How a partnership launched a business during their search for great BBQ

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“Every Day Is an Adventure” are the words behind Paul Bright and Amanda Fisher’s map-making company, E.D.I.A. They created their first one in 2014, the N.C. BBQ Map, and then continued with N.C. Beer Map, Charlotte Adventure Map, and their most recent, the Carolina Fried Chicken Map.

“We believe that an adventure can be had anywhere, whether in your own back yard or across the globe,” Fisher, 34, said. “Sometimes all it takes is a tiny shift in perspective to make the ordinary and everyday into an adventure.”

Bright and Fisher attended the same high school in Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina, but they did not become friends until after college. Bright, 33, was mapping for the city of Charlotte’s storm water department, and Fisher was grant writing for a non-profit organization.

While traveling together in rural North Carolina, they felt like something was missing in their search for BBQ.

“There are plenty of guidebooks about BBQ, but there’s not one source about all of the places,” Bright said. “It was something we needed for ourselves and decided to make it.”

Bright and Fisher used a Kickstarter campaign to get the first map made. They raised more than $10,000, and took 18 months to research and make the map. This map lists 454 places to buy BBQ and has been printed 15,000 times.

E.D.I.A.’s fold-up maps sell for $9.99 and poster-size maps are $29.99. They may be purchased online or in places around Charlotte such as The Map Shop, Paper Skyscraper and Green with Envy.

Fisher answered CharlotteFive’s questions for the small business series:

How do you decide on the next map?

 “We want to spend time working on projects that are interesting to us but, at the same time, are interesting and meaningful to the people we know will be using our maps. That means we cover a lot on the Carolinas’ heritage and culture.”

What went into determining your pricing?

“It was challenging for us to land on a number because there were so many factors we had to consider. Printing and design are the biggest expenses so those were our starting points as we formulated our pricing.”

“Our maps offer so much more than your typical road map, which are oftentimes a few dollars or even free, so that’s been a hurdle we’ve had to jump. Our maps have beautiful artwork and are also filled with information you’d typically find in a more expensive guidebook. It would have been easy to give them a higher price tag, but we wanted a good middle ground since they are offered in a variety of places ranging from boutique and hardware stores to barbecue and fried chicken restaurants.”

 How does creativity play into being an entrepreneur?

“For us, creativity is everything. When you can be creative and put your own ideas into something you’re working on, it doesn’t feel like a job. That’s something all businesses can benefit from.

“When people are allowed to be creative and use their own ideas, it gives an attachment and a sense of accomplishment. That’s something that’s contagious. Creativity percolates into the community and inspires others.”

Photos: Courtesy of EDIA Maps

Family history and my own fascination with people and their motivations prompted me to begin this series about Charlotte’s small business owners. Industry, situation and questions will vary. Have a suggestion for a small business owner or entrepreneur to interview? Email it to vanessainfanzon@gmail.com with the subject line “Small Business Series.”

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