AppLit: The story of how companies can come together to strengthen communities

Business Industry News

By Chris Higgins, President of Hort Americas

During the very early months of the pandemic, our friends at AppHarvest came to us with a challenge. They wanted to know if Hort Americas could help them source lights that were:

1. Made in the USA.

2. Made in the Appalachian region.

3. Made at a cost equal or less than the competition offers.

In May 2020, this was a BIG ask.  Most companies were not thinking about new initiatives, especially anything that might add cost or require major investment. Due to the pandemic, most U.S.-based companies were more focused on applying for PPP or cutting costs as protection from an uncertain future and shrinking sales.

Thankfully, we all had plenty of time at our desk. So we placed a few phone calls to see what we could make happen. Our first call was to GE current, a Daintree company (when it comes to lighting, they are always our first call).  Truth be told, we expected a quick “no” and possibly a more emphatic “hell no.”  Instead what we heard was, “well (long pause), maybe (long pause) let us make some phone calls.”

This then led to a crazy 12 months. During this time,  we assessed and identified needs while uncovering what was possible. To say that any of the parties knew exactly what they were agreeing to would be completely misleading. Everyone was simply saying yes to an amazing opportunity.

“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.”

Richard Branson

So what does AppLit mean?

It means that food production in the Appalachian region is now lit by lights built in the Appalachians by companies focused on bringing excellent opportunities to their communities by focusing on the economic condition, health and happiness of the people who power the region.

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