The Farm: August’s Small Biz of the Month

August 16, 2018

Fifteen years ago, after a lifetime’s work in the dental field, Bev and Myron Gottfried embarked on a brand-new dream, one much closer to home. In fact, this dream took place in their very own backyard, among the family’s 17 acres of farmland, nine horses, and one donkey in Candler, NC. Partially to offset the cost of the horse farm. Partially because of Bev’s love for hosting events. In 2004, The Farm: A Gathering Place was born, booking 40 events in its first year.

“I’ll never forget the feeling when I first saw the newly poured concrete floor and the initial framing. It seemed so big!” said Bev, whose company specializes in hosting all-inclusive, breathtaking weddings. “I had absolutely no business experience when I started. My family didn’t own a business; I didn’t have a business degree.”

What Bev did have, however, was curiosity and determination. After getting into business, she quickly joined both the Asheville and Haywood Chambers, and spent her first ten years as a business owner attending networking events and educational workshops. She listened to business podcasts, read trade magazines, and studied business strategy into the night.

“I feel like I did little else back then but ask questions and listen to others’ experience,” she said. “It was daunting but I realized I was going to need to find a way.”

While her husband Myron continued to run the family dental practice, the well-loved Gottfried and Mann on Patton Avenue, he also played an important role in the Farm’s construction. A skilled and self-taught woodworker, he crafts tables, chairs, and any other structure necessary for the event spaces. He repurposes creatively and often. When a tree fell in front of the dental practice, Myron salvaged the wood to make chairs and cabinets. He even used the scraps of an old dental chair to support an ornate, tree-branch gazebo.

“We experiment with new ideas all of the time,” said Bev. “We carefully watch what happens after each change. We double down on the good stuff and cut out the bad stuff as quickly as we can.”

This willingness to experiment, combined with much hard work, has transformed The Farm into the thriving business it is today. In 2009, they added cabins and cottages to provide lodging for wedding companies and families. Then, they built an extensive decor inventory and added month-of-wedding coordination services. Most recently, they’ve incorporated a full-service catering kitchen and bar program to their repertoire.

“We’re focused on elevating our service by consistently challenging ourselves to think about the guest experience,” said Bev.

These efforts have certainly paid off. The Farm hosts nearly quadruple the events annually since it first opened shop, and now employs forty people (twelve of them full-time). In addition to winning the Chamber’s Sky High Growth Award, The Farm have been recognized by The Knot, Wedding Wire, and Southern Living as an ideal wedding venue. True to form, the Farm weddings include a special dental perk: complimentary teeth whitenings for brides.

“If I can do this from my background, then I think anyone can take something and learn how to do it well,” Bev said. “It’s all about immersing yourself in your passions.”