Like many before him, it was first a family connection that put Asheville on Chad Littlefield’s radar as a potential place to move.
His brother in-law’s family came to the area a couple of years back, drawn by a job at Oskar Blues Brewery in Brevard. And in the months since, Littlefield and his wife have made several scouting trips to Asheville, subsequently falling in love with the town’s charms.
“Walking downtown, you feel something different than most places we’ve been. It was a little bit of intangible energy of going to the place that was really fun,” he says. “There were just about no chains downtown. There’s all these small businesses and mom-and-pop shops. That was awesome. The food was delicious.”
Those visits have translated to “a 95 percent chance” of moving to the area by the end of the year, Littlefield says. An entrepreneur who’s hoping to grow his We! consulting business, Littlefield says he has had some concerns that Asheville might not have the kind of business support network he wants. But those have been dissipating as he’s learned more about what the area offers. A recent article in Forbes that profiles the Venture Asheville initiative caught his attention. His response to the story via Twitter lead to contact with the Asheville Startups group, local economic development officials and Xpress.
Currently based in Pennsylvania, Littlefield’s business specializes utilizing experiential learning to improve an organization’s professional culture and work-flow.
Watch Chad Littlefield discuss his ideas for making better social connections in this video from TEDxPSU.
“The thing that was holding us back from moving to Asheville was [the question], ‘For the the kind of business I’m starting, is it a viable place to make that happen?’ That Forbes article was like, ‘OK, there is more motion in the entrepreneurial business realm in Asheville than I had thought originally.’”
That’s likely music to the ears of people at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County, who are constantly courting positive press and entrepreneurial growth. However, one of the main remaining hesitations Littlefield has about moving to town is out of their control. Ideally, he says his love of scuba diving would drive him closer to the ocean. But he also isn’t overlooking Asheville’s opportunities for other sorts of wet outdoor adventures.
“We love the mountains. The water and waterfalls are amazing,” he says. “I guess we’ve almost already moved down to Asheville in our minds.”
Are you an entrepreneur who is thinking of moving to Asheville or has recently decided to make the leap to town? What kind of successes and challenges are you finding as you consider or embark on building a life here? Share any thoughts in the comment field below, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We may incorporate your responses into subsequent coverage of related issues.