Brundidge focuses on business

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Pike County Economic Development Corporation stands ready, willing and able to assist with the recruitment of new businesses and industries and the retention of existing businesses and industries.

That’s the message Marsha Gaylard, Corporation president, conveyed to the Brundidge City Council at its regular meeting on Tuesday.

Gaylard told the mayor and council members that creating jobs and wealth for the Pike County area is the aim and the goal for the Pike County Economic Corporation.

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“Our recruiting efforts are based on the assets we have in Pike County,” Gaylard said and listed aviation, food, plastics, information technology and data management, wood products and retail as the primary sectors for attracting new businesses and industries.

Gaylard said industry pays higher wages with aviation at the top of the list.

“To attract new businesses and industries, we must have available sites and buildings,” she said. “As far as retail businesses, they don’t come into an area to fail. In order for a retail business to come to our area, we must have the population and income necessary for its potential success.”

The Pike County Economic Development Corporation uses its marketing dollars to the best advantage through trade shows, brochures, Facebook and its website.

Gaylard said the Corporation also has a listing of available buildings and land sites throughout the county.

“Brundidge is in an enviable position because of its sewer and wastewater treatment capabilities,” she said. “Brundidge is an ideal location for food industries so it is in a good position to recruit those types of industries.”

Because existing businesses account for 80 percent of job creation, Gaylard said Pike County Economic Development is available to assist with business expansions in the way of grants, low interest loans and informational seminars.

The Pike County Economic Development Corporation, South Central Alabama Development Commission and South Alabama Electric Cooperative all have funds available for industrial development.

“These are revolving loans and they are perpetuating in that, as the funds are being repaid, they can be made available for other industrial and business developments,” Gaylard said.

She also highlighted the goals and objectives of the Rural Economic Development Initiative – recruitment, retention and renewal.

The Initiative seeks to identify the strengths and weaknesses of rural areas and identify the specific needs of those areas.

Pike County continues to have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state as it has for the past two years. The county’s unemployment rate as of December 2012 was 6.5 percent.

Gaylard said that, while the low employment rate might seem a deterrent to industrial or business prospects, it is just the opposite.

“The low unemployment rate says a lot about the work ethic of the people of Pike County,” she said. “It is also an opportunity to grow Pike County by bringing in new people to work the newly created jobs.”