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Case Studies of Southern Cities' Driven by Small Business Success

We have compiled three case studies of cities in North Carolina that have had great economic success in an industry built primarily out of small businesses. These case studies are as follows: the construction industry in Raleigh, the accommodations industry in Dare County, and the retail industry in Charlotte. Below, you will find a deep dive of our findings.

METHODOLOGY

In order to fulfill your request we first began by researching extensively through government databases, industry reports, market reports, and trusted media sources in attempts locate precompiled case studies which would fit within your parameters. However, this research did not generate any precompiled case studies.

For this reasons, we have utilized existing data to triangulate three case studies which we believe satisfies your request. In doing so, we decided to focus exclusively on North Carolina, since this is your main area of interest.

We first conducted research into the small business landscape in North Carolina in hopes of gaining information on any small business hubs within the state. This led us to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, which provided insights into the industries in North Carolina that house the highest numbers of small businesses.

From there, we utilized Google Maps to create maps of companies operating in these industries; creating one map for three different industries. These maps provided us with a visualization of hubs of businesses operating in these industries. We selected what appeared to be the biggest hubs for the identified industries in North Carolina.

From there, we utilized local media sites and local government websites to understand how the industry's economic impact within the given city. We also analyzed historical contexts and city profiles to gain an understanding of how these cities developed into small business hubs for these particular industries. In this regard, we had to draw a few logical assumptions in order to formulate an understanding of how the industry was built with small businesses.

Below, you will find an outline of each of our case studies.

CONSTRUCTION IN RALEIGH, NC

According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, 99% of the construction industry in North Carolina is made up of small businesses. By analyzing a map of construction businesses in North Carolina, we identified Raleigh as a large hub for this industry.

Impact of construction on Raleigh's economy:
The biggest impact that the construction industry has on Raleigh is the jobs that it provides. According to the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, jobs in the city are expected to grow to include 12,000 new jobs in the coming years, of which, the construction industry is a key growth driver. Construction adds a significant number of jobs to the Raleigh economy. According to the BLS, Raleigh currently has 24,280 construction workers in the city, and the sector has a job growth rate 3.3%. For every 1,000 workers in the city, approximately 40 work in construction.

Why did Raleigh become a small business hub for construction?
The answer to this question is rather elusive, however, after analyzing Raleigh's history, we were able to make some interesting connections. It appears that construction has been a major part of Raleigh's history. The city has had to be rebuilt a few times within the past 200 years. Adding to this, Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina, and therefore, much time and attention has been put into building and improving the city since its existence.

In 1794 Raleigh was mostly just streets and hardly any houses. Overtime, the city built itself up. However, major fires destroyed the city in 1818, 1821, and 1831, which we assume obviously spurred construction. In the 1850's, railroad lines reached Raleigh. We further assume that this innovation resulted in the positive growth of industries that relied on movement of heavy cargo, such as construction. The city had to be reconstructed again after the Civil War, and not long after, leaders of the public and private sector were coming together to "improve the cityscape," and build public utilities. We assume this called for an obvious demand for construction. Since this foundation, Raleigh has continued to grow into a metropolis, which we assume has created ongoing demand for construction businesses in the city for decades. In short, the construction industry of Raleigh appears to be woven into the cities history and tradition of continued growth.

RESORTS IN DARE COUNTY, nC

According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, 98% of the accommodation and food service industry in North Carolina is made up of small businesses. By analyzing a map of accommodation businesses in North Carolina, we identified Dare County (aka: the Outer Banks) as a large hub for this industry.

Impact of the accommodations industry on Dare County's economy:
The biggest economic impact the accommodation industry has on Dare County is the jobs it brings to the county's residents. According to the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce, 15.28% of the Dare County population works in the accommodation industry. This is nearly double the national average. There are around 2,839 Dare County residents employed in the accommodation and food service industries.

Why did Dare County become a small business hub for the accommodations industry?
The number one industry in Dare County is tourism, as the county receives 5 million visitors per year and is home to numerous attractions. As a result, Dare County holds significant portion of the "Outer Banks resort and vacation areas and contains approximately two-thirds of the North Carolina coastline."

RETAIL IN CHARLOTTE, NC

According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, 97% of the retail industry in North Carolina is made up of small businesses. By analyzing a map of retail businesses in North Carolina, we identified Charlotte as a large hub for this industry.

Impact of the retail industry on Charlotte's economy:
The retail market size in Charlotte is huge, with total retail sales averaging between $2 billion and $4 billion per month, according to the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce.

Why did Charlotte become a small business hub for the retail industry?
There is a lot of demand for retail services in Charlotte due to "a dynamic residential expansion, a growing and affluent employment base and steadily increasing tourism." These factors have combined to create a large shopping market in Charlotte. Because of this, retailers are drawn to the area, and the retail industry there continues to grow.

CONCLUSION

In closing, we have utilized existing information to create three case studies of cities in North Carolina that have had great economic success in an industry of many small, successful businesses. For each case study, we have included the location, the economic impact of the small businesses on the city's economy, and an overview of how the industry in the area was built as a result of those businesses.

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