Rachel Withrow, 29
Crooked Door Coffee House/Old Dutch Management, Marion
When the owners of Crooked Door Coffee House told then 22-year-old Withrow that they were planning on retiring and closing the only coffee shop in Marion, she knew she couldn’t let that happen. “The Crooked Door had been a staple in my life growing up: the hangout for all ages for so long, the only place left in town for people to come and spend time with each other,” she says. So she bought it, and over the last six years, it has become a thriving business and a social hub for McDowell County, hosting events such as the annual Give Back Drive, block parties, open mic nights, community classes and more. Withrow also created Old Dutch Management Co., which manages rental homes and storage rental buildings in multiple rural N.C. counties. The Marion native earned an associate degree from McDowell Technical Community College and has participated in the N.C. Rural Center’s Rural Economic Development Institute and Marion’s Growing Entrepreneur Program.