MBA report: Marion's business growth continues

Marion’s business community continued to grow during the first quarter of this year and more is on the horizon.

That was the message from the quarterly report by the Marion Business Association presented Tuesday to the Marion City Council.

The economic development report for January through March was presented by MBA President Chris Allison.

From January through March of this year, four new businesses opened in Marion. They were the Six Pack Factory and the Loft, Link Hot Dogs, High Country Nutrition and the Prescription Pad of Marion. During that time, two businesses closed (the Sears Home Store and Hibbett Sports). Ribbon-cutting ceremonies were held for Bracelets, Baubles and Bling, Vintage Market Marion and Keys to Hope Wellness.

Several firms either moved or got a new owner. They were the McDowell County Register of Deeds (moved to West Fort Street), the Glow Connection (moved to Old Fort), New Horizons (moved to 195 S. Main St.), McNeely Tax & Accounting (moved to U.S. 221 South), Marion DDS (moved to Rutherford Road), A Chance of Sprinkles (moved to the Larry D. Miller Business Complex), Kustom Graphics (moved to East Henderson Street), Marion Bargain Mart (got a new owner), Hospice of the Carolina Foothills (moved to the Lady Marian Plaza), according to the MBA report.

Allison gave the council some updates about major business projects for the near future. Construction has begun on the new Holiday Inn Express on N.C. 226 South, across from McDowell Technical Community College.

The planned Dunkin’ Donuts for Marion is on hold for now. The developer is looking for another site. The Ingle’s renovation and expansion is underway. Allison said an assistant manager indicated it is 10- to 12-month project. The cleanup of the Drexel Heritage site is now underway and it is looking better. Petsense is still interested in Marion and is looking for another space, according to the MBA report.

More events and businesses are planned for Larry D. Miller Business Complex/Municipal Events Center. Several events are scheduled and new businesses are in planning stage for the property including a gym, boxing academy, dance studio, small retail business and skating rink, according to the MBA report.

Within the next few months, Keepers Cut Meadery, Taylor Bros. Brewing, the Feisty Goldfish retro arcade and a deli are all scheduled to open in the Depot District. Hometown Cinemas will soon open on the five lane and a restaurant is being considered for the old warehouse behind Possibilities. Shoe Sensation is set to open next to Harbor Freight Tools.

After hearing this report, Mayor Steve Little said Marion is becoming well known across the state for its business growth.

In other business, the Marion City Council:

• Held a public hearing about the annexation of 1.5 acres of land on Airport Road. This land is owned by Christopher and Stephanie Brown. It has one dwelling and another under construction. No one from the public commented during the hearing and it was unanimously approved by council.

• Approved the purchase of two marked Dodge Charger police cars from Ilderton Dodge, through the North Carolina Sheriff's Association procurement program. One car is all wheel drive and will replace a vehicle totaled in a crash a few months ago. The city has received a full settlement from the insurance carrier of the other driver. This vehicle will cost $24,054, plus law enforcement upfit. The second vehicle is rear wheel drive and will replace an older police car and cost $22,934, plus upfit, said City Manager Bob Boyette.

• Reappointed Bob Elledge and John Morrow as full members of the city’s Planning Board and reappointed Connie Martin and Jane Brown as alternate members. Robert Ayers was reappointed as the chairman of the ABC Board. Pat Cook was renamed to the Tree Board and another person is needed to serve on that board, said city officials.

• Adjourned the meeting in honor of radio station WBRM, which will celebrate its 70th anniversary on Thursday.

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