Tupelo ranks 7th in nation among top micropolitan

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – When it was time for Geoff Carter to find a bigger space for Hyperion Technology Group, he never thought of looking outside of the Lee County area.

Hyperion Technology moved from a 12,000-square-foot building to the 54,000-square-foot former headquarters for Mitchell Distributing.

Carter, who is president of the company, said the Tupelo area has a lot to offer prospective employees.

“We employ a lot of engineers and technicians, they look at the livability of the area, other businesses in the area, if the area expanding, all those things are important when you have a business that is expanding,” Carter said.

Recently, the Tupelo region, which is made up of Lee, Pontotoc, and Itawamba Counties, was ranked seventh in the nation among micropolitans.   A micropolitan is defined as a market of 10,000 to 50,000 people centered around an urban cluster covering at least one county.

Carter says the low cost of living, coupled with a business-friendly environment is a big draw for businesses.

He also says the cost of doing business is low, compared with other states.

“We bid on a lot of government, mostly military contracts, and when we compete against somebody in California, or Huntsville, or Virginia, most of the time our costs are lower, it’s less expensive to operate a business here, it allows us to pay similar salaries to other parts of the country, but overhead is lower here,” Carter said.

Wesley Webb, president of the Lee County Board of Supervisors,  says the Community Development Foundation plays a major role in industrial and business recruitment.   Webb also says there is another key factor to the area’s success.

“I always tell everybody when they move here, I said, you won’t understand it now, but a year from now you will.   The thing that makes Tupelo special is our people.   We have the greatest people in the world who live here in Tupelo and Lee County,” Webb said.

This is the fourteenth time since 2005 that the Tupelo region has been named a top micropolitan.  Business leaders expect that success to continue, because of the belief that economic development is truly a team sport.

Last year alone, the Tupelo area saw twelve new and expanding industry projects.  That translated to more than 321 new jobs.

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