MADE Winners: Food & Beverage Category

North Carolina Acme Smoked Fish

Year of foundation: 2015

Number of employees: 276

High official : Felipe Espinosa, Manufacturing Manager

Company Description: “Fourth-generation family business recognized as the nation’s premier smoked fish supplier. We produce cold smoked salmon products sold nationwide.

How has your company developed since its creation? “We started 2015 working as one shift with three slicing and packaging lines. Weekly production was 90,000 pounds of finished products. Today we have increased production by 170%, the number of jobs has increased by 120%, and we are working a first shift with six lines and a second with two lines. »

How has your product contributed to the economic development of the region? “Currently, we employ 276 people who reside in the greater Wilmington area. We were one of the original tenants of Pender Commerce Park, which helped catalyze the development of the area. »

What are your future goals for the product? “To continue to grow, while embodying the core values ​​of our company, bringing meaning to every relationship, delivering the highest quality results in everything we do, passing on our passion, improving ourselves every day and striving to do good for our people, our communities and our environment”

kind cultures

Year of foundation: 2019

Number of employees: 3

High official : Ashley John, CEO and Owner

Company Description: Small-scale food farm producing plant-based cheeses and dairy substitutes

How has your company developed since its creation? “Kind Cultures started out producing products for a restaurant in a shared curated kitchen space, and now has its own production kitchen and serves several area retailers and restaurants. Our offers have expanded and with our brand new production space (August 2022), we will be able to target a larger regional and national audience.

What are your future goals for the product? “I would like to expand our manufacturing to a scale that can serve regional and national wholesale customers and have a manufacturing facility locally. This would create jobs in Wilmington and greater opportunity to serve and grow a product area that I am passionate about and believe in: plant-based products! Getting our products sold by Whole Foods Market is one of my main goals. »


N. WED. Oyster Company.

Year of foundation: 2017

Number of employees: 4

High official : Conor MacNair, CEO and Founding Farmer

Company Description: N. WED. Oyster Co. is a shellfish farm located in Topsail that is “dedicated to raising artisanal, sustainable shellfish that embody the taste of North Carolina while maintaining a positive impact on the environment.”

How has your company developed since its creation? “We had very humble beginnings in 2017. We operated out of a rental house on a half acre of oyster bottom subleased from the farm. No motors, a kayak that we used to carry the equipment needed for daily work. Now we own over 20 acres of agricultural land, 7 acres of land on ICWW, a large processing building, mechanical graders, three boats, a nursery dock and four employees.

How has your product contributed to the economic development of the region? “We employ four full-time oyster farmers and work with a fish distributor to transport our shells to local restaurants where a chef is dedicated to running an oyster program with kitchen staff meticulously opening the shells. But above all, our farm has a positive impact on the environment.


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