Local economy ranks among tops micropolitans in country

Staunton/Augusta/Waynesboro’s economy ranks among the country’s strongest micropolitan areas, reports the March issue of Site Selection Magazine.  Staunton/Augusta/Waynesboro is tied at #13 in the national ranking and is top-ranked for Virginia. The only other Virginia locality to make the list, Martinsville, comes in at #32.

The US Census Bureau defines a micropolitan region as an “urbanized area” based around a town or city with a population between 10,000 and 50,000 people.

The magazine’s criterion for ranking includes capital investment and job creation. Six local projects met at least one of the three criteria for successful micropolitan cities — at least $1 million in new capital investment, a minimum of 20,000 square feet of new construction, and creation of at least 50 new jobs.

The six companies that catapulted the Staunton/Waynesboro micropolitan into the top 20 are:

Cadence $15.9 million expansion

Fisher Auto Parts $3.5 million expansion

Innovative Refrigeration Systems, Inc. $1 million expansion

PPI/Time Zero Inc. $1.15 million expansion

nTelos Inc. $2.34 million expansion

Lumos Networks $1.2 million expansion.

“2011 was a great year for our community. Investment and interest are up,” said Amanda Glover, assistant director of economic development for the City of Staunton.  “Companies know we can provide a really strong work-life balance. When they see the success of our long-term businesses; they know they’ve made the right choice.”

When asked to list why she believes the Staunton/Augusta/Waynesboro micropolitan area is attracting this kind of investment, Glover says, “We have location, labor, and logistics. We offer access to two interstate highways, as well as rail and air. We are centrally located among 11 colleges and universities. We are just a couple of hours from Washington DC, Richmond, and Norfolk. Plus, the Shenandoah Valley is one of the most beautiful places in the country.”

The same issue of Site Selection Magazine reports that statewide, Virginia’s new corporate facilities and expansions increased 44% over the previous year, boosting Virginia among the top five in the national ranking for new corporate facilities.  Site Selection now ranks Virginia #5 nationally in 2011, up from #10 in 2010.


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