Albemarle nationally recognized for its economic development

Published 8:01 am Thursday, March 21, 2019

Albemarle was recently ranked as the 41st micropolitan in the country by a March article in Site Selection Magazine.

According to the magazine, micropolitan is a “fancy word for a small town,” and more specifically, it’s a county with a city that has a population of 10,000 to 50,000.

North Carolina produced the fourth most micropolitans in the country at eight, behind only Ohio, Kentucky and Georgia.

Site Selection Magazine “evaluates the attraction and retention of industries in all U.S. micropolitan areas,” said Mark Donham, director of economic development for Albemarle, in an email.

The state’s eight micropolitans have produced 39 economic projects, of which Albemarle has three.

“When you think about the large number of micropolitan areas across the country, we are extremely excited to be recognized at this level,” City Manager Michael Ferris said.

The three companies in and around Albemarle that qualified for the rankings were Quality Enclosures, Enforge and Carolina Stalite.

Quality Enclosures is a new business in Albemarle that manufactures shower enclosures and plans to invest $4 million and create between 50 and 75 jobs throughout the next several years, Donham said.

Enforge, which manufactures automobile parts, has been in Albemarle for several years but is repairing its existing building and plans to invest $4.2 million and create an additional 44 jobs.

Carolina Stalite, which is based in Norwood, makes lightweight aggregate and will invest $1.3 million and create 14 jobs.

“It does demonstrate that the city works diligently to facilitate business and industry growth,” Ferris said, “and I am not sure we would see success and recognition at this level had the City not made the commitment to address economic development at a whole new level, nor without the help of the county and state. There are not many things we can do as a city that will have as great as impact on our residents to improve their quality of life and future than to assist in providing good stable jobs and opportunity.”

Shelby is the highest ranked North Carolina micropolitan (ranked fourth) with 12 economic projects, while Wilson (ranked ninth) has eight economic projects.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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