Economy & DevelopmentBuilding a Better Wheeling
Wheeling has always been a city willing to roll up its sleeves to get the job done, and now with its economy diversifying, the city is passionately moving ahead into a changing marketplace. Local economic development groups have joined forces to aggressively stimulate the local economy by creating jobs, new development, unique business models, technology sectors and encouraging local entrepreneurs, via a successful small business incubator and venture capital programs, to start up new businesses.
These groups have also found ways to retain and expand existing business and industry, while vigorously marketing Wheeling nationwide in order to attract new companies to the community. The Wheeling area’s economy has been changing from heavy industry to state-of-the-art manufacturing, information/service-based office operations; advanced technology/research and a growing heritage/tourism industry.Attractive Small MSA
Why are businesses being enticed to the Wheeling Metropolitan Statistical Area? It’s simple. They save money locating here. That’s why Wheeling is ranked as one of the top 20 small MSAs in the U.S. in terms of business recruitment and attraction by Expansion Management Magazine.
Wheeling has many advantages that companies notice once they take a closer look. An article from the Associated Press sums up business development opportunities here: “Wheeling has well-trained people, easy access to the amenities of Pittsburgh and local benefits such as good schools...once people get their hands around that, they are very excited. The area offers a pool of hardworking people interested in higher pay and good benefits. In return, Wheeling allows [businesses] to enjoy lower real estate and labor costs than big cities such as Chicago.”Attractive Value
Part of the I-70 Corridor between Pittsburgh and Columbus, the Wheeling region is in the northern tip of West Virginia–an attractive location for companies and entrepreneurs searching for premier value. Overall, Wheeling has relatively low structural operating costs. Companies considering Wheeling as a location for operations could expect cost savings of approximately:
- 10% - 15% relative to the national average, and
- 25% - 30% relative to major urban centers (i.e. San Francisco, New York)
Source: Deloitte Consulting Shared Services Capability Assessment (2006)Attractive Heritage
Although Wheeling is well-positioned to play an active role in technology-oriented ventures, the city is also looking to its significant past as a catalyst for downtown revitalization. From its beginning when Wheeling was at the young nation’s frontier, the city has been characterized by intense waterfront activity and beautiful natural settings. The city has had historic roles as a port of departure for westward expansion and as a “Port of Entry,” making it an important location on the Ohio River. To conserve and develop Wheeling’s natural and cultural resources, the Wheeling National Heritage Project began in an effort to establish new recognition for Wheeling.Attractive Operations
Major corporations have moved “back office” operations to Wheeling because they found that the area has everything a growing business needs: a skilled and productive labor force, lower payroll costs tied to a lower average cost of living, lower office space costs, proximity to a major international airport, an attractive location that makes recruiting effortless and most importantly, advanced telecommunications to provide fast, efficient service and keep pace with changing technology.