Monroeville, centrally located in southwest Alabama, has much to offer new and expanding businesses. The town has diversified from one of the leading textile communities in the south to focusing on clusters in advance manufacturing, forestry and agriculture, logistics and aeronautics.
The Monroeville/Monroe County Economic Development Authority works very closely with the Alabama Department of Commerce to identify prospective businesses and assist existing industries. The Monroeville Industrial Park has seen substantial growth in the past several years, and was recently boosted by the addition of a new company, Sterling Packaging, LLC Inc. The company chose Monroeville because of the logistics and the workforce, and they created over 50 jobs and millions in capital investment.
Additionally, a virtual building program is now on the Advantage Site. This new take on existing buildings allows prospects to customize their options for the optimum location and advantage.
The BC Hornady Incubator was dedicated last year and is now home to Green Product Technologies and J & L Industrial Services. The incubator still has space for lease and focuses on emerging and expanding start-up manufacturing.
Monroeville and Monroe County has continued to see growth in existing industry as well as new. Alabama River Cellulose, owned by Georgia-Pacific, is the county’s largest employer and the largest bleach fluff producer in North America. Georgia-Pacific has invested over 170 million dollars in Alabama River Cellulose in the past five years and continues to make capital improvements and employment expansions in three of its Monroe County facilities.
Georgia-Pacific also manufactures panel products and dimensional lumber in Monroe County and at its other industrial location in Monroeville: Rocky Creek Lumber.
Monroeville boasts several diverse forest products companies, such as Harrigan Lumber Company, Owens Lumber Company, Scotch Plywood and B&B Cabinet Doors. Monroe County is also home to many independent timber harvesting and land management companies such as Ayres Forestry, J.E. Estes Wood Company, and Ziebach and Webb Timber Company.
Business today revolves around 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 agricultural industry thrives in Excel and Uriah both in row crop and cattle. Still the No. 1 industry in Alabama, agriculture is a mainstay in the county as well as the state.
The tourism industry is an important spoke in the economic development wheel with over $22 million dollars contributing to the local economy last year and over 350 jobs linked to this industry.
Expanding existing industries are just as impressive as new growth. 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.
Harrigan Lumber recently completed an expansion, and will begin another with the overall goal of two complete shifts producing lumber for construction and furniture.
The county is also well served by Monroe County Aeroplex, 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.
Downtown Monroeville, with its quaint courthouse square, surrounding shops, restaurants and museum, is also a draw for residents and tourists. 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.
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.
While our history is steeped in textiles our future is diverse and trending on an upward growth. Young families and retirees will find their niche in our small town atmosphere and great quality of life.
Monroe County’s future prospects are bright!