Dann Vander Heul moved to Fuquay-Varina, almost on a whim, because his family was tired of living in urban southern California.
“We actually saw Cary on ‘House Hunters’ and said, ‘What’s this place that has trees? It’s so green,’ ” Heul said. “And three years later, we moved down here.”
He started a printing company that produces pamphlets, business cards, brochures and more. By its nature, Heul’s business relies on the success of other businesses.
After about a year working in Fuquay-Varina, he said, he knows he’s in the right place at the right time.
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“We feel very blessed to be in this area,” Heul said. “(Business) has gone well, and the community has been very welcoming. You don’t always know how that’s going to be, but so many people here are from other places, too.”
Fuquay-Varina has grown by leaps and bounds in the past 20 years, and businesses have kept up.
It’s mainly a bedroom community, now with about 22,000 people. Most residents work outside of town, largely in tech fields, according to the Wake County Economic Development group – but there’s still room for local entrepreneurs.
Heul’s printing company, International Minute Press, was one of at least a half-dozen companies at Thursday’s fifth annual Fuquay-Varina Chamber of Commerce Business Expo that has started in the last year.
While Heul’s business serves other businesses, the other new companies at the expo look to serve the needs of a growing population.
There was a thrift store, Going Full Circle, which also helps train young adults with autism, and a new preschool in Ashebridge Children’s Academy.
There was also a car company, Z-Best Auto Advisors, as well as multiple health care businesses – Horvath Chiropractic & Acupuncture, RX Care Pharmacy and Assured Audiology & Hearing Solutions.
Matthew Horvath, the area’s newest chiropractor, said it was love that brought him to town.
He met his wife Stacy, a longtime Fuquay-Varina resident, on an online dating site and was smitten. They got married, and he started transitioning his practice to Wake County in May.
“Over time, I’m trying to phase out in Rocky Mount and move the practice here full time,” Horvath said.
As more people and businesses move to town, leaders have focused on preserving local history – because, as Heul was relieved to find out, many residents didn’t grow up here.
The Fuquay-Varina Downtown Revitalization Association has now earned accreditation from the National Main Street Center four years in a row.
Last year, 19 other North Carolina cities received the designation, which honors towns committed to revitalizing downtown while preserving historic buildings and areas.
As the town continues to grow, one task will be to balance preservation with a business-friendly atmosphere – the latter of which has earned praise from the chamber of commerce.
“The Town is welcoming to new businesses and is actively engaged in finding local real estate for economic development sites and promoting Fuquay-Varina to the world,” the chamber declares on its website.