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July 22nd, 2020
MWW Boost
Founded by the Oates Family almost 90 years ago, Manual Woodworkers and Weavers has had a history of growth, adaptation to change, and more growth.  Throughout its history, the company has benefited from the leadership and guidance of the Oates Family.  Even today, the company is 100% privately owned by the Oates Family. MWW was founded in 1932 by Tom and Queenie Oates.  At that time, the company began as a small operation in a single building in a location near Bat Cave, NC.  During those early years, the company’s primary products were wooden crafts and souvenirs. In 1974, Lemuel and Sandra Oates (members of the second generation) purchased the company from the founders.  During the next 34 years, Lemuel and Sandra Oates transformed the company into a nationwide major force in the gift shop industry.  Under their leadership, the company’s product line transformed from making wooden products to making woven textile products and a broad line of other home décor products. In 2008, Travis Oates and Molly Oates Sherrill (members of the third generation) purchased the company and transformed its marketing focus.  Today, MWW is a major force in the “make on demand” industry and produces a broad range of custom home décor textile products.  The company has expanded its product lines by adding printed custom textile products, as well as woven textile products.  During the recent pandemic, the company has also assisted in the national recovery effort by producing a large volume of face masks. The company has manufacturing operations in both Hendersonville and Spindale.
MWW acquired the former Spindale Mills facility in 1999.  During the last 5 years, MWW has greatly benefited from a Building Reuse Grant that was obtained via the guidance and support of Rutherford County Economic Development, the Rutherford County Commissioners, and the Town of Spindale.  As a result of the upgraded facility, and of the company’s general business growth, the Spindale location now has more than 250 employees and is looking forward to continuing that growth.

May 5th, 2020
It goes without saying that 2020 has been a rollercoaster year for business owners. What I have learned from working with businesses of all shapes and sizes is that in order to withstand life’s punches, the business has to learn to bob and weave. Businesses that are based on close contact, like hair salons, tattoo studios, and spas, were dealt a tragic blow by the emergence of the novel coronavirus. Blake Spa in Forest City was ordered to close its treatment room doors, but thanks to a diversified business structure and a nimble switch to an online retail platform, the business was better positioned to weather the storm of sudden changes. In addition to full aesthetics services, Blake Spa has a retail segment that carries high-end skincare lines, as well as personal care products including their Blake at Home bath bombs and essential oils that are crafted on site. Blake at Home is a part of a national new (old) trend towards small-scale manufacturing, where products are made at the consumer level and where cottage industries can reach their markets through new technology – e-commerce and social media. While the business’s revenue stream was negatively impacted by the closure of their treatment room, their quick pivot to e-commerce and social media marketing created a significant protective buffer for their small enterprise. E-commerce was always a long-term goal for the business, but current events hastened the launch. Blake Spa is not alone in making a quick transition to e-commerce. Many businesses are moving online to reach their customers, a trend likely to stay with us long after the coronavirus crisis has ended. The novel coronavirus presents many threats. But there will be novel opportunity for businesses willing to adapt, think creatively, and leverage their resources. Do you know of a small-scale manufacturer who could use a Boost right now? Let us know!

March 17th, 2020
CF Reece Instagram
CF Reece & Son has a diversity of offerings such as rigging & relocation, supplies and sales, machining and fabrication, and crane service. Owned and operated by third-generation Reece siblings Sharon Reece & Robin R. Lattimore, CF Reece is a business that has grown and transformed over the last 80 years. Their unique service of machinery rigging and moving assists industrial clients as they change locations or complete Kaizen Events. They have products and services to assist clients of all sizes – from large manufacturing plants to small businesses. Visit their shop to browse their selection of tools, equipment, raw materials, and supplies. Do you have machinery too big to tackle? Call CF Reece and let their experienced team handle the heavy lifting.

March 4th, 2020
TimkenTimken Shiloh is one of the local industries with a global impact. Some quick facts about Timken:
- Timken was just listed on Ethisphere's report of "World's Most Ethical Companies" for the 10th time.
- Timken recieved a "Winning" designation by 2020 Women on Boards, a national campaign to increase the percentage of women on U.S. company boards to 20% by 2020. Women currently make up 27% of Timken's board. 
- The Timken Shiloh plant has a Carolina Star Certification, an award from the North Carolina Department of Labor, designed to recognize employers and employees who have implemented safety and health management systems. 
What does Timken do? "The Timken Shiloh plant is a world-leading manufacturer of bearings and mechanical power transmission products. The Shiloh plant manufactures bearings for a variety of applications, including super-precision machine tools, aerospace, defense, agriculture, construction, mining, and many others. Opening its doors in 1980, the Shiloh plant has been leading the market in bearing manufacturing for nearly forty years.