Georgetown County, South Carolina: Location, Livability and an International Port

By Trisha Ostrowski

It's one of the top "Ten U.S. Adrenaline Outposts" according to National Geographic magazine. Georgetown County, South Carolina recently earned this distinction for its world-class fishing, boating and recreational opportunities.

But what Georgetown County offers will give a "rush" to more than just outdoor enthusiasts. With easy access to ports, an available and trainable work force, and lower costs than almost anywhere in the country, Georgetown County will "quicken the pulse" of all businesses in search of a standout location.

A record number of companies are discovering that Georgetown County offers a strong economic climate, which holds down operating costs and increases return on investment. Over the past year alone, six industries have announced plans to locate in Georgetown County, according to Jeff Kinard, chairman of the county's economic development commission.

"The successes can be attributed to having a strong product to sell. The good quality of life, paired with the availability of land and buildings at reasonable prices, make Georgetown County attractive," said Allen Burns, Director of Planning & Development.

To help locating industry reduce startup time, Georgetown County provides an abundance of ready-to-go sites and buildings. Currently, the county has established infrastructure at three separate industrial parks, with an additional 500-acre park under development. This latest venture, Georgetown County Commerce Center, is a Class "A" business park served by all utilities and home to a new 40,000 square-foot shell building.

At Georgetown Airport Park, another one of the county's sites, Horry-Georgetown Technical College recently completed a $1.5 million expansion. As part of the expansion, Coastal Carolina University also brought its branch operations and four-year curriculum under the same roof. Now, companies at the industrial park and throughout Georgetown County can benefit from proximity to the unique higher-education complex.

At Horry-Georgetown Technical College, companies can also take advantage of South Carolina's highly acclaimed work force training program, called The Center for Accelerated Technology Training (CATT). At no cost to the company, CATT is available to recruit, screen and provide customized training of employees anytime a company enlarges its South Carolina work force.

Another part of what makes Georgetown County so attractive is the rare combination of location and livability. For example, it is positioned halfway between New York and Miami for easy access to both customers and suppliers. Although distinctively rural, the area is flanked by larger communities like Myrtle Beach, 35 miles to the north, and historic Charleston, 60 miles to the south.

Georgetown County is also home to a major port, enabling companies to conveniently and cost-effectively receive raw materials and ship finished goods. Directly on the coast, the International Port of Georgetown handles more than 1.8 million tons of bulk cargo from Latin America, Europe and Asia every year. With Charleston so nearby, Georgetown County companies can also utilize the second largest container port on the East Coast where 40 steamship companies carry materials to 140 countries worldwide.

Along with a strong geographic location, quality of life in Georgetown County has proven a major draw for businesses and individuals alike. Newcomers are discovering the area at a record pace attracted by the opportunity to enjoy life. The population is projected to grow 11 percent by 2010 and 25 percent between 2000 and 2025, further enlarging the available work force.

Contributing to the livability are 35 miles of white-sand Atlantic Coast beaches, stunning natural beauty, historic appeal and culture, along with small-town living graced by big-city opportunities. For golf enthusiasts, the county is home to 17 championship courses (with 100 more nearby) designed by legends such as Pete Dye, Tom Fazio and Jack Nicklaus.

In the end, it's affordable business costs, ready-to-go product, a growing work force, central location and an outstanding quality of life that make Georgetown County, South Carolina one of the South's most thrilling spots-not only for adrenaline junkies, but also for businesses on their way to the top.

For more information on Georgetown County, visit www.seegeorgetown.com