Top 10 pro-biz community – without a beach?!

Don’t be fooled. The beach is closer to Winston-Salem than you think.

Having once again made the top 10 in Southern Business & Development’s list of best pro-business communities without a beach, one thing strikes us as somewhat peculiar. It’s the “without a beach” thing.

Yes, Winston-Salem is not a coastal community. There’s no arguing with SB&D’s logic. However, it cannot be denied that one of the things that gives Winston-Salem such a wonderful quality of life (aside from being a great city) is its relative closeness to beautiful North Carolina beaches.

Hop in the car after lunch on a Friday and head east, and you can dip your toes into the Atlantic by late afternoon on your choice of either quiet, relatively deserted beach towns or lively, activity filled resorts.

In fact, quick, summer beach trips are part of Winston-Salem culture — a summer rite of passage — with favorite destinations varying from Nag’s Head to Ocracoke to Atlantic Beach to Emerald Isle to Topsail and Surf City to Wrightsville and Carolina Beach. There’s a familiarity and connectedness that Winston-Salem folks have with certain beach towns. Everyone has a favorite, and it varies depending on who you ask and what they like to do.

One thing you’ll find that most of the destinations have in common, though, is that they are remarkably affordable. If you try hard, there are plenty of ways to spend money. But for most people, the beach and water are the biggest amenities.

Plus, when the weekend is done, they have Winston-Salem to come home to, which could be the best part of all.

Read the Winston-Salem Business Inc. Caterpillar Press Release
Winston-Salem makes another Top 10

Winston-Salem makes another Top 10

Why this list just might matter more than most

Southern Business & Development magazine  has recently named Winston-Salem, NC one of the Top Ten Incredibly Pro-Business Communities — Large and Small — Without a Beach. ( article).

While our community is no stranger to making “10 Best” lists, this particular one may have even more substance to it than you might think.

One reason why this recognition is interesting relates to who nominates communities for consideration and who W-S had to beat in order to make the list.

Who nominates cities for SB&D? Site consultants and business leaders — the very people who make the key decisions in business expansion and relocation. And several of these economic development professionals pointed to Winston-Salem as their pick. In addition, think about the competition here. We’re talking about a region that could arguably be considered, in relative terms, the hottest in the U.S. To make the top ten in this region  should be considered quite a feat.

Another reason for paying closer attention to this list is “why.” Why did W-S make  this list? Winston-Salem makes this short list of pro-business communities for the same reason it wins the attention of so many companies looking to expand or relocate — collaboration. Many other factors are important, but you can argue that most of them are “cost-of-entry”, that is, they get you in the discussion.

However, the difference maker seems to be, over and over again, the way community and business leaders, educational institutions, city and county government organizations all work together.

And, apparently, the right people (and businesses) are noticing.

US Airways to add up to 200 new jobs

Good news for our community from US Airways as they announce the expansion of their Winston-Salem reservation center. The move will add as many as 200 new jobs to the Hanes Mall Boulevard facility. Click the link below for more details.

US Airways to Bring More Jobs to Winston-Salem Reservation Center

Hanesbrands to reopen distribution center with 60 jobs

Published: March 08, 2011

Increasing consumer demand for Hanesbrands Inc.’s apparel has led the company to reopen a Winston-Salem distribution center for at least three years.

The distribution center is in West Point Business Park near Stratford Road. The center was closed last summer because of reduced product volume. About 240 employees were affected by the shutdown.

However, an 11 percent increase in sales in 2010 has led to a need for more inventory space, spokesman Matt Hall said Tuesday. The company also has a major distribution center at 521 Northridge Park Drive in Rural Hall.

"We will have approximately 60 total employees at the facility – half permanent employees who will move from the Almondridge center in Rural Hall and half temporary employees," Hall said.

The company expects to hire the temporary employees through employment agencies, Hall said. He did not say whether previous Hanesbrands employees at the center will receive consideration in the hiring process.

Hall said the company will begin shipping men’s underwear and fleece products out of the center in early May. It began moving inventory into the center last week.

Michael Lord, an associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at Wake Forest University, said it makes logistical sense to handle a temporary distribution expansion close to its headquarters.

"The closer distribution is to home, often the easier and more flexible it is to control," Lord said. "This is especially true for sudden or unexpected bumps in sales or other quick changes in operations.

"There are people with relevant experience nearby that may be interested and able to do the work, even if it might be only temporary."

The reopening of the center represents a rare local work-force and production expansion since Hanesbrands spun out of Sara Lee Corp. with great fanfare as the city’s third Fortune 500 company in September 2006.

At that time, Hanesbrands had 4,900 employees in Forsyth – nearly 10 percent of its overall work force – and 8,600 in the state.

It now has 2,515 employees in Forsyth County and 3,785 in North Carolina.

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