In April 2019, RomanticAsheville.com founder Mark File turned over the reins of this community-driven guide to Justin Belleme. Started as a passion project in 2003, RomanticAsheville.com is now the most visited travel website in Western North Carolina, receiving 5.5 million visits each year from 200 countries. Meet our team below! Photo Above: Justin Belleme (left) and Mark File (right)
Justin Belleme, Publisher and CEO
In April 2019, Justin Belleme led the acquisition of RomanticAsheville.com Travel Guide from founder Mark File. Justin is a Western NC native, born in Asheville and spent his childhood in Saluda. His first jobs in high school where in tourism and hospitality with time as a server and barista at the Purple Onion (it was called Wise Child at the time) and in the kitchen and dish room at the Orchard Inn.
A serial entrepreneur, Justin founded is first business, an online magazine about the Asheville area for visitors in 2003. He continued to work in tourism marketing, holding interim positions in online marketing with Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau, Tupelo Honey Cafe, and the City of Asheville in 2010 before launching Internet marketing agency JB Media Group in 2011. As Director of Strategy at JB Media Group, Justin oversees the strategic direction for projects in SEO, online advertising, social media, event marketing, email, and public relations for clients ranging from the Eastern Band of The Cherokee Indians to the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, Holistic Holiday at Sea, and the Social Capital Markets conference.
In 2012, Justin saw a need for training for marketing professionals and business owners in Internet marketing from industry professionals. He teamed up with Sarah Benoit to found the JB Media Institute shortly thereafter. Under his vision and leadership, the program has trained more nearly 300 students in its first six years. Justin is also a frequent presenter on the more technical elements of Internet marketing including Google advertising for businesses and non-profits, SEO, and social media advertising.
At RomanticAsheville.com, Justin leads the editorial and partnerships team while providing an overall strategy for the website that receives 5.5 million annual visits. He loves the NC Mountains and is grateful to be able to support the local arts and environmental organizations through the site’s non-profit support programs.
The recipient of the 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, Justin is a strong advocate for entrepreneurship. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, and the Veteran’s Healing Farm, and he is a previous Board Chair for the NC Stage Company.
Mark Collins, Partnerships Manager
Mark is the primary point of contact for the site's 250+ sponsors and partner organizations. As a company ambassador, he connects with businesses (large and small), tourism development authorities, non-profits, and governmental entities involved in travel, tourism, events, and the outdoors. Part educator and part strategist, Mark identifies ways to help partners promote their location and/or brand while meeting joint marketing and growth goals, simultaneously improving the reader’s experience and increasing traffic to the site.
Mark’s varied background and deep love of building and supporting the community is evident in both his personal and business life. Among many other endeavors, he is the immediate past president of the Western North Carolina AIDS Project with deep involvement with the agency’s two largest community fundraisers - Dining Out For Life and the Raise Your Hand Auction, president of his local homeowner's association, sits on the HUB committee for Asheville and Buncombe County and runs an annual summer camp for terminally ill children and their families. He is also a committee member for the Haywood Street Congregation Fresco project. His past work includes teaching business principles, coaching executive teams, and sharing the importance of storytelling to philanthropic institutions across America. He is an advocate for affordable housing and has been involved in several successful urban residential developments in the deep south and New Orleans.