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Posted: Friday, September 13th 2013 at 1:45pm

Another international business chooses Hall County

By Marc Eggers Staff
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CEO Gerhart Baade, Commission Chair Dick Mecum, Tim Evans (L-R)
OAKWOOD Hall County continues to attract international business investment.

Friday morning's dedication ceremony of Atlanta Biologicals in the Tanners Creek Business Park in Oakwood is another in a series of foreign companies locating, relocating, or expanding their operations into Hall County.

Consequently, if the headline "International business moves to Hall County" is becoming commonplace, there is good reason.

According to the website "Georgia Facts", a publication of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, fifty international businesses have a presence in Hall County.

Atlanta Biologicals is a privately held company from Germany. Their new 36,000 square-foot facility situated on six acres has been designed with expansion in mind. Initially the research, warehousing, and administration facility on Industry Way will employ just over 30, but they are already talking about their future plans to grow.

So the question begs to be asked, "How does Hall County do it? Why are international companies locating in Hall County when so many American businesses are moving jobs over seas?"

Tim Evans, Vice President of Economic Development for the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, says he knows why.

"Well, lately there has been a lot of re-shoring. A lot of businesses that moved off shore to cheap labor markets are now realizing that they need to be closer to their customer," Evans offered. "They need to be able to ship to their customer, sometimes, same-day or next-day. And you can't do that from the other side of the world."

Evans says that Atlanta Biologicals, a maker of cell culture reagents used in biotechnology, "has a 'Who's Who' customer base of life science researchers in North America...and they need cell culture product tomorrow...and Atlanta Biologicals can deliver it to them from Hall County, Georgia."

None of this can happen, however, unless the groundwork and infrastructure is in place when that international company agrees to come to Hall County. It takes a team effort according to Oakwood Mayor Lamar Scroggs.

Scroggs remembers back to a time when bringing businesses to Hall County was not a serious consideration. In the 1970's he commuted daily to Atlanta to work at General Motors. "I wondered why can we not have industry and commerce here (Hall County) and the jobs versus having to drive to Atlanta."

Estimating that it was sometime around 1973, Scroggs recalled the evening he addressed the Oakwood City Council about becoming a community that was attractive to business. "One night I went before the City Council and put a proposal together, and it was off-the-cuff...and the Council supported it and we went from that point and never did look back."

"A lot of people said, 'You can't do this!', but we just knew we could do it. And we just continued to work."

Scroggs said that now the tax base for Oakwood is 83 to 84 percent commercial and business.

But Oakwood is not the sole player in attracting international business to Hall County.

Gainesville and Flowery Branch are two other cities within the county, as well as the County itself, that have invested heavily in the development of areas prime for international businesses to locate.

And they are also reaping the benefits of their efforts. So expect to see more headlines proclaiming the arrival of international businesses. It's a trend whose time has come.
Associated Categories: Homepage, Business News, Local/State News, Politics

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