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Economic Development

Monroeville, centrally located in southwest Alabama, has much to offer new and expanding businesses. The town has transitioned from one of the leading textile communities in the south to a hub for forest products and value-added forest products.

Since the textile industry began its offshore moves in the mid-1990s, Monroeville and Monroe County have had to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, in defining a new strategy in economic development.

Currently at the helm of Monroe County’s economic development strategy is Glen Haab, assisted by Jodi Turberville in the Monroeville/Monroe County Economic Development Authority Office. They work very closely with the five- county Coastal Gateway Economic Development Alliance to identify prospective businesses and assist existing industries in their needs.

It helps that Monroeville has established an Advantage Site in its Monroeville Industrial Park, and that several properties in the park are available for ready occupancy, one a 30,000-square-foot speculative building, expandable to 90,000 square feet, and other versatile properties and sites are available throughout the county.

It is also a distinct advantage that Monroeville and Monroe County have a strong employment base. Alabama River Cellulose (ARC), owned by Georgia-Pacific, is the county’s largest employer and the largest bleach fluff producer in North America. ARC has a large track record of capital reinvestment in its mill with a recent investment of over $135 million at the Claiborne facility. As well, the company is a tremendous contributor to community projects. In addition to the bleach fluff pulp it manufactures at Alabama River Cellulose, which drives its being the largest commercial shipper through the Port of Mobile, Georgia-Pacific also manufactures panel products and dimensional lumber in Monroe County at its other industrial locations in Monroeville: Panel Products, LLC, and Rocky Creek Lumber.

As a forest products hub, Monroeville boasts several diverse forest products companies, such as Harrigan Lumber Company, Owens Lumber Company, Scotch Plywood, B & B Cabinet Doors and others. The direct and indirect employment opportunities offered by these outstanding employers drive Monroe County’s economy. In addition, Gate Precast Company, which manufactures architectural precast concrete, has continued to ramp up employment as it “shapes skylines” in the south, with projects such as the new Atlanta Falcons Stadium, the new Atlanta Braves stadium, Navy Federal Credit Union Headquarters in Florida, and other recognizable additions to a variety of institutions.

In the world of today, everything is logistics. Monroeville’s optimal location, with two connections to Interstate 65, and its location as the hub of the El Camino East/West Corridor (U.S. 84) in Alabama, puts it within 24-hour access to two-thirds of the U.S. economy.

The county is also well served by Monroe County Airport, with its 6,100-foot runway. The airport is heavily utilized by civilian and military aircraft, and, in fact, serves as a training area for the military. The Federal Aviation Administration is currently upgrading the airport’s infrastructure.

Downtown Monroeville, with its quaint courthouse square, surrounding shops, restaurants and museum, is also a draw for residents and tourists alike. Several entrepreneurs are scattered on

the courthouse square, and in this age where everything is available everywhere, there are a plenitude of unique items available only here, or perhaps through online outlets. In 2014, Monroeville was designated as a certified Alabama Main Street community, and hired its first Main Street Director. Continuing an emphasis on quality, Monroeville’s Main Street district has boosted occupancy rates throughout the district.

When exploring Monroe County’s economic development prospects, one should never discount the county’s natural beauty, nor its acknowledged position as a mecca for hunting, fishing and outdoor recreational activities. The county is a draw as a retirement location for a population that is tired of traffic, lines and waits, and that revels in the clear beauty of the night skies over the surrounding countryside.

Monroe County’s future prospects are bright!

Monroe County Manufacturers
B & B Cabinet Doors, LLC
Employees 12 – Cabinet doors and custom millwork

Gate Precast
Employees 162 – Architectural precast concrete

Georgia-Pacific Alabama River Cellulose
Employees 440 – Fluff pulp

Georgia-Pacific Panel Products, LLC
Employees 99 – Particle board

Harrigan Lumber Company
Employees 99 – Southern yellow pine lumber

Owens Lumber Company
Employees 32 – Hardwood lumber

Rocky Creek Lumber Company
Employees 105 – Lumber

Scotch Plywood
Employees 109 – Pine veneer

Distribution
F Brands (Fruit of the Loom)
Employees 251 – Apparel

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