The annual Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce dinner would have been a great recruiting commercial for Newton County to show those looking for a location to open or expand their business.
That’s because several business owners, financers and engineers were in full support of this community and all it has to offer. After receiving awards from the Chamber of Commerce, the top thought on the minds of many of the area’s top entrepreneurs wasn’t the economic impact their business had on their lives, but the impact that living in Newton County did.
“Walking around the Square, I said this is a place I could do a lot of good work,” said Josh Fuller of Next Play Promotions.
The men and women who received recognition by the chamber and its economic development department cited the area’s charm, history, room for growth and leaders who want to see advances in Newton County as reasons they not only opened a business here but also call it home.
“Covington is a great community,” said Dawn Dalton of Bridgeway Hospice & Home Health. “I love living here, working here and I hope I die here.”
Her sentiment was echoed during an awards presentation by the economic development department, in which it recognized investors in the future Covington Town Center development, a new hotel coming to downtown Covington and the reuse of the former Berry Plastics plant.
The talk was of the things the area had to offer, the available land and buildings, the ability to reach hundreds of thousands of people and more.
“The future looks very bright for this lovely community,” said Harry Kitchen, the developer behind the future Covington Town Center.
Those statements are not mere hyperbole. The area has seen great growth in recent years, and the construction of Baxalta, Stanton Springs and the Mega Site for commercial development are only boosting that sentiment.
If seeing the new faces around town, and seeing decision-makers paraded through the Square in hopes of landing the next big Newton County employer isn’t proof enough, look at the numbers.
Newton County out-paced Georgia in job creation in 2015, which is saying something, since the state was named the No. 1 place to do business in the United States. Newton County’s office of economic development landed 22 projects in 2015, which created 3,036 jobs and brought in $300 million worth of investment.
Our chamber of commerce saw that growth first hand in 2015, growing by more than 20 percent, and getting 86 new members.
These are all signs of a bright future in Newton County; judging by the testimony of many of the people guiding that future, it is because of both the area’s bright future and charming past. We have been a forward thinking community for some time and people can do business here.
We have seen some growth in the area, and have seen the return of lifestyle amenities such as restaurants and retailers on the Square, department store shopping options and the rise of other businesses to support Newton’s residents. That growth excites us almost as much as hearing the optimism in the voices of those investing in Covington and Newton County.
We need to continue to maintain our charm. We need to welcome those wanting to do business in Newton County. We need to embrace new jobs and educate our children at the local schools and colleges in order to equip them for these jobs. We need to patronize quality local businesses, whether old or new.
Based on our past and present, all the successes of 2015 celebrated this week were a part of much more for the future of our community.