Advancing Edge Fam Tour showcases sights, sounds and scenes of Cabarrus County
Whether guests were coffee cupping at S&D, tossing corn hole bags for prizes at Wayne Brothers, sampling gelato at PreGel America or watching sparks fly at Charlotte Motor Speedway, all senses came into play at Cabarrus Economic Development’s first-ever Advancing Edge Fam Tour, May 19-21.
Nearly a dozen site location professionals from all over the country – including Chicago, New York City and Detroit – were invited to immerse themselves in the sights, sounds and scenes of Cabarrus County through a unique combination of learning, networking and fun.
“We are proud of our many resources and were confident that once these site selectors visited our community they would agree that Cabarrus County offers an abundance of opportunity and there are many things for businesses to love about being here,” said Terry Crawford, interim president and CEO of Cabarrus Economic Development.
Despite oftentimes rainy and gloomy weather throughout the weekend, event organizers did not miss any chances to make Cabarrus County shine, starting with a kickoff reception Thursday evening with county and business leaders and wrapping up Saturday evening at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. On Friday morning, the group loaded a charter bus for a daylong exploration of Cabarrus County, including business parks, land and certified sites for development, spec buildings and assets, such as downtown Concord and Kannapolis and Concord Regional Airport.
“We are so fortunate that private developers have helped with inventory over the last couple of years. There’s great diversity in our product, so we were able to showcase sites as well as industrial spec buildings that are either under construction or have been recently completed,” said Samantha Grass, recruitment project manager.
LeeAnn Nixon, existing industry project manager, noted the tour participants also liked the diversity of the industries themselves. “We gave them more detail about the different sectors that were being presented and what we’re doing to attract manufacturers, distributors and back-office companies to the area. They left with a good understanding of the feel and flavor of Cabarrus County.”
Playing an important role in the fam tour were representatives from the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC). “It’s a team effort when we expand an existing business or recruit a new business, so we need to be able to have a connection back to the state to help us identify available incentives and resources,” Nixon said.
Added Grass, “It was an opportunity to give the EDPNC an update on Cabarrus County and build our relationship with them for future projects. In turn, they were able to build relationships with the site selectors who were visiting.”
The fam tour was made possible through private and public funding, with EDC officials crediting community support for a big part of its success. “The businesses and municipalities wrapped their arms around this event and their hospitality was top notch. Everyone did a great job talking about the value of our assets, why they call Cabarrus home and the ease of doing business here,” Crawford said.
The EDC team, which will now focus on building upon the dozens of new relationships formed during the fam tour, hopes the event can be offered biennially. Crawford noted the fam tour differed from previous marketing efforts to draw businesses to Cabarrus County.
“Rather than wait for leads to come in or rely on others to bring us leads, we tried a more proactive approach,” Crawford said. “The fam tour gave us the chance to bring people up close and personal to Cabarrus County and show them first-hand how it’s a great place for businesses to be.”
Fam Tour Partners
CM Black Construction Company, reception sponsor
InterCon Building Corporation, dinner sponsor
DataChambers, lunch sponsor