Brittney Burns — Staff Writer

2016 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalists
Young Entrepreneurs of the Year Finalists Lindsay Wright, Brett Murphy, winner, Timothy Crabtree, and Macon County Economic Commission Chair Johnny Mira-Knippel. Finalist not pictured: Rodney Morris and Jennifer McIntee.

The Macon County Economic Development Commission crowned the Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the annual BizWeek banquet last Thursday, naming Brett Murphy of Arrowood Construction the 2016 award recipient.

“It was an absolute honor to be awarded this recognition amongst my peers,” said Murphy. “I am so grateful to work in a community that recognizes hard work and appreciates one person’s visions. In a different setting, I would just be a small fish in a big pond. I also want to thank my clients for taking chances on a young builder, not apart of the “good ol boy” network, and believing in me when there was not a ton of evidence to support my claims! I look forward to working and serving the community for many years to come and will also work hard to encourage young people to stay in our area and build it up.”

“This year’s 2016 Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalists was an outstanding group of individuals,” said Macon County Economic Development Director Tommy Jenkins. “As noted during the presentation, the CEC Leadership had their work cut out for them in determining the finalists, and eventual winner.  Winner Brett Murphy exemplifies the passion, dedication and drive needed to be a successful entrepreneur.  Macon County should be proud that there are numerous business startups headed by an up and coming generation of entrepreneurs.”

Murphy opened Arrowood Construction in 2005 after graduating from Auburn University in Brett MurphyBuilding Science in 2004. Arrowood is an unlimited licensed contractor with a classification of “Building” which means they are the highest level and classification that can be attained in North Carolina. “It took me several years to gain that status,” said Murphy. “We employ 12 full-time employees and are looking now to hiring a few more. Last year we did about $4 Million in Gross Revenue. I am the president and the sole owner of Arrowood. We also employ over a dozen small businesses, locally owned subcontractors to build our projects. We have survived the recession and this year have seen lots of construction activity and we look forward to our position in this industry as the economy improves!”

Murphy helped to open The Bowery Restaurant LLC, in October of 2014. “I am the managing member of the LLC, and I am responsible for assembling our 20 investors and getting the project off the ground,” said Murphy. “As far as ownership goes, I own the same percentage as all of our investors. We wanted to create a group of like-minded individuals who wanted to see progress come to main street Franklin and also enjoyed great food with a great atmosphere which we thought was missing from Franklin. The Bowery employs around 30 people. We have a General Manager, Robbie Lang who came to us from Wolfgangs in Highlands and we now have a new executive chef, Chef Nicks Powers who was voted best young chef in Jacksonville Florida! We are really proud of what The Bowery has developed into even with a somewhat rocky start.”

Murphy is also a member of the Lazy Hiker Investment Group and Brittany, Murphy’s wife, started Robyn B, which morphed into Reign by Robyn Brooke, which is now Reign by Robyn B and is taking up location in Highlands.

“When I first moved here, it was because I saw opportunity to build some great houses and projects and live in a beautiful place,” said Murphy. “It has become much more than that to me now. It is a solid place to raise my two children and to grow my family. There is a strong sense of community here which I appreciate and want to be a part of cultivating it going forward. When I moved here from Alabama, which is about as backwards as it gets, you still couldn’t get a beer at restaurants here. I just thought I lived in the south. I am proud of Macon County for holding on to our heritage and history but stepping up to the plate and being progressive with our social issues and business sense.”

Dusty Allison
Dusty Allison with Blue Ridge Outdoor Magazine was a special guest at the 2016 BizWeek Banquet and touted the importance outdoor recreation has on Macon County and all of North Carolina.

With several different business ventures in Macon County, Murphy has accomplishments at both he is proud of. “For Arrowood, it is building projects that put smiles on people’s faces,” he said. “Introducing new design and techniques to our area, and giving people the satisfaction of knowing they built a quality project that will stand the test of time. With the Bowery, it’s a 5-star Trip Advisor Review! And the satisfaction of redeveloping that building which was an empty shell and 9000 SF of completely vacant space on Main Street.”

Murphy wasn’t the only local business honored at the annual BizWeek Banquet, Jenkins, with the help of Macon County Commissioners Ronnie Beale and Jim Tate recognized the Highlands-Cashiers Hospital and Miles Gregory for their contribution to business in Macon County.

“I thought the Bizweek Banquet was great,” said Commissioner Beale. “It was wonderful to see all the young entrepreneurs who are willing to invest their future in Macon County.  It was also very nice that the Highlands/Cashier Hospital and former County Commissioner Miles Gregory were recognized for not only their contributions in business but also their many many contributions to our county.  Finally, I’d like to thank our economic developer Tommy Jenkins for the work not only during Bizweek but the work he does every day for the people of Macon County.”

“The 2016 BizWeek Honorees were both well-deserving of the honor,” said Jenkins. “Highlands-Cashiers Hospital has a long history of  excellent health care service to the community, as well as being a major contributor to the economy, providing both good jobs and infrastructure investment.  Miles Gregory’s contributions are incalculable, both as a community and business leader.  From water/sewer infrastructure (essential to the development of the Macon County Industrial Park) to retail development and numerous improvements to the Macon County Airport, Miles has always given his all for Macon County.”

The hospital is the number two employer in Highlands, employing 150 people. The BizWeek HonoreesHighlands-Cashiers Hospital takes in $25 million annually in revenue and was chartered in 1947 and opened on January 2, 1952, with eight beds available for patients. In 1993, the hospital expanded with 24 patient beds and 80 nursing home beds available and was relocated to its current location on the 40-acre complex located on Highway 64.

Gregory served on the Macon County Board of Commissioners from 1978 to 1986, also serving on the North Carolina Board of County Commissioners for six years, including a year as president of the organization. While serving for Macon County, Gregory was instrumental in the water and sewer expansion to the Industrial Park and the creation of the Emergency Management Services.

Gregory served on the Macon County Airport Authority for the last 13 years, most of which serving as chairman, and has been instrumental in  implementing many improvements to the airport including the extension and widening of the runway, construction of a new terminal, security fencing and repaving of the taxiway. Gregory has worked for fifty years as a local realtor, and one of his successful visions was the creation of the Westgate Plaza. He was instrumental in recruiting Lowe’s to Franklin and as well as developing First Citizen’s Bank and two years ago, the new Westgate Terrace Apartments.

The banquet served as the final event for the Economic Development Commission’s annual BizWeek celebration, which was started by Jenkins to promote business in Macon County.

“BizWeek 2016 was an exciting week, starting with the Women’s Business Networking Luncheon, continuing with several business education seminars during the week and ending with over 175 attendees at the BizWeek banquet,” said Jenkins. “The seminars, sponsored by the Small Business Center at Southwestern Community College, drew over 100 participants.  In addition, the Franklin Chamber of Commerce also participated with a seminar sponsored by Entegra Bank.”