As we wrap up 2021, we want to take a moment to reflect on the past year and all the successes and highlights across Rowan County this year. We look forward to continued success and wish you a healthy and prosperous 2022!

10. Bell Tower Green Opens

After six years of planning and development, the Bell Tower Green park opened in October in downtown Salisbury. Already, Bell Tower Green has become one of the top gathering spots in Rowan County. It is a scenic, fun, and welcome addition right in the heart of Salisbury and will aid greatly in bringing in new residents and economic activity.

9. Broadband Access Expanding Across Rowan

Earlier this month, Open Broadband announced it is going live with broadband access in parts of Eastern and Western Rowan County that have typically had to use cellular service, dial-up, or internet cafes. “The expansion of broadband access is important to the economic development of Rowan County because reliable, high-quality, high-speed internet service is necessary to connect our residents with opportunities to work, train, consult with health care providers, or attend school from home,” said Rowan EDC President Rod Crider.

8. Rowan Sites Earn Certification

The Rowan EDC continues to prepare its available sites for prospective companies. The Mid-South Industrial Park and NC Finishing Site were both featured in Duke Energy’s Site Readiness program. Rowan County was the only location in North Carolina with two properties featured. Additionally, the Wallace Site in Landis was designated as a certified site in the ElectriCities Smart Sites program. Each of these programs help prepare shovel-ready sites for economic development.

7. Connecting Rowan County Employers with Workers

In May, the Rowan EDC launched a new Work in Rowan job portal, connecting residents to employment opportunities with companies in and around Rowan County. In the portal, job seekers can search by job title, employer name, job category or location. The portal updates with new positions automatically, pulling in thousands of openings per month. The portal was generously sponsored by Johnson Concrete Products and Salisbury-Rowan Community Foundation through the Forward Rowan campaign. The Rowan EDC also hosted its first Rowan Job Fair in June, which was well-received by the 50 employers and 250+ job seekers in attendance. More than 40 percent of attendees who returned a survey said they received a job offer on site, while more than half lined up interviews for after the event.

6. City of Kannapolis Seeing Surge in Development

2021 was a big year for the City of Kannapolis. The award-winning Atrium Health Ballpark – the new home of the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers – opened with great fanfare. Most recently, the City of Kannapolis announced a new seven-story, mixed-use development adjacent to the new ballpark, and broke ground on another seven-story development nearby. Additionally, the Kannapolis City Council agreed to sell the former Intimidators Stadium site to a developer, whose proposal included three industrial buildings on the property. The Kannapolis Crossing development at the new Exit 65 interchange also got underway in 2021.

5. Rowan EDC Launches Talent Attraction Effort

With workforce shortages becoming a bigger challenge for Rowan County employers, the Rowan EDC enlisted RoleCall, an innovative talent attraction agency, to help develop a talent attraction strategy. RoleCall co-founders Tim Carty and Winona Dimeo-Ediger visited Rowan in September and delivered their report the following month, which contained an abundance of optimism for the future of Rowan. Watch for the rollout of a new talent attraction campaign to aid local companies in 2022!

4. Rowan Earns National Rank in Food Processing

Business Facilities Magazine released its 17th Annual Rankings Report, and Rowan County was rated the No. 7 metro area in North America in food processing. Rowan is also the top location in the Southeast and No. 2 across the entire U.S. East Coast. The Rowan EDC also launched a new marketing campaign to take advantage of this ranking and our proximity to the North Carolina Food Innovation Lab in Kannapolis, including publishing an AgBioscience Brochure highlighting the successes and opportunities available in the area. Rowan was recognized for its significant natural resources, such as the Yadkin River, as well as potential partner companies such as Food Lion, Cheerwine, Patterson Farm, Rockwell Farms and Carolina Malt House, all located in Rowan.


3. Developments Booming Along I-85 Corridor

The economic development spotlight is shining brightly on the Interstate 85 corridor up and down Rowan County. The long-awaited growth anticipated from the expanding Charlotte region hit Rowan like a tidal wave in 2021, with developers planning upwards of nine million square feet of speculative buildings along the recently expanded I-85. The increased interest was featured in a story by the Charlotte Business Journal in April.

2. Multiple Local Businesses Expand in 2021

The Rowan EDC’s highest priority is assisting existing employers. As the COVID-19 pandemic wore on, the EDC sharpened its focus on helping existing businesses survive – and thrive – throughout the changing landscape. Those efforts came to fruition for five local companies that were able to launch significant expansions in 2021. Hexagon Agility unveiled plans to create 75 new jobs and invest $28 million into its Salisbury facility. PowerHouse Recycling announced an addition of 50 jobs and $5 million. Imperial SuppliesMaxLife and Snow Joe each decided to grow their business and workforce to meet demands. It is clear that companies moving and growing in Rowan are continuing to experience success.

1. Forward Rowan Surpasses Campaign Goal

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Forward Rowan campaign exceeded its stretch goal of $1.25 million this year. The goal of this public-private partnership is to reduce poverty, increase prosperity and improve the quality of life for all Rowan Countians. Forward Rowan’s four strategies include: targeted economic growth, talent attraction & development, brand identity & storytelling, and high-performance service delivery. Investments in the Forward Rowan campaign are already being used for the betterment of businesses and citizens of Rowan County, with even more exciting things to come.