The Carolinas Are Ready for Your Business

If you are looking for skilled labor, shovel-ready sites, and robust ports, these two southeastern powerhouses have it all.

The Carolinas are known for such brainpower trusts as the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina and the South Carolina Biotechnology Incubation Facility. Maybe that’s why so many companies are putting these two southeast states on their site selection short list.

But those are not their only assets: both states tout lower taxes, cheaper, often non-unionized labor, ports that are readily accessible, and a high quality of life as well. What’s more, these two powerhouse states have spent the past two decades putting significant resources into certifying sites and getting large tracts of land shovel-ready for your location needs. The Carolinas are ideal if you are looking for skilled labor and lower electricity costs. Take a look at some of these prime locations in the southeast.

South Carolina: A Cut Above the Rest

All certified sites are not created equal. The definition of a certified site can vary from state to state, and sometimes even from county to county.

In South Carolina, the designation “certified site” means the industrial property has been thoroughly analyzed and documented by a third party engineering firm to determine acreage, archeology, availability, boundaries, culture, endangered species, environmental and geotechnical issues, land use, ownership, topography, transportation, utilities and wetland issues. A certified site is considered to be “shovel ready” for acquisition and development.

Each certified site in South Carolina must:

  • Be a minimum of 50 acres
  • Meet specific criteria impacting site development costs
  • Have municipal water and sewer on site or in close proximity to be extended quickly to the site

The South Carolina Power Team has made a commitment to develop certified sites statewide. Comprised of Santee Cooper, the state’s electric generating and water utility, and 20 electricity distribution cooperatives, the South Carolina Power Team is the state’s largest supplier of electric power to industry and the only statewide power system. The Power Team not only provides electric power to existing and new companies, but as a full-service economic development organization it supports South Carolina’s efforts to recruit companies to the state.

“When the state of South Carolina began a certified sites program, we decided to become an active participant,” says Fred Gassaway, executive vice president for marketing with the Power Team.

Today, the state currently has 53 certified sites in 31 counties, with another 18 either in the process of certification or recertification. The South Carolina Power Team is committed to certifying additional sites, so that each of the state’s 46 counties has at least one. Since 2007, the SC Power Team has invested more than $330,000 to create certified sites in the service area of the state’s 20 electric cooperatives, with an additional $200,000 allocated for 2009. The average cost for certifying a site is about $75,000. A second level of site certification is being devoted to the creation of several “mega-sites” in the SC Power Team’s service area.

In addition to the standard South Carolina site certification criteria, mega-sites:

  • Consist of 1,200 acres or more
  • Have access to rail and interstate highways
  • Have significant water and wastewater capabilities
  • Have access to electric power transmission and also to natural gas facilities

When an industry chooses a certified site in South Carolina, there are no surprises. These certified sites meet the highest standards, allowing industries to begin development immediately. So when comparing sites around the Southeast, remember—all certified sites are not created equal.

For more information about certified sites in South Carolina, visit

Santee Cooper: Largest Electricity Provider in SC

Santee Cooper is on a mission to help companies select the best possible site for their next facility.

Indeed, South Carolina’s state-owned electric and water utility has been a leader in economic development in the Palmetto State for more than 50 years, helping countless corporations get the biggest bang for their economic development bucks.

As the largest provider of electricity in South Carolina, Santee Cooper has supported communities, economic development organizations, and electric cooperatives throughout the state. To be sure, Santee Cooper’s low-cost power has attracted scores of new business and even new industry to South Carolina, resulting in thousands of jobs and economic impact measured in billions of dollars.

Santee Cooper remains committed to providing the power that drives the machines of business, which makes life more fulfilling by creating quality jobs and creating utility jobs. Santee Cooper generates power for the state’s growth, for more people and for more industry. Doubtless, the work of Santee Cooper results in sustaining employment, increasing productivity, and ultimately helping South Carolina grow and prosper.

Santee Cooper currently has available industrial, commerce and business parks suitable for relocation or expansion, and works hand-in-hand with the State Department of Commerce, municipalities, local and county government agencies, and all of the state’s electric cooperatives in assisting with site selection, permitting and other services. That’s because Santee Cooper knows that South Carolina offers increasingly attractive advantages for industrial and commercial location and expansion, including a lower-than-average cost of living; a full range of business resources; a highly trainable workforce; an enviable quality of life; reasonable land costs, abundant recreation; the Port of Charleston (the second-largest container port on the East Coast); and, of course, Santee Cooper as a low-cost and reliable source of power.

In order to fulfill this lofty mission, Santee Cooper is committed to being the lowest-cost producer and distributor of reliable energy, water and other essential services. Santee Cooper’s power generation availability and its transmission and distribution reliability factors are the highest in the state, exceeding the national average.

What’s more, Santee Cooper is committed to providing excellent customer service. Providing reliable, dependable and economic power, Santee Cooper maintains one of the highest levels of customer satisfaction in the nation.

Finally, Santee Cooper is committed to maintaining a quality workforce through effective employee involvement and training, operating according to the highest ethical standards and protecting the environment. That means the utility’s commitment to its mission—stimulating economic development for the betterment of South Carolina—will not change.

At the end of the day, Santee Cooper’s commitment to economic development in the state is summed up in one goal: to be the state’s leading resource for improving the quality of life for the people of South Carolina.

Winston-Salem: Web Tools Help Locate the Perfect Site

Located in Forsyth County in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, Winston-Salem is well suited for business relocation, new plants and expansion.

Winston-Salem offers a diverse demographic make-up, strong labor force, competitive tax rates and an excellent supply of office and manufacturing sites. Visit to see what makes Winston-Salem, North Carolina an ideal location for manufacturing, distribution, financial services, data centers and biotechnology and life sciences. Also, click the link on the home page and take a moment to watch “I am Winston-Salem,” a new promotional video that will give you an idea as to what the community is all about. Winston-Salem Business Inc. also has launched a new GIS property locator that is linked to the home page, or found directly at This new interactive tool will help you find suitable real estate and conduct advanced analysis on the community that is critical in making a positive decision to locate there.

Recent major corporate locations, relocations, and expansions in Winston-Salem include:

  • CEVA Logistics—Houston-based CEVA Logistics expanded its operations at Union Cross Business Park into a new 304,000-square-foot distribution center. The company already operates a 300,000-square-foot distribution center in the park. CEVA is one of the largest supply chain management companies in the U.S.
  • Liberty Hardware Manufacturing Corp.—Headquartered in Winston-Salem, Liberty Hardware expanded its operations into a new 526,000-square-foot distribution center in Union Cross Business Park. Since 1942, Liberty Hardware Mfg. Corp. has built its reputation by offering high-quality decorative and functional hardware products at an exceptional value.

Winston-Salem Business Inc. has been providing economic development assistance in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County since 1987. If Winston-Salem Business Inc. can be of assistance to your company, visit the Web site for more information or call 800-220-WSBI or 336-723-8955.

North Carolina: Power Up Your Site

North Carolina Touchstone Energy cooperatives deliver reliable power to more than 2.5 million members in 93 of the state’s 100 counties. As private, independent entities, the 26 cooperatives provide energy at cost to North Carolina businesses and homes.

The cooperatives specialize in helping businesses relocate to North Carolina. In addition to a complete portfolio of economic development services, the cooperatives have an inventory of business-ready industrial sites and buildings.

The cooperatives already have played a key role in bringing more than 14,600 jobs and $903 million worth of economic development to the state since 1995. And with a supportive infrastructure already in place, the cooperatives give companies a powerful edge before and after they open their doors for business.

Businesses also have access to tools for profitable, energy-saving performance. These range from energy audit services and rate flexibility to power quality services. And, thanks to the many powerful relationships the cooperatives have, assistance with financing also is available.

North Carolina’s electric cooperatives work closely with a number of organizations, including the North Carolina Department of Commerce, regional departments of commerce partnerships, and the North Carolina Community College System. In addition, the cooperatives maintain a partnership with SmallBizU, an online academy that features one of the largest collections of online entrepreneurial training resources.

All of these benefits reflect North Carolina Touchstone Energy cooperatives’ commitment to maintaining a high standard of service. With the pro-business environment the cooperatives have helped create, companies have a stronger chance of growing and prospering in North Carolina. Plus, when businesses become members of a cooperative, they also become owners. Learn more at

ElectriCities: Site Selection as Easy as Flipping a Switch

As easily as flipping a switch, you can order a detailed report on North Carolina sites, from mountains to coast, that precisely matches your business’ specifications.

Within 48 hours of a request, ElectriCities of North Carolina will send profiles of locations that meet your company’s requirements. The not-for-profit government service organization ElectriCities represents cities and towns that own electric distribution systems within the state, which ranks among the nation’s best places to live. ElectriCities serves more than 1 million customers and also includes members in South Carolina and Virginia. The agency knows well the capabilities of its more than 90 member-communities, from site availability and infrastructure to quality and number of golf courses. Using ElectriCities as an introduction to North Carolina provides you with a turn-key or “flip-switch” information source.

“You’ll find all the information you need in one place,” says ElectriCities’ economic development manager Brenda Daniels.

While investor-owned utilities provide information only on their own electric services, ElectriCities’ staff produces a full profile, with photos of sites and buildings, of carefully-selected candidates for a company to consider. The process is fast, easy, cost-efficient, and entirely confidential.

Services to communities and their corporate citizens go far beyond producing the right information. This innovative agency has developed two Prime Power Parks in the city of Albemarle, located in the Piedmont’s lake country; and in Gastonia, just off I-85, 15 miles from Charlotte.

“These new industrial parks are NC Certified Sites with 4 MW of on-site backup power generation,” says Daniels. “If a company has a critical operation that can’t risk a power outage, they have a backup available, and don’t have to spend the money to purchase a generator.”

When a Three-Second Blackout Can Spell Disaster

ElectriCities is a highly valuable opportunity for such industries as metalworking, automotive manufacturing, some pharmaceuticals, or for any high-intensity electricity user. In the case of plastics, Daniels says, “If you’re down for three seconds, it jams up the machine and you lose thousands of dollars of product and have to start over.” The backup, like the rate-lowering services to all ElectriCities’ customers, will provide an ongoing incentive for locating there.

Whatever the needs of your business, the agency has the data and field knowledge to produce a selection of strong candidate sites.

North Carolina draws people and companies with its universities, its beaches and its Blue Ridge Mountains; the booming biotech and research facilities; the low cost of living and doing business; and a four-season temperate climate. The state also has ElectriCities to offer. While there are small counterparts in some other states, “We’re doing more than anybody else,” says Daniels. “At conferences and meetings, they’re always eager to hear what we’ve got going on.”

To learn more, call Brenda Daniels at ElectriCities toll-free 1-800-768-7697 ext. 6363; email:; or visit