Chattanooga Business

Opportunities to Thrive for Businesses of Every Size

Conveniently situated, resplendent with resources, and equipped with enviably high internet speeds, Chattanooga is a prime location for doing business. Such a favorable business climate has resulted in an abundance of new business taking off in Chattanooga, led by intrepid locals, outside corporations impressed with the area, and talent from afar that have chosen the Scenic City for their startups.

 

Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s business scene has proved more than resilient. In the first quarter of 2021, new business filings were up over 55% compared to filings in the first quarter of the previous year, and it was the third straight quarter of new business filing growth over 30% versus the previous year. In October 2021, Hamilton County specifically saw its unemployment rate decline to a low 3.2%, a nearly 55% decrease from the October 2020 unemployment rate.

 

Manufacturing has always been a cornerstone of Chattanooga industry, and it continues to grow, expand, and serve as a major contributor to the local economy. In September 2021, Volkswagen, already one of the top employers in the area thanks to its Chattanooga assembly plant, announced plans to open a North American regional headquarters in the Scenic City for engineering, manufacturing, purchasing, and quality operations.

 

In early 2021, longtime Chattanooga company Southern Champion Tray revealed plans for a 1 million-square-foot expansion via a new manufacturing facility, in which it intends to invest nearly $85 million and fill with over 120 new jobs. In nearby South Pittsburg, Lodge Manufacturing – the nation’s oldest producer of cast-iron cookware – also announced a $59 million expansion in fall  2021 to keep pace with growing cookware sales and plans to create over 230 jobs to accommodate that expansion.

 

The Chattanooga area continues to prove itself as a hot spot for the tech industry. Media and software company FreightWaves and software company Text Request both ranked on Inc.’s 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies for 2021 as well as Deloitte’s Fast 500 list for 2021. The latter company expanded into new headquarters in downtown Chattanooga. Devnet, an Illinois-based tech company, also announced a relocation of its company headquarters to downtown Chattanooga in September 2021.

 

Thanks to Chattanooga’s proximity to the Tennessee River and three major interstates, transportation and logistics have remained a major and growing industry in the area. In October 2021, Chattanooga-based Steam Logistics – one of the fastest-growing third-party logistics companies in the country – announced a $6.8 million expansion of operations to create over 400 new jobs needed to meet the industry’s growing demand. Last May, Trident Transport also announced plans to add over 100 jobs in 2021, and locally based trucking titan Covenant Logistics announced its best first quarter in company history in April 2021.

 

Manufacturing, technology, and logistics aren’t the only industries with thriving business in the Scenic City. In 2021, Chattanooga-based Vision Hospitality launched a subsidiary called Humanist Hospitality with the goal of expanding operations across the nation. Downtown hot spot West Village has undergone significant expansion, investing nearly $90 million in local hotel properties. Fast-growing local commercial insurer Reliance Partners expanded its headquarters downtown and was also listed on Inc.’s 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies. Global retailer and distributor Amazon, which has fulfillment centers in Chattanooga and nearby Charleston, Tennessee, has pumped over $13 billion into the state’s economy over the past decade.

 

While Chattanooga is home to corporate giants of various industries, it also plays host to an increasing number of startups. In 2021, the state of Tennessee saw record-breaking numbers of business start filings, and the Scenic City specifically served as home base for many of those filings. SmartAsset ranked Chattanooga in the top 20 on its annual list of “Best Cities for Young Professionals,” due to the city’s relatively low cost of living, extensive resources and startup support, and lightning-fast internet supplied by EPB’s nationally renowned fiber optics network.

 

In 2021, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce launched Starting Block Chattanooga, a program whose mission is to help startups and small businesses thrive by providing them with free access to resources and counseling needed to build their business. The Chamber also hosts the INCubator, one of the largest business incubators in the United States. Aspiring entrepreneurs can find additional support in the city from CO.LAB, a small business accelerator that’s fostered startups such as Bellhop, Branch Technology, and Variable toward staggering success. Chattanooga is also home to LAUNCH, which runs small business development programs, as well as a kitchen incubator to support underrepresented entrepreneurs throughout the area.

 

Economic development in the Chattanooga area is thriving, and it shows no signs of slowing down. The city has attracted over $1 billion in development over the past two years and continues to garner national awards and recognition. In 2021, MakeMyMove.com and Travel + Leisure magazine both named Chattanooga as one of the top cities for remote workers due to its top-notch internet, low cost of living, beautiful scenery, and things to do. Forbes also named three of the city’s top employers – Unum, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, and Volkswagen – to its 2021 list of America’s best employers for women.

 

Regardless of industry or company size, Chattanooga is the place to be when it comes to starting, growing, or working for a business.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

While Chattanooga’s Volkswagen plant employs thousands of humans, it also employs around 50 sheep. The grazing sheep on-site help maintain the grounds of the plant’s solar park, which was built in 2013 and provides over 12% of the plant’s electricity.

Chattanooga Business

Chatt Choices™

Geoff Ramsey – Real Estate Partners

Geoff Ramsey – Real Estate Partners

Opportunities to Thrive for Businesses of Every Size

Conveniently situated, resplendent with resources, and equipped with enviably high internet speeds, Chattanooga is a prime location for doing business. Such a favorable business climate has resulted in an abundance of new business taking off in Chattanooga, led by intrepid locals, outside corporations impressed with the area, and talent from afar that have chosen the Scenic City for their startups. 

 

Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s business scene has proved more than resilient. In the first quarter of 2021, new business filings were up over 55% compared to filings in the first quarter of the previous year, and it was the third straight quarter of new business filing growth over 30% versus the previous year. In October 2021, Hamilton County specifically saw its unemployment rate decline to a low 3.2%, a nearly 55% decrease from the October 2020 unemployment rate.

 

Manufacturing has always been a cornerstone of Chattanooga industry, and it continues to grow, expand, and serve as a major contributor to the local economy. In September 2021, Volkswagen, already one of the top employers in the area thanks to its Chattanooga assembly plant, announced plans to open a North American regional headquarters in the Scenic City for engineering, manufacturing, purchasing, and quality operations. 

 

In early 2021, longtime Chattanooga company Southern Champion Tray revealed plans for a 1 million-square-foot expansion via a new manufacturing facility, in which it intends to invest nearly $85 million and fill with over 120 new jobs. In nearby South Pittsburg, Lodge Manufacturing – the nation’s oldest producer of cast-iron cookware – also announced a $59 million expansion in fall  2021 to keep pace with growing cookware sales and plans to create over 230 jobs to accommodate that expansion.

 

The Chattanooga area continues to prove itself as a hot spot for the tech industry. Media and software company FreightWaves and software company Text Request both ranked on Inc.’s 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies for 2021 as well as Deloitte’s Fast 500 list for 2021. The latter company expanded into new headquarters in downtown Chattanooga. Devnet, an Illinois-based tech company, also announced a relocation of its company headquarters to downtown Chattanooga in September 2021.

 

Thanks to Chattanooga’s proximity to the Tennessee River and three major interstates, transportation and logistics have remained a major and growing industry in the area. In October 2021, Chattanooga-based Steam Logistics – one of the fastest-growing third-party logistics companies in the country – announced a $6.8 million expansion of operations to create over 400 new jobs needed to meet the industry’s growing demand. Last May, Trident Transport also announced plans to add over 100 jobs in 2021, and locally based trucking titan Covenant Logistics announced its best first quarter in company history in April 2021.

 

Manufacturing, technology, and logistics aren’t the only industries with thriving business in the Scenic City. In 2021, Chattanooga-based Vision Hospitality launched a subsidiary called Humanist Hospitality with the goal of expanding operations across the nation. Downtown hot spot West Village has undergone significant expansion, investing nearly $90 million in local hotel properties. Fast-growing local commercial insurer Reliance Partners expanded its headquarters downtown and was also listed on Inc.’s 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies. Global retailer and distributor Amazon, which has fulfillment centers in Chattanooga and nearby Charleston, Tennessee, has pumped over $13 billion into the state’s economy over the past decade.

 

While Chattanooga is home to corporate giants of various industries, it also plays host to an increasing number of startups. In 2021, the state of Tennessee saw record-breaking numbers of business start filings, and the Scenic City specifically served as home base for many of those filings. SmartAsset ranked Chattanooga in the top 20 on its annual list of “Best Cities for Young Professionals,” due to the city’s relatively low cost of living, extensive resources and startup support, and lightning-fast internet supplied by EPB’s nationally renowned fiber optics network.

 

In 2021, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce launched Starting Block Chattanooga, a program whose mission is to help startups and small businesses thrive by providing them with free access to resources and counseling needed to build their business. The Chamber also hosts the INCubator, one of the largest business incubators in the United States. Aspiring entrepreneurs can find additional support in the city from CO.LAB, a small business accelerator that’s fostered startups such as Bellhop, Branch Technology, and Variable toward staggering success. Chattanooga is also home to LAUNCH, which runs small business development programs, as well as a kitchen incubator to support underrepresented entrepreneurs throughout the area.

 

Economic development in the Chattanooga area is thriving, and it shows no signs of slowing down. The city has attracted over $1 billion in development over the past two years and continues to garner national awards and recognition. In 2021, MakeMyMove.com and Travel + Leisure magazine both named Chattanooga as one of the top cities for remote workers due to its top-notch internet, low cost of living, beautiful scenery, and things to do. Forbes also named three of the city’s top employers – Unum, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, and Volkswagen – to its 2021 list of America’s best employers for women.

 

Regardless of industry or company size, Chattanooga is the place to be when it comes to starting, growing, or working for a business. 

 

DID YOU KNOW?

While Chattanooga’s Volkswagen plant employs thousands of humans, it also employs around 50 sheep. The grazing sheep on-site help maintain the grounds of the plant’s solar park, which was built in 2013 and provides over 12% of the plant’s electricity.

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