So good to be so low

So good to be so low

Low cost of living leads to high ranking for Winston-Salem

A recent blurb in the Winston-Salem Journal reported that our fair city ranks as one of the least expensive places to live in the world.

The Cost of Living Survey for 2011, conducted by Mercer LLC, ranked Winston-Salem 18th out of 214 cities after comparing cost related to things such as housing, food, clothing, transportation and entertainment. Winston-Salem made the list in 2010 at number 17 as well.

This underlines one of the factors that makes Winston-Salem, Forsyth County such an appealing place for businesses interested in expanding or relocating. What makes this ranking all the more significant is when you realize how much you can get for your money here. Winston-Salem manages to be remarkably affordable while still offering an exceptional quality of life.

Although cost of living is only one of several data points to consider when deciding on where to grow a business, the area’s combination of positive attributes (i.e. infrastructure, relatively easy access to major markets and available workforce) is what makes Winston-Salem a ideal choice.

To learn more about the survey, visit the Mercer website (a copy of the report is available for purchase).

Location. Location. Lo — you get the idea.

The economy makes it clear — location is more important than ever.

Everyone knows the old real estate adage. Now that gas prices have shot up and property values have plummeted, what used to be a tired cliché has made a monumental comeback as a fundamental truth. Location is absolutely critical. Efficient access to markets both domestically and internationally is a mandatory for any business wanting to grow. But, even to maintain position in the marketplace requires careful consideration of where to place manufacturing and distribution facilities. The flow of activity coming into North Carolina, and Winston-Salem, Forsyth County is a good indication of the importance of location. Relocation and expansion has continued, due, in part, to Winston-Salem’s ideal spot in the Southeast. Positioned midway up the Eastern Seaboard, the area combines many of the economic advantages associated with setting up shop in the Southeast, yet closer proximity to more consumers who are ready to buy.

”Located within 600 miles of more than half of the U.S. population, approximately 60% of the nation’s industrial and consumer base is within a two-day drive, or a two-hour flight of Winston-Salem.” — WSBI Executive Summary

Throw in the region’s robust transportation and infrastructure, and Winston-Salem’s location comes close to being perfect. Of course, the businesses that are here already know that.

The key to Winston-Salem’s success?

Try these 3 on for size.

People often ask us what is the key to Winston-Salem’s success in attracting businesses to our area of the Piedmont Triad. We always respond that there isn’t one factor. Sure, there are times when one thing pushes us over the top. But in truth, it’s the overall combination of qualities and attributes that gets us into the game.

With that in mind, here are three key reasons why Winston-Salem, Forsyth County is where businesses want to be.

1. Workforce quantity plus quality

This is a big one. The combination of available workforce and advanced education programs has put Winston-Salem on many companies’ short lists for expansion and relocation. In fact, the training programs being developed by Forsyth Technical Community College have even attracted the attention of the last two Presidents of the Unites States, with both dropping by for visits during their respective terms.

2. More bang for your buck

A low cost of living is one of those attributes that many communities in the Southeast can claim. However, Winston-Salem can take it a step further. Not only is Winston-Salem’s cost of living at 92% of the national average; the community manages to offer outstanding infrastructure, schools, and amenities normally associated with more “high-dollar” cities.

3. Innovation is contagious

Winston-Salem calls itself the “City of the Arts and Innovation” for good reason. After nurturing a diverse arts scene since the city’s humble Moravian beginnings, Winston-Salem’s culture of creativity has now spawned innovations in life sciences, nanotechnology and advanced manufacturing. The real difference here is collaboration, a vital part of transforming great ideas into real world applications.

Now, to be honest, these are three important reasons. But, they are not the only reasons. Although, in our experience, workforce and worker training has made a big difference in tipping the final decision in our favor, it truly becomes a matter of how all of the factors come together. In the big picture, Winston-Salem just about has it all.

Why Big Business and Industry Are Heading South

Gray Construction, the firm that is building the Caterpillar plant in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County recently published an article in its newsletter entitled Why Big Business and Industry are Heading South that we think is worth reading. Winston-Salem, the new Caterpillar facility and our particular strength in Workforce Development are discussed (on pages 5 and 7).

To access the article (which we recommend) please visit this link and click on the first link for a PDF of the newsletter.

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.