ROCKINGHAM — Business seemed to be booming in Richmond County throughout 2022.
According to Jonathon Lewis, director of marketing and membership for the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce, the organization gained 57 new members this year — 30 more than were added in 2021.
Most, but not all of those members are new businesses, Lewis confirmed, agreeing that not all new businesses have yet joined the Chamber.
The new businesses vary in both location and product offerings.
Downtown Hamlet saw several shops — Nerdy Collective, Axe to Grind and Bisque Quick — open around the same time in the late spring. Other new companies in town include Frogget’s Trading Post and Shazy Gifts.
Rockingham saw the opening of Top Guns Strength and Performance Gym in January. Later in the year, Leonard Buildings and Truck Accessories opened a Rockingham location and Honeybee Bridal and Boutique opened up shop.
IHOP had its long-awaited opening just after Christmas in the former Fatz location in front of Walmart.
This fall there were ribbon cuttings in Ellerbe for Max’s Millstone BBQ and Catering and Down on the Corner and Modern Threads and Modern Threads Boutique, as well as Fox Road Farm in Marston.
“The economy has shifted and companies have regained their appetite for capital spending,” said Kristi King, president of the Chamber. “Since the pandemic, we are also seeing a larger group of entrepreneurs spread their wings which has given us a much-needed boost.”
Just as small business is “developing and thriving,” King said the same can be said for the expansion of the county’s industries.
While there weren’t any new industries to move into the county in 2022, there were five major economic development announcements including three expansions and two acquisitions.
American Woodmark, Impact Plastics and Direct Pack all announced expansion projects collectively bringing more than 200 new jobs to the local workforce and investing tens of millions of dollars.
Mount Vernon Mills announced early in the year that it was acquiring the local Wade Manufacturing facility and Cavco Industries later acquired VBC. Both announcements included the potential for new jobs.
Richmond County Economic Development is also in the process of constructing the sixth shell building and marketing the Energy Way Industrial Park.
I personally don’t see it fading in 2023,” King said about the recent business boom. “I only see it continuing to thrive.”