Kick It Event Management: Energizing Asheville One Event at a Time

May 15, 2024

Kick It Event Management, founded in 2014 by Leslie Grotenhuis and her husband Tim, is a name that captures the essence of its mission. “Our passion for running and community involvement was the spark that led us to start our own business,” Leslie says. 

The name ‘Kick It’ is a nod to the burst of energy runners exhibit at the finish line and symbolizes the company’s commitment to making each event memorable—a philosophy inspired in part by the spirited flair of the Beastie Boys. This family-owned business has quickly become a staple in the local event scene, renowned for its engaging and professionally executed running events.

Leslie, who started volunteering at local races to become a professional event producer, says what sets Kick It apart is its dedication to creating fun, unique, and impeccably organized events. “We are our toughest critics,” says Leslie, emphasizing their continuous efforts to enhance the quality and safety of their events while ensuring that sponsors gain visibility and nonprofit partners benefit.

Read our full Q&A with Leslie below…

Tell us about your business and the role you play in it.

Kick It Events Management is a small family-owned business producing outstanding events in Asheville and the surrounding area. Our company launched in 2014, but our journey of becoming running event production coordinators began much earlier.

Originally, my husband, Tim and I donated our time as volunteer race directors for the Asheville Track Club’s Thomas Wolfe 8k and the Isaac Dickson Elementary School PTO’s Hot Chocolate 10k (now the Hot Chocolate Races) from 2006 to 2013.  After many requests for help with other events, we launched the race direction side of the business, and I became a professional event producer. In 2020, as the world screeched to a halt, we used that lull in the event schedule to add race timing to our list of services and some event marketing skills to our resume.

We are looking forward to another expansion in 2023/4 with the addition of a private event side of the business.

How did you come up with your idea or concept for your business? How did you decide on a name?

We were already directing races for the Asheville track club and the Isaac Dickson Elementary School PTO as volunteers. It organically transitioned into a business. We initially specialized in managing running events. At the end of a race, runners will give it their all with a final kick.

We give it a kick to make the event memorable.  Also, the Beastie Boys.

What makes your business unique in its field?

We strive for very fun events with unique, detail-oriented, and professional themes. 

We look for win-win relationships for all of our partners. 

We are our most difficult critics and continually try to improve. We strive to put on quality events where our runners are safe and have fun, our sponsors have fun and see traffic, and our nonprofit partners make some money.

How many employees do you have? And what qualities do you look for when hiring?

With the 2 owners, we currently have 4 full-time employees. The most important is initiative. We need people who can see and fix a problem without being told a problem exists. That and attention to detail is vital for running a great event.

What was the greatest lesson you learned during your first year of business?

The biggest lesson learned is don’t give away your intellectual property. Always have a written contract.

Where do you see your business in the next year? The next five?

In 1 year, we’d like to commit to better monitoring and control of our online marketing and continue increasing the size of our signature running events.  Focused growth on our timing side of the business as well. 

In 5 years, we’d like to have three large nationally known, destination running events in Western North Carolina. We also like to have our corporate and private events sides of the business built out.

Why did you decide to join the Chamber?

We already work with many nonprofit organizations and would like to build connections with more area-for-profit businesses. We feel like the chamber’s online offerings would help our organic traffic. We’re interested in talking to businesses about corporate event planning and opening up conversations about event sponsorships.

What is your favorite part about doing business in the Asheville area?

We love the ability to highlight and support, through our events, many of the wonderful non-profit organizations in town. We got our start as race directors for nonprofits and still have that in our bones.

Discover more about Kick It Event Management and stay updated on their latest events by visiting their website. You can also connect with them on social media: Follow them on Instagram and Facebook.