Carter County Executive Clark: Business climate not faring too badly

By Greg Miller

   The current business climate in Carter County is "off somewhat," according to Carter County Executive Truman Clark.
   "It's not bad," he said, "because a lot of our economy is based on the essentials that people have to have in life. Those haven't fallen off much, because they are going to be fairly stable. The ones that really hurt are the luxury-type items that people slow down on and things they really don't need. Our economy here in this county is geared more toward the essentials than it is the luxury items."
   Clark believes the local economy will mirror the national economy. "Everyone seems to predict that the national economy will come back slowly," he remarked. "I think Carter County will do the same. We have a couple of industrial vacancies now that we need to fill. Work is being done towards trying to find those customers. It's going to be a little tougher to do during this period of time because industrial expansion is not like it was for a few years.
   "No one knows really how fast the recovery will be, although it does show signs of coming back. I'm not sure we're going to go back to that great expansion level that we had, because businesses did go out and expand in the past 10 years or so. It was a boom era, and it was easier to talk to industrial clients about expanding their business. Now, that's no longer there. They're not wanting to expand. They're wanting to downsize."
   There are two types of businesses that seem to do well in Carter County, according to Clark. "One is what I would call light service type," he said. "The other one is the industrial manufacturing type, which has assembly-line type jobs. Both of those would do very well here with the work forces that we have."
   The county, Clark said, currently has no "spec building" for an industry to occupy. "The last spec building we had is now occupied by AYM, Inc. The only two vacant buildings of any size that I know of, that I can think of at this time, are the Frank Shaffer Publications Building in the Industrial Park, and Alcoa, which has been a long-time tenant at the State Line Road area. Those two buildings need to be filled if we can with someone, and that's what we will be working toward."