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Regional Profiles – South – Charlotte – The New South’s Crown Jewel

Although you may not know it, you’re likely sitting under a roof paid for by a Charlotte area native, C.D. Spangler (HBS 1956). His National Gypsum Company thrives in the North Carolina city that is now home to eight Fortune 500 companies and countless smaller businesses.

Charlotte uniquely offers metropolitan living with suburban convenience. Its striking skyline of 60-story buildings where the majority of banking, law, consulting, public relations and accounting business takes place is just a few miles from oak tree-lined neighborhoods. The cost of living is 30% less than that of Boston, while residents enjoy vibrant cultural events such as the symphony and opera, professional sports teams, an annual PGA tournament, upscale dining and shopping, and a world class whitewater rafting center. Charlotte is the nation’s second largest financial center yet provides fertile conditions for new businesses, offering low taxes, labor costs and bureaucracy. These factors led CNNMoney.com to name Charlotte #8 of the 100 “Best Places to Live and Launch” in 2008.

Most travelers find the Carolinas a charming region, not just for the average 50 degree highs in January, but also for its proximity to the mountains and beaches. Charlotte is situated just two hours from the Blue Ridge Mountains where you can hike, ski, horse back ride, camp or simply relax at a quaint Bed and Breakfast in one of the picturesque towns like Cashiers or Blowing Rock, or you can also choose to indulge at the legendary Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa in Asheville. Three to four hours in the opposite direction, you will find yourself on the wide beaches of South Carolina, in places like Kiawah Island, Hilton Head, Georgetown and Charleston. Spend your days in South Carolina’s low country golfing on award-winning courses, feasting on low country delicacies like pimento cheese and soft shell crabs, touring pre-and post-Civil War historic sites like Fort Sumter, or simply lie in the sun and play in the surf. Charlotte’s proximity to the Research Triangle (Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh) makes it an ideal location for the business owner looking for the latest technological advances.

The true gem of Charlotte is its people. Carolina folks are hospitable, say “y’all”, and make the best darn barbeque you’ve ever put in your mouth. Nicknamed the “Hornet’s Nest” by the British General Cornwallis for their stinging resistance during the Revolutionary War, Charlotteans celebrate their heritage each year on May 20, commemorating Charlotte’s signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence in 1775, the first declaration of independence of the thirteen colonies.

With the Queens Cup Steeplechase horse races April 25, the Wachovia PGA Championship April 27 through May 3 and the Spoleto Arts Festival in Charleston May 27 to June 2, you have run out of reasons not to visit Charlotte and the Carolinas this spring!

February 2, 2009
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