Homegrown Huntsville [Startup of the Month]


Homegrown Huntsville works with local businesses and organizations to create unique events that the community can celebrate. Founded in 2012, the company came about while Ashley Ryals was planning a downtown pub tour as a member of the Huntsville Young Professionals board.

Expecting 30 to 40 people to attend, Ashley was surprised when more than 200 showed up. That moment provided the spark of inspiration, although it took some time for the idea to become reality.

“I knew then that the community would love the idea of a restaurant tour,” Ashley says. “But it wasn’t until five years later that I got the guts to try it on my own as a full-time gig and Dine & Dash was created.”

Dine & Dash was just the start. Downtown Huntsville now hosts several events including Sip & Shop, Barks and Brews, and Big Spring Crush Wine & Food Festival. The latter marks its fifth anniversary with a three-day event from September 28-30 in Big Spring Park.

In addition, Homegrown recently partnered with Zaros Labs to create WHT LBL, a mobile app that lets you rate and reserve wines as you taste them at festivals. Scheduled for release in 2019, the app will be used at wine festivals across the country.

But for all that success, Homegrown faced plenty of roadblocks along the way. Just like any startup.

“No matter the business, you’re going to hear ‘no,’ and it’s whether you push through those ‘no’s’ until you get a ‘yes’ that determines if you’ll be successful,” Ashley says. “Yes, I faced lots of challenges, but failure wasn’t an option – telling me no makes me try harder.”

Learn more at homegrownhuntsville.com.