Raleigh and Durham may be homes to the likes of Research Triangle Park and the American Underground, but these municipalities aren't the only places where entrepreneurship thrives.
Sitting just 20 miles southwest of downtown Raleigh is the Town of Fuquay-Varina, which has become a hotbed for economic development, startup business growth, innovative technology companies, and much more.
According to Jim Seymour, the town's economic development director, Fuquay-Varina has grown by 267 percent since 1990. With a population of more than 30,000, it remains one of the most cost-effective communities in North Carolina to run a business.
A quick glance at the Town of Fuquay-Varina's Economic Development What's Coming to Fuquay-Varina website is enough to pique anyone's interest, especially those looking for a great place to start a business.
"Fuquay-Varina's strategic location is one of its greatest incentives for entrepreneurs and startups," Seymour explained. "The town's proximity to Raleigh and RTP, along with access to nearby research universities provides great collaboration potential and unique resources for startups looking to power their businesses. Add to that an affordable cost of living and a booming business climate – and we've really got the perfect combination. Finally, our culture is unique here in that our business owners take great pride in contracting services and materials from local small businesses right here in Fuquay-Varina."
SuperDroid Robots, an engineering firm that designs and sells custom robots, is one organization that chose to take advantage of all that Fuquay-Varina has to offer after it conducted a nationwide search for a relocation destination.
"With an international customer base, we considered proximity to international airports, seaports and interstates," explained Susan Payne, owner, vice president and CFO of SuperDroid Robots. "We also needed a ready workforce of engineers and skilled tradesmen. Fuquay-Varina's central location to RDU, Wilmington and major universities, including Wake Tech, hit the mark. We also considered the cost of living and education opportunities as important factors in attracting the type of employees our business needed to grow. Fuquay-Varina met all our checkpoints."
Since moving to Fuquay-Varina, SuperDroid Robots has thrived.
"The availability of affordable commercial space was key to our success," Payne continued. "Fuquay-Varina supported that mission with an established group of technology-based companies located centrally on Technology Park Lane in Fuquay-Varina. The introduction to affordable water and sewer, low property tax, and the anticipated fiber Internet are key to business development. The Town of Fuquay-Varina sets the standard for consistent and logical permitting, which are critical factors in business startups. Fuquay-Varina's pro-business attitude is one of the reasons we decided to locate our business here."
The Town maintains strong relationships with Wake Technical Community College, the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and the Fuquay-Varina Chamber of Commerce, all of which provide great resources and opportunities for local startups.
"The Town has been successful in securing workforce training grants, competitive small business loans, and partnerships to help entrepreneurs thrive," Seymour said. "We are a community that understands the importance of fostering startup businesses and supporting entrepreneurs. Fuquay-Varina has invested in housing, infrastructure and quality of life improvements – all making the town an ideal destination for startups looking to open or relocate."
Mark Doble, founder and owner of Aviator Brewing Company, a leader in craft brewing, manufacturing and distributing is one of Fuquay-Varina's most well-known entrepreneurs.
Aviator has multiple locations and is a success story of entrepreneurship if there ever was one. Though Doble ended up in Fuquay-Varina by happenstance and his foray into craft beer was unconventional, the fact the town had an economic development director impressed him from the get-go.
"Seymour basically took us under his wing and helped us," Doble said. "The town has been a huge help in moving us to the next step at each level. Fuquay-Varina has been awesome in assisting us in developing as a business."
Other businesses of note that have chosen Fuquay-Varina and are thriving include: SenseFly, a drone manufacturing company; Bob Barker Company, the leading manufacturer in detention supply equipment; Cultivate Coffee, a local specialty coffee shop; and Revelry Barber & Shave Shop, a traditional barbershop with modern amenities such as craft beer and professional billiards.
Added Doble, "We're in a community that is growing tremendously — there are so many services here."
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