Laurinburg Maxton Airport

Could the Laurinburg-Maxton Airport become a regional business hub in NC? Leaders hope so

By Sarah Nagem sarahnagem@borderbelt.org As the United States ramped up its World War II efforts in the early 1940s, Fort Bragg grew to become the largest Army post in the country, accommodating 60,000 soldiers.  But lesser-known military training was taking place about 40 miles southwest of Fort Bragg, at what is now the Laurinburg-Maxton Airport. Up to 10,000 soldiers were stationed at the site, which …Read more Continue reading Could the Laurinburg-Maxton Airport become a regional business hub in NC? Leaders hope so

Welcome to southeastern North Carolina. Good luck finding a place to live

Phillip Britt can barely keep up with everyone who wants to move to Robeson County.  Before the coronavirus pandemic, buyers had plenty of options, with about 400 homes for sale in the county at any given time, according to Britt, a Realtor. For the past several months, he said, the number has been more like 60 or 65.  Yes, the housing boom is indeed booming …Read more Continue reading Welcome to southeastern North Carolina. Good luck finding a place to live

Scotland County, halfway between Charlotte and the NC coast, looks to distribution

In the five years that Mark Ward has served as Scotland County’s economic development director, he’s seen an increase in companies interested in the area.  “We’ve had announcements every year since we’ve been here, whether it’s an expansion or a new company,” Ward said. “We know that our growth is going to come from within.” Scotland County is home to several companies that manufacture automotive …Read more Continue reading Scotland County, halfway between Charlotte and the NC coast, looks to distribution

International Paper

Howard: Internet access a barrier for Columbus development

This is the second installment of a series about economic development in the Border Belt, which encompasses Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland counties.  For years, Jeff Howard watched eastern Columbus County struggle to create opportunities for people because of poor internet access. The pandemic has made it even worse.  “When you go from just a few people needing internet access to everyone needing it, that’s …Read more Continue reading Howard: Internet access a barrier for Columbus development

Sticky post

Workforce is key to capitalizing on agribusiness and population growth in Columbus

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of stories that provides an overview of the economies of Bladen, Columbus, Robeson, and Scotland counties in southeastern North Carolina. The 954 square miles of vast farmland and forests have shaped Columbus County’s economy for generations.  “We can grow anything,” said Columbus County Economic Development Director Gary Lanier. “Because of our farming heritage, we also have …Read more Continue reading Workforce is key to capitalizing on agribusiness and population growth in Columbus

Maxton greenhouse lettuce

UNCP hub builds the business of farming

Ellery Locklear started selling watermelons in high school. He got an old tractor running and used an acre of his family’s land to create a business for himself — hawking the summer fruits from the back of his pickup truck. Since then, Locklear, now 41, has grown his Pembroke farming business to 100 acres and six greenhouses. He still grows watermelons – strawberries provide his …Read more Continue reading UNCP hub builds the business of farming

‘Strong human capital and innovation:’ How Bladen County has created plans for future development

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories that provide an overview of the economies of Bladen, Columbus, Robeson, and Scotland counties in southeastern North Carolina. Bladen County has been trying to develop its economy through workforce training, revitalization projects, and partnerships with nonprofit real estate organizations. These efforts have been working and have brought in both large companies and the average …Read more Continue reading ‘Strong human capital and innovation:’ How Bladen County has created plans for future development