Situated between Birmingham and Huntsville, two of Alabama’s largest cities, Blount County has harbored huge ambitions for the 12 municipalities that fall under its jurisdiction. Its location at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains has attracted a special sort of domestic tourist – enthusiasts of outdoor sports, like kayaking, canoeing and rock climbing.
Aware of its limitations, particularly its population (135,280 residents), Blount County also knows it possesses the right conditions that can attract more outside business and even investment from overseas. At the helm of this effort over the past few years is Don Mitchell, executive director of Blount County Economic Development Council.
“It would be ideal if a company employs 250 people or less. We'd love to have an opportunity to see if we can match them up with something here. I think they'd be very pleased with the work ethic because that's something our companies have and why some larger companies are expanding here,” said Mitchell, who previously co-founded and led another economic development council in the state, and headed the chamber of commerce in Arab.
Blount County, according to Mitchell, is ideal businesses that require mid-sized tracts of land (between 20 and 870 acres) and a small workforce. For potential investors from Japan and other parts of the world, the county boasts a deep pool of highly skilled workers trained and educated in top technical schools in the area and leading universities in Alabama.
Despite the long road ahead and the huge challenges entailed, Mitchell and the rest of his team take the needed steps and field all queries from all over, confident that one day Blount County will grow into a robust, dynamic business hub.