At the time, Ernest was sick with tuberculosis, and had moved to Asheville in hopes that the mountain air would improve his health. Not one to sit still, Ernest took up shop on that park bench and started offering typing services to local businesses.
Then he cut a deal with a local law firm, doing their typing in the mornings for free so he could use their typewriter for business in the afternoons. It wasn’t long before Ernest had saved enough money to buy a typewriter and set up a small “letter shop” to serve the local community. The company branched into call center services in the 1950’s.
“There’s a thread of innovation in our company, and the spirit of the classic American entrepreneur. I guess it’s in our DNA,” said Ernest’s granddaughter Jami Daniels.
Jami, who has been at the helm of the marketing and printing solutions company The Daniels Group for the last two years, said that each member of the family brings their own streak of innovation to the business.
When Jami’s father Jim came home after the Korean War, he grew the business into a commercial printer company. Known as ‘Mr. Asheville,’ Jim was deeply involved with revitalizing downtown Asheville. In addition to being a dedicated Chamber member, he also helped found Asheville Greenworks, the Asheville Downtown Association, and the annual Bele Chere festival, which was the largest free outdoor street festival in the Southeast for 35 years.
“I wonder how he had more hours in the day than me” joked Jami. “I credit a lot of our company’s success on his presence and involvement. That’s how our company has organically flourished.”
When Jim passed away in 2016, Jami took the reins as CEO and since then has carried the family torch into exciting new territory. Under her leadership, The Daniels Group has earned a Woman Business Enterprise certification by the National Women Business Owners Corporation. She has also successfully navigated through the digital revolution by heightening her company’s focus on more physical products.
“Print is tactile, authentic, and real. In an age where everything is digital, it feels special to hold something beautiful in your hands,” said Jami. “It’s also so versatile in terms of textures, cuts, shape, finishes, and technique.”
In 2018 The Daniels Group was recognized by the Printing Industry of Carolinas as Best of Show Winner for the artful packaging they created for Wicked Weed Brewing.
“We’ve never been interested in being commoditized, producing what anyone else could produce,” said Jami.
Today the company is focused on not just the production of collateral, but the management. They offer a marketing portal which is an internal storefront that allows businesses to keep total creative control of their marketing materials while taking care of all the supply chain support.
By using the call center along with the suite of printing, mailing, and fulfillment services, The Daniels Group can offer full service marketing support.
“We’re constantly improving—we might not be perfect, but we’ll be better tomorrow,” said Jami.