North Carolina Economic Development Guide


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37 North Carolina Economic Development Guide The hills are alive Prospects might seem fl at at fi rst, but manufacturers discover mountainous western North Carolina is something to sing about. By Edward Martin Rolling land and a little isolation isn't slowing Evendale- Ohio based GE Aviation, which recently completed $190 million in updates to two factories in the region. It and other manufacturers are building success with incentives, low costs, workforce training and industrious inhabitants. Solution: Western North Carolina's mountain vistas and outdoor recreation attract many visitors. Manufacturers, though, often can't see the opportunities through the trees. Challenge: Western North Carolina connection. There are no smokestacks, skyscrapers or busy interstates that mark urban manufacturing centers. Instead mountains, meadows and farms surround these factories, which are thriving in western North Carolina, a region better known for vistas and visitors. "If you travel in western North Carolina, it doesn't strike you that there's a lot," says Patricia Mitchell, N.C. Department of Commerce assistant secretary for rural economic development. "That's because mountain manufacturing isn't generally located in large industrial parks, such as in the fl atlands." But it's there nevertheless. Five years ago, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, Buncombe County, city of Asheville, town of Weaverville and about 70 local businesses joined in a campaign to boost jobs and investment in fi ve industries. "Manufacturing was by far the largest cluster," says chamber CEO Kit

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