Our State: Celebrating North Carolina


IN A SPRAWLING industrial park just south of Asheville is the modest shoe factory where Justin and Amanda James design and manufacture their Opie Way brand of stylish sneakers. The place smells of rich leather. Reams of canvas and luxuriously tanned hides are stacked against a back wall; pieces of footwear, in various stages of development, perch atop several tall tables; and completed pairs of shoes sit on shelves, prepped for shipment to customers across the country. An adjoining factory floor houses more than 15 heavy-duty machines used for shoemaking.

Justin rattles off nearly a dozen materials that go into each product, and he points to the various machines, explaining

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