Cherokee Office of Economic Development · Cherokee by Choice.

Industry Talks: COED shares Existing Industry Survey Results

July 24, 2015

Infrastructure, qualified workforce, opportunity zones, low taxes, proximity to Atlanta; these are all reasons why industries choose to make Cherokee their home. Why do industries choose to stay and expand in Cherokee? The results from the Cherokee Office of Economic Development’s (COED) biennial Existing Industry survey answer that question and paint a picture of success.

Every other year since 2007, COED sits down with Cherokee existing industries to check-in. “The survey was created to access our industry’s needs, successes and opinions in order to best serve them and the economic growth in the county,” explained Misti Martin, COED President. On average 65-70% of new investment and job creation is generated by existing industry. It is crucial that the existing industries have the resources needed to succeed in Cherokee.

The detailed survey poses questions about county resources, investment, sales, workforce and the list goes on. From February to June COED surveyed thirty industries of 20 or more employees, which is 61% of the manufacturing, distribution and warehouse companies in Cherokee. Thirteen of the industries surveyed have been doing business in Cherokee for over 20 years.

These are the results: Eighty-seven percent of companies who participated reported increased sales. One company stated that they “more than doubled revenue over the past three years.” They have also seen a sixty percent job growth since last being surveyed in 2013. Ninety-three percent of the industries added capital investment totaling $70,230,000.

Looking ahead, eighty-seven percent of the companies plan to expand in the next three years. These expansions have potentials of $122,620,000 and the addition of 745 jobs in the county. It is clear that Cherokee County is primed for continued industry success.

Existing industries are valuable to the county, whether it be in their impact on employment or the tax base. “COED values the many contributions of existing industry to our county. They are critical to the economic vitality of Cherokee,” said Steve L. Holcomb, COED Vice Chairman. “We would like to thank the 30 industries who participating in this survey for their time and continued leadership.”

As a result of the Existing Industry survey, four industry clusters were identified. Each of the clusters represent a 350+ employment base in Cherokee County. With companies such as Universal Alloy Corporation and Schoen Insulation Services of Canton, Nor-Ral of Holly Springs, and RBC Bearings of the Ball Ground area, Aerospace stood out as a cluster. Chart, Inc. of the Ball Ground area and NeoMed of Woodstock contribute to the Medical Device/Bio-Medical cluster. Inalfa Roof Systems in SW Cherokee and Piolax of Canton make up the Automotive cluster, employing over 500 between the two companies. Cherokee’s largest industry, Pilgrim’s of Canton, and Meyn America, LLC of the Ball Ground area were identified in the Food Processing/Support Industry cluster.

COED is currently in the midst of a strategic plan called Opportunity Cherokee which is focused on enhancing the county’s competitiveness to attract new jobs and investment, has been developed to position the county to compete for high-value jobs through a competitive assessment that will include identification of the area’s unique assets; will benchmark Cherokee County against similar and/or aspirational communities; validate/identify targeted business sectors that are a good fit for the county; and develop strategic recommendations to enhance the county’s competitiveness. Results from the Existing Industry survey will play a vital role as they plan for the future of the county.