By Luke Bollinger
Asheville is adding to its growing list of outdoor-industry businesses as Fox Factory Holding expands its East Coast bike operations, with plans to add about 47 jobs. Fox began renovations to its 20,000-square-foot Asheville site in October, moving its bike service department to a new location, with the engineering staff soon to follow. Over the next five years, Fox will add sales, finance, research and development, and distribution jobs to its current staff of 18.
Since 1974, Scotts Valley, Calif.-based Fox has made shock absorbers and racing-suspension products for mountain bikes, snowmobiles, motorcycles and other off-road vehicles. The publicly traded company had sales of $354 million in the first nine months of 2017 and employs more than 1,400 people worldwide. The Asheville site is led by Shelley and Kevin Booth, former owners of locally based Suspension Experts, an 11-year-old bike-repair business acquired by Fox.
Western North Carolina is already home to more than 30 outdoor-industry businesses, making gear for boating, camping, biking and other adventure sports. Legacy Paddlesports has made its Liquidlogic kayaks in Fletcher since 2012. Other outfitters include Cane Creek Cycling Components, camping-trailer manufacturer SylvanSport and Eagles Nest Outfitters, maker of ENO hammocks.
The Asheville location puts the company within one or two days’ reach for East Coast customers. Its access to mountain-bike trails also is a recruiting magnet for talented workers.
“This very strong bike industry and out-door community that we have in western N.C., in general, makes it a place that’s favorable to do business,” Shelley Booth says. “We know we have a lot of like-minded people that we can work with and collaborate with.”
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