Holly Springs leads Wake County municipalities in job growth, according to the N.C. Department of Commerce, which town officials attribute to a consistent focus on business retention and expansion.
So far this year, Holly Springs businesses has employed nearly 3,000 more people than in 2010 – a 26 percent increase in employment over the five-year period.
“Obviously, we’re just as strong as the rest of the county, if not stronger. So it’s a very good sign,” Town Councilman Jimmy Cobb said.
Wake Forest followed Holly Springs with a 24 percent increase in job growth with Apex at 21 percent; Cary at 20 percent; Raleigh at 15 percent, and Garner at 12 percent. The department did not have data on other municipalities.
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Holly Springs’ growth includes jobs that will come with RoviSys, an automation and information solutions company, that will bring 200 to 250 jobs to Holly Springs in five to 10 years.
Plus, several land parcels are available and poised for development.
The town’s economic development department assists existing businesses by regularly communicating with them, helping to fulfill their needs and connecting them to local resources. Within the last year, Holly Springs economic development project manager Irena Krstanovic and Economic Development Department Director Jenny Mizelle reached out to more than 200 business in town and formally met with more than 25 companies.
“We really build relationships with them,” Krstanovic said.
“Research shows that 86 percent of new jobs in a community are actually created by existing companies,” Krstanovic said. “I think everyone should focus more on retention. The companies that you already have in your community, help them grow and survive.”
Even with frequent communications with existing companies, Holly Springs staff continues to pursue business recruitment.
While Holly Springs gets many of its projects through the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the town must maintain a strong land portfolio and network of brokers and site selectors.
“You don’t want to rely on just one entity, like the state and the region and the county, to funnel your projects,” Mizelle said. “You need to be proactive and get out there and meet some of the other players.”
Town staff also must remain knowledgeable about local parcel possibilities.
“In order to market the property, you’ve really got to know a lot about the land,” Mizelle said. “In economic development, it’s all about the product – what you have and how desirable it is.”
Holly Springs now has several land parcels available for development, including 5- to 20-acre lots in the Holly Springs Business Park and 130 acres at the Friendship site adjacent to U.S. 1. Town staff are also working to certify about 200 acres of land adjacent to the Business Park as shovel-ready for new development.
“It’s amazing how much goes on behind the scenes, behind that curtain,” Holly Springs Councilman Tim Sack said.
Town staff’s recruitment efforts have attracted RoviSys, which is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. The company now rents office space in Apex but RoviSys CEO John Robertson recently announced plans to move this location to the Holly Springs Business Park near Novartis, one of its clients.
Robertson expects the location, which will start with 115 employees, to continue to grow by up to 25 employees per year.
“We tend to have a pretty good retention rate for those employees so they stick around and participate in the communities around us,” he said.
Holly Springs also has several medical office buildings under construction and in the planning stages and a 50-bed Rex Healthcare hospital that is expected to open in 2018. Holly Springs staff also have received more than 100 visits from retail developers and brokers
“Good things are coming to Holly Springs,” Cobb said.
Kathryn Trogdon; 919-460-2608; @KTrogdon
Employment/job growth by municipality
Holly Springs: 26 percent
Wake Forest: 24 percent
Apex: 21 percent
Cary: 20 percent
Raleigh: 15 percent
Garner: 12 percent
Source: N.C. Department of Commerce