earliest Virginia site for manufacturing glass (1608 and 1621-22) and "reconstructed" furnace at Jamestown
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Businesses do not locate their facilities at random, by throwing data at a map or looking at just the sources of labor and raw materials. State, county, and city governments are active players in attracting private sector businesses and non-government organizations to locate in a particular area.
Your tax dollars are also used to retain jobs and property taxes, when other governments try to entice existing companies in Virginia to move to another location. For example, Virginia's A.L. Philpott Manufacturing Extension Partnership (VPMEP) was described in a news release1 as follows:
VPMEP is based in Martinsville in part because A. L. Philpott was the powerful Speaker of the House of Delegates and he represented Pittsylvania County. Even before passage of the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA), the textile, furniture, and other manufacturing businesses were reducing work hours and closing plants. The state and the local governments recruit companies that could provide high-wage manufacturing jobs to replace the companies that are leaving are reducing hours.
The Certified Business Location program, begun in the latter half of the 1980s, required each locality to establish an Industrial Development Authority, formalize their industry targeting activities, and establish other processes in support of industrial development. However, the Virginia Department of Economic Development no longer offers the certification. (What's the point of a certification if everyone has received it?)
number of business firms in top Virginia counties, 2008
Source: Bureau of Census, Statistics of U.S. Businesses (SUSB) State by county, totals (see spreadsheet)
inside Potomac Mills