Press release from the Asheville Chamber of Commerce:
Asheville, N.C. – In conjunction with the Buncombe County Commission and the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County (EDC), East Fork Pottery announced plans to invest $2.4 million in its Asheville operations. The capital investments will be for new building upfit and for new technology and machinery. Additionally, this project expansion will add over 50 net new jobs, with an average wage of $22.46 per hour and sustain over 100 existing jobs. The new positions will include opportunities in production, research and development, marketing, management, and administrative positions. Starting pay for all positions at East Fork Pottery is a minimum of $20/hour.
East Fork Pottery designs, manufactures, and sells thoughtful, durable ceramic dishware in Asheville, North Carolina. Trained in formal ceramic apprenticeships, the founders spent thousands of hours making hundreds of the same form at a time on a potter’s wheel before they began utilizing industrial forming techniques. They make their dinnerware with dynamic, iron-rich clays dug from the American Southeast and colored with glazes formulated and mixed in-house. East Fork sits at a unique and challenging intersection of small-scale artisan workshop and large-scale industrial ceramic production. As a dedicated employer-of-choice, East Fork writes workplace and job policies that take into consideration the inevitable socio-economic imbalances that exist in the local workforce. They write policies that center and support the health and wellness of every team member. As a young startup, they have grown rapidly from 10 employees to over 100 in less than 5 years.
East Fork leadership pursued this expansion initiative in accordance with their long-term vision for the company. Additionally, competitive advantages of Buncombe County’s workforce along with grassroot connections to nonprofit community organizations with focus on living wages, sustainability, and equity work supports their decision-making process. During this process, East Fork Pottery pursued and obtained B Corporation certification as a mission-driven company, joining a list of nearly 4,000 other B Corporations in the United States. This includes taking the future steps towards a minimum living wage of $22.20, as outlined in the B Corporation certification process.
“We are very pleased to continue expanding our operations in our home of Asheville, North Carolina,” said Alex Matisse, Founder and Board Chair. “Since East Fork’s founding in 2010, we have been able to grow significantly thanks to our amazing team and the support of our community.”
“This expansion will do more than grow our tax base and create quality manufacturing career paths in Buncombe County,” stated EDC Board Chairman Jay Richardson. “As a recently certified B-Corps, East Fork Pottery is demonstrating how business success can be leveraged to improve the wellbeing of the people and communities of our region.”
“East Fork Pottery reflects the deep roots of craftsmanship and industry here in the mountains,” said Brownie Newman, Chairman of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. “We are proud to celebrate the homegrown success of the company, and their long-standing commitment to hiring practices that expand economic mobility for all Buncombe County residents.”
Partners in the expansion include North Carolina Department of Commerce, Buncombe County, and the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County and the North Carolina Community College System.
For more information about the company, visit https://eastfork.com/.
The Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County (EDC) is a public-private partnership committed to creating and retaining high quality jobs, community leadership, and being a resource for better business decisions. The EDC accomplishes this mission through its four core services: business retention and expansion, small business and entrepreneurship, research, and marketing and recruitment. The EDC is funded by Buncombe County, the City of Asheville, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, and the AVL 5×5 Campaign.
For more than 120 years, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce has been the catalyst for economic vitality in our community. The Asheville Chamber connects 1,700 member organizations, both large and small, representing more than 80,000 employees, to valuable resources such as economic development and research, business education, marketing opportunities and advocacy. Asheville Chamber initiatives have stimulated economic development, influenced public policy and supported the growth of thousands of local and regional businesses. Learn more at www.ashevillechamber.org.