For many years, Anson County was known primarily to North Carolinians as, “that place you drive through on the way to the coast,” or, “that place with the good peach ice cream.” Fairly or unfairly, it was often perceived as a long stretch of open highway with a few sleepy towns, fast food restaurants and gas stations catering to beach traffic. But that perception is rapidly changing, as a series of circumstances have converged to position Anson County as the new hot growth corridor in the Charlotte region.
Here are five things you need to know:
1. Anson County is closer than you think
The distance from the town hall in Peachland to Center City Charlotte is just 40 miles. Numerous traffic lights and slow truck traffic on US Highway 74 in Union County currently make it an hour and 15 minute drive, but when the Monroe Expressway opens in late 2018, the drive from western Anson County to Charlotte will clock in at around 45 minutes, similar to that of other exurban Charlotte counties.
Whether you want to attend an occasional Panthers or Hornets game, shop at the world-class Southpark Mall, catch a flight from the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport or even make a daily commute into the city, Anson County is just a short expressway drive away.
2. Anson County has an amazingly diverse economy
The county has maintained a strong agricultural identity since its founding in 1750, and that heritage is alive and well today; but Anson also boasts one of the highest percentages of manufacturing workers in the state with a particular emphasis on high-tech industrial jobs like advanced metalworking, performance textiles and forestry/wood products.
As the county seat, Wadesboro is home to a large and growing number of professionals including lawyers, accountants, surveyors and insurance and financial services representatives. Whatever your experience level or area of expertise, there’s opportunity for you in Anson County.
3. Homes and land in Anson County are still a great value
As recently as 2016, the county was awash in For Sale signs and motivated sellers. A mini sales boom over the past 18 months has reduced that inventory significantly, but good deals can still be found, especially for fans of home “fix-up” shows who are willing to do some historic renovation.
Early and mid-20th century homes are available in Wadesbroro’s historic district and in many of the smaller towns at prices starting well under $100,000. Looking to build? Lakefront and suburban lots are available for a fraction of what you would pay for similar property on Lake Norman or Lake Wylie, and rural land typically sells for less than $4,000 per acre. If you wish you’d bought in Huntersville, Denver, Mooresville, Concord or Rock Hill 25 years ago, Anson County offers similar opportunities today.
4. There’s plenty to do in Anson County
Whether you’re a patron of the arts or an outdoor enthusiast, there’s plenty to keep you busy in Anson County. The award-winning Ansonia Theatre is a beautifully restored mid-20th century venue that hosts more than a dozen shows each year, everything from locally-produced plays to national musical acts, while the Rocky and Pee Dee Rivers form the county’s northern and eastern boundaries and offer more than 30 miles of wild river paddling and fishing.
Local artists and craftsmen display their work at the Drake Gallery, while just about every weekend some sort of festival or community event takes place in one of the counties seven distinctly different towns: Ansonille, Lilesville, McFarlan, Morven, Peachland, Polkton and Wadesboro.
5. Anson County welcomes entrepreneurs
Startup businesses will find a welcoming home in Anson. From Facade Grants for Main Street storefronts to Bootstrap and Enterprise Grants for new and growing businesses, Anson County provides strong financial support for entrepreneurs seeking a place to set up shop, and the Small Business Center at South Piedmont Community College offers technical assistance to help new business owners thrive.
Anson’s practical and hands-off approach to government means less needless regulation and bureaucracy than in some of the region’s larger communities, while a new coworking program in Uptown Wadesboro helps capital-starved small businesses develop community and share experiences while providing the support and training needed to launch their ventures to a new level.
John Marek | Executive Director
Anson Economic Development Partnership | (704) 690-4936
114 W. Wade St. | Wadesboro, NC 28170