Moving out of California to North Carolina, high-end mountain bike apparel company Kitsbow is helping to put Old Fort on the map (again.) Welcome to the RIGHT coast Kitsbow. ;} Yesterday we were lucky enough to attend the ribbon cutting and open house for our new neighbors! If you don’t know Kitsbow yet, you soon will.
Kitsbow has big plans.
- Build an obsessed following of high-quality mountain bike apparel.
- Move from the LEFT to the RIGHT coast.
- Move into an abandoned warehouse, historically part of a vibrant manufacturing town (Parker Hosiery Co in Old Fort, NC)
- Hire a local workforce, outfit the entire warehouse, start manufacturing in less than 4 months.
- Recruit Hillman Brewery to open a new facility and restaurant on the ground floor, so no one goes hungry or thirsty.
- What’s next?? Help turn Old Fort into the new outdoor mecca of the East? (YES, if local leaders and trail advocates have anything to say about it!)
It’s awe-inspiring to see what the folks at Kitsbow have done so far and in such a short amount of time.
From investors to leadership and the founder, it’s clear that this is a labor of love. Founder of Kitsbow, Zander Nosler had a vision 9 years ago: “This was a twinkle in my eye 9 years ago and to see this realized is a dream come true.” He delivered a heartwarming speech at the ribbon-cutting and acknowledged that it has been hard. Likening it to “building the car while were trying to drive it” he encouraged everyone to continue to support each other and stated how pleased he was about the way it has all come together and how optimistic he is about the future of Kitsbow.
It’s pretty refreshing to hear what a perfect storm the relocation effort to Old Fort in McDowell County has done for this community. Job creation and capital investments are part of the package offered to lure Kitsbow here with over $400 000 in combined economic incentives from the state and county.
To find the perfect location for expansion from its original location in Petaluma, Califonia, Kitsbow CEO David Billistrom considered many towns and ultimately chose Old Fort for its proximity to natural resources like Kitsuma Trail and Mt. Mitchell. Just 30 minutes from Asheville this small Appalachian town of just over 900 people have the motto; “Once you get here, you never want to leave.”
Lean Manufacturing means less waste:
Kitsbow operates under a new paradigm for apparel manufacturing. Make what you sell, without buying on “futures.” Guessing what your customers will want to wear in 6-12 months is risky and creates massive waste. This simply stated – you just make what you sell. Trying to manufacture “LEAN” also means that Kitsbow is nimble and can respond quickly to color, styles and quality issues should they ever arise. They own the production line.
USA made, small-batch, lean manufacturing means all of the Kitsbow you buy is fresh because it’s made just before you purchase it. Kitsbow is committing to earning 95% of its revenue from products made in North America by 2021. It’s hard not to support a company like that.
Like what you see here and want to get on board with Kitsbow in NC? Check out their careers page.
But, I’d do it quick before word gets out about how awesome a location they have chosen! Yes, we’re biased living just down the road in Brevard, NC.
Welcome to the RIGHT coast Kitsbow!