A skilled labor force, a low cost of living, affordable real estate, a generous tax incentive program and an unbeatable location are just a few of the reasons that make Robeson County, North Carolina a great place to do business.
C. Gregory Cummings, the Economic Development Director at The Robeson Economic Development Commission, gave us some insights into how the area continues to build a pro-business environment, through creating opportunities for corporations and the community alike.
North Carolina is known for its business-centric approach to development and taxation. Consistently recognized as one of the top states in the nation for business, the state has a legacy of attracting growth-minded individuals and originations. Accessibility is one of the county’s most significant opportunities, as seventy percent of all North American industry is within a 700-mile radius of Robeson’s borders. As a result, Robeson County is located in one of the most advantageous spots in the country.
A gateway to both regional and national markets, Robeson is located within an interstate web directly between Boston and Miami. “If you are dealing with a company that is importing or exporting goods, our location along the interstate corridor is a major advantage,” explains Cummings. The I-95 and I-74 meet in Robeson County, and its position within the interstate corridor provides local businesses unbeatable access to commercial trucking routes.
In addition to roadway accessibility, Robeson is home to a national rail line and lies within a two-hour drive of five domestic and international airports. Convenient access makes the area highly accessible to not only commercial trade routes, but an abundance of skilled workers.
The county’s offerings, from an economic standpoint, are outstanding, but what sets Robeson apart is its commitment to building business infrastructure alongside community development. Like most of the country, Robeson faced hard times following the global economic recession, but a look at the area today proves that tough times are no match for the area’s fighting spirit.
In recent years, Robeson has reinvented its economic footprint. The county’s long history of agriculture and manufacturing remain a cornerstone of the local economy, but Robeson’s industrial makeup is now more dynamic than ever. Cummings affirms, “We have a very diverse economic footprint here, it has changed a lot over the years and is still changing every day.”
In tandem with the state government, The Robeson Economic Development Commission continues to create new avenues for business growth throughout the county. The local industrial footprint has expanded substantially in the last ten years, and local industry now includes manufacturing, fabrication, food processing, textiles, agricultural chemical firms and everything in between. The area boasts companies the likes of Campbell’s Soup, Pepsi and Mountaire Farms which have in turn led to new opportunities for ancillary companies and professionals alike.
North Carolina’s state tax incentive programs are a major attraction for national and international firms seeking access to the wider North American market. Robeson offers companies access to these state tax programs with the added benefit of numerous local funding schemes and grants. Since Robeson is located in a newly growing area, the economic incentives available are far superior to those found in metropolitan locations. Moreover, the economic development commission in Robeson is experienced in the processes of these tax programs, offering new businesses guidance and assistance throughout the economic infrastructure process.
The county has made substantial investment into the procurement and development of several state-certified shovel-ready sites, ensuring that economic growth will continue for years to come. With six major industrial sites already in use and six more open for business, the sites span over 2,000 acres. These strategic land offerings are equipped with all of the amenities and permits necessary for development and ensure an efficient and affordable setup for companies seeking to grow in the business-friendly state.
Although rooted in the core industries of advanced manufacturing, food processing, textiles, metalwork and the like, recent developments have created alternative revenue streams in the area. Healthcare has become a sector of increasing importance in the nation as a whole, and Robeson is no exception. With the recent opening of a school of dentistry and the partnering of the area’s local health centre with Duke Medical Centre’s Cardiology Unit, Robeson is seeing an increasing number of healthcare-focused businesses.
Robeson’s location, tax incentives and existing infrastructure continue to attract businesses from a wide array of areas, but the county’s workforce is quite possibly its biggest asset. When it comes to advanced manufacturing and other skilled industries, there is no replacement for experience and education. As more and more firms seek out highly skilled workers, many areas are struggling to keep up with the demand.
Unlike other areas, Robeson’s local infrastructure has supported workforce growth and training alongside business development. Today, the county is home to a diversely skilled talent pool that continues to gain attention from international and domestic firms alike. In addition to local talent, Robeson’s 1-95 location makes it ideal for companies seeking to bring in labor from across the country.
Robeson’s diverse array of training programs and on-going education opportunities have created a diverse, job-ready population, prepared ready to take on the needs of twenty-first century development. Working closely with the University of North Carolina, the public school system and the local community college, the county government in Robeson has cultivated a comprehensive and remarkably successful job-training program. The program, which incorporates education and practical skills training, has given residents the qualifications necessary to answer the call of today’s advancing industry.
Business infrastructure may attract economic development, but employee’s quality of life sustains it, and in Robeson, there is a perfect blend of the two. While expanding corporate infrastructure, Robeson has also heavily invested in developing other quality of life offerings including healthcare, recreation and education.
The county is in close proximity to the world-renowned Myrtle Beach, the major metropolitan city of Charlotte North Carolina and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Robeson’s comfortable community is the perfect fit for companies seeking a place for staff to call home.
At the heart of Robeson is a community which celebrates diversity. The area’s rich history has brought people of all descriptions to Robeson throughout the centuries, and that legacy continues today. Where many areas struggle to embrace diversity, Robeson thrives on it. Its success is a testament to both the community and businesses in the area. “The thing I am proudest of is how we all work together here,” shares Cummings.
Robeson offers a melting pot of experiences for residents and visitors alike. The county hosts a countless number of community initiatives and local events, which embrace the area’s rich cultural heritage throughout the year.
The county has a low cost of living, an excellent school district, a good health care system and an increasing number of professional and education opportunities. It is no surprise that the county is seeing a new wave of growth. Robeson’s can-do attitude has proved a national hit, ensuring that the area’s ambition today, mean a brighter tomorrow.