The Biltmore Company
The Biltmore Company in Asheville, North Carolina, owns and operates 8,000 acres (32 km²) of land and business. In 1999, the company formed a new business group, the Biltmore Estate Brands Group.
Currently, the Biltmore Estate home furnishings licensees include: Carolina Mirror, Directional Publishing, As You Like It, Craftique, Imperial Home Decor Group, Oriental Accent, Southern Living House Plans, Tai Ping, Paragon Picture Gallery and Sadek Import Company, NDI, Kravet Fabrics, Great City Traders, Keller Charles Inc., Manual Woodworkers and Weavers, and Executive Kitchens, Inc.
The Biltmore Company, owned by the family of William Amherst Vanderbilt Cecil, includes Biltmore Estate, Biltmore Estate Wine Company, and Biltmore Estate Reproductions. In 2001, the Inn on Biltmore Estate opened on the estate, and currently has 210 guest rooms. It is rated four stars by Mobil Travel Guide and four diamonds by AAA.
The Biltmore Company traces its origins back to 1895 when George Washington Vanderbilt II first opened the Vanderbilt Estate. This six-year project was a grand production, with grounds designed by landscaper Frederick Law Olmsted and the house designed by Richard Morris Hunt. The Biltmore Company is and always has been family owned and operated, with a goal of supporting and maintaining the estate and various industries affiliated with the estate. In 1889 George Vanderbilt and wife Edith Vanderbilt expanded the Biltmore Company by purchasing a nearby town, renamed Biltmore Village. This is where employees of the estate resided. Additionally, the couple created and funded the Biltmore Estate Industries which developed a system of teaching traditional craft making. However, after George’s death both Biltmore Village and Biltmore Estate Industries were sold in an effort to keep focus on the Estate itself. George and Edith Vanderbilt were very environmentally conscious, and they sold over 86,000 acres of the surrounding land to the government to create the Pisgah National Forest. The Biltmore Company still values the importance of forest preservation and utilizes techniques to ensure preservation of the soil, water, wildlife and forest of the area.
Today, the Biltmore Company is still run by the descendants of George Vanderbilt; the President and CEO is currently William Cecil. The Biltmore Company employs over 1,200 people who maintain the 8,000 acres of the Biltmore Estate, hotel, winery, restaurants and shops. The Biltmore House is the largest privately owned home in the United States. The company claims to host more than one million guests per year; the Biltmore Company functions solely through private funding.