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Unique Natural Products Facility Opens on A-B Tech Campus
Date:11/9/2010

ASHEVILLE, N.C., Nov. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A natural products manufacturing facility believed to be the first of its kind in the country recently opened at the Enka site of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College.

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The facility is a division of Blue Ridge Food Ventures, an agribusiness incubator and job-creation initiative of the regional economic development organization AdvantageWest.

Not only will the new facility generate jobs, it will help establish Western North Carolina as a leader in the natural products industry nationally, attracting new natural products businesses and supporting development of export opportunities for companies, according to Mary Lou Surgi, executive director of Blue Ridge Food Ventures.

The facility will accommodate early-stage and established companies, tapping the region's biodiversity and agricultural tradition of growing herbs and medicinal plants.  

"Interest is high in this facility; we've already gotten calls from all over the country, and even as far as France," said Surgi. "They range from small businesses seeking a facility where they can cost-effectively manufacture their natural products and meet the new federal regulations, to larger companies that occasionally need a place to meet overflow demand. We're delighted to help grow the natural products industry locally, regionally and nationally and, in doing so, contribute to the economy of Western North Carolina."

Costs for the facility were about $100,000, which includes equipment and supplies, building upgrades and technical assistance and training for companies that will use the facility. Funding came from the North Carolina Biotech
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SOURCE Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
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