Hello! I’ve been fielding a lot of the same questions about the sale of Blue Ridge Hiking Company so I figured I’d do a short Q&A to spread some info. Thanks for reading/sharing.

Why sell Blue Ridge Hiking Company?

Because it was the right time and to the right person. I love Blue Ridge Hiking Company and everything it has become. It has been “my baby” for 15 years. Last year was our best season yet and it felt like the dream I had at age 24 had been realized and then some. We have guided over 12,000 people on trails in Western North Carolina and our team is AWESOME. As we’ve grown, the business has also needed and deserved more time and attention – I can also say the same about my second business of speaking and writing. And my kiddos. As everyone/thing was growing, I constantly felt like there wasn’t enough of me to go around and that I couldn’t be as effective as I’d like. The good news is that four years ago we hired Lindsey Barr who has been an absolute rock for our business through good times and bad (hello, pandemic). They have sustainably steered our growth, led our team with care, and hold a strong vision for the future. It just kind of felt like the next right step was obvious and a win-win-win for everyone involved.

Will you still be involved?

Yep! That’s part of the WIN for me. I still get to be a big part of the Blue Ridge Hiking Company community. I will be guiding Trailblazer Retreats and VIP hikes, hanging out at guide socials, and offering support to Lindsey if and when they need it. And I will always be Blue Ridge’s #1 cheerleader and fan.

Is your name still going to be a part of the business?

For a bit. But it will roll off within the next few years. When I started BRHC it didn’t have my name attached to it. Then after a few trail records and book deals, my name recognition outweighed the business brand. So… as a marketing move, we added JPD to BRHC. At this point, Blue Ridge Hiking Company has very strong brand recognition and customer loyalty and no longer needs a JPD by-line. Within the next two years, the little hiker figurine in our logo will take a side trail and walk down a new path, which feels right for all involved.

Did you keep the downtown shop? What about your bunkhouse in Hot Springs, the Appalachian Trail-er?

Nope. These pieces are important and valued parts of the Blue Ridge Hiking Company infrastructure and went with the sale.

Are there going to be big changes at Blue Ridge Hiking Company?

That’s really a question for our new owner Lindsey Barr. But I can tell you that nearly all of our 2022 team is returning and that my hope/expectation is that Blue Ridge Hiking Company will only get better. Even if I had remained, I’m sure there would be significant changes over time. Small businesses (and people) need change to keep growing and improving.

Was it easy or hard to sell a business?

Both. Very hard because… lawyers, am I right?! Thankfully, I had amazing legal counsel throughout this process. If you are local and need a great lawyer I recommend Sarah Massagee in Hendersonville, NC. Still, there were other 3rd parties involved and timelines, cost, and communication were often challenging. Turning the agreement Lindsey and I came up with into legalese and then jumping through all the hoops of an asset sale was extremely challenging. Ultimately, it was a testament to my relationship with Lindsey and our ability to communicate and overcome obstacles together that got us to the finish line.

But also, the sale was easy because I am excited about the future of Blue Ridge HikingCompany, Lindsey’s potential as the new owner, and my increased capacity to dream. I think it’s a little like having your child get married to someone wonderful. You are happy that they found each other, you are excited to see what they do, and you are still very much family and a part of their lives. Plus now you have a little more time, a little less responsibility, and one day you might have grandkids. ; )

What’s next?

I haven’t had much time to write over the past few years and I’m hoping to work that back into my routine. I also care a lot about people and the environment and am trying to find ways to make the world a better place, which is trite but true. That should be easy, right? ; ) So stay tuned. There’s more to come and I am excited and hopeful for the future.