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Memphis, TN: Where the Business Climate Thrives

Affordability, vitality, opportunity combine to draw millennial talent to Greater Memphis

By Bill Lewis on November 8, 2017

Memphis, TN
Memphis / Courtesy of The New Memphis Institute

A strong economy, an unparalleled lifestyle and a central Mid-South location have made Greater Memphis the place where individuals of all ages choose to live, work and play. For growing numbers of businesses, the region is also the place where they choose to invest and expand.

Shelby County has been the most active county in Tennessee for economic development for the past five years, a period during which 98 companies committed to create new jobs. Those companies are attracted by a deep pool of skilled workers, low taxes and business costs, a pro-business regulatory environment and superior infrastructure including interstate highways and Memphis International Airport, North America’s busiest cargo airport.

When Memphis-based ServiceMaster Global Holdings Inc. began looking for a new location for its growing headquarters operations, the company had its choice of cities and states. The company opted to move to downtown Memphis into renovated space in the former Peabody Place Mall. Approximately 1,200 ServiceMaster employees will work in the transformed space.

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Downtown Density

“The growing tech community and business-friendly environment were huge advantages,” says Terry Ingram, ServiceMaster vice president of logistics and supply management. “Also, once we saw the space and how it aligned with our brand, culture and digital transformation story, we immediately knew that One ServiceMaster Center could be a marquee showpiece for what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Being located in the heart of the city has tremendous advantages for the company and its headquarters employees, he says.

“Being in a more dense location downtown enables us to interact more regularly and closely with other businesses and startups to collaborate more closely,” Ingram says. “Also, downtown Memphis gives our employees more flexibility in their recreation and access to more restaurants, shops and activities. ServiceMaster is looking forward to being part of the ongoing revitalization efforts happening in the core downtown district.”

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Quality of Life Attracts Talent

MAA was founded in Memphis 25 years ago as a small owner and operator of apartment housing. Today it is the largest management company of apartments in the United States and is a Fortune 500 company. The company attributes much of its success to Greater Memphis’ high quality of life, which makes it easy to recruit and retain talent, says president and CEO Eric Bolton.

“As our company experienced significant growth over the years, we have found the Memphis market has supported an ability to attract and retain superior talent,” says president and CEO Eric Bolton. “Nothing is more critical than an ability to attract and hold onto highly committed, professional and talented associates. Memphis and the surrounding area provide a great environment for building a career and raising a family.”

MAA’s portfolio of properties includes 304 individual apartment communities representing more than 100,000 apartment homes across 17 states and the District of Columbia. The company has $560 million of new apartment communities under construction. Altogether MAA’s properties are valued at $16.2 billion.

Attributes that attract business investment in the region, Bolton says, include a superior quality of life,  housing affordability, solid opportunities for quality education from pre-K through post-graduate work, and a commitment from local elected officials and other business leaders to grow and continually build the labor pool and qualified workforce.

Another factor is harder to measure but unique to the region. Bolton calls it “a Memphis ‘vibe’ and soul that I believe will continue to attract the growing millennial generation that is critical to sustaining the great momentum underway in further developing our city and region.”


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