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Rutherford County: A Center For Business & Growth

Discover why Rutherford County is one of the fastest-growing counties in Tennessee. Hint: It has something to do with a booming real estate market and a diverse economy with thriving sectors in e-commerce, distribution, advanced manufacturing, education and health care.

By Bill Lewis on May 25, 2016

Murfreesboro, TN
Murfreesboro / Brian McCord

An obelisk on a patch of land close to Middle Tennessee State University marks the geographic center of Tennessee. Other signs, including a booming real estate market and a diverse economy with thriving e-commerce, distribution, advanced manufacturing, education, health-care and retail sectors, mark the area’s spot as the second fastest-growing county in Tennessee.

“Rutherford County’s qualities continue to make it a destination of choice for new and expanding companies, including a business-friendly environment, an ideal geographic location that’s within an eight-hour drive of 75 percent of the U.S. population, two top-performing education systems, and a cost of living that’s eight percent less than the national average,” says Brian Hercules, vice president of economic development for the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce.

Advanced manufacturing is a major economic force due to the growth of companies like auto parts supplier Kasai North America, which is building its 70,000-square-foot North American headquarters in Murfreesboro. Nissan, whose factory in Smyrna is the highest-producing auto assembly plant in North America, and General Mills, which recently invested $250 million to expand its facilities in Murfreesboro, also exemplify the strength of manufacturing in the area.

Professional services firms are also growing in the area, investing in new facilities and rapidly creating jobs, Hercules says.

Growing Corporate Footprint

Schwan Cosmetics brought a new corporate presence to the county when it opened its North American headquarters. Online retailer Amazon Fulfillment, as well as retailers Hot Topic, Saks Fifth Avenue and Conn’s HomePlus, have fulfillment and distribution facilities in Rutherford County. TwelveStone Health Partners is also building a new $14.9 million corporate headquarters in Murfreesboro that will create 200 jobs.

The commercial real estate market is also expanding. The first phase of the Fountains of Gateway development will bring 100,000 square feet of multi-tenant Class A office space as well as retail and restaurant space to Murfreesboro. When complete, the development will deliver 400,000 square feet of office space in three buildings on a walkable corporate campus.

All of the businesses moving to Rutherford County are creating new employment opportunities. Advance Auto Parts is investing $24 million to open a new distribution center in La Vergne that will create more than 200 jobs. Existing businesses are also expanding. Nissan’s planned $160 million supplier park will create more than 1,000 new positions. Topre America is expanding its presence in Smyrna with an investment of $53 million that will create 100 jobs, and Jagemann Precision Plastics is adding another 90 jobs as part of a 30,000-square-foot expansion of its Murfreesboro plant.

General Mills’ expansion of its existing facility in Murfreesboro will create more than 100 jobs and increase total employment to approximately 1,000. The plant produces frozen and refrigerated baking products and Yoplait products.

“General Mills sees many advantages of the Murfreesboro location,” says Dave Tincher, plant manager of the Murfreesboro facility. “Not only is it located in an advantageous geographic distribution channel, the business environment, quality of life, and the dedicated and committed workforce are all advantageous.”

Developing Workforce Talent

Partnerships between businesses and schools ensure that Rutherford County has a trained and ready workforce, says Beth Duffield, vice president of workforce development for the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce. Thousands of students in the county’s high schools are participating in career and technical training programs. Students graduate with a clear understanding of what’s expected of them in the workplace and the skills they need to succeed.

Rutherford County’s strong economy, high quality of life, affordable housing and central location have made it a destination for thousands of new residents.

“As those of us who live here know, Rutherford County is a wonderful place to raise your family,” says Kathy Jones, managing broker for the PARKS residential real estate firm. “We have great schools, we’re a vibrant college community, and the job growth in our area has been amazing.”

Rutherford County is an affordable choice for home buyers with average home prices at $197,000 in late 2015. In Davidson County, it was $230,000. In Williamson County, the price was $422,000, she says.

“It’s attractive to home buyers because we also have great schools, convenient location and job growth,” Jones says. “It really is a wonderful place to raise a family.”

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