West Virginia Hive Network:
BECKLEY, W.Va. — Judy Moore, director of the West Virginia Hive Network in Beckley, cited Chris Adams of Appalachian Furnishings as its 2020 Social Enterprise of the Year awardee.
Moore said companies, partners and higher education institutions are recognized by the leadership of the West Virginia Hive annually. “While we announced these over-achievers on Oct. 16 at the ribbon cutting ceremony of our new offices and coworking space, I believe strongly that each of these compelling organizations deserve an individual shout out before the close of 2020,” said Moore.
Chris Adams has a passion – for woodworking and for people. He came to the WV Hive with a startup idea that would “restore value in products and people.” He wanted to create quality locally and sustainably sourced wood products while providing jobs, connection, and hope for people in recovery. Both the woodworking and the desire to help others overcome obstacles came from personal journeys.
He has grown his woodworking business into a full-time gig and works with Workforce WV to provide two employment opportunities for those in recovery – or with other serious barriers to finding jobs. He designs large custom pieces for his growing customer base but has also created several items catered toward the essential oil user. These smaller items are essential in his skill training for his workers.
Chris understands addiction and recovery, having seen someone he loves travel down this all too familiar road. The social impact of restoring pride and building work skills into a group of people who some may view as a “lost cause” cannot be measured immediately. As Chris is just beginning this work – and he knows is sometimes two steps forward and one step back – but he’s determined to make a difference in his community.
Moore also recognized business and university leaders with annual West Virginia Hive awards, including:
• 2020 Small Business of the Year: Analabs, Inc.
•2020 Business Startup of the Year: Dumas Psychology Collective & The Brain Training Center
•2020 Entrepreneur of the Year: Alison Ibarra, Pinheads Bowling Center
•2020 Partners of the Year: Dr. Carolyn Long, President of WVU Institute of Technology; the Region 1 Workforce Development Board; and the Beckley Presbyterian Church
• 2020 Community Advocate of the Year: Ann Worley
The West Virginia Hive has served 306 businesses and helped launch 44 businesses in its service area. It is currently assisting 79 clients with business advising and technical assistance support on business modeling, financing, human resources, marketing and other services.
Here is what Adams had to say about his experience in working with WV Hive:
“The Hive was very helpful in the process of taking an idea to a new business startup. My business advisor was so much more than just an encourager, she was an excellent sounding board. She provided valuable insights and honest examinations of my ideas. Their technical assistance was priceless to my small startup. I would recommend anyone thinking about starting or growing a business within their service area to give them a call.”
“I learned so much about the process from the folks here at the HIVE. I had 38 years of experience in business, working for various companies and working in roles of management. So, I was familiar with some of the ins and outs of business, at least I thought I was, until I wanted to start my own. And the coach I had here at the HIVE, and all of the HIVE, gave me honest feedback, listened to my idea, taught me to focus on what I wanted to accomplish and what I wanted to achieve and ways to make that the most important part. Through technical assistance, through networking with other entrepreneurs, through networking with other folks who are in the social enterprise realm, to knowing when that’s not a good idea, you just need to back away from it. But it [THE HIVE] helped me take a dream and turn it into a business.”
The Hive is the entrepreneurship program of the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority and the administrator of the Country Roads Angel Network. More information about the West Virginia Hive can be found at https://wvhive.com/.