Regional efforts draw companies to Winston-Salem and beyond.
The Carolina Core, a more than 120-mile stretch along future Interstate 685 in central North Carolina, is burgeoning with opportunity. Here, everything aligns — a flourishing economy meets a strong talent pool, 30+ higher education institutions, several urban research parks, four megasites, great transportation infrastructure and superb quality-of-life amenities. In other words, it’s a prime location to live and work, and many companies have chosen to take advantage of all it offers.
Leading the Charge
Behind this region’s success is a collection of public and private leaders who have a vision for the Core and are engaged in its future. Together, they market the area, which is not confined by traditional borders, by telling one story about its collective assets. Examples include its available sites and office space, great location, skilled talent and lifestyle amenities.
“We are promoting the region to site consultants that are helping companies relocate or choose where they’re going to expand or locate their business. We are increasing our social media presence. And we are excited to embark on a new lifestyle campaign that will help on the talent attraction side, as well,” says Mark Owens, president and CEO of Greater Winston Salem, Inc. “Our vision is to grow jobs and provide opportunities for everyone in the region.”
Growth & Attraction
Within the Core, companies of various ages, sizes and types have found great success. Not only have they benefited from the region’s affordability, market access and skilled talent, but they are eyeing years of continued growth, thanks to the major investments being made in the Core.
“A lot of the investment is in our downtowns and in our lifestyle and in our future sites,” says Owens, adding that there is also a housing boom going on. “It’s really kind of an investment that spans from just the and, which is available and ready…to office, which is available and ready…to cultivating the lifestyle so that people want to live here.”
In addition to businesses that have roots in the region, companies from all over have learned about the area’s appeal and have chosen to relocate or expand here. For example, Toyota recently announced it is building a $3.8 billion electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant in the Core and creating an estimated 2,100 jobs, while Nature’s Value Inc., a global vitamin and dietary supplements manufacturer, is investing $19 million to expand its manufacturing operations in the Core and creating more than 183 jobs.
When it comes to quality of life, the Core offers quite the enviable lifestyle that companies and their employees appreciate. Here, individuals are met with everything they need, such as affordable housing, excellent dining and drink options, and great medical facilities, like Bethany Medical, an independent medical services provider with multiple locations in the Core.
“Growing our business in the Carolina Core comes with many advantages,” says Elise Peters Carey, president of Bethany Medical and Peters Holdings. “Our workforce is able to enjoy a great quality of life here, and when they love their community, they thrive at work. I moved back to the region myself after attending college to enjoy the lifestyle here and sense of community.”
Also adding to the region’s appeal is its thriving sports scene, which is nurtured by organizations like NC Fusion, a nonprofit that organizes youth and adult sports leagues and tournaments throughout the region.
“We try to unite communities by providing a great sports experience in field hockey, lacrosse and soccer,” says Scott Wollaston, CEO of NC Fusion. “We do sports, and we do it very well.”
In addition to NC Fusion-hosted events, the Wyndham Championship, which is part of the PGA Tour, is held in the region every year.
“We’ve got a golf tournament out there, and it’s an incredible sporting event…but more than that — it has recently become the place to be for that week of the summer,” says Mark Brazil, CEO of the championship. “And people go out there, and they have a good time. They get out there at 9 in the morning and stay all day.”
The Core’s message to companies and talent? There’s More in the Core. As the region grows, each of the communities within it thrives together.
If you’d like to learn more about the Winston-Salem, NC, area, check out the latest edition of Livability: Greater Winston-Salem.