East Fork Pottery announced plans to invest $2.4 million in its Asheville operations in conjunction with the Buncombe County Commission and the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County (EDC).
The capital investments will be for new building upfit, new technology and machinery. Additionally, the expansion will add over 50 net new jobs, with an average wage of $22.46 per hour and sustain over 100 existing jobs. The new positions will include opportunities in production, research and development, marketing, management and administrative positions. Starting pay for all positions at East Fork Pottery is a minimum of $20 per hour.
“We are very pleased to continue expanding our operations in our home of Asheville, North Carolina,” said Alex Matisse, founder and board chairman. “Since East Fork’s founding in 2010, we have been able to grow significantly thanks to our amazing team and the support of our community.”
East Fork Pottery designs, manufactures and sells thoughtful, durable ceramic dishware in Asheville. Trained in formal ceramic apprenticeships, the founders spent thousands of hours making hundreds of the same form at a time on a potter’s wheel before they began utilizing industrial forming techniques. They make their dinnerware with dynamic, iron-rich clays dug from the American Southeast and colored with glazes formulated and mixed in-house.
East Fork sits at a unique and challenging intersection of small-scale artisan workshop and large-scale industrial ceramic production. As a dedicated employer of choice, East Fork writes workplace and job policies that take into consideration the inevitable socio-economic imbalances that exist in the local workforce. It writes policies that center and support the health and wellness of every team member.
As a young startup, East Fork grew rapidly from 10 employees to over 100 in less than five years.
East Fork leadership pursued this expansion initiative in accordance with its long-term vision for the company. Additionally, competitive advantages of Buncombe County’s workforce along with grassroot connections to nonprofit community organizations with a focus on living wages, sustainability and equity work supports the company’s decision-making process. During this process, East Fork Pottery pursued and obtained B Corporation certification as a mission-driven company, joining a list of nearly 4,000 other B Corporations in the United States. This includes taking future steps toward a minimum living wage of $22.20, as outlined in the B Corporation certification process.
“This expansion will do more than grow our tax base and create quality manufacturing career paths in Buncombe County,” said EDC Board Chairman Jay Richardson. “As a recently certified B-Corps, East Fork Pottery is demonstrating how business success can be leveraged to improve the well-being of the people and communities of our region.”
“East Fork Pottery reflects the deep roots of craftsmanship and industry here in the mountains,” said Brownie Newman, Chairman of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. “We are proud to celebrate the homegrown success of the company, and their long-standing commitment to hiring practices that expand economic mobility for all Buncombe County residents.”
Partners in the expansion include North Carolina Department of Commerce, Buncombe County and the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County and the North Carolina Community College System.
For more information about the company, visit https://eastfork.com/.