Project Overview

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The Town of Cary contracted with The Sanford Holshouser Business Development Group, LLC (Sanford Holshouser), in the fall of 2005 to develop an Economic Development Action Plan for the Town. The scope of work included a scoping meeting, SWOT assessment, target industry analysis, development of action recommendations and a final report and presentation. The target industry analysis was conducted by Whittaker Associates, a strategic consulting associate of Sanford Holshouser. This report encompasses all of these elements into one final report for the Town of Cary and its economic development allies.

The scoping meeting was held with the Cary Leadership Team. This team consisted of Town senior staff and representatives from the EDC and Town Council. The project goals and process were reviewed and the leadership team provided important input into the structure of the planning process.

The SWOT assessment was the next phase of the project. The consulting team developed an economic and demographic profile of the Town of Cary as background information. Input from the community was solicited through one-on-one interviews, focus groups and an online survey. A total of 185 people participated in the development of this study. Sanford Holshouser used a research firm to compile data on six cities to use as a benchmark for Cary. The benchmark cities were determined by site selection consultants and regional and state economic development organizations who consider these cities Cary competitors. The benchmarking analysis reviewed data from Cary; Roswell, Georgia; Irving, Texas; Sunnyvale, California; Huntsville, Alabama; Fort Collins, Colorado and the Northern Virginia region of Tysons Corner/Falls Church/Vienna/Annandale. The consulting team, including Whittaker Associates, toured Cary to become familiar with development areas. More information on the methodology of the planning process is in the Methodology section of this report.

The economic development recommendations delivered in this report are based on research, benchmarking, views of local opinion leaders, best practices in economic development and Sanford Holshouser’s more than 100 collective years of direct economic development experience. The Town of Cary must be proactive in the development of new business to support the services and quality of life desired by citizens and local leaders. This report is a multi-pronged approach to economic development that will lead to a diverse economy balanced with Cary’s long-term sustainable growth model.