2019 Trailblazers

 In September 2019

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2019 Trailblazers

Since co-founding his outfitters store in Franklin in 2010, Cory McColl has added two locations amid a ruthless environment for retailers, attracting both tourists and locals alike to the downtown area. In Morganton, David Bennett helps lead expanding furniture and brewery businesses and is developing a downtown hotel to boost Burke County’s appeal to tourists. The two North Carolina natives are examples of the outstanding entrepreneurs and leaders in North Carolina’s smaller cities who make up our annual Trailblazers.

The feature recognizes enterprising business owners and professionals under the age of 40 who operate in N.C. cities and towns that have fewer than 100,000 residents. We sought nominations from individuals and groups across the state, including local government officials, business leaders and economic development experts. This year’s list covers a wide variety of occupations including bankers, chefs, lawyers, brewers and even a mortician.

While North Carolina’s overall economy is considered among the nation’s most robust, it’s also among the most dispersed with about 42% of its 10 million residents living in 80 counties that are defined as rural. The realities of rural North Carolina are stark: Nearly half of the state’s 100 counties have fewer residents now than in 2010, the number of small-business establishments in rural counties declined by 7% from 2005-15 and small-business lending dipped 17% from 2010-15, according to the N.C. Rural Center.

Fortunately, these young Trailblazers are playing key roles in keeping their small communities vibrant and alive. Despite the odds, they continue to bring a new shine to their towns, from the mountains to the coast.

Cameron Annas

Cameron Annas

28

Granite Insurance, Granite Falls

beaver

David Beaver

36

Uwharrie Bank, Albemarle

David Bennett

David Bennett

38

EJ Victor Furniture/ Fonta Flora Brewery, Morganton

Kristen Brabble

Kristen Brabble

28

First Carolina Bank, Rocky Mount

Katie Button

Katie Button

36

Katie Button Restaurants, Asheville

Graham Corriher

Graham Corriher

34

City of Salisbury, Salisbury

Jason Cox

Jason Cox

39

Press Coffee+Crepes/ Fitzgerald & Faulkner/ Aedos Group, Graham

Zack Cranford

Zackary Cranford

28

Foothills Distillery/Standard Oyster Co./The Charolais Steak House, Hickory

Andrew Crone

Andrew Crone

31

Chaddock Furniture Workroom, Morganton

Paige Dowling

Paige Dowling

32

Town of Sylva, Sylva

Adam and Nicole Holroyd and Zane Vogel

Adam & Nichole Holroyd,
Zane Vogel (center)

32

Spiritus Systems, Aberdeen

Bryan Hunter

Bryan Hunter

36

Community of Hope Funeral Service, Hobbsville

Cory McColl

Cory McCall

37

Outdoor 76, Franklin

Thomas Rhodes

Thomas Rhodes

32

John Hackney Agency, Rocky Mount

Gina Sloan

Gina Sloan

36

MICROBAN, Huntersville

Carol Steen

Carol Nguyen Steen

37

Biltmore Farms, Asheville

Troi Thomas

Troi Thomas

23

Boys & Girls Club of Tar River, Nashville

Jessica Throneburg

Jessica Throneburg

35

Little Details Boutique, Garner

Mathew Vincent

Matthew Vincent

36

VPC Builders, Banner Elk

Rachel Withrow

Rachel Withrow

29

Crooked Door Coffee House/Old Dutch Management, Marion

Mike Woliansky, Sadrah Schadel_ No Evil Foods

Mike Woliansky and
Sadrah Schadel

39 and 37

No Evil Foods, Weaverville

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