LaGRANGE — Troup County businesses received high marks in the recent annual Best of Economic Development in Georgia rankings by Southern Business & Development magazine.
Troup County was ranked as one of the Best Tier One Auto Supplier Sites in Georgia, according to a press release from the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce. Coca-Cola and Home Depot — both with operations in Troup County — were at the top the list of Most Important Employers, in which West Point-based Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia Inc., AT&T, SunTrust and Southern Company — parent company of Georgia Power — also received votes.
The news came on top of an announcement by Gov. Nathan Deal that Georgia was named the No. 1 state in the nation in which to do business for the third consecutive year by Site Selection magazine, an economic development trade publication.
“The adage ‘success breeds success’ is true — who wouldn’t want to locate a business in the number one state in the U.S.?” said Page Estes, president of the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce. “Once a company begins looking at Georgia as an option, we want to make sure that Troup County is on their short list.”
LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton touted successful local economic development efforts and said city and Troup County officials will continue to improve on them.
“I think it is very significant and no accident that Georgia ranks number one, and that LaGrange and Troup County are among the top spots in Georgia,” he said. “All areas of the state benefit from Georgia’s top ranking, and LaGrange will continue to receive a large share of the prospects looking at Georgia because our local community ranks so highly.”
Businesses in Troup County also ranked in Southern Business & Development are:
• Coca-Cola and Georgia Power in Most Admired Companies.
• Caterpillar in Georgia’s Most Admired Manufacturers; also receiving votes was KMMG.
• West Georgia Technical College as one of the Best Community Colleges for Workforce Training.
• West Point’s Batson-Cook is top of the list for Best Contractors for Industrial Projects in Georgia.
• Synovus, parent company of CB&T, and West Point-based CharterBank as Best Small Business Banks in Georgia; also receiving votes were BB&T and SunTrust.
Estes said the local chamber works to market the community and “ensure it is easy to do business within the community,” and focuses on how to address gaps in helping to attract employers.
“The chamber’s job is to be the voice of business and to create a pro-business environment,” she said. “Collectively, through our members, we develop a pool of resources to network, educate, innovate and grow our members. The organizations that were featured in Southern Business & Development are members that are strong employers and great community volunteers. Several of them have received our small, large and manufacturer of the year awards at the local level. We are thrilled that they are also be recognized regionally in the Southeast.”
Another recognition in the Southern Business & Development rankings designated Troup County as one of the best places to retire in Georgia.
“We have great potential to recruit more active 55-plus and early retirees to community, especially because of West Point Lake, a great medical community and our close proximity to larger cities,” Estes said. “Southern Business & Development has a primary readership of C-level business executives, the decision-makers about where a company will do business. Being listed a great a place to retire in this publication shows these decision-makers that we are a safe, stable, family-oriented community.”
Estes also elaborated on what she felt were the biggest factors for businesses to locate in Troup.
“The decision to locate in Troup County varies by business size and type; however, we ultimately know that the overall quality of life for employees is a contributing factor,” she said. “Our cost of living averages 40 percent less than larger metropolitan areas, so we are especially attractive to companies hiring young professionals with school-age children.”
Thornton noted that the city has started focusing on more nonindustrial recruitment, trying to find more retail, hospitality and service jobs. Officials still will continue to seek industrial recruitment, “because it remains our bread and butter,” he said.
“I believe LaGrange and really the whole west Georgia region — the I-85 corridor — is in the cross hairs for great future development,” he added. “I think the citizens of LaGrange will be pleased with the growth and development we experience over the coming years.”
Matthew Strother is the editor at LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2153