Economic Development


The City of Marion is active in business recruitment and retention offering a wide range of assistance and programs to help strengthen the local economy. The Marion Economic Development Office is operated by the Marion Business Association, which coordinates activities with various economic development partners at the local, regional, and state levels. From business incentives to site and location planning, the Marion Economic Development Office provides direct assistance for those looking to do business in Marion.

Partner Agencies

The City of Marion, Marion Business Association, McDowell County, McDowell Chamber of Commerce, McDowell Economic Development Association, and partner agencies offer numerous programs designed to assist with business and real estate development in Marion. 

For more information please contact Freddie Killough.

Available Commercial Properties

For information on available commercial properties in Marion, please visit Marion North Carolina Commercial Properties on Facebook.

Industrial / Workforce Development

The McDowell Economic Development Association takes the lead on industrial development in Marion and McDowell County and is assisted by the City of Marion, McDowell County, the McDowell Chamber of Commerce, and the Marion Business Association.

Marion and McDowell County have a strong manufacturing heritage, with available sites and a great workforce suited to almost any company. The City, County, and other agencies are committed to workforce development and helping new or expanding businesses to fill available jobs. As part of this effort, in 2018, McDowell County became the first County in North Carolina and one of only a handful of communities nationwide to complete a Strategic Employment Plan to identify ways to increase the workforce and to fill available positions.

For more information about industrial development, please contact:

  • Chuck Abernathy, Executive Director
    McDowell Economic Development AssociationAntique Cash Register
    • Physical Address:
      Universal Building
      634 College Drive
      Marion, NC 28752
    • Mailing Address:
      60 East Court Street
      Marion, NC 28752
    • Phone: 828-652-9391
    • Email Chuck Abernathy


Marion has experienced rapid growth in recent years. In 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that Marion had a permanent population of 7,838 residents, as of the April 1, 2010 Census, an increase of 58.6% over the 2000 Census figure of 4,943 for Marion. This considerable increase places Marion among the fastest-growing communities in North Carolina over the past years. The City's 2014 State-certified population is 8,223 and continues the rapid growth shown by the City of Marion in recent decades. Since 1970, Marion has increased in population by 147%. Because of Marion's growth in recent years, Marion was designated by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2013 as a Micropolitan Statistical Area. 

Micropolitan Statistical Area

Micropolitan Areas are a fairly recent designation of the U.S. Census Bureau and are defined as areas with an urban core of at least 10,000 residents but less than 50,000 total population plus adjacent territory that has a high degree of social and economic integration with the urban core. The Marion Micropolitan Area includes a population of approximately 45,000 people. The Marion Urban Core has a population of 13,363, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, representing approximately 30% of the population of the Marion Micropolitan Area.

Marion is one of 25 designated Micropolitan Areas in North Carolina and one of 536 such areas in the United States. The Marion Micropolitan Area ranks in the top half in population among the 536 Micropolitan Areas in the United States. Marion was named one of the Top 100 Micropolitan Areas in the United States, in terms of economic growth, in 2014 by Site Selection magazine.

Past trends and its excellent location indicate that Marion and its Micropolitan Area are poised for additional growth in the future.

City Awards & Recognitions

The City of Marion has received many awards and recognitions in recent years, involving a variety of departments and services.