 with minimal financialIts 85.5 percent order fill rate proves Stealth’s capital and a massive customer service Multi-cultural and multi-lingual issues arecapabilities to source and deliver hard to attitude, Utilipath recently differentiated critical. Through its global network providingfind parts —that is 35 points better than itself from the other 27 million private communication solutions in 176 languages,the industry average. “Whether it is one companies registered in the U.S. with 112 Choice Translating makes the world a smaller,part or thousands, long-lead-time or simply percent sales growth over three years, which more connected place through customizedhard to find electronic parts, we are here happened to be some of the toughest brand analysis, translating and interpretingto augment the current process to help years in the U.S. since the Great Depression. services. It is a full-service linguistic agencycustomers stay on track,” says Bernie L. AT&T was the first customer to take a headquartered in Charlotte. “We maximizeSmith, CEO. chance on the company and signed a $1 global corporate opportunities as we reduce million contract within weeks of Utilipath’s risk due to miscommunication. Our slogan is,InVue Security Products Inc. provides founding. Since then, Utilipath has set a ‘Because meaning turns on a word™’ and it’ssecurity solutions to protect hand-held standard for results. true,” says founder and CEO, Michelle Menard.8 Charlotte’s Spirited Entrepreneurs
  9. 9. William Henry Belk opened thefirst Belk store in 1888. Belk is nowcomprised of more than 300 Charlotte’s Spirited Entrepreneurs 9
  10. 10. When Choice Translating opened in 1995, knowledge to help others. According to Dan, a company fueled in part by the motorsportsthe only languages offered were French there is an entrepreneurial strength when industry here in Charlotte. A look at theand English. Now, Choice leverages a team large and small firms are side-by-side. “I think company name provides some clues about itsof multilingual project managers, a cloud that helps to understand that it’s fantastic to mission: “Camber” is an engineering term usedplatform and virtual team of linguists in more have Bank of America in Charlotte, to have to describe the tilt of a tire, and “Ridge” packs athan 80 countries. “The variety of industries Duke Energy, SPX, Nucor and Chiquita here. double meaning, conjuring not only the imageand 950-plus foreign-owned firms operating Those smart companies provide credence to of a tire on its edge but of a distinct divide inhere means that Charlotte has diversified the city for business. However, a vast majority landscape such as a mountain ridge or a newwell past finance. I personally found a strong of jobs come from companies of less than 500 way of thinking.entrepreneurial support system that has made people. Packard Place provides the interface fora huge impact in the success of our business,” businesspeople to bring all their skills together Camber Ridge CEO Jim Cuttino has a tightsays Menard. for success.” relationship with the racing industry; he has designed the most advanced and accurateOne reason Charlotte has entrepreneurs The phrase, “Where the rubber meets the road,” tire testing facility in the world. But whyacross varied industries is its longtime culture takes on new meaning at Camber Ridge LLC, would someone want to test tires? Thoughof business generation. Dan Roselli headsPackard Place, a renovated auto dealershipfrom the 1940s that is now a location for “Charlotte has diversified well past finance. I personallystartups to find their footing with office spaceand support systems. Dan developed his found a strong entrepreneurial support system that hasmarketing expertise with Bank of America, made a huge impact in the success of our business.”Mars, Colgate-Palmolive and General Mills. Danis a serial entrepreneur who uses his startup — Michelle Menard, Choice Translating Michelle Menard, founder and CEO of Choice Translating.10 Charlotte’s Spirited Entrepreneurs
  11. 11. Dan Roselli of Packard Place.we depend on tires every day with personal of high performing companies and effective and efficient in how they conductcars, agriculture, airlines and in commerce, businesspeople.  Its team can get an business.”  most of us do not think about them. However, executive to 60 percent of U.S. businessdeep within the confines of the transportation centers in the time it takes to watch a “You can’t put a price on the flexibility Jetpoolindustry are those who live and breathe tires. To good movie, about two hours. Jetpool is an offers. Having our top people where they needthose folks, Cuttino’s vision is revolutionary. aircraft management, charter and shares to be at a moment’s notice — on time — has firm headquartered at a private, executive been invaluable for growing and servicing ourTires are a complex amalgam of rubber, terminal at Charlotte Douglas International business,” says Dan DiMicco, chairman and CEOsteel and fabric, making them difficult to Airport. The firm’s aircraft become in-flight of Nucor Corporation, a Jetpool Fortune 500manufacture and thus more difficult to offices for clients, providing the ability to client headquartered in Charlotte.understand. Cuttino’s team of worldwide be fully productive while flying.experts knows that making tires requiresa gourmet recipe — a careful mixture of Jetpool’s executive and operational team Food-and-diet orientedingredients and the skills of a master chef. includes seasoned corporate pilots, former startups as well as nonprofitCamber Ridge is the ultimate taste test, a military pilots and officers who know how to organizations growmethod to determine whether the recipe run a tight ship.  “As businessmen ourselves,meets safety, endurance and performance we understand the value of creating physical Food-and-diet oriented startups have grown.standards. connections with customers, suppliers and According to Bloomberg Businessweek, key employees in what is normally a digital “Changing tastes and interest in healthy livingTransportation is the basis of another workplace,” says Ryan Stone, chairman have made the food and beverage industrysuccessful Charlotte entrepreneur. of Jetpool.  “Our services help our clients ripe for startups.” Charlotte has served up itsJetpool is the trusted aviation partner outperform their competitors by being more share of foodie Charlotte’s Spirited Entrepreneurs 11
  12. 12. Ryan Stone, chairman of Jetpool.Amélie’s Bakery was born from three restless “The labor force here is amazing … highly educated people …businesspeople: a serial entrepreneur witha passion for good food and a knowledge I have gotten more bang for the buck in terms of labor.”of information systems, a professional in — Lynn St. Laurent, co-founder of Amélie’sdecorative arts and a retired IBM executive.Amélie’s has become a Charlotte icon and a entirely from mismatched silverware, cookware, of labor. Our customers make a difference,hotspot for early birds and night owls alike and utensils, and the café’s broken dishes are too. They are also quite educated and world-since it is open 24/7 with award-winning used to create mosaics on tables.” traveled, which means there is a level ofFrench pastries, desserts and café fare and a sophistication we enjoy.”homey “Paris Shabby-Chic” living room. Amélie’s’ The right ingredients were in place for this21,000+ fans on Facebook say that there is entrepreneur’s success. Says Lynn St. Laurent, Damon and Veronica DeCristoforo begansomething special here. The magazine Elle-Decor recently said, “The quirky eatery teems Amélie’s co-founder and owner, “As a startup Lindy’s Homemade, LLC, based on a familywith students, artists, and creative types, and, I found the folks in Charlotte that I needed. secret: recipes for Italian ice. “My father, Mariothough lively, always has a free seat — French They had a willingness to ‘be enrolled’ in what Lindbergh DeCristoforo, ‘Lucky Lindy’ as he wasdoors open to reveal charming tucked-away I was trying to accomplish. The labor force known to friends, used to make Italian ices forspaces. Designed by Brenda Ische, the bakery here is amazing … highly educated people … the kids of our neighborhood as I was growingis full of special details like a chandelier made I have gotten more bang for the buck in terms up,” says Damon. The company, which began12 Charlotte’s Spirited Entrepreneurs
  13. 13. with fresh fruit, original recipes and a dream pies; or something as familiar as oatmeal featured on a national radio show, Honey Butterto sell Italian ice by street cart, has become a cookies. This is a scratch-made, family-owned Bakery got the boost it needed.nationally selling product line of ices, sorbets dessert company in Charlotte that also servesand gelatos in large grocery chains such as the wholesale market. Brandi Jones, its Thinking of food, the next time you enter aHarris Teeter, Farm Fresh, Wal-Mart, BI-LO, and founder, says, “Fresh out of culinary school I hotel lobby and smell chocolate chip cookiesLowes Foods. The gourmet ices are also sold started my bakery business journey. While I or walk through a shopping area and noticeat sports and entertainment events, and street knew how to handle food, I needed to learn a scent of waffle cones enticing you into ancarts are still operated during festivals and more about business and leaned on startup ice cream store, think of Charlotte’s ScentAirspecial events. resources at Central Piedmont Community entrepreneurs. College and a women’s entrepreneur programThe DeCristoforos cite the region’s strong labor at Johnson C. Smith University.” Brandi’s initial ScentAir pioneered scent marketing, creatingforce as a benefit for growing companies, and sales were through markets, friends, family signature scents to go along with a brand name“travel through Charlotte Douglas International and restaurants, but when her business was experience. It’s more than the scents of food,Airport is very convenient to anywhere in the though. There are special places for scents:country and abroad.” They add, “Wonderful “White Tea” is a refreshing scent that welcomesweather, a moderate four season climate and guests at Westin Hotels; a rainforest scent helpsproximity to the mountains and the beaches set the stage at one children’s museum exhibitare ideal. It’s a great place to raise a family and at about the age of dinosaurs; a woody scentthe time we decided to begin our company.” helps reinforce a minimalist approach to a high- end retailer space; a eucalyptus-mint comboHoney Butter Bakery feeds the soul with creates a sense of rubdowns and exercise andsweet potato, red velvet and banana pudding sells more memberships. TIME, Forbes, Fastcheesecakes; chocolate pecan and blueberry Company and the Today Show have all featuredAmélie’s Bakery has twolocations in Charlotte’s Spirited Entrepreneurs 13
  14. 14. ScentAir, which now has 2,000 available scents aspires to have the shoes sent back to him for Queen City Forward (QCF) is a nonprofitin more than 40,000 placements. ScentAir recycling. organization formed to increase the creation,works well beyond the retail trade. For instance, scale and impact of social ventures in Charlotte.a major defense contractor makes sure that According to the Kauffman Foundation, “The social challenges facing our city andhelicopter simulators have the scent of diesel the world’s largest foundation devoted to country can outpace solutions if we don’t workto make the pilot experience more realistic. entrepreneurship, “Nonprofit entrepreneurs together,” says Charles Thomas, executive are no less ambitious, passionate, or driven to director of QCF. “We are a hub for entrepreneursThere are also Charlotte startups that have make an impact than any other type of founder to create positive social and economic change.developed from market niches found outside is. They simply measure their success in terms Social thoughts leaders gather and growthe traditional workplace. Lisa Huntting of social goals rather than profit.” Charlotte has their idea with our help.” QCF connects socialbrings entrepreneurism home. She founded progressive nonprofit entrepreneurs. entrepreneurs to the resources and relationshipsMirrorMate® frames in 2003 because of a they need to successfully grow and scale theirdecorating problem she had. “I thought I was Mike Spencer co-founded Doing My Part, business through space, talent, capital, advocacyfinished decorating my master bath, but the Inc. (DMP), an alternative solution to online and visibility and knowledge development.most dominant features were those huge, fund-raising. Participants provide a $3 per The organization provides affordable space inbare mirrors above the twin vanities. Theycried out for frames. But framing them wouldbe way too expensive. And I didn’t evenwant to think about taking them down andreplacing them.”Like the best entrepreneurial ideas, Lisacreated a simple solution to a problem noone else defined before. She turned a baremirror into a work of art. “It’s the custom framekit that’s press-on easy. We custom cut theframes to fit mirror measurements. Customersassemble the four frame legs with push-inconnectors and then press the pre-tapedframe right onto the glass.” MirrorMate hasmore than 60 styles and drastically reduces thecost of bathroom renovation.A family-oriented Charlotte idea gainednational attention. The headline from theCharlotte Observer read, “Charlotte man jumpsinto the ‘Shark Tank’ — Charlotte man to toss month contribution to help fund important Packard Place, connects enterprises to localidea for fully recyclable kicks to TV investors.” projects that have received their due diligence talent and mentors and offers Lunch-n-LearnThe story is this: Gary Gagnon’s inspiration from the DMP staff. When one project gets sessions, among other things.was a pile of his kids’ beat-up sneakers. He was fully funded, the next project comes up ontaking out the trash and saw a pile of them the website. Also on the site is the “Wall of “Cultivating and creating the right conditionsready for the garbage. That led to a line of fully Heroes.” Contributors can add their photo to for social entrepreneurs and social enterprisesrecyclable sneakers and his company, Remyxx, the countdown to complete a project. Spencer to thrive is a key element to the economic andpitching its idea on “Shark Tank,” a prime-time says, “There’s no doubt that people want to help community development strategy of Charlotte. entrepreneur reality show on ABC-TV. out, but because of the obstacles in the current Queen City Forward provides the resources process of giving, we as individuals are held needed for social entrepreneurs to grow to the“It’s a sneaker with a purpose,” he says, because back. Doing My Part is breaking down those next level,” says Charlotte’s Mayor Anthony Foxx.they are produced with materials that can be obstacles to give everyone the chance to make As the nation folded onto itself in a financialtossed into a recycling bin when they wear a real difference. We all need each other, and heap, nonprofits felt the sting too. The CEOout. The colorful shoes make a statement and with one simple action we will transform the of Charlotte’s Crisis Assistance Ministrydraw attention to the recycling theme. Gary way the world gives back.” cranked-up entrepreneurial thinking to address14 Charlotte’s Spirited Entrepreneurs
  15. 15. Gary Gagnon pitched the idea forhis recyclable sneaker company,Remyxx, on the TV show “Shark Tank.” Charlotte’s Spirited Entrepreneurs 15
  16. 16. community issues. Crisis Assistance provides contribution, seeded an emergency fund with foundational business subjects, includingpoor families and individuals with emergency $2.7 million. business plan basics, choosing your legalassistance for utilities, heat and clothing. “We structure, funding your business, negotiationtapped federal stimulus funding as a temporary, One county official notes, “Crisis Assistance skills and market research tools. For moreonce-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build an Ministry helped secure the last safety net for information contact the executive director,innovative solution with long-term legs,” says these people, before they fell through the Lori Day, at (704) 330-6776.Carol Hardison. cracks and hit the ground.” Entrepreneurism is nothing new in Charlotte.“Project Hope” was the result. Hardison says This kind of collaborative spirit is woven Yesterday’s entrepreneurs created conceptsthe goal is to create a new system to deliver into Charlotte’s DNA, including pragmatic that are now mainstream and have becomecomprehensive assistance and not continue educational and training resources for some of the well-known brand names of “take government grant money and just entrepreneurs.follow the rules.” Project Hope unifies the way For instance…human service needs are met — homelessness, Central Piedmont Community Generations of Southern shoppers have reliedhunger, personal safety in distressed times. College, together with its Institute for on their local Belk department stores for the Entrepreneurship and Small Business latest fashions, quality merchandise, friendlyThe Huffington Post picked up the story about Center, combined resources to assist the service, fair prices and a satisfaction-guaranteedHardison’s work: “With many other nonprofits Charlotte community, helping entrepreneurs policy. It is a retail tradition built on humblestruggling, Crisis Assistance Ministry helped and business owners navigate the region’s beginnings. Twenty-six-year-old Williamcoordinate charitable efforts in the area to make evolving business environment. The Institute Henry Belk had been a store clerk for 12 yearsup for $2.4 million in cuts to the social services for Entrepreneurship offers training for when on May 29, 1888, he opened a smallagency’s budget. A flood of private donations, entrepreneurs and experienced business bargain store in the rural farming communitysparked by a wealthy resident’s million-dollar owners. Topical seminars cover a variety of of Monroe, N.C. Now in the third generation ofCentral Piedmont Community College hasmany programs including its Institute forEntrepreneurship and Small Business Center.16 Charlotte’s Spirited Entrepreneurs
  17. 17. Snyder’s-Lance was startedby Philip L. Lance in leadership, Charlotte headquartered Belk offers the popular brands Snyder’s of In November 1959, Leon Levine openedis the nation’s largest privately owned, mainline Hanover, Lance, Cape Cod, Krunchers!, Jays, the first Family Dollar store in Charlotte withdepartment store company with more than Grande, Tom’s, EatSmart Naturals, Stella a simple concept, “The customers are the300 fashion stores in 16 contiguous southern D’oro, and Archway as well as private label boss, and you need to keep them happy.”states devoted to delivering modern, Southern foods. Products are widely distributed This concept for a self-serve, cash-and-carrystyle to customers. through grocery and mass merchandisers, neighborhood discount store in low to middle convenience stores, club stores, food service income neighborhoods proved so successfulMost people have heard about taking lemons outlets and other channels. that today Family Dollar is a chain with overand making lemonade, but how about this? In 6,800 stores from Maine to Arizona.1913, Philip L. Lance, a Charlotte food broker, In 1936, W. T. Harris borrowed $500 towas stuck with 500 pounds of unwanted raw open his first grocery store in Charlotte. Finally, one well-established company stillpeanuts. Instead of backing out of his bargain Meanwhile, Willis L. Teeter and his brother, makes the Charlotte Business Journal’s fastestwith the peanut farmer, Lance decided to Paul, borrowed $1,700 to open their first growing list. Bojangles. One way to recognizeroast and sell the nuts for a nickel a bag on the Teeter’s Food Mart in Mooresville, N.C., in long-time Charlotteans is their love for Bojangles’streets of Charlotte. The freshly roasted peanuts 1939. Harris Teeter was formed in 1960. Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits. “Think inside thewere an immediate success, and Lance soon Through new store growth and mergers, the box,” is the motto of this successful restaurantexpanded his line to include peanut butter. That operation now has more than 200 stores in chain. Bojangles’® began in 1977 as the dream ofhumble start evolved into crackers, cookies and eight states and the District of Columbia, operators Jack Fulk and Richard Thomas. Theyother snacks. plus grocery, frozen food and perishable saw an opportunity to develop a quick-service products distribution centers in Greensboro, restaurant chain based on three attributes: aNo matter what you crave, Snyder’s-Lance N.C., and Indian Trail, N.C., and a dairy in High distinctive flavor profile; wholesome, high-has it — pretzels, sandwich crackers, potato Point, N.C. The company is headquartered quality products made from scratch; and achips, cookies, tortilla chips, restaurant style in Charlotte suburb Matthews and has fun, festive restaurant design with fast, friendlycrackers, nuts and more. The company approximately 25,000 associates. service. Bojangles’® core menu is the same Charlotte’s Spirited Entrepreneurs 17
  18. 18. The Levine family has grown Family Dollar into a chain with over 6,800 it was then — distinctive, flavorful chickenmade with a special blend of seasonings andserved with hot, fresh buttermilk biscuits andone-of-a-kind fixin’s like Bojangles’ Dirty Rice®and Bojangles’ Cajun Pintos®.These few pages have provided a brief lookat some Charlotte entrepreneurs. Charlotte-based McKinsey and Company consultantRonak Bhatt observes an important featureabout this base of business: “A broad rangeof entrepreneurial activities is important ina region. Charlotte provides a supportive18 Charlotte’s Spirited Entrepreneurs
  19. 19. environment for entrepreneurship in all itsforms and across various industries: from Charlotte is an excellent place for business. Englishhigh-tech to construction, and from energyto food service. It’s important to maintain Arabicdiversity in the local economy to beresponsive to emerging opportunities and Charlotte adalah lokasi perniagaan yang ideal. Bahasa Melayuto absorb possible disruptions to any givensector.” 夏洛特为您提供卓越超群的商务环境。 Chinese (Simplified)These entrepreneurial companies, both 夏洛特為您提供卓越超群的商務環境。 Chinese (Traditional)small and large in Charlotte, create acommunity-wide force for success. Cathy Charlotte je skvělé místo k podnikání. CzechMaday is president of Wingspan Coaching,a Charlotte company that adapts its name Charlotte is een prima plaats voor zaken. Dutch (Netherlands)from the Bald Eagle and honors Cathy’sNative American heritage. She comments Charlotte on loistava liiketoimintapaikka. Finnishon the spirit of individual, yet communalsuccess so evident in Charlotte. “Having Charlotte est le lieu idéal pour les affaires. French (France)an entrepreneurial spirit includes learninghow to initiate and cultivate a group of Charlotte ist ein idealer Geschäftsstandort. Germanmentors. Seasoned leaders in Charlotterealize the significance of entrepreneursand innovation. They make strong, . Hebrewdeliberate commitments to support our Hindientrepreneurs and make room for smallbusiness. Seasoned leaders are listening,and our emerging leaders are leveraging シャーロットは米国でのビジネスに最高の場所です. Japaneseopportunities to participate and contributeon a meaningful level.” 샬럿은 비즈니스하기에는 최적의 장소입니다. KoreanA history of entrepreneurs provides ongoing Charlotte è fantastica per gli affari! Italiansmart dialogue across entrepreneurialgenerations in Charlotte. It creates Charlotte é um lugar excelente para negócios. Portuguese (Brazil)constructive dialogue and outreach … awelcoming atmosphere for new businesses Charlotte. Ваш незаменимый деловой партнер. Russianand businesspeople. Choice Translatingsays it best in just a few of its almost 200 Charlotte es un excelente lugar para hacer negocios. Spanish (Mexico)languages. Charlotte är en perfekt plats för att göra affärer. Swedish Charlotte là một nơi lý tưởng cho việc kinh doanh. Vietnamese Published by: Charlotte Chamber of Commerce Chair: Frank Emory, Jr. President: Bob Morgan, CCE 330 South Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202 U.S.A. Senior V.P., Economic Development: Jeff Edge, CEcD (704) 378-1300 Director, Economic Development Marketing: Andrea Ware 9/12 .5M V.P., Public Relations & Research: Natalie Dick Copyright 2012 by Charlotte Chamber Services Inc. All rights reserved. No part of the publication may be Senior Director, Research: Erin Watkins reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, Director, Research: Andrew Bowen recording or by any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Charlotte Chamber. The information in this publication is carefully gathered and compiled in such a way as to ensure Research Associate: Madeline Caryl maximum accuracy. The Charlotte Chamber and Charlotte Chamber Services cannot, and do not, guarantee Words: Scott Carlberg Design: Andrea Ware either the correctness of all information furnished them nor the complete absence of errors and omissions. Photos: Hence, responsibility for same neither can be, nor is, Charlotte’s Spirited Entrepreneurs 19
  20. 20. Charlotte is one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation.With our great location, world-acclaimed international hub airport, professional sports, low energy costs, diverse and talented labor, and a nationally ranked education system, it’s easy to see why more businesses are flocking here every year. Visit ©PATRICKSCHNEIDERPHOTO.COM