By ALEXANDRIA SWAIN
Ever wonder where to start a business? Where to find the lowest taxes in metro Atlanta? The answer is Cobb County, home to more than 100 Fortune 500 companies.
Cobb County is located immediately outside the northeast city limits of Atlanta. Interstate 75, Interstate 575, Interstate 285 and Interstate 20 make the county easily accessible. The population continues to grow as well.
Cobb County not only has the lowest taxes in metro Atlanta, but it also has some of the lowest in the Southeast as well. Low costs equal more revenue for businesses. Other perks of having a business in Cobb County are tax credits, sales, property tax exemptions and workforce training programs.
Cobb County is home to three world headquarters and Fortune 500 companies, which include The Home Depot, Genuine Parts and Coca-Cola Enterprises.
There are multiple recreational areas and parks such as the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, American Adventures to name a few. Also located in Cobb County are the college facilities of Kennesaw State University, Chattahoochee Tech, Life University, Southern Polytechnic State University as well as public schools in the Cobb County district and Marietta City Schools. The school districts are the county’s largest employer with more than 15,000 employees.
Cobb County consists of 36 public parks, seven golf courses, more than 500 restaurants, 17 public libraries and 16 private schools. The county has seen job growth and rising income despite the recession.
The Cobb County Chamber of Commerce helps local businesses as well as the community to be involved with each other. The mission of the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce is economic and community development, advocacy and world class member service. More than 300 networking events take place each year, and 2,500 local businesses are active members. The largest event of the year is the Business-to-Business Expo where companies are able to showcase their products and services.
By joining together in large countywide community events and sharing best practices with other associations, the Coalition of Cobb County Business Associations wants to promote other associations as well as its events and causes.
With this association, people are becoming more aware that business associations are located throughout Cobb County. Some other Cobb County business associations include: Acworth, Marietta, Smyrna, Vinings, East Cobb, South Cobb, West Cobb, Northeast Cobb and Cobb County small business.
Anna Brumby, president of Brumby Chair Co., recently spoke to Kennesaw State University students. The Brumby Chair Co. is a family owned business which got its start about 140 years ago in Cobb County. The company specializes in the makings of 19th century wooden chairs.
“We are very much a small business, but we love the history of the product; we love Cobb County and Marietta,” Brumby said.
Brumby also spoke about the Mainstream Fairness Act, which, if passed, will require online stores to start paying an e-commerce sales tax as well. According to Brumby, since online stores don’t pay a sales tax, they are able to give their customers up to a 7 percent discount that not all businesses can afford to do. It’s a sensitive subject for businesses like Brumby’s.
The community makes a big difference on whether businesses succeed or fail. Katie Peterson is the marketing and PR manager of Marietta Visitors Bureau, an entity that works to bring more business to the Marietta Square in downtown Marietta. The Marietta Square currently has more than 50 restaurants and shops.
“Not everybody around here has a square or has a main street downtown,” Peterson said. “Especially one with as many merchants and restaurants, shops, attractions and museums that we have.”
Places like the Marietta Square really depend on local residents, the community and tourists to help the area and businesses succeed. Peterson made sure to emphasize that without the support and involvement of the community, businesses would surely fail.
Businesses within Cobb County continue to see growth and work to expand and modernize. More businesses are sure to come to the county as well, and as long as the community stays active, involved and supportive, businesses will continue to succeed.