Boone County Named Indiana Chamber of Commerce 2023 NextEra Energy Resources Community of the Year

Writer / Renee Larr
Photography Provided

Boone County is attracting small and large businesses alike to the area. The monumental growth is one factor for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce naming Boone County the 2023 NextEra Energy Resources Community of the Year.NextEra Energy Resources Community

“The Indiana Chamber of Commerce made the announcement back in September, and we received the award at the Indiana Chamber’s 34th Annual Awards Dinner in November,” says Molly Whitehead, executive director of Boone County Economic Development Corporation (BCEDC). “It’s a huge event, which just adds to the honor of being chosen among all these other fantastic communities around the state.”

Whitehead says larger Boone County communities like Zionsville, Whitestown and Lebanon play a considerable role in economic development, as do smaller communities like Advance, Jamestown and Thorntown. She says potential residents moving to the area can experience small-town, rural living, or the smaller communities or multimillion-dollar homes in the Zionsville area.

“Each and every community has something unique and special to offer,” Whitehead says. “Since 2018 Boone County has landed expansion deals totaling nearly $800 million. I think there is also something I call the ‘stickiness factor’ that is especially important. A key component of BCEDC’s economic development strategy is business retention and expansion.”

Some of those expansion deals include the following:

Ken’s Foods in Lebanon – $30 million

NewCold in Lebanon – $150 million

REGO-FIX in Whitestown – $3.6 million

GR Brands in Zionsville – groundbreaking of new headquarters

FTIC in Jamestown – multiple expansions

A significant focus for Whitehead is cultivating those relationships and ensure a solid business climate. She says that’s where the “stickiness factor” comes into play.

Whitehead says both small and large businesses play a role in the economic development of the area. She says small businesses make up 80% of the local economy. She says the county offers a microloan program for entrepreneurs.

“We’ve worked with an investment platform to try to provide a variety of tools to our small businesses because they comprise the bulk of our economy locally and nationally,” she says. “We must focus on them and ensure they’re adequately supported.”

As a Boone County resident, Whitehead says she’s proud of the award because it ties all residents together. She says it reflects all of the hard work going on throughout the county.

“What better way to spend your time and meet your neighbors but in small businesses like coffee shops, boutiques and restaurants,” Whitehead says. “I think this award will elevate our image as a community. People often think of Boone County as only rural areas, but we are so much more than that.”

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