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  • By Keith May

The Shenandoah Valley – A great place to live (and do business)

Everyone is aware that the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia is a great place to live. Bordering Winchester to the north, covering Harrisonburg, Staunton and Waynesboro in the center, and adjacent to Roanoke to the south, the valley has long had a reputation as one of the safest, healthiest, and least expensive places to live in the country. Residents and visitors alike enjoy quality of life that takes advantage of the many outdoor, cultural and educational activities that are offered in the area.As popular as the area is for lifestyle, the Shenandoah Valley has also quietly become one of the business powerhouse regions of the state. The region now hosts some of the largest and most profitable businesses in the nation. Centrally located along interstates 81 and 64 so that two-thirds of the nation’s population can be reached in a single trucking day, Walmart, FedEx, UPS, Target, Best Buy and Marshalls have all selected the central Shenandoah Valley for their regional distribution centers. These businesses opted to locate in the valley after careful research, citing the unique combination of the location, the availability of interstate, rail, air and port services, the low cost of doing business, the local and state business incentives, and the diverse and mobile workforce. These companies confirm that the Shenandoah Valley has proven to be a very safe place for commercial investment with a very low business failure rate.

The local workforce has a much higher than average productivity and is a major reason that many industries are either expanding or relocating to the area. The Shenandoah Valley features 11 colleges and universities, providing businesses with 24,000 skilled graduates annually. These creative learning institutions boast high academic standards and the application of classroom learning to real world situations, providing well-educated and talented workers. The high number of colleges and universities help create a stable local economy. The universities are among the largest employers, and they also contribute innovation and new technology. Recently these schools have produced groundbreaking start-ups, including already successful companies that offer drone accessory equipment, early cancer detection, cyber integration, and online Internet marketing services. Entrepreneurship is encouraged through local programs, including the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center, and local enterprise, technology and hub zones.

Tourism drives much of the retail demand in the area. Visitors to Shenandoah National Park, Luray Caverns, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Apple Blossom Festival, the Frontier Culture Museum, the music, food and cultural festivals, the national forests, and the many Civil War battle sites have boosted tourism growth to new levels, expediting new tourist information centers being constructed in Winchester, Waynesboro, Harrisonburg and Roanoke.

For 2017 commercial and investment real estate in the Shenandoah Valley, the outlook is highly promising. With local business activity reaching record levels, all factors indicate continued and significant commercial real estate development. Virtually every real estate sector has experienced growth and vacancy absorption.

To learn more about Shenandoah Valley commercial property opportunities, call Keith May (540) 437-3560 at Cottonwood Commercial, the valley’s largest and most comprehensive commercial real estate resource.Keith May owns Cottonwood Commercial and Priority Property Management, the Shenandoah Valley’s largest and most comprehensive commercial real estate resource.

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