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Entrepreneurs

2012 CEA Winners: Where Are They Now?

By Staff Reports, posted May 4, 2018
Coastal Entrepreneur winners from 2012 (File photos)
APPLIED RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
COMPANY: Hampstead-based Applied Resource Management (ARM) works with both individuals and businesses to offer a variety of professional environmental services, according to its website. ARM formed as a response to a growing demand from residents for water-supply wells. It grew next by linking underground storage tanks for gas stations and other businesses and by providing remediation. ARM also grew into testing for, designing and constructing geothermal systems. YEAR FOUNDED: 1994
UPDATE: The company did not return requests for updates.
PHOTO: James Cornette, president 

CAPE FEAR TUTORING INC.
COMPANY: Cape Fear Tutoring Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides supplemental educational services to children and adults as well as a statewide sponsor of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).
YEAR FOUNDED: 1984
EMPLOYEES: 30
UPDATE/LESSONS LEARNED: “Our company continues to grow through our use of technology and enhanced customer service. With the addition of technically skilled personnel, we are training and monitoring our sponsored facilities more efficiently. Greater compliance in the CACFP ensures our facilities receive maximum benefit from the program.”
PHOTO: Kathy Dikeman, president

DRY CORP LLC
COMPANY: Dry Corp LLC has two main product categories: Dry Pro (waterproof vacuum- sealed covers) and Dry Case (started in 2008, a waterproof, vacuum-sealed case for phones and portable electronics).
YEAR FOUNDED: 1997
EMPLOYEES: 25
UPDATE: “Since 2012, we have created new products and hired new personnel. We are still in the same location but have taken over most of the building. Besides basic production, sales, marketing administration, we have added a new product photo studio in which we could shoot our own products for marketing and media. We have started offering our products with custom logos. We supply Penn Reels with over 50,000 items.”
PHOTO: Roy Archambault, CEO

ECO EXPRESS LLC
COMPANY: Eco Express LLC/Mirimichi Green LLC
YEAR FOUNDED: 2013
EMPLOYEES: 55
UPDATE: “Russ Britton founded Eco Express LLC in 2003 as an erosion control and ground stabilization contracting company. Since inception, Eco Express has become a leader in creating new and effective ways to stabilize plant growth on difficult construction sites and in and around environmentally sensitive locations. Mirimichi Green Express, LLC was then founded by Justin Timberlake's Mirimichi Golf Course and Eco Express LLC to develop professional landscape products that are environmentally friendly, sustainable and superior to traditional products . . . the two entities formed Mirimichi Green Express LLC with the mission of developing, manufacturing and marketing breakthrough turf, tree and soil care products for professionals.”
PHOTO: Russ Britton, CEO

EDGE OF URGE
COMPANY: Edge of Urge is a retailer that sells women’s clothing, accessories, art and more.
YEAR FOUNDED: 2002
EMPLOYEES: 10
UPDATE: The company now has a second location in Raleigh and was recently featured in Food & Wine as a hot spot in Raleigh’s up-and-coming neighborhoods. Owner Jessie Williams is partnering with a few others to open a new retail concept called Root & Branch in Terminal 2 at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) this summer.
GROWTH AND INNOVATION: “NOT ONLY DO WE FEATURE AND FOSTER EMERGING TALENT, WE HAVE OUR OWN IN-HOUSE BRAND. WE MAKE APPAREL, ACCESSORIES AND APOTHECARY GOODS. WE ARE ABLE TO CUSTOMIZE OUR PRODUCTS SPECIFICALLY TO OUR CUSTOMERS’ NEEDS.”

FARMIN' BRAND LLC
COMPANY: Farmin’ Brand LLC (previously Carolina Farmin’) includes its subsidiaries Farmin’ Stores LLC and Farmin’ Exchange LLC. Its Stores business includes the downtown retail store. The Exchange business serves its B2B capacity, serving 150 restaurants along the state’s east coast.
YEAR FOUNDED: 2011
EMPLOYEES: 62
UPDATE: Farmin’ closed its Market Street location and transplanted its roots into the Creative Campus on Emerson Street, which serves as headquarters and home for its production departments. Its goods are distributed to wholesale customers and to its downtown retail location Farmin’ on Front.
ON GROWTH: “Now, we have the infrastructure from which we can open additional stores…So we certainly have [set] our sights over the coming years to…the beaches, inland and eventually down to the Charleston [and] Savannah areas.”
PHOTO: Wayne Long and Ben Long, founders

GLYCOTECH INC.
COMPANY: Glycotech Inc. is a company managed by ACS Consulting and Sales LLC dedicated to research, development, scaleup and manufacturing of bio-renewable products for AMYRIS, a California firm.
YEAR FOUNDED: 2008
EMPLOYEES: 35
UPDATE: Glycotech was purchased by AMYRIS and its joint venture partner Nikkol of Japan in December 2016. “It continues to operate profitably with its markets and sales growth providing the largest portion of profit to AMYRIS business.”
GROWTH AND INNOVATION: Glycotech Inc. no longer exists, but the new company, Apprinnova, retained most of its employees. “In fact, many of the charter employees continue to work at the Leland facility and have grown with the business. The community, county and state continue to benefit from the vision of the original founders. ACS Consulting and Sales LLC has continued to grow and is currently working with John Ponton and Seahawk Innovation's Tobin Geatz to launch a new brain injury neutraceutical and testing protocol.”
PHOTO: Alan Stout, former president 

POMP
COMPANY: Pomp provides lounge rentals (soft seating and accents) for events.
YEAR FOUNDED: 2011
EMPLOYEES: 3
UPDATE: “Pomp was started as a supplemental organization to our home staging company, Just Perfect!, in order to fill a need that was seen in the community's event industry.We have continued to maintain this role . . . and support the event industry with an operation that is relatively self-contained.”
GROWTH AND INNOVATION: The owners said, “we have not pursued further growth or expansion of Pomp, as our focus turned toward our original home staging business and a new real estate group. While focusing on our other companies, we're still able to maintain excellent service to our venues, planners, corporate, wedding and event clients …” PHOTO: Rebecca Dawson and Jessica Pirone, co-owners

PROGRESS EARTH INC.
COMPANY: Progress Earth Inc.
YEAR FOUNDED: 2007
UPDATE: “Progress Earth Inc. is no longer in business. After transitioning into Progressive Farms LLC in 2014, the product development arm of the company shut down at the end of 2017 to focus on consulting under the name Be Agriculture.”
PHOTO: Evan Folds, president
(For more information about Evan Folds' new venture, Be Agriculture, click here.)

SET UP INC.
COMPANY: Set Up Inc. or Set Up Events is a triathlon production company.
YEAR FOUNDED: 1994
EMPLOYEES: 4
UPDATE: Set Up Events reached its peak in 2010 and has contracted each year since then. Reasons for the decline include declining triathlon population, increased competition and licensee defections. “Since 2010, Set Up Events has gone from producing over 150 triathlons from Maryland to Georgia to now producing about 50 triathlons in North and South Carolina. Our existing 50 events are also anywhere from 33% to 50% the size they were from a participation standpoint back in 2010.” BUSINESS STRATEGIES MOVING FORWARD: “Look for other revenue streams, trim expenses without sacrificing quality, and increase marketing efforts."
PHOTO: Bill Scott, president
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