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Riverfront and downtown view of Ashland from Ohio

View of downtown Ashland area toward the Ohio River

Kentucky jumps 45 spots in entrepreneurship rankings

entrepreneurship_1_081914FRANKFORT, Ky. — After being near the bottom a year ago, Kentucky’s entrepreneurial climate is now one of the best in the nation.
Gov. Steve Beshear announced the annual State Entrepreneurship Index ranked Kentucky fourth in the country for its ability to create businesses. The Commonwealth climbed 45 places from its ranking of 49th last year.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” said Gov. Beshear. “Over the past several years, this administration has focused on developing innovative programs and offering dynamic services to help these growing companies every step of the way. Even though this is a significant jump, I’m not surprised we’re producing great results. Kentucky is a tremendous place to grow a business.”
The SEI ranking is the latest in a series of accolades for Kentucky’s entrepreneurial climate., in conjunction with the Kauffman Foundation, gave the Commonwealth an “A” rating in its annual Small Business Friendliness Survey. The Kauffman Foundation Index also places Kentucky fifth in the nation for entrepreneurial activity over the past two years.



EN Engineering plans to expand operation in Boyd County

en_news_071014FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Steve Beshear has announced EN Engineering plans to expand its operations in Boyd County.
EN Engineering will create 80 engineering jobs and invest nearly $3 million into the project.
“This is very exciting for eastern Kentucky,” Beshear said. “EN Engineering’s announcement not only will bring dozens of well-paying jobs to the region, but also further signifies the Commonwealth’s importance in the industrial energy sector. I want to thank the company for investing in the state and helping build our economy.”
EN Engineering provides engineering expertise to heavy industrial clients, including natural gas and oil pipeline infrastructure, gas distribution and petroleum refining. The company currently employs nearly 90 workers in the Commonwealth and is expanding its engineering capacity to better serve the tri-state region of Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio.



Kentucky moving up, gets “A” for small business friendliness

upmap_070914_2ASHLAND, Ky. — Kentucky’s business climate has become one of the nation’s friendliest in recent years, gaining it some valuable exposure in the economic development community.
According to a recent survey by, completed in conjunction with the Kauffman Foundation, Kentucky is among the top 10 friendliest states for small businesses. Kentucky was given an A- for Small Business Friendliness by the survey, up from its grade of B- in 2012.
Thumbtack surveyed more than 12,600 small businesses across the country in order to grade states across 11 categories including.



2014 Northeast Kentucky Small Business Awards
recognizes 70 local businesses, professionals

biz_award_logo_2014ASHLAND, Ky. — Small businesses are the backbone of commerce in Boyd, Greenup and Carter counties. Together they account for more than 95 percent of the economic activity in the region, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. On Thursday, May 15, more than 70 small businesses and entrepreneurs from the region were recognized at the 17th Annual Northeast Kentucky Small Business Awards sponsored by Morehead State University’s Ashland Business Development Center.
“People are realizing that a small businesses community is the backbone. They are the job creators, the innovators, the people who contribute to the community,” said Kim Jenkins, director of the Ashland Small Business Center. Jenkins said the number of nominations — an all-time record in 2014 — is a testament to the strength of the business community here. “That just speaks volumes about the community and small business success,” she said.



    2014 Small Business Of The Year / Downtown Business of the Year

    Founded in 1949 by husband and wife Don and Betty Korros, Don’s Men’s Shop & Don’s Formal Wear, located on Winchester Avenue in Ashland, will celebrate its 65th Anniversary in the coming months. Don passed away in 2012 at age 83, but Betty continues to be involved in the day-to-day operations. The secret to their success, said Betty Korros, is having good employees and excellent customer service. Don Korros always said, “All we have to offer today is service,” quoted his son B.J. Korros. “I just can’t believe this award, I’m just so thrilled with it. I want to thank my employees. … We raised a lot of boys and girls in the shop,” added Betty Korros, referring to the large number of young employees the shop has had over its six-and-a-half decade history. She said her goal is for the shop and its legacy to continue on for at least another 65 years.

    Additional Downtown Business nominees were: Lands Carpet Center, Jamie Lands; Grayson Sporting Goods, Mike Keaton; Rupert’s Department Store, Tim Wilson; Holly B’s Jewelry & Gifts, Brook Elswick-Robinson; and Tyler’s Pizza, Carolyn Callihan.

    2014 New Business of the Year

    Operated by husband and wife, Marty and Erica Myers took home the award for businesses that have been in operation less than three years for their franchise location of Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt. Located at the Ashland Towne Center Mall, the business employees 15 and revenues have grown substantially since it opened in 2012. The couple have dedicated themselves to helping other entrepreneurs in the region start their own businesses and succeed, and will open Ignite, a shared-space business incubator later this month.

    Additional New Business nominees were: Aaliayah’s Children’s Boutique, Rannaye Middleton; Agape Home Helpers, Janice Weber; Ashland Regional Theatre, Maria Whaley; Estep’s Family Restaurant, Ronnie Estep; Grayson Gallery & Art Center, Dan and Mindy Click; JH Johnson and Associates, James Johnson and Mae Deane Torgrimson; Kentucky Antler Company, Kent and Gayleen Montgomery; LMN Productions/The Greater Ashland Beacon; Philip & Lora Stewart and Jason & Kimberly Smith; Olive Hill Council for Planning and Restoration, Debra Baker Harman; and Tina’s Tinting, Tina Sanchez.

    2014 Emerging Business of the Year

    Print My Threads owned by Kyle and Annie Robinson was recognized as the Emerging Business. Started in the couples’ garage five years ago, the eco-friendly apparel and screen-printing business expanded every year. Last summer the business moved from its former 400 square-foot location to a 9,000 square-foot warehouse in Flatwoods. The couple renovated the building, long vacant, and hired two additional employees bringing their total to five. In addition Print my Threads donates 1 percent of its annual profits to green charities and organizations.

    Additional Emerging Business nominees: BWH Security, Scott Wamsley, Jr.; D&R Metal and AG Supply, Darrell Willis; Grayson Electronics/RadioShack, Byron and Linda Owens; Jewlies, Julie Runyon and Jennifer Runyon; MaMa Hazel’s Bakery, Michelle Wallace; Mudpyz-n-Butterflyz Kids Consignment & Boutique, Marcella Evans and Anita Watts; Tri-State Counseling & Psychotherapy, Steven Tackett.

    2014 Retail/Wholesale Business of the Year

    During its eight years of existence, Melanie’s Custom Bows and More, founded by Melanie Tierney has grown from a home-based business to a retail shop. The custom hair bows and children’s clothing business is noted for its one-of-a-kind handmade items and its exceptional and friendly customer service.

    Additional Retail/Wholesale Business nominees: Beautiful Things, Jeanie Waugh and Lisa Waugh; Kentucky Automotive Center of Grayson, Lydia Crawford.

    2014 Service Business of the Year

    Over the past 39 years, Paul Grant and Tom Grant have built Grant Inc., comprised of multiple Giovanni’s Pizza locations, into a thriving enterprise of beloved hometown pizza and Italian restaurants. The pair began with 12 employees and a single restaurant in 1975, eventually expanding into four locations with 60 employees. During that time revenue grew from $300,000 to $3.8 million in sales.

    Additional Service Business nominees: Ambiance Salon, Eric & Tabitha Coyer; Callihan’s American Pub & Grill, Tal Callihan; Phil Clark’s Martial Arts Academy/Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu of KY, Phil and Cara Clark; Crossroads of Hope, Valerie Frasure; Fast Change Oil and Lube, Nile Barnes; Ink in a Blink, Mark Dillon; Justice Enterprises, Michael Justice; Kyova 10 Theatres, George Bagnoli; Ross Real Estate Services, Lucien Ross and Bea Rice; Ruffin’ It Pet Boutique, Margaret McCue; Wilson Fitness & Martial Arts, Allen Wilson.

    2014 Business Professional of the Year:

    MJ Wixsom D.M.V. of Guardian Animal Medical Clinic was recognized as the Business Professional of the Year. Its mission is to “Provide outstanding, progressive, professional, compassionate veterinary medicine and surgery, in a pleasant and cheerful environment.” Accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association, the clinic has reached the highest industry standard of service.

    Additional Business Professional nominees: Dr. Jack Borders, Regional Psychotherapy Services; John Dean, CPA, Jackson Hewitt; Dr. Gary Dillon, Dillon Chiropractic; Dr. William and Kathy Thorner, Caring Dentistry.

    2014 Construction/Contracting Business of the Year

    Chris Riffe started his career in contracting in 1993 at age 17. At age 19, he founded Riffe Contracting with a bobcat and a crew of three employees. Today, Riffe Contracting employs six full-time employees and more than 30 contractors and boasts a full-range of construction equipment and a waiting list of clients. The company specializes in incorporating smart technology into the homes it constructs.

    Additional Construction/Contracting Business nominees: Covenant Cable, Rocky and Christy Kiser; Creative Home Solutions, Curt Clevenger; Steve Logan Construction; Steve Logan; Steen Cannon & Ordinance Work, Marshall Steen.

    2014 Family-Owned Business of the Year

    Porter’s Tire and Auto Service first opened in 1960 and was founded by the father of current co-owners and operators Scott Porter and Jenny Harris. The Olive Hill business began by selling new and used brand name tires and offering automotive repair services. In the 1980s it became an EPA-certified tire recycler, and has grown from a staff of four to 15.

    Additional Family-Owned Business nominees: DJ’s Kitchen Corner, Dale Jones; K.C. Hardin Greenhouse & Garden Center, K.C. Hardin; Rick’s Towing & Recovery, Rick Rice; James Family Outfitters, Bobby & Carol James; Tackett’s Furniture, Debra Baker Harman.

    2014 Non-Profit Organization of the Year

    The Kentucky Educational Development Center is Kentucky’s oldest and largest educational cooperative. Since it’s inception in 1965, the non-profit educational consortium has grown to include 60 member school districts and 90 employees.

    Additional Non-Profit Organization nominees: Ashland Animal Rescue Fund, Dave Gillium; Ashland Youth Ballet, Kim Robinette and Maria Whaley; Carter County Public Library, Nellie Jordan; Eastern Kentucky Junior Golf Association, Tom and Pat Cooksey; Grahn School Community Center, Starlene Harris; Helping Hands of Greenup County, Deborah Blevins; Highlands Museum & Discovery Center, Carol Rice Allen; Hope’s Place Children’s Advocacy Center, Brandi Bayes; Olive Hill Center for Arts and Education, Linda Lowe; Ramey-Estep Homes, Denny Locey.

    2014 Small Business Champion of the Year

    Mark Strother, of Commercial Bank of Grayson, was selected for his tireless work and dedication to a host of economic development, community betterment initiatives, service organizations and a variety of non-profit organizations in Carter County. The third generation of his family to be named bank president since its founding in 1881, Strother is the fifth individual to hold the title.

    Additional Small Business Champion nominees include: Jason Suman, of Citizens National Bank; Earl Twinam, of First and Peoples Bank. Jeff Elswick, vice president and chief commercial lender of Kentucky Farmer’s Bank was also recognized at the event for receiving the 2014 Kentucky Small Business Financial Services Advocate of the Year Award. Elswick was named Northeast Kentucky Small Business Champion of the Year in 2013, which made him eligible for state recognition. He was selected to receive the award from among nominees across Kentucky. It was presented Thursday by Ralph Ross, director of the Kentucky District of the Small Business Administration. Elswick is the immediate past chairman of the Ashland Alliance.


The Ashland Alliance presence continues to grow in economic development efforts as well as chamber and community issues

The Ashland Alliance offers many different programs and events to help grow business and community networking opportunities. LEARN MORE

The Ashland Alliance offers many different programs and events to help grow business and community networking opportunities.

The Ashland Alliance was formed in 1999 as the joint organization for the Boyd County / Greenup County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development organization. Today, the Alliance is a “front-line” advocate for local business and industry as we work with our many partners to continue to make this area an excellent place to live, work and play.
Boyd and Greenup counties are located in northeast Kentucky, on the southern border of the Ohio River in central Appalachia. We have many amenities not enjoyed by other communities our size, including excellent healthcare, significant arts and entertainment opportunities, top-rated golf and tennis venues, as well as a multitude of parks, streams, lakes and rivers to enjoy.
Critical to the mission of the Alliance are our ongoing efforts to think, plan and act “regionally.” One of our greatest and most unique attributes is the Ohio River. It links together our Huntington/Ironton/Ashland metropolitan statistical area, known locally as the “Tri-State” or the “KYOVA” area with more than 350,000 people.
The Ashland Alliance also boasts a membership 500 businesses strong that continues to grow. With a renewed effort to increase the value of an Alliance membership, companies find multiple occasions to share contacts, buy from each other, grow relationships and market their products.



    Building community leaders

    The Ashland Alliance is the joint organization for the Boyd County/Greenup County Chamber of Commerce, serving as a front-line advocate for local business and industry as we work with our many partners to continue to make this area an excellent place to live, work and play.
    The Ashland Alliance also boasts a membership 500 businesses strong and continues to grow. With a renewed effort to increase the value of an Alliance membership, companies find multiple occasions to share contacts, buy from each other, grow relationships and market their products.




    Community Leadership Development (CLD)

    A Community Leadership group visits Marshall University's football stadium during a recent transportation and technology tour.

    A Community Leadership group visits Marshall University’s football stadium during a recent transportation and technology tour.

    Since 1979, the Community Leadership Development (CLD) program has been growing leaders in our community. The development program consists of eight weeks, meeting once a week, covering topics that include advocacy, healthcare, local history, education, industry, government and leadership.

    Community Leadership Development goals include:

    • Developing leadership skills

    • Developing a better informed citizenry

    • Providing unique networking opportunities

    • Promoting community pride

    • Promoting a sense of civic responsibility

    • Fostering volunteers for local non-profit agencies

    CLD planning committee

    Program Co-chair

    Lloyd Keyser
    Kentucky Power
    12333 Kevin Ave., Ashland, KY 41102
    Email Keyser

    Program Co-chair

    Matt Perkins
    Second Hand Rose Consignment
    3205 13th St., Ashland, KY 41102
    Email Perkins

    Alliance Contact

    Paula Mayo
    Ashland Alliance
    1730 Winchester Ave., Ashland, KY 41105
    Email Mayo

    Young Professionals Association

    Fostering a young professional workforce between the ages of 21 and 39, the Young Professionals Association was formed to strengthen the vitality of Ashland and surrounding areas by providing a network of professional development, social opportunity, economic development and community service programs.

    From monthly board meetings to member committees, YPA also provides a quarterly luncheon and frequent social events to unite young professionals throughout Boyd and Greenup counties and a host of other social events to unite the area’s young workforce.


    Program Description

    Each year YPA coordinates an annual backpack program for children in Boyd and Greenup counties. The primary goal of the program is to ensure that each elementary school student starts the school year with the necessary school supplies and at least one new outfit. Through the involvement of our membership and many other members of the community, each year has been extremely successful.

    In the YPA’s first year, it was decided that this would be the association’s primary community service project. Throughout each new annual campaign, YPA has been able to increase the number of backpacks delivered to children in the community.

    Instead of relying heavily on corporate donations, this program is designed to get individual employees involved. The YPA begins each year by meeting with counselors and youth service center directors at the elementary schools within Boyd and Greenup counties. After being supplied with a list of school supplies and clothing sizes, YPA members are responsible for finding individuals to sponsor the children. Backpacks are returned to the Ashland Alliance office prior to the first week of school.

    How to Get Involved

    Participation in the backpack program can be achieved in one of the following four ways:

    • Sponsor a child on your own. Pick one child and purchase all of the needed supplies.
    • Sponsor with a group. Instead of taking on the responsibility for all of a child’s supplies, join with a coworker to sponsor a single child.
    • Become a Business Coordinator. As a business coordinator you are our primary contact for your group or business. While this does carry some added responsibility, the most important part of the job is to help generate interest within the workplace. Ideally, you would generate a list of interested participants, and facilitate the sponsorship of children within the organization.
    Many organizations in the area provide excellent examples of the results that can be achieved by having a business coordinator within the organization. Employees at Marathon Petroleum have taken on the responsibility of providing all of the requested backpacks at two elementary schools. Peoples Bank employees have been a vital part of the programs success over the past three years by setting goals and encouraging the involvement of associates and customers. The bank’s management has participated by sponsoring a contest in which teams are formed with the goal of finding sponsorship for the most backpacks. The employees at Kings Daughters Medical Center and Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital were also actively involved in the 2006 program due to excellent coordinators within the organization.
    • Provide a monetary contribution to the Ashland Alliance Foundation for the benefit of the program. All contributions to the foundation are tax deductible.


    Youth Leadership Program

    The Youth Leadership Program increases interaction between businesses and the youth in the region.

    The program takes part in sessions designed to educate on community issues, encourage mutual respect and facilitate in a shared concern for a commitment to the advancement of Boyd and Greenup counties.

    It is the goal of the Ashland Alliance to instill in these young people the responsibility for their own lives, and the lives of others and society, and to develop responsibilities for leadership in each area.

    The program is comprised of 40 juniors from seven high schools in Boyd and Greenup counties and meets once monthly for seven months. Students are granted school attendance for sessions attended.


    Other Chamber Events and Opportunities

    Business After Hours (Networking events for members and guests)

    Business of the Week (Recognizing local businesses)

    Calendar (Keep up with chamber and community events)

    Winter Wonderland of Lights (Annual holiday lights in Central Park and downtown)

    Volunteer Opportunities

    • Spring Golf Outing
    • Fall Golf Outing
    • Winter Wonderland of Lights Festival
    • Business After Hours
    • Leadership Programs
    • Public Affairs/Political Forums
    • Cleanup Inituatives




    The Ashland, Ky., area has plenty to offer

    Ashland's Riverfront Park host the annual Summer Motion and houses the Port of Ashland dock.

    Ashland’s Riverfront Park, along the Ohio River, hosts the annual Summer Motion festival and houses the Port of Ashland dock.

    Ashland is situated on the banks of the Ohio River where Kentucky meets neighboring Ohio and West Virginia (known as the Tri-State area).

    Whether you want to engage business, outdoor recreational activities, attend a festival, take in a concert, travel the Country Music Highway, visit a museum or just enjoy the scenic beauty, Ashland offers many choices on how to spend your time.

    On the shore of the Ohio River, many outdoor activities in our area revolve around the water. In addition to the river, Carter Caves State Park, Greenbo Lake State Park, Yatesville Lake State Park and Ohio’s Lake Vesuvius are all only a short drive away. Whether your pleasure is boating, skiing, swimming, fishing, camping or hiking, you’re sure to find what you enjoy in the Ashland area.

    First-class golf and tennis are also options. The area has numerous 18-hole golf courses and one of the best tennis centers in Kentucky.

    After a full day, spend the evening dining at one of Ashland’s fine restaurants or attend a performance at the downtown Paramount Arts Center. The Paramount offers a vast performing arts venue.

    While you’re in the area, take a leisurely stroll through historic downtown. A map, available through the Ashland Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, will guide you through Ashland’s history and its development. Don’t miss this opportunity to stop by the Riverfront Park area. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ASHLAND AREA


    Area Attractions


    Central Park is housed on 47-acres between Lexington and Central avenues and 17th and 22nd streets. Attractions at the park include a fountain area, playgrounds, baseball fields, tennis courts, volleyball courts, a bandstand, ice rink and more.
    Map Central Park
    Central Park’s popular fountain area


    The Highlands Museum & Discovery Center provides avenues of discovery for children and visitors of all ages. History and heritage along with energy and excitement come together on the Country Music Highway at the Highlands Museum & Discovery Center. From toddlers to adults, visitors find activity and information that puts the past in perspective and moves the present into the future.
    The Highlands Museum & Discovery Center
    1620 Winchester Avenue
    Ashland, KY 41101
    Map Highlands Museum and Discovery Center


    The Jesse Stuart Foundation features the works of Northeastern Kentucky native Jesse Stuart and other regional authors. The foundation and library provide a place to reflect and learn more about the region.
    Jesse Stuart Foundation
    Winchester Avenue
    Downtown Ashland


    The Pendleton Art Center is home to artists and craftsworkers who have a wide range of talents. The Center is an interactive venue with working studios.
    Pendleton Art Center
    1537 Winchester Avenue, Ashland
    Studio Rental Info: 606.920.9863
    Café Phone: 606.325.3815
    Hotline: 513.559.3958 ext. 1257


    The Paramount Arts Center first opened on September 5, 1931. The theater has undergone several renovations since 1972, most recently in 2002 when a new stagehouse was added and new dressing rooms, rehearsal space and banquet facility were added in a nearby building that was purchased in 1998. In addition, this renovated space was connected to the main building. The theater now operates as a non-profit organization, showing symphonies, plays, ballets and other productions.
    Paramount Arts Center
    1300 Winchester Avenue, Ashland
    VIDEO: History of Paramount Arts Center


    Armco Park is best described as having rolling hills and wooded areas. This community park is just south of Ashland’s city limits. The park has nature trails, frisbee golf, playground equipment and five shelter houses with water, electric and restrooms. Site of Boyd County War Memorial. Handicapped accessible.
    Armco Park
    U.S. 60 & Ky. 716, Summit
    Hours of Operation: 8am-9pm


    Riverfront Park hosts Ashland’s annual Summer Motion festival. The park features the Port of Ashland, an active boat dock, and picnic facilities for everyone to enjoy.


    Relocation Information

    alliancemag_010714Covering all the bases from healthcare to eduction: What makes the Ashland area great.



    Visitor Resources

    Ashland Area Convention and Visitors Bureau • 606.329.1007 or 800.377.6249 • Email Bureau



Northeastern Kentucky has the perfect blend of business growth potential, tight-knit communities and quality of life

kentucky_mapWhether examining employment opportunities, the school systems, recreational activities, the local art scene or the area’s inherent scenic beauty, life in northeastern Kentucky and the Tri-State has it all. …
While northeastern Kentucky’s community and quality of life are reasons to call it home, local, national and international businesses have chosen to locate in the area because of its many advantages. When combined with neighboring communities in Ohio and West Virginia, northeastern Kentucky comprises a metropolitan statistical area of nearly half a million people. This impressive population is attractive for its potential both as an eager and energetic labor force and a loyal and dedicated customer base.
Moving a business to the Tri-State couldn’t be easier, too, thanks to the Ashland Alliance. As the chamber of commerce for Boyd and Greenup counties, the Ashland Alliance works with prospective companies to ensure a smooth transition for those who choose to do business in the area, providing such services as site selection and assisting with business incentives for job creation and retention. LEARN MORE ABOUT NORTHEASTERN KENTUCKY

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