Think of it as a subscription to a warehouse, or a launch pad for people with a side hustle, or even a stepping stone for budding entrepreneurs.
Whatever the concept, Jami Daniels, owner of Ernest, Asheville’s first co-warehousing facility, wants you to know her new business was created for those who are ready to move beyond the garage and into a more professional space — but without a death-defying financial leap.
“This is for people who came out of the pandemic with a hot sauce and a dream,” Daniels said.
Named after her late grandfather, Ernest Daniels, whose own story as a scrappy entrepreneur in 1940s Asheville is one for the history books, Ernest is a 30,000-square-foot co-warehouse facility that offers the benefits of a warehouse and the professionalism of a flexible office, Daniels said.
Located at 135 Sweeten Creek Road, Ernest will host a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 15.
With its focus on eCommerce support for small businesses, Daniels said Ernest is a solution for the small business owner who is ready to scale up but lacks the warehousing space to do so. Ernest offers a centralized, secure and private location for inventory and receiving and sending shipments. For the entrepreneur, it offers meeting space for vendors or clients or space for product photography. Clients can “license space” (rent) for as little as 30 days at a time, Daniels said.
“Ernest is an active workspace, it’s not a place for dead storage,” she said. “We’re not trying to compete with traditional co-working, but we saw a need to support entrepreneurs who have their own eCommerce business. The sense is there’s a lot of cottage industry in WNC. It’s a big jump for a new business owner to go from the garage to a commercial space, but it’s critical to scale. Ernest closes that gap by offering smaller spaces with shared resources and no long-term commitments. I like to call it a subscription to a warehouse.”
Space at Ernest is being parceled into a maximum of 20 warehouse suites ranging in size from 200 to 1,500 square feet, with demountable walls so they can expand, Daniels said. Members will have access to a pop-up fulfillment space for seasonal or “burst” orders. In addition to the flexible spaces, Ernest offers a flex staffing model.
“Right now, we’re in pre-sales mode,” Daniels said. “We’re rounding the finish line with getting everything dialed in.”
Daniels, who also owns Daniels Business Services, which her grandfather started, envisions Ernest as a collective – a natural community of makers and creators who want to take their business to the next level. She imagines the synergy that will naturally occur when like-minded entrepreneurs interact with each others.
“We’re kind of that middle, when you’re ready to outgrow the garage, [Ernest] doesn’t have the same level of risk. We see it as a launch pad, as an up and out as companies outgrow us. This is a point along their way,” she said.
And the name’s double entendre? Yes, Daniels said, it was one of the reasons she chose it.
Just remember to spell it correctly, though. Ernest Daniels, afterall, made a name for himself by being, you know, purposeful.
To learn more, or to tour, visit ernestready.com.