The addresses of manufacturing plants across the U.S. hail to towns that are unheard of outside of the local area. They exist as members of the local business community, contributing to the local economy, employing from the local pool of workers, and even patronizing local suppliers. In fact, they have become so much a part of the small town life that few people stop to ask why manufacturers love to build their plants in small towns. The answer is quite simple.
The large tracts of land just off the main drags of a small town are ideal spaces for large plants. They leave room to build the factory, parking, and storage without the hassle of urban codes, zonings, or limitations due to neighboring residential areas. Neighboring landowners may balk at a new plant’s location at first, but small towns generally welcome the jobs and tax revenue that a factory brings.
Local and state governments love it when a business comes in bringing taxable revenues and job openings. They even try to lure those companies with tax breaks, grants funding, credits, and even exemptions on some local and state taxes. These incentives allow companies to recover some of the money spent on relocating, building, and hiring. In the long run, the savings will keep the company in the area. Governments can afford these incentives as the tax revenue and employment will result in far greater benefits.
Small towns also offer a way to locate nearby a shipping point without paying the high costs of occupying space in urban areas. A short freight trip to the dock or train depot is often much cheaper.
The most obvious perk of a small town location is the potential for expansion. If business goes well, the areas are usually open to expand the factory. Some legal wrangling and dealing with local landowners may be necessary, but it beats having to relocate building tenants and demolish buildings. Those activities can end up costing just as hefty a price as the expansion itself.
Manufacturing firms have been locating in small towns for quite some time, without much notice. They have become so much a part of the local landscape that few people could tell you about a time when the factory wasn’t just on the other side of Main Street.