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By Lindsay Keisler, president and CEO of Catawba County Chamber of Commerce;  originally published in the Hickory Daily Record

We all ooze Catawba County’s new slogan, “Making. Living. Better.” Why? Because it is us, about us and what we do. We are a community of makers and doers, who enjoy a good quality of life while working together to make a difference for the better. And guess what? Others are starting to catch wind.

Allow me to remind you of some of the positive regional and national recognition our community has received just in the past several months. Be proud of where you live, work and learn and continue to tell our great stories.

Business North Carolina Magazine’s February issue features Catawba County. From K-64, to recent economic development announcements, to the Manufacturing Solutions Center in Conover, to Maiden as Siri’s home address, you won’t be disappointed. This several-page spread certainly sets the record straight that we are “Making. Living. Better.” in Catawba County.

Pottery Barn’s Spring 2018 catalogue gives a much-deserved shout out to all of the talented men and women who craft their beautiful line of upholstered furniture at Sutter Street Manufacturing Inc. in Claremont.

Safehome.Org ranked Hickory the No. 20 safest city in North Carolina, based on low violent crime and property crime rates, as well as the best citizen-to-officer ratio.

Safewise.com ranked Conover, Newton, Hickory and Long View in the top 100 Safest Cities in NC in 2017.

USA Today ranked Hickory the third biggest economic gainer of 2017, after rising 64 places to No. 103 on Milken Institute’s list of Best-Performing Cities in America.

WTVI PBS Charlotte featured downtown Newton in a January episode of “Carolina Impact” showcasing the Catawba County Museum of History, the Old Post Office Playhouse and the historic Newton Depot and Museum.

National Geographic – Hickory was ranked in the top 30 best small cities in the U.S. and noted for hipster-friendly offerings, from tattoo parlors to vintage clothing boutiques. Craft-beer enthusiasts gather at the popular annual Hickory Hops festival featuring more than 50 microbreweries and live music.

The Kiplinger Letter ranked Hickory in the top 10 best places to retire in the U.S. in August 2017. It detailed our moderate weather and location, low cost of living, vibrant arts scene, access to quality health care and revitalization efforts as evidence of a thriving quality of life.

Realtor.Com named Hickory as the top “Tinsel Town” in America for holiday lovers. We were placed at the top of the list after considering a variety of holiday aspects, including Christmas parades, holiday events, and the number of Christmas trees cut down.

SmartAsset, a financial technology company, ranked Hickory as the ninth best place to raise a family in North Carolina. The study considered 10 different factors, including data on median home values, violent and property crime rates, unemployment rates, housing costs, percent of families in poverty, high school graduation rate, and median household income.

Charlotte Magazine published an article last week on the thriving business climate in the Hickory Metro featuring Chamber Shareholders and Investors, Century Furniture, the Hickory Furniture Mart, Transportation Insight, Hatch Sandwich Bar, Hickory Tree Furniture Consignment, and Highland Avenue Restaurant, among a few other local businesses.

“Carolina Reno” featured Conover-grown entrepreneur brother-sister duo, Roxy Te Owens and San San Te, in the pilot episode last weekend on HGTV. Pending great ratings, there’s potential for a Catawba County-based series.

Although we didn’t make the short list for Amazon’s HQ2, we received regional, national and global press from publications such as the Charlotte Business Journal, CNBC.com, the Seattle Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Washington Times, only to name a few.

Business North Carolina Magazine states in their February 2018 feature, “For Catawba County, it looks like the best is yet to come.” I concur.

Lindsay Keisler is president and CEO of the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce.

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