Primed for Progress: Unicoi County Business Corridor

As the new business economy continues to evolve, there are many larger manufacturers and service companies that are considering moving their facilities to new areas that are easier to work within. Unicoi County has benefited from several great new companies moving their operations to the area to help them do business more efficiently. These companies have chosen to partner with Unicoi County for several reasons that are outlined in this article, but all have found the local community an excellent place to build a profitable and successful business.

Within the past five years, Unicoi County has welcomed to the region a host of companies from a variety of industries. Some of these have been new retail small businesses that have opened to help grow the community experience for residents and visitors. These have included new stores like Union Street Gallery, Steel Rails Coffee Shop, Erwin Outdoor Supply, Whisk Bakery, and The Garden Basket Restaurant. The new retail businesses have been part of the redevelopment of the downtown business market in Erwin and Unicoi County.

There have also been a number of distributors and manufacturers that have moved to the region. Two examples are PlastiExports and Pyranha Kayaks. PlastiExports created new jobs in the U.S. by opening their facilities in Unicoi County and moving manufacturing state-side. Pyranha Kayak moved their distribution and U.S. business operations to the area from another city because the cost of business was so much more attractive in Unicoi County, and the access to the area’s natural resources was a perfect match for their brand identity.

Unicoi County is Invested in New Business

The region has made tremendous investments in bringing new industry to Unicoi County. There are several great new programs that have been launched to support companies considering a move or expansion into the region. Unicoi County has long been located in an ideal area along the rail and interstate corridor between the Eastern and Western expanse of the Appalachian Mountains. The region is a great place to set up central distribution without being burdened by the issues of cities with many challenges to infrastructure growth.

Entrepreneurs have been supported through the joint program between the Unicoi County Economic Development Board and Erwin Utilities. These two organizations have coordinated to bring the CO.STARTERS program to local small business owners. The program offers training and a competition that provides financial support and complimentary broadband internet access for the first year to the winning business.

Unicoi County has also launched a new project to help residents find, apply, and win remote work opportunities. The program is expanding and helping area workers find great new careers while remaining in the region they love so much!

There continues to be initiatives to expand the housing opportunities for new workforce and retirees moving to the area. The region will see new housing developments opening to help support the companies moving to the area. As workforce demand increases for these homes, Unicoi County has continued to offer new developers some of the most breathtaking backdrops available in the country.

There is also the investment Unicoi County has made in this all-new web portal to help businesses and individuals understand the potential of coming to our region. With a depth of information about our history, amenities, and opportunities, you can find some great information about why Unicoi County is the perfect place to live and work.

Leveraging Tennessee Incentives in Unicoi County

The state of Tennessee has launched some great initiatives to help attract companies to consider great new locations like Unicoi County. Here are a couple of options that have been successfully engaged by businesses in our region.

Tier 4 Enhancement Community

Through this program, the state offers generous tax credits for businesses opening in Unicoi County (one of the regions selected for this program). These tax credits extend to areas including job tax, sales and use tax, and industry/machinery tax. The credits can make a huge difference in the cost of operations for companies and offset much of the cost to expand or move production from one location to another.

The program also has “FASTTRACK” grants and programs for companies considering opening operations in Unicoi County and other areas. These programs offer state support for infrastructure, training, and development operations.

ARC At-Risk County Programs

Unicoi County qualifies for some of the most generous programs organized by the state to help with economic development and growth. The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) evaluates and applies designations for regions that are best suited for federal and state economic development programs. The Commission is committed to help these areas develop critical infrastructure, training, and workforce development programs to help bring larger industries to counties with the greatest opportunity to grow and succeed.

Unicoi County has benefited from this program and has continued to grow their amenities and infrastructure to support larger companies in the region. These initiatives have allowed the region to develop effective technology and utilities needed to support new companies considering the move to Unicoi County.

The support and investments made by the ARC program have continued to help grow Unicoi County as a more attractive and affordable option for those companies wanting to move to the region.

For new industries needing to move from areas that have become less friendly to their business for various reasons, Unicoi County has been high on the list. There have been a few consistent aspects of our region that are regularly mentioned as important features considered for businesses wanting to move.

  1. Location – Unicoi County offers direct access to some of the most beautiful and well-regarded natural resources available anywhere in the country. The mountains, rivers, and wildlife that are available for enjoyment in Unicoi County make this an incredible place to live, retire, or raise a family.
  2. Infrastructure – Unicoi County has made a lot of investments to improve their infrastructure. The region now boasts a locally-owned fiber optic network that offers businesses world-class broadband service access that is fast, stable, and most importantly, affordable.
  3. Business-Friendly – Our mountain hospitality has also become popular with companies considering the move to our region. Here you will find a local government that sees their role as being fair and supporting businesses of any size, unlike other areas where bureaucracy seems to get in the way of businesses wanting to grow and succeed.

So, if you are ready to open a new business, or move/expand your existing business to an area that’s ready to help, Unicoi County is a great place to consider. Contact our Economic Development Commission and see how we can help you build a plan that is easy to execute and focused on your success.

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