Charlotte Relocation Guide

VOL2 ISS2 2018

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THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE — CHARLOTTE | VOLUME 2 — ISSUE 2 60 CATAWBA COUNTY Catawba County famous for furniture, iCloud, motor speedway BY SHIRLEY STARNES Nestled in the foothills of North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains, Catawba County has long stood as the gateway to the western part of the state. And, depending on your frame of reference, the land on which Catawba County stands was also a gateway to the Great American West, both literally and figuratively. The region was once among the largest gold mining areas in the United States. In fact, buoyed by Catawba County's gold stores, the state of North Carolina led the nation in gold production until the mid 1800s when the great gold rush headed further west to California. Today, Catawba County's advantageous location is still proving valuable. Easy access to major markets and a robust transportation infrastructure has fueled its growth into North Carolina's 15th largest county. With more than 400 manufacturing companies currently calling the Catawba County region home, it has adopted the motto "Making. Living. Better." This sentiment is right on point with what has occurred in the county since its inception in 1842. Catawba County residents — true artisans and craftsmen with an appreciation for quality and value — have always been making things to make people's lives better. In fact, they still are today. Catawba County's economy has historically centered on furniture production and it continues to leads the nation in this endeavor. More than 60 percent of the nation's furniture is connected to the region. Furniture manufacturing provides 11,000 jobs in Catawba County, accounting for one-third of the industry's total jobs in North Carolina. Almost unheard of in terms of tourism and the amount of money it generates, the Hickory Furniture Mart draws more than half a million visitors a year. The furniture mart, which contains 100 showrooms with products from more than 1,000 companies, is Catawba County's largest tourism draw, responsible for filling hotels, restaurants and shops on a weekly basis. Over the past few decades, the Catawba County region has become a hotbed for large data centers. Both Apple and Google have large operations in the area, including Apple's billion-dollar data center in Maiden, which is one of the world's largest. The Catawba County economy has also been boosted by a long and prosperous history in fiber optic cable production. Fiber optic cable and equipment is in high demand and serves as the backbone of internet, voice and cable communications. Today, the world's largest fiber optic cable manufacturer, CommScope, operates a 1 million square- foot plant in Hickory. Corning Optical Communications, another large fiber producer, is also in Hickory, while Prysmian Group has a large plant in Claremont. These three companies serve as the region's stalwarts in the thriving fiber optics industry and continue to bring growth and jobs to Catawba County residents. Recently, Prysmian announced it would be creating 50 jobs in a $54 million expansion, while Corning announced plans for a new $67-million cabling plant in Newton, which will employ 210. In 2014, Transportation Insight, a globally recognized third-party logistics provider, moved its corporate headquarters to Hickory, citing the city's high quality of life and its recently revitalized downtown district. Not to mention other companies who recently renovated historic buildings and established their headquarters in Hickory, like Cornerstone United and Blue Bloodhound. Outside of the bright economy and job opportunities, residents in the Catawba County region also enjoy a pleasant quality of life. There are a variety of neighborhoods and housing options to satisfy even the most finicky homebuyer. You could live in one of the larger cities, or you could live further out in the foothills in a more rural setting. Hickory is Catawba County's largest city with a population of around 40,000 residents. With several main highways running through the city, Hickory is ideally located for both business and pleasure. In fact, the Hickory metro area was named the 10th best place to live and raise a family in the country by Reader's Digest. >> CATAWBA COUNT Y STATS LAND AREA: 398.72 SQUARE MILES 2016 POPULATION ESTIMATE: 156,459 SOURCE: WWW.NCPEDIA.ORG

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