The economic development stars aligned recently when the Cabarrus Economic Development team worked diligently and simultaneously on several projects that represented three fundamental areas: creating new product, supporting existing businesses and recruiting new businesses.
“In support of the EDC’s mission, our team focuses on three key result areas: product development, existing industry and the recruitment of new industry. During the month of May, there were four announcements that represented all three of those areas,” said Samantha Grass, recruitment project manager.
In the area of product development, it was announced a Class A speculative office building would be constructed in the International Business Park to help fill a void for available office space in the county. Local expansion and support projects included Southern Grace Distilleries’ plans to relocate to a former North Carolina prison and FlyRight’s plans to expand its business operations and relocate to larger quarters nearby. Rounding out the economic development trifecta was iTek Graphics’ announcement it would relocate its commercial printing operation from Charlotte to Concord. All the projects received incentives, with the EDC team managing the process.
Grass noted the teamwork required to successfully pull off the projects and how the EDC values its strong relationships within the community. “Economic development is definitely a collaborative effort, and for our community to have success, it takes support and commitment from our partners to make it happen,” she said.
The iTek Graphics win, dubbed Project Print, came to the EDC via a broker relationship with Chris Skibinski, a principal with Avison Young who represents The Silverman Group. “iTek Graphics was interested in relocating its operations to the Concord Airport Business Park Phase II industrial spec building on Aviation Blvd. Our team met with the owners and provided them assistance during the location decision process, as well as the local grant process,” Grass said.
While Grass was assisting iTek, Existing Industry Project Manager LeeAnn Nixon was working on getting the other end of the spec building occupied with FlyRight. “Because expansion projects are competitive, my goal is to assist existing businesses in overcoming obstacles to growth and guide them through their options. I help to navigate contacts and resources to ensure the process of getting settled in goes as smooth as possible,” she said. “If they need to expand, we want to ensure they remain in Cabarrus County rather than possibly moving their operations to other locations.”
Nixon added the EDC is grateful for companies that choose to do business in Cabarrus County, but one of the biggest challenges the organization faces is getting people to understand what economic development is and how it impacts the community. “I hope that by successfully delivering three key result areas in such a short time span, it really helps demonstrate who we are and the great things we can accomplish for new and existing businesses.”