A great place for good business: Why doing business in the Lowcountry makes sense

By John O’Toole

John O’Toole is the executive director of the Beaufort County Economic Development Corporation.

During 2020, while many areas in the Northeast struggled with residents exiting, South Carolina saw an increase in people moving to the area – with a positive net in-migration (a leading indicator of a region’s economic vitality) of 1.17. With Beaufort County averaging over 275 new residents every month over the last nine years, and estimates indicating Beaufort County has grown by more than 33,000 residents since the 2010 US Census, it’s clear that people are being drawn here for many reasons. They are quickly finding out that the Lowcountry has even more to offer than our picture-perfect weather, beautiful beaches and quality of life.

Along with this steady growth in residents to our area comes another type of exciting growth: a significant growth in businesses here in Beaufort County. As these new South Carolinians are moving to Beaufort County in record numbers, they are moving their businesses with them — enjoying the ability to live in an exhilarating environment while also running their businesses. It’s not only great for them, but great for our region as well with more products being manufactured in the state, more real estate on the tax rolls, more jobs for residents and a healthier and more diverse economy for Beaufort County. 

In addition to Beaufort County offering the perfect environment to attract both residents and businesses, another strength is its unique solution to workforce challenges. Over 2,000 Marines exit the military annually within Beaufort County, providing a built-in workforce with the skills, discipline and leadership that growing businesses are looking for. Lockheed Martin is a great example of a company that is the beneficiary of Beaufort County’s continuous flow of exiting U.S. Marines. Over the last two years, Lockheed Martin has added 70 employees. In one hiring tranche, Lockheed interviewed 30 applicants of which they were able to make offers to 28 qualified individuals.

Over the past three years, the Beaufort County Economic Development Corporation (BCEDC) has seen over $189 million in capital investment and over 925 new and retained jobs from these projects. These positive trends can be attributed to a regulatory environment that promotes business growth and unparalleled support from local partners and the South Carolina Department of Commerce. Some recent Beaufort County investments feature a glass manufacturer out of New Jersey, dry food distributors out of California, and a significant healthcare group with a presence in other parts of the Southeast. 

As companies from across the US continue to identify and seek the Beaufort County advantage and the work-life balance our region offers, it’s clear that people are discovering that Beaufort offers the right environment for both themselves and their businesses. 

“The best leads for our organization are closely held firms that have an interest in the county and a low environmental impact,” says John O’Toole, executive director of the BCEDC. “At the Beaufort County Economic Development Corporation, we like to say this area is ‘good for your business and good for your soul’ – and the individuals moving their businesses here agree.”

The Three Pillars

  • Exhilarating Environment
  • Ready & Skilled Workforce
  • Unparalleled Support

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