Local News

Fort Bragg growth creates business boon for Fayetteville

Posted December 8, 2009 6:21 p.m. EST
Updated December 8, 2009 7:03 p.m. EST

— Fayetteville has the third-strongest job outlook in the nation for the first three months of 2010, according to survey released Tuesday by temporary employment giant Manpower Inc.

Local officials credited planned growth at Fort Bragg for the healthy business climate. Two military commands are relocating to Fort Bragg in the next three years under base realignment, bringing high-paying military and civilian jobs and high-dollar contracts for local defense companies.

“If Fort Bragg is expanding, our community businesses are expanding," said Kristie Meave, spokeswoman for the Fayetteville-Cumberland Chamber of Commerce. "We're looking at more businesses that are going to move here to try to get those contracts."

Meave said Fort Bragg already has $100 million in defense contracts with local companies, and the commands moving from Fort McPherson, Ga., had contracts with businesses in the Atlanta area totaling about $100 million.

“You’re talking about the possibility of $200 million in contracts annually going to local companies to fund this growth,” she said.

To lure those businesses, Fayetteville opened the Defense and Security Technology Accelerator in 2006. Construction also has started on a military business park where firms can locate.

Fayetteville's growth includes more than just defense jobs, Meave and local officials said.

"Our businesses are able to maybe grow their sales team, maybe do the back room stuff they need to do to support the growth that's coming in the next several years," Meave said.

Military expansion is expected to bring as many as 40,000 new residents to the Fayetteville region.

"We looked at the demographics and the growth with the military and just the local economy," said Drew Huggins, property manager for a Hibachi Grill Supreme Buffet.

Local officials cut the ribbon on the new restaurant, which employs 20, on Tuesday.

"We decided to go ahead and invest and make a good business here,” Huggins said.

The latest annual economic performance survey by the Milken Institute ranked Fayetteville as the 31st best-performing city in the nation. Last year, the city ranked 52nd, and six years ago, it was in 162nd place.

City Councilman D.J. Haire said he attends at least one ribbon-cutting around town every week, providing a good barometer of Fayetteville's economic growth.

"Whenever we're doing that, that's saying, 'Hey, there's growth.' Whatever the business may be, there's growth," Haire said.