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Homegrown Help

The best employees for your business might already be in your own backyard.
June 1, 2006
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/160048

Homegrown is the word for New Ravenna, a company that creates custom mosaics. Sara Baldwin, the president and founder, hired all 105 employees--from the mosaicists to the CEO--from Virginia's Eastern Shore, the remote rural area where she grew up and where New Ravenna is based.

Prior to working for New Ravenna, not one of Baldwin's employees had experience with mosaics. That didn't faze Baldwin. "I'm a self-taught mosaicist," she says. "I figured if I learned to do it, so could they." And New Ravenna reports a near 100 percent employee retention rate. "We have lots of opportunities for growth," says Baldwin. "I have supervisors who started on the production floor."

Hiring locals has paid off. New Ravenna's mosaics are regarded as being among the best in the industry, and its client list includes high-profile customers like Tom Hanks and James Earl Jones. Sales for 2006 are expected to hit $8 million.