These streets are made for developing

What comes to mind when one thinks of Pickens County? Is it the beauty of the peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains on our horizon? Is it the many natural breathtaking landscapes — waterfalls, lakes, acres of trees and the countless 7-16 Page 4A.inddhidden treasures? Is it the stunning Azaleas? Is it the hometown, great-place-to-raise-a-family appeal? It would have to be all of this and more, as it seems, because more and more major corporations — retail chains, restaurant chains, major manufacturers — are flocking to Pickens County. Even though this county is continuing to spread its wings and fly farther, it maintains the small-town, friendly neighbor appeal that we all hold dear.

It all started when Cedarwood Development completed the construction of the massive Easley Town Center, which holds more than 500,000 square feet of retail space. After Walmart relocated there, it seemed to take off like a rocket, with the openings of Tractor Supply Company, Sam’s Club, Academy Sports and Outdoors, PetSmart, Kohl’s, Marshalls, Longhorn Steakhouse, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and Jersey Mike’s. The center is also adding Moe’s Southwest Grill, Miyabi Express and a Mattress Firm location. There will be more to come, though, as there are still several spaces left for leasing in the center. These establishments have created, and will continue to create, hundreds of job opportunities for Pickens County residents — not only the employment the businesses require, but the jobs required to construct the buildings and the center itself.

There are plenty more additions to Easley to speak of that aren’t a part of the Easley Town Center. The Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Starbucks that sit opposite the Town Center are nearly ready to be overrun with customers, occupying the space next to the Aldi grocery store.

According to, Easley has an 8 percent unemployment rate, compared to the U.S. national average of 8.6 percent. The city has a predicted job growth of 30.72 percent over the next 10 years according to the site. Easley’s population count by occupation percentages supports the benefit of the growth of the town. Sales and office jobs are the top ranking, with 25.23 percent of the population, with management, business and financial operations ranking second at 12.70 percent. The service industry counts for 12.62 percent. Construction, extraction and maintenance count for 11.29 percent, which is higher than the national average of 9.42 percent. As one can tell by the statistics, attracting major restaurant and retail chains is greatly benefiting not only the City of Easley, but all of Pickens County, because it isn’t just Easley that is expanding, the whole of Pickens County is trending upward as well.

The City of Pickens itself is rapidly expanding. Not only does it now boast its own Walmart, there is the arrival of the two newest restaurants — Zaxby’s and Mikoshi Japanese steakhouse restaurant to join the roster.

Liberty has been put on the map as well, with the TaylorMade Golf Company’s manufacturing and research and development facility that opened in January of this year. The facility is located in the Pickens County Commerce Park and serves as the company’s golf ball production headquarters.

These companies are assets to our community. Not only is the commute to a major retail chain shorter thanks to the booming economy in Pickens County, but it strengthens our workforce by putting better jobs closer to home. With so many opportunities available in the future, things can only go up from here for Pickens County.

What is it about our county that is drawing these big names in business to us? For one, there is an abundance of undeveloped land all over Pickens County, perfect locations for manufacturing facilities, retail establishments and restaurants. It must be more than that though. It’s our residents. The kind of people who loan their lawnmower to the neighbor or watch over your dogs while you’re out of town, the kind who always put family first, and who take great pride in the town in which they live — those hard-working, do-anything-to-get-the-job-done type people. The ones who show up to work on time, every time. Good people. That’s what you need most for a successful business.

These companies recognize the grain of our residents, and it will only continue to convince more big-name companies that Pickens County is the right place for their enterprises as well. Pickens County is on the map in a bigger way now, and it is well deserved. This is a county too beautiful and filled with too many hard-working residents to go unnoticed.

Good fortune is ripe for the picking, Pickens County. Prepare yourselves for the harvest.