Being involved with the Cobb Chamber of Commerce for more than 20 years, I’ve had the privilege of seeing first-hand the economic growth the County has experienced. But this growth doesn’t happen without the hard work of many individuals and organizations, who work collaboratively, and often behind-the-scenes, to recruit new business, retain our existing industry, develop our workforce pipeline, and promote the assets and excellent quality of life found in our community.
In 2010 the Cobb County Board of Commissioners had the foresight to work with the Cobb Chamber to create an initiative called “Cobb’s Competitive Edge.” They recognized that building a successful future for Cobb was best achieved strategically and together. This partnership lives on in what is now known as SelectCobb, a public-private economic development initiative housed in the Cobb Chamber dedicated to bringing new jobs and capital investment to our County. Over the past 13 years, the SelectCobb staff, local elected and appointed leaders, economic development professionals, business owners, and many others have refined our approach and process to attract new investment and quality development – all to continue to drive Cobb’s growth and success.
As one of SelectCobb’s initial investors, Croy recognized the positive impact that Cobb and our region’s growth has on our firm. As we know, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” That’s why it’s important for us to create an environment where businesses thrive. On the local front, business recruitment remains a priority for SelectCobb, the County, and the Chamber. Currently, SelectCobb has 50 active projects, which means our leaders are in active communication with 50 different businesses that are interested in either locating to or expanding in Cobb County.
Statewide, the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) works to keep Georgia the top state in the nation to do business, as evidenced by Georgia’s standing as the No. 1 state for business for the ninth consecutive year by Area Development magazine.
Another vital component of economic development is the retention of existing businesses. Personally, I have been employed exclusively in Cobb County for my entire career. As a firm, Croy was founded in Cobb, and is headquartered here. Over our 18 years in business, we have had the opportunity to expand and continue to invest in this community. A few years ago, we were faced with a decision to expand our office footprint in our current space or move to gain more room. While there were many options across the metro Atlanta region, we chose to stay and expand, continuing to keep our resources, personnel, and capital investment in Cobb.
The reality is, many companies are faced with a similar decision as they grow, and it’s important for us to do our part to make the decision to stay in Cobb an easy one. In 2022, SelectCobb helped secure nine business retentions and expansions in Cobb. In addition, SelectCobb staff members conducted more than 100 different visits with existing businesses to address needs or concerns, connect them with resources and support, and offer assistance with expansions, workforce recruitment and training, and/or community and business-to-business introductions.
In an effort to share best practices and learn new solutions, teams of representatives from Cobb County, SelectCobb, the Mableton Improvement Coalition, and the City of Powder Springs conducted business walks in South Cobb. The groups visited 17 companies and had the opportunity to ask a series of questions aimed at understanding each company’s current demographics, including employee count and plans for current or future growth. These visits also assisted in identifying potential challenges the company could be facing in the county. After identifying some challenges, each group left the event with defined tasks aimed at helping each company look for solutions. As an on-going effort, each team reconnects with company representatives to provide additional information and resources needed to help them continue to grow and thrive in Cobb.
Of course, this work is never done without partners. Building effective collaboration and meaningful partnerships are keys to fostering lasting growth. SelectCobb targeted several statewide and regional publications, such as Global Atlanta and the Marietta Daily Journal, as a part of its marketing strategy to position Cobb as a business destination. The Cobb Chamber also leverages its partnerships with other regional chambers and organizations, such as Kennesaw State University, the University System of Georgia, Georgia Economic Development Association, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and the Japan America Society, to promote our county. A great example of collaboration is the recent Black Professionals Business Mixer, which leveraged partnerships with the Cobb NAACP and the Atlanta Black Chambers. T. Dallas Smith of T. Dallas Smith & Company, a prominent business leader in Atlanta, was the keynote speaker and approximately 150 company representatives attended.
There is a reason Cobb continues to be the No. 1 place to do business in the No. 1 state to do business. Nationally and internationally recognized organizations, like the Atlanta Braves, Papa Johns, The Home Depot, TK Elevators, Wellstar, and Yamaha, have benefited from the welcoming community and business-friendly environment that has been prioritized here in Cobb County. We have experienced consistent healthy growth and reaped the benefits of many bold leaders who have come before us. Now is our time to work together to drive our County’s economic and community success.
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