Build Your Best Business

Jay Reid began working construction in high school and has been in construction management for the last 20 years.  He was looking for a new opportunity and Great American Cookie / Pretzelmaker appealed to Jay and his wife.

Great American Cookie offers fresh baked cookies, brownies, and unflavored pretzels as well as 100% beef pretzel dogs and mini pretzel dogs.

They also offer fountain drinks, lemonade, ice products and 5 different flavors of blended fruit drinks.

Jay and his wife have been married for 25 years and have 2 children.

Direct download: 5-6-2013_The_Better_you_Project_Jay_Reid_podcast.mp3
Category:Food -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Ulimana is a successful company with nothing but positive energy in every handmade product, founded by single mom Theresa Green.

Theresa Green started her career with Nirvana Manna (renamed later Maca Manna) after expected success with a home recipe passed to a friend at the Natural Foods Expo 2005. Word spread, and she could only grow and expand to incorporating Ulimana. Her made-up name is semi-Huna—a Polynesian and Hawaiian science practiced by the aboriginals of those regions. It means asking the goddess Uli, the “Goddess of Serenity,” for the blessings of life force, energy, and vibrant health—“mana.”

Ulimana is one of the raw food pioneers, and very possibly the first, Organic Raw Chocolate company. Ulimana makes their own proprietary blend of the highest quality cacao (ka-kow) from Peru and Bali. Cacao in its natural, raw form has many psychotic-active ingredients that work as a natural mood elevator.

Ulimana makes raw, organic truffles that are gluten-free, dairy-free and sweetened with natural, alternative sweeteners; handmade in Asheville, NC at The Blue Ridge Food Ventures. They can be found in many of the Earth Fare stores and Whole Food stores across the region as well as NYC and California.

Direct download: 5-6-2013_The_Better_You_Project_Theresa_Green_podcast.mp3
Category:Food -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Josh learned early on that success is achieved by commitment to hard work and discipline. He took this to heart when he decided to enroll at North Georgia College and State University, one of six senior military colleges in the United States. In four years at North Georgia, he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BBA in Management and Finance, held leadership positions in six activity boards, and worked part-time at a boutique financial planning firm. After spending four years helping individuals with retirement and estate planning, he realized his true calling was in providing clients with tax planning ideas and solutions to grow their businesses. He took the next two years working in a local CPA firm, going to school at J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University and fulfilling the requirements to become a CPA.

Josh remains actively involved in the community through various organizations to include the North Georgia Alumni Association, Psi Chapter Alumni Association, Pi Kappa Alpha Psi Chapter Advisory Board, Lifecycle Building Center of Greater Atlanta, Griffin Rotary Club and the Gutcheck Program of the Gainesville Jaycees.

In his spare time, Josh enjoys spending time with family, whitewater rafting, snow skiing and spending time with his Weimaraner.

Direct download: 5-6-2013_The_Better_You_Network_Josh_Sprayberry_pt._1.mp3
Category:Money -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

A Los Angeles-native, Christine’s always had a passion for fashion, art and the finer things in life. Since the tender age of 16, she’s worked at various high-end department stores – learning the day-to-day of a retail business and ultimately putting herself through college at the University of Southern California where she received a B.F.A. in Art History.

Christine maintains Accessory Business 101, her private, online, monthly membership site.  Accessory Business 101 helps designers and inventors realize their dreams of having a thriving product-based business. By coaching new and established designers on the do’s and don’ts of the fashion world, Christine is able to help her clients have a thriving company which supports their passions and dreams.

For more information, check out www.AccessoryBusiness101.comwww.Facebook.com/AccessoryBusiness101 and twitter @accessorybiz.

Direct download: 5-6-2013_The_Better_You_Project_Christine_Syquia_podcast.mp3
Category:Design -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Mary Lou Surgi is the executive director of Blue Ridge Food Ventures in Asheville, North Carolina—the region’s largest shared-use food processing incubator. After spending about 15 years working and living overseas doing everything from being a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malaysia to running a pig re-population project in Haiti, she decided to stay home and go to culinary school. Not wanting to work in a restaurant, and wanting to combine her international food and agriculture experience with food and economic development she found her dream job with Blue Ridge Food Ventures where  she has worked with hundreds of food entrepreneurs and farmers to help them start up their food businesses.  Mary Lou holds Masters’ degrees in Public Health and Food Systems as well as a Culinary Degree.

Chris Reedy is the Program Manager of Blue Ridge food Ventures.  He attended the University of Kentucky and graduated with a degree in finance.  After graduating, Chris went on to earn a MBA with a concentration in finance from Xavier University’s Williams School of Business in Cincinnati, OH.  Immediately after receiving his degree, he joined a Kentucky based holding company and worked as a project manager & financial analyst.  In 1997, Chris founded an import company and traveled throughout Asia working with small producers to sustainably and equitably produce and market their products.  In 2009, he was a founding member of the Southern Appalachian Hops Guild and began to work with farmers throughout the region to create an emerging industry.  His current position allows him to work with and consult with farmers, food artisans and natural product producers on all aspects of their products from intake of raw materials to finished product branding.

Blue Ridge Food Ventures is an 11,000 sq. ft. shared-use kitchen incubator and natural products manufacturing facility that offers support in product development, guidance through the maze of regulations governing safe production of food products and dietary supplements, advice on packaging and label design, and much more.

We're here to help people who dream--of getting their artisan food products to market, of running a baking or catering business, or even operating their own hot dog cart! We also help individuals and small businesses that want to make natural products and herbal dietary supplements, and get them into bottles and tubes and onto store shelves.

Direct download: 5-6-2013_The_Better_You_Project_Chris_Reedy__Mary_Lou_Surgi_podcast.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Annice Brown, Assistant Regional Director, of the SBTDC, Asheville, NC has over 20 years experience in economic development, managing, and implementing policies and programs promoting public and private sector development in the U.S. and internationally. Prior to coming to Asheville, Annice spent 20 years in Washington, D.C. where she worked for the World Bank on environmental management projects; the French National Agency for Research and Development. She has also worked in marketing and sales for an organic cotton apparel manufacturer in Asheville. Currently, she is VP of the North Carolina Natural Products Assn.

As a part of their economic development mission, the SBTDC provides direct service to economic development organizations, government agencies, and university departments. Their team of research analysts and strategic planning specialists has facilitated the development of numerous local and regional economic strategies; managed project feasibility studies; provided technical assistance for entrepreneurial programs (such as small business incubators); crafted community economic development plans; designed business needs assessments; and conducted market analyses.

Their ability to tap the expertise and resources of our university colleagues uniquely allows the SBTDC to assist county and municipal governments; regional economic development partnerships; chambers of commerce; councils of governments; community development corporations; community colleges; and various other organizations.

Direct download: 5-6-2013_The_Better_You_Network_Annice_Brown_podcast.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

Greg Cumberford, President and Co-Founder, Bent Creek Institute, Inc., is a botanical natural products industry executive. He co-founded Bent Creek Institute in 2006 to grow Western North Carolina’s role as a competitive sourcing region for medicinal plants and value-added botanical products. Prior to joining as BCI’s President in 2011, Mr. Cumberford worked as a senior manager for over 13 years with Gaia Herbs, a leading US grower and manufacturer of botanical extracts. He has BS degree from Stanford University. His avocational interests include natural horsemanship, running, and culinary travel.

Joe-Ann McCoy, PhD, serves as the director of the Bent Creek Germplasm Repository (BCGR) located at the NC Arboretum in Asheville, NC.  Joe-Ann completed her doctoral research in Plant Physiology from Clemson University which focused on the development of seed, rhizome, and in vitro propagation protocols for Actaea racemosa L. (black cohosh)and analysis of associated triterpene glycosides.  Her MS was focused on developing in vitro propagation and optimal HPLC extraction & analytical methods for Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort).  Prior to BCGR she served as medicinal plant curator for the USDA NCRPIS (North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station) and the NIH ISU Center for Research on Dietary Supplements in Ames, IA.  She has worked with various aspects of native and medicinal plant collection, cell culture, propagation, and analytical research for the past 16 years.

BCI’s mission is to grow an economic cluster in WNC rooted in reverence for our region’s unique biodiversity and botanical traditions, and expressed through scientific testing, research, strategic advisory, and horticultural collaborations. BCI helps their partners clear hurdles as they develop new natural products and grow new specialty crops in our region. The Bent Creek Germplasm Repository (BCGR) of The North Carolina Arboretum is North America’s only gene bank dedicated to archiving, conserving, and storing medicinal plants and related endophyte germplasm for medical and horticultural research. Anchored by BCGR’s botanical research and conservation activities, BCI fosters sustainable jobs growth based on validated botanical medicines and integrative healthcare solutions that serve the wellness needs of our region, our state, and our nation.


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