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Upstate Business Journal | How Much Cheaper is G-Vegas?

Greenville is growing, and people are coming from all over the county. A sampling of the most popular points of departure from 2006 to 2012 shows that, for the most part, it’s cheaper to live here. If you’re looking for a bargain, you’ll want to get your pizza and your health care someplace else. But for a cup of coffee and a nice house, look no further. Click here to read the full article.

Top States for Doing Business 2014: Georgia Unseats Texas, Industrial Midwest Rises

By Area Development

Sparking growth in business investment and jobs has proven more difficult than expected for states as they have emerged from the Great Recession. Capital spending and, especially, job creation have remained below par as corporate chiefs and business owners stick with a conservative philosophy until they perceive signs of a true boom. So the fight for the attention of site consultants and CFOs is more pitched than ever.

With that in mind, Area Development is publishing our fifth annual Top States for Doing Business survey of site consultants, ranking the states based on their number of mentions by the consultants in three overall categories and 18 subcategories:

Business Environment: overall cost of doing business, incentive programs, corporate tax environment, cooperative state government, access to capital and project funding, speed of permitting, most favorable regulatory environment

Labor Climate: availability of skilled labor, competitive labor costs, labor climate for right-to-work states, labor climate for non-right-to-work states, leading workforce-development programs

Infrastructure and Global Access: distribution and supply-chain hubs, rail and highway access, certified sites/shovel-ready programs, competitive utility rates, energy reliability and smart-grid deployment, water outlook, including availability and cost

Three major features of the list pop up. First, it continues to be dominated by states in the South and mid-South that have managed to extend the momentum in landing business development that they have enjoyed for some time (mostly, these states just switched positions within the top 10).

Second — and probably more intriguing because it is a new development — the list includes two states from the industrial Midwest. The presence of Indiana and Ohio on the 2014 list indicates that these states in particular, and the upper Midwest in general, are scratching their way back into position as major players in the U.S. economic-development derby.

And third, the state of California finally proved unable, in the new list, to hang on to its 10th place ranking in the 2013 survey. The state’s reputation with site consultants keeps taking hits — witness Toyota’s announcement earlier this year that it plans to move its corporate headquarters and 4,000 jobs to suburban Dallas from southern California. And so this year, California placed in the top states in only three of the 18 sub-categories, notably ranking third for access to capital and project funding, no doubt a legacy of the continued success of Silicon Valley.

The following profiles of each of the top 10 states provide insight into why each state is among the surveyed consultants’ top choices for new and expanded facilities.

3. South Carolina

The Palmetto State long has been held in high regard by the economic development community, but South Carolina picked up two huge new testimonials this year from a couple of the biggest names in global manufacturing. BMW and Boeing each announced crucial new and expanded roles for their South Carolina operations.

The companies could cite South Carolina advantages such as its low overall cost of doing business (site consultants ranked the state No. 1 in this regard). The state was also given especially high marks for its incentive programs, cooperative state government, and certified sites/shovel-readiness in the Area Development survey. Site consultants ranked South Carolina No. 2 for all three of the aforementioned factors.

Probably the most consistent advantage of South Carolina is the quality of its workforce. South Carolina is a right-to-work state with a low unionization rate of 3.3 percent overall, and — at 1.3 percent — the lowest unionization rate in the United States for the private sector.

The state’s ReadySC workforce-training system includes recruiting, screening, training, and other aspects of workforce preparation. ReadySC, for example, committed to help Boeing hire 3,600 people over the next several years. And that was even before Boeing committed to producing the new stretch version of the Dreamliner at its plant in North Charleston, S.C., which will become the first Boeing jetliner model to be built solely in a nonunion factory.

Meanwhile, BMW said it would expand its plant in Spartanburg County with a $1 billion investment that will create 800 new jobs and make the facility the biggest exporter of autos anywhere in the United States.

Read the full article from Area Development here.

Quest Brewery opened it's doors to the public this past weekend with a packed celebration that included live music and two food trucks. This fall, Brewery 85 is set to open in the Upstate near Interstate 85, very close to our office. Thomas Creek is celebrating 15 years of business in the Upstate and we cannot talk about beer in the Upstate without mentioning RJ Rockers out of Spartanburg.

Read more from GSA Business online.

GSA Business hosted a Power Hour Thursday night featuring panelists speaking on the South Carolina Inland Port.

The Port will attract cargo from across the Southeast and improve the efficiency of shipping from the Upstate through the Port of Charleston, panelists said Thursday night.

Panelists included David Edwards, CEO of Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport; Jack Ellenberg, vice president of economic development for the S.C. State Ports Authority; and Brian Gwin, industrial development manager for Norfolk Southern Corp.

Read the full article from the event from GSA Business.

Lockheed Martin's Greenville site has added to the Lockheed Martin Aircraft Maintenance Technology Endowed Scholarship Fund with a donation of $30,000.

The fund provides scholarship assistance to students at Greenville Technical College who are pursuing degrees in aircraft maintenance technology. The skills will enable them to repair, modify and maintain aircraft.

"We have had a long partnership with Greenville Tech. The college has provided training of aircraft technicians as well as persons with other in-demand skills. We look forward to building on this partnership," Lockheed Martin Greenville site director Don Erickson said in a news release.

Read the full article from GSA Business.

Area Development magazine has awarded South Carolina a 2013 Silver Shovel award for the state's economic development efforts last year."The states receiving 2013 Shovel awards deserve special recognition for their efforts to attract new businesses and to help their existing corporate citizens to expand their businesses," said Geraldine Gambale, editor of Area Development. "They have managed to thrive and emerge from the recession as economic leaders."

In its review of South Carolina, the magazine singled out the $900 million expansion at BMW Manufacturing Co. in Spartanburg County and also mentioned job growth in marketing, software development and medical laboratory sectors.

Read the full article from GSA Business.

The food truck business is heating up nationwide, and in anticipation of more inquiries into mobile food kitchens, the city of Spartanburg has developed policies and identified six potential downtown sites for the vendors.

Food truck vendors are known for selling affordable, fresh, unique delicacies - such as Asian barbecue or traditional burgers - out of bright, colorful, eye-catching trucks.

Councilwoman Cate Ryba said Spartanburg is ready for food trucks, and the policies drafted by city staff are fair to food truck operators and restaurants.

"We definitely want to see food trucks in Spartanburg," Ryba said. "It's a great way to support entrepreneurship even for those who are looking at opening a restaurant but aren't ready to make a huge investment."

City Communications Manager Will Rothschild said the city receives inquiries from food truck owners occasionally and crafted the policies in anticipation of future inquiries.

Read the full article from GoUpstate.com.

The 13th annual BMW tournament, presented by Synnex Corp., will take place May 16 to 19 at Thornblade Club, Greenville Country Club's Chanticleer course and The Reserve at Lake Keowee, which is a new addition for 2013.

Since 2001, the tournament has raised more than $9.25 million for more than 150 charities.

To see the full list of participants, read the full article from GSA Business here.