MCEDP responds to 103 business leads in 9 months

Moore County Economic Development Partnership (MCEDP) recently released its Quarterly Progress Report, which highlights its activities and initiatives for the quarter ending March 31.

Business Recruitment, Retention and Expansion

For the first time in the organization’s history, MCEDP saw its first-ever triple-digit number of business leads in a single fiscal year, with 103 business leads through the first nine months. That equates to almost three new or existing businesses looking for a site or building in Moore County each week.

“I expect we will respond to around 120 leads in FY 2024, which is unprecedented for our organization. We are seeing the highest level of business interest in our 22-year history, and it is three times our historical average annual number of leads pre-COVID,” said Natalie Hawkins, president of Moore County Economic Development Partnership.

Given the high level of business interest in Moore County, MCEDP has +/- 40 active, open projects at any given time.

This quarter, MCEDP staff visited nine Moore County businesses as a part of its Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) program. “Our BRE program is designed to help us gain an understanding of the needs of our businesses and to connect employers with valuable resources. Recent visits spanned northern and southern Moore Count,y and we were able to provide several businesses with information on infrastructure grants, free customized training, and other programs to assist with market expansion,” said Darryn Burich, MCEDP Business Development Director.

Product Development

Since acquiring the 73-acre site in Iron Horse Industrial Park in Aberdeen last November, MCEDP made substantial progress in the last three months in preparing the site for a future tenant. Fifty-six acres of the site were timbered, and work has begun to grub and grade +/-15 acres of the site. MCEDP continues to work with the NC Department of Transportation on the design of the access road from NC Highway 211, which should go out to bid later this fall, with construction starting in spring of 2025.

MCEDP also identified 11 potential business park sites throughout Moore County and used a variety of criteria to prioritize them based on their viability for development. MCEDP contacted property owners of the potential business park sites to gauge their interest in partnering with MCEDP on site acquisition and development opportunities. A few property owners have responded and expressed a willingness to either sell their property or enter into a development agreement with MCEDP to develop their land as a business park.

This quarter, MCEDP was selected by the North Carolina Economic Developers Association (NCEDA) Foundation to be a host agency for the new NCEDA Foundation Fellows Program. Starting on May 13, UNC-Chapel Hill MPA student Cameron Brown will begin a 12-week summer fellowship working with MCEDP staff to prepare a comprehensive report to evaluate the viability of establishing a shell-building program in Moore County.

“We are excited to welcome Cameron to our team, and we look forward to working with him this summer to determine if a shell-building program is viable for Moore County,” said Hawkins.

Workforce & Community Development / Other Activities

MCEDP continued to leverage its partnerships with several state and local support organizations this quarter to provide programs, resources, and information to help businesses be more successful. Some examples include:

*Facilitated meetings between employers and ApprenticeshipNC to discuss apprenticeship programs,

*Assisted Moore County Schools with preparation of a Digital Champion’s Grant to provide technology resources for students,

*Recommended a Catchment Area Study to the Moore County Airport Authority to evaluate re-establishment of commercial air service,

*Contributed $5,000 for a regional housing needs assessment for Moore County, and

*Sought employer support for Propel NC, an initiative being advanced by the NC Community College System to increase state funding for workforce development.

The full Quarterly Progress Report for the quarter that ended March 3 can be viewed on the MCEDP website at

Feature photo by Sandhills Sentinel photographer Wendy Hodges. 


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