Economic Development Strategy Report
May 10, 2012
Brandon Plotnick, Coordinator, Marketing & Communications
(910) 433-6766 ; firstname.lastname@example.org
The Fayetteville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce announced the completion of an economic development strategy for Cumberland County. The report and strategy, completed by Garner Economics LLC of Atlanta, GA should be vital in helping Cumberland County gain a competitive advantage in business development and economic growth opportunities.
The Chamber, along with the City of Fayetteville, the Fayetteville Public Works Commission, Cumberland County and the Community Development Foundation commissioned Garner Economics to complete a thorough analysis of the economic development climate in our community.
Garner Economics was chosen because of their perspective as a site location consultant and their experience in evaluating the relative competitiveness of communities throughout the country.
After several months of extensive research, Garner Economics presented its findings to a steering committee filled with community business leaders, public officials and other influential economic decision makers.
The report provides a competitive analysis of our region, recommends industries for the community to target, and makes recommendations in product improvement and economic development service delivery which will make our community more competitive in the marketplace.
“We found this community to have many exemplary features and shared with the steering committee several features we consider neutral or a challenge,” said Jay Garner of Garner Economics. “The steering committee, through action items resulting from our recommendations, should begin the process of continuing those exemplary features and moving challenge features to neutral and neutral features to exemplary.”
The report highlighted the assets and challenges our community faces in economic development. Using Augusta, Ga. and Huntsville, Ala. as benchmark communities selected by the Chamber, to compare those targets against, Garner ana-lyzed 74 community factors that businesses typically use when narrowing down sites to build or move to.
Our community shows strong in a number of key factors according to the report, including access to Interstate high-ways, availability of post-secondary vocational training, and availability of low-interest loans for small business and appearance of the central business district (downtown), among several other positives.
“Over the last 10 years, Fayetteville and Cumberland County has made significant strides in enhancing our region’s competitiveness in attracting capital investment from new and existing industries,” said Chris Bostock, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Chamber of Commerce. “In order to diversify our local economy our community still has a number of things we need to do.”
The report shows a number of areas the community can improve in relative to the benchmark cities. Some of the improvable areas include: Level of awareness of community regarding economic development, availability of fully served and attractive industrial sites, zoning policies and general community appearance.
Garner Economics examined the community features by conducting focus groups and through research and
observations. Based on those factors, they also were able to help target specific industries that our community can focus its recruiting efforts on.
“We determined Optimal Industry Targets for the community. These targets were determined because of unique features, qualities and availability of work force and other resources,” the report said. “They include: DOD Critical Contract Support, High Value Business and Financial Services, along with two manufacturing recommendations: Electrical Equipment and Specialized Chemical and Plastics. We believe Fayetteville-Cumberland County is well poised to attract industries in these sectors.”
Members of the steering committee have said that the process has been beneficial to the community.
“Our challenge today is to move our local economy forward” Bostock said. “Our community has achieved many economic successes over the last 10 years. Implementing the recommendations made through this process will help diversify our local economy and enhance our community’s global competitiveness for new capital investment.”
About Garner Economics, LLC
Garner Economics, LLC provides innovative economic development solutions in a competitive global market. Garner Economics offers site selection, analytical research, industry targeting, strategic planning and organizational development with a wealth of expertise to companies, communities, and organizations globally. Garner Economics is based in Atlanta, GA and has representative offices in both Europe and Asia.
Since 2003, the company has been headed by Jay Garner, a 30-plus year veteran of the site location consulting, economic development and chamber of commerce professions and rounded out by talented experts with CEcD, CCE and CFRE designations.