economic development guide

Carpet Comeback

Diversification, innovation keeps Dalton’s top industry competitive
Sponsored by the Dalton Whitfield County Joint Development Authority | 2013

economic development guide

Rolling Out the Red Carpet
Greater Dalton diversifies, welcomes new industries

10 14 18 23

Carpet Comeback
Diversification, innovation keep region’s carpet industry competitive

Retail Resurgence
Shoppers, retail businesses flock to Greater Dalton

In the Green

Companies bolster commitment to sustainable products, processes

Overview 5 Almanac 6


Transportation 26 Health 31 Education 35 Livability 38 Gallery 42 Economic Profile 44



On the Cover Based in the Greater Dalton area, Mohawk Industries makes carpet, hardwood, tile, laminate, luxury vinyl and area rugs designed for both residential and commercial applications.
Photo by Brian MCCord


All or part of this magazine is printed with soy ink on recycled paper containing 10% post-consumer waste.

Please recycle this magazine

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Digital Edition
Retail Resurgence
Shoppers, retail businesses flock to Greater Dalton
Story by Liisa Sullivan • Photography by Brian McCord

ith more than 100,000 people in Whitfield County and thousands more in surrounding counties, Greater Dalton is becoming a hot spot for retail and entertainment in Northwest Georgia. One of the largest downtown districts in Georgia, Dalton is home to more than 300 businesses with approximately 3,000 employees, according to the Dalton Whitfield County Joint Development Authority. Since 2011, retail sales in Dalton have been growing at 10 percent,


twice the state’s average. This is due, in part, to local efforts to keep the sales tax rate the lowest in Georgia. “Our mayor has been a driving force in keeping the sales tax rate low,” says Alex Stall, senior project manager for the Dalton Whitfield County Joint Development Authority. “While it recently increased to six percent, it’s still the lowest in the area, making us that much more retail-friendly.” Stall also attributes the rise in retail to the growth in area shopping venues.

“This increase makes it easier for people to shop locally,” he says. “For example, we now have an Academy Sports and Outdoors; this is unlike anything we’ve had before. Kohl’s and Petco are also newcomers to Shugart Road.” The region’s mall – Walnut Square Mall – provides a familyfriendly shopping experience and is the only enclosed mall located in North Georgia. “We are constantly working to bring new retailers not only to the mall, but also to Dalton,” says Walnut Square manager Brandy

A shopper browses merchandise at Sweet Cheeks Denim Boutique, one of several retailers drawing business to downtown Dalton.


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economic development guide
201 3 Edition , volume 2 editorial project manager Emily McMackin Content Director Bill McMeekin Proofreading Manager Raven Petty Content Coordinator Jessica Walker Boehm Staff Writer Kevin Litwin Contributing writers Nan Bauroth, John Fuller, Liisa Sullivan, Kelly Kagamas Tomkies, Stephanie vozza, Gary Wollenhaupt Senior Graphic Designers Stacey Allis, Laura Gallagher, Kris Sexton, Jake Shores, Vikki Williams Graphic Designers Kara Leiby, Erica lampley, Kacey Passmore Senior Photographers Jeff Adkins, Brian McCord Staff Photographers Martin B. Cherry, Michael Conti color imaging technician alison hunter Integrated Media Manager jordan moore Ad Production Manager Katie Middendorf Ad Traffic Assistants Krystin Lemmon, Patricia Moisan Chairman Greg Thurman President/Publisher Bob Schwartzman Executive Vice President Ray Langen Senior V.P./Sales Todd Potter Senior V.P./Operations Casey Hester Senior V.P./Client Development Jeff Heefner Senior V.P./Agribusiness Publishing kim holmberg V.P./business Development Clay Perry V.P./external communications Teree Caruthers V.P./Visual Content Mark Forester V.P./Content Operations Natasha Lorens V.P./travel publishing susan chappell V.P./Sales Rhonda Graham, Herb Harper, Jarek Swekosky Controller Chris Dudley Senior Accountant Lisa Owens Accounts Payable Coordinator Maria McFarland Accounts Receivable Coordinator Diana Guzman Sales Support Coordinator Christina Morgan Sales Support project manager sara quint it director Daniel cantrell Web Creative Director Allison Davis Web Content Manager John Hood Web Designer II richard stevens Web Development Lead Yamel Hall Web Developer I Nels noseworthy Photography Director Jeffrey S. Otto Creative Services Director Christina Carden Creative Technology Analyst Becca ary Audience Development Director Deanna Nelson New Media Assistant Alyssa DiCicco Distribution Director Gary Smith Executive Secretary Kristy Giles Human Resources Manager Peggy Blake Receptionist Linda Bishop

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economic development guide

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Carpet Comeback

Diversification, innovation keeps Dalton’s top industry competitive
SponSored by the dalton Whitfield County Joint development authority | 2013

Read the magazine on your computer, zoom in on articles and link to advertiser websites. site guide >> Find available commercial and industrial properties with our searchable database. success breeds success >> Meet the people who set the pace for business innovation. Dig Deeper >> Plug into the community with links to local websites and resources to give you a big picture of the region. Demographics >> A wealth of demographic and statistical information puts the community at your fingertips.

A spotlight on the region’s innovative companies

Dalton-Whitfield Economic Development Guide is published annually by Journal Communications Inc. and is distributed through the Dalton Whitfield County Joint Development Authority. For advertising information or to direct questions or comments about the magazine, contact Journal Communications Inc. at (615) 771-0080 or by email at info@jnlcom.com.

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he new state-of-the-art lobby at the Courtyard Dalton provides greater flexibility and choices for our guests. The features of our new lobby are inviting, flexible spaces to work or relax in, free Wi-Fi throughout, and easy access to the latest news, weather and airport conditions via our GoBoard. The highlight of our new lobby experience is The Bistro – Eat.

Drink. Connect., which provides guests with healthy food and beverage offerings such as Starbucks coffee in the morning and evening dinner service with cocktails. We offer an indoor pool and whirlpool, a gas fire pit in our courtyard area, and a well-equipped fitness center. A 24-hour business center and boarding pass printing service is also available. Your stay at the Courtyard Dalton is sure to be

more comfortable, more productive and more enjoyable than ever before.

Courtyard by Marriott 785 College Dr. Dalton, GA 30720 (706) 275-7215 (706) 275-7216 fax



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Success Stories Created Here
businesses Flourish in greater dalton region
A community driven by innovation, the Greater Dalton area is rich in history, commerce, industry and culture. While Dalton will hopefully always be known for its $14 billion carpet and floor covering industry, the region has transformed itself into a center for innovation and research in various high-tech industries, including chemicals, automotive production and renewable energy. Just 25 miles south of Chattanooga and 85 miles north of Atlanta, Dalton is in the heart of Northwest Georgia. With half of the nation’s population within a day’s drive, the area is ideal for distribution, manufacturing and retail. Dalton’s solid infrastructure and progressive attitude has helped build its reputation within the region, nation and even internationally as a business-friendly community. In addition to top carpet and flooring companies, national and international companies, including Shiroki North America Inc., StarChem and Textile Rubber Corporation, as well as many other manufacturing firms, have made Dalton their home. with possessing the amenities and infrastructure of a manufacturing powerhouse, the region’s cost of business is among the lowest in the nation. A strong workforce fuels Dalton’s manufacturing powerhouse, with two public school systems, a four-year college and a technical college. In addition to its schools and colleges, Dalton is also a Georgia Work Ready certified community – a workforce development initiative that assesses real-world skills of Dalton’s workers, provides job training and helps companies reliably match the right people with the right jobs. Beyond industry and education, Dalton enjoys top-rated health care that contributes to the quality of life and economic growth of the area. Hamilton Medical Center recently

earned the Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence Award, ranking it among the nation’s top 5 percent of hospitals. If you’re looking for a community that offers internationally recognized manufacturing capabilities, look no further than Greater Dalton. With its low cost of business, history of innovation, high-tech industries and family-friendly environment, it’s easy to see why Greater Dalton is an ideal place to live, work and play. For more information, contact: Greater Dalton Chamber/ Dalton Whitfield County Joint Development Authority 100 S. Hamilton St. Dalton, GA 30720-4216 (706) 278-7373 TENNESSEE www.locationdalton.com

Cohutta Varnell

The Right Place and People
Carbondale Business Park offers an attractive option for businesses searching for a new location for manufacturing, distribution or retail. The business park’s certification by a third party as a Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development (GRAD) ensures its speed to meet project timelines and minimizes the risks for relocating and expanding companies. With easy access to I-75, automobile manufacturers in Chattanooga and the Southeastern U.S. are just a short drive away. Since 2009, more than $1.2 billion in private capital has been invested in new plants and plant expansions in Greater Dalton – a testament to the area’s idyllic economic and corporate climate for growing businesses. Along

Tunnel Hill


Rocky Face





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What's Old Is New Again
For more than a century, the historic U.S. Post Office has been a signature structure in downtown Dalton. Constructed in 1909, the three-story, Georgian-style building is the work of James Knox Taylor, the supervising architect of the U.S. Treasury Building in Washington, D.C. Recent renovations have brought the structure into the 21st century and have attracted new tenants, such as the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce and the Carpet and Rug Institute, both of which have chosen the building as the location for their new offices.

Downtown Fun
From festivals to races, Downtown Dalton stages several popular events throughout the year. In June, the Beer Festival allows residents to sample more than 40 domestic and international beers during an afternoon of tastings. Shoppers can buy locally grown produce at the Farm to Table Market open every Thursday night throughout September. The first of October, Half-Marathon brings the community together for a 13-mile trek through Dalton’s historic streets and neighborhoods to benefit local charities. Later in the month, the Liberty Tree BBQ and Music Festival draws crowds downtown for free live music and a smorgasbord of barbecue. For a full calendar of events, visit www.downtowndalton.com.

A Hot Commodity
For cold-natured customers looking for immediate warmth, HotHands packs plenty of heat. The popular line of disposable hand warmers is manufactured and distributed by HeatMax, a division of Kobayashi Healthcare, LLC, based in Dalton. Made from a specially packaged mixture of natural ingredients such as iron powder, salt and activated charcoal, the hand warmers produce heat through an orderless oxidation process that starts as soon as their ingredients are exposed to air. They range in temperature from 100 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit and can exceed more than 20 hours depending on the model. Learn more about the product at www.heatmax.com.


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High Marks
Dalton State College is one of America's most affordable colleges, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s 2012 College Affordability and Transparency list. The college, which rose from its 2011 position on the list, ranked among the top 10 percent of four-year schools for lowest tuition and fee rates. Dalton State's low-cost education represents a great value for college students, especially with more than half of the faculty holding doctorate degrees. View more of the college's accolades at www.daltonstate.edu.

Above Par
Golfers can find plenty of places to tee up in Greater Dalton. The area is home to several championship-level courses including: The Farm Golf Club: This 18-hole, par-72 course designed by Tom Fazio covers 7,012 yards and has been played by many of the game's most seasoned pros including Tiger Woods. Dalton Golf and Country Club: This private 18-hole course with Bermuda fairways is a Gary Player Championship designed course covering 6,649 yards. North Nob Golf: This 18-hole, par-72 course also features a Gary Player layout and covers 6,561 yards. Tunnel Hill Golf Course: Known as The Pasture, this scenic nine-hole course spans 3,329 yards and was designed by golf architect Sam Pullen.

Center of Activity
Dalton’s residents have a new place to play thanks to the recent opening of its new community center. Inside the $4 million, 45,000-square-foot center are meeting rooms, an indoor walking track, an exercise room with treadmills, elliptical machines and weights, and two full-sized basketball courts. The outside of the center will feature a playground, splash pad area, picnic pavilions and athletic fields once construction is complete. The center is expected to serve 10,000 people per month. For more on the center's features and hours, visit www.mydprd.com.

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Dining at the Depot
Located at the former Western & Atlantic (W&A) railroad station, Dalton Depot and Trackside Tavern offers a meal rich in flavor and history. Built in 1853, the depot was part of the legendary Great Locomotive Chase of 1862, and was one of the few train stations to survive General William Sherman’s march through Georgia. Today the full-service restaurant and bar provides a fine dining experience served in a Victorian-era setting with live entertainment and a menu derived from premium ingredients like prime grade sirloin, White Marble Farms pork and locally raised ground beef and bison. Dig into the rich history of this National Historic Landmark at www.thedaltondepot.net .

A Cut Above
From titanium, steel and copper to glass, marble and tile, Dalton-based Semyx LLC makes waterjet cutting systems that can slice through virtually any type of material. Semyx’s machines are sold globally and used for precision cutting across a range of industries including aerospace, automotive, defense, food production, and yacht and boatbuilding. Along with tougher metals, the machines also cut softer materials such as rubber, foam and plastic. Semyx recently inked an endorsement deal with West Coast Customs, which uses its machines to cut body panels, emblems and graphics for cars at its customization shop featured on reality shows on TLC and the Discovery Channel. View Semyx’s product line at http://semyx.com.

A Healthy Challenge
Eight million. That's how many miles of walking, cycling and running were logged by residents in Whitfield and Murray counties as part of the Community In-Motion challenge sponsored by the Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership. Comprised of a consortium of 30 business and industry leaders along with area health-care providers, educators and public officials, the not-forprofit group promotes healthy living through its community wellness and disease prevention programs. This is the fourth year for its annual Community In-Motion challenge. Find out how to join its efforts at www.nghp.org.

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Business Climate

Rolling Out the Red Carpet
Greater Dalton diversifies, welcomes new industries


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Story by Stephanie Vozza • Photography by Brian McCord

he carpet industry has laid the groundwork for economic growth in the Greater Dalton area – and other industries are taking notice. As the Carpet Capital of the World, Dalton’s strategic location along Interstate 75, ready workforce of 1.3 million and innovative heritage are drawing a range of companies, from automotive suppliers to plastics and chemical makers, to Whitfield County. “Our economic development efforts are relatively new when compared to other communities in Georgia and the Southeast,” says Elyse CochranDavis, executive director of the Dalton-Whitfield County Joint Development Authority. “For decades, we’ve been home to the carpet industry, and in 2006, local leaders realized the importance of diversification of the local industrial base.” As the carpet industry transitions into a higher level of automation, the area will become more and more attractive to other advanced manufacturing companies, Cochran-Davis says.


“We did an industry study that looked at our infrastructure, logistics, capital and labor force, and determined that our community is well-suited as a match for automotive, chemical, food processing, data centers and high-end retail,” Cochran-Davis says. “We generate leads through the State Department of Economic Development as well as through statewide and regional utilities such as ECG, Georgia Power, TVA and Dalton Utilities. We also work with global site location consultants that are hired by corporations to do site searches. In addition, we target specific companies we feel will be a good match and go after them.”
Competitive Advantages Selling the area is made easier due to its strong advantages. Along with its location and workforce, Dalton-Whitfield County offers low-cost, reliable utilities, expertise in manufacturing and distribution, and a business-friendly environment that is home to one of the lowest tax rates in the state. The county

Mohawk Industries, which makes flooring for residential and commercial uses, is one of several area carpet companies expanding.

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Many of Mohawk Industries’ carpets and area rugs are designed and made at the Mohawk Durkan Plant in Dalton.

recently adopted a new Freeport tax exemption on business inventory for manufacturers, and sales tax on energy usage is also being phased out. The new 184-acre Carbondale Business Park, recently named a Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development (GRAD) site, offers direct access to I-75, full utilities and tracts of land that range from three to 50 acres. Adhesive manufacturer XL Brands LLC is the park’s first tenant. “Carbondale Business Park is just one of 21 sites in the state of Georgia that is GRAD certified,” Cochran-Davis says. “That means all of the due diligence and environmental studies are complete. Companies can come in and immediately build. The site is there because of the vision of the Whitfield County Board of Commissioners, and it has

generated at least three quarters of the leads that we have seen. The park is an integral part of our economic development efforts.”
New Jobs, Investment “In the business of economic development, relationship building is critical,” Cochran-Davis adds. “When companies are ready to expand, we want them to consider their Dalton, Georgia location.” Existing industries have scored several successes over the past year. HeatMax, makers of HotHands Warmers, recently announced a $6 million expansion that will grow its manufacturing area from 9,000 to 25,000 square feet. “We need to add production capacity,” says John Weathers, chief financial officer for HeatMax. “We

clean energy crossroadsdalton welcomes natural gas fueling station
Clean Energy, America’s largest provider of natural gas fuel for transportation, is making plans to open an LNG truck fueling station at the Dalton Pilot Flying J Travel Center near Carbondale Industrial Park on Interstate 75. The Dalton station is one of Clean Energy’s initial 150 LNG truck fueling stations along “America’s Natural Gas Highway.” The opening of these first stations coincides with the expected arrival of new natural gas truck engines well-suited for heavy-duty, over-the-road trucking and powered by cleaner, cheaper and all-American natural gas. To learn more, visit www.cleanenergyfuels.com.


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Above: Adhesive manufacturer XL Brands recently opened a facility in Dalton’s 184-acre Carbondale Business Park. Below: Workers package products at HeatMax, which recently invested $6 million to expand its production space.

are bringing one item from our [parent company] Kobayashi line, which is made in Japan, and producing it domestically. This will mean hiring about 10 more people.” Automotive supplier Shiroki North America added 85 jobs. Vinyl manufacturer IVC US added a third shift and 30 new jobs to keep up with growing market demands. Engineered Floors recently built Phase I of its new facility, investing $65 million in a new 470,000-square-foot carpet yarn plant employing 200-plus. And Mohawk Industries recently launched a $22 million expansion, creating a minimum of 35 new jobs. “When we hear an expansion announcement, it tells us those companies view the community as a location where they can make profit,” Cochran-Davis says. “If we were not a community with a business climate conducive to profitability, companies would not continue to invest in their facilities.” Mayor Dave Pennington agrees. “Thanks to the carpet industry, the Dalton area has a world-class manufacturing infrastructure,” Pennington says. “As the national economy improves and U.S. manufacturing continues to bring more of their offshore manufacturing back, Dalton is wellpositioned to outperform the rest of the nation.”

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Dalton-based Shaw Industries is a full-service flooring company that employs about 25,000 people.


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Carpet Comeback
Diversification, innovation make region’s carpet industry more competitive than ever
Story by John Fuller and Kevin Litwin Photography by Brian McCord


Shaw Industries’ showroom in Dalton includes samples of hardwood, laminate, tile and stone, carpet and vinyl flooring from brands such as Patcraft and Queen Carpets.

reater Dalton has long been known as the “Carpet Capital of the World” – and not even one of the worst recessions in U.S. history has been able to change that. Home to key carpet companies like Mohawk, Shaw, Beaulieu of America and J&J Industries, the area’s top industry is not only making a comeback, but it is emerging stronger than ever, thanks to the adaptability, persistence and ingenuity of its leaders. Buoyed by the recent spike in home sales and construction, the area has witnessed an increase in expansions by area carpet companies. Other firms have also ramped up their facilities, investing in state-of-the-art machinery to keep their plants cutting edge. When business slowed during the recession and its accompanying housing slump, carpet firms like Mohawk used the period to retool
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and make their facilities more efficient. “During the past several years, we have invested in improving infrastructure; upgrading talent; refining manufacturing, logistics and sales processes; and developing products,” says Robert Webb, Mohawk’s senior director of public affairs and corporate communications. Along with a $22 million expansion and upgrade of its extrusion facilities, Mohawk recently added two new collections to its array of residential and commercial carpet, area rugs, bath mats and accent rugs. The company has also expanded its offerings to include ceramic tile, hardwood and laminate collections.
Success through Diversification Shaw Industries CEO Vance Bell says his company is stronger today than it was going into the recession. “We’ve invested $1 billion in assets, technology, systems and logistics over the last five years to retool and reposition our company for long-term success,” Bell says.

Part of that investment included diversifying the company’s product base with three hardwood acquisitions and a foray into the turf business. “We are growing globally with expansions of our commercial carpet tile sales and manufacturing capacity in the Asia Pacific region, plus we are well positioned for growth in all areas of our business as the housing market continues to rebound,” Bell says. The recent downturn represented the most challenging period the carpet industry has ever faced in its 50-plus years of existence, says Beaulieu of America CEO Ralph Boe, but his firm has weathered the aftermath by concentrating on areas of the business that have remained successful, from apartments and rehabilitated home foreclosures to “the higher end of the market where consumers with reasonable amounts of income are still spending money.” Diversification has also played a role in recovery at Beaulieu, which just debuted a line of carpet for

the hospitality industry as well as a commercial brand of carpet for corporate, health-care, retail and other high-demand applications.
Innovative techniques Innovative processes for developing carpet are also giving Dalton companies a competitive edge. Beaulieu’s new carpet treatment, Magic Fresh, converts noxious odors in rooms into odorless gas. “More than 300 products in our line today are treated with Magic Fresh, plus we have other products with a silver release on them called Bliss – an anti-microbial that minimizes the growth of mold and mildew in moist environments,” Boe says. Commercial carpet maker J&J Industries recently rolled out Kintex, a vinyl-based, hard surface carpet material for high-traffic areas such as school hallways and hospital corridors. “It’s thin, durable, environmentally friendly and has good traction while minimizing noise,” says David Jolly, J&J Industries president and CEO.

Along with retooling its facilities, Shaw Industries has diversified its product base.


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Top and bottom right: Founded in 1957, family-owned commercial carpet maker J&J Industries continues to innovate its products, recently introducing a vinylbased hard surface carpet material for high-traffic areas.

Dalton Draws Foreign Investment
Nearly 10 years ago, Andreas Bruhwiler moved to Dalton from Switzerland to launch his business supplying heat-setting rubber rollers to manufacturers. The founder of Alrol of America has never looked back. “I started Alrol from ground zero and wanted to be close to the field into which our rollers would go – the carpet industry,” Bruhwiler says. “Today we do business with numerous local companies.” Alrol refurbishes rubber on rollers used on machines with conveyor belts. Though the company now provides 20 varieties of rollers with bonding capabilities used in industries ranging from packaging to printing, the carpet industry is still its top customer. “Our customers like Alrol’s performance, reliability and quality,” Bruhwiler says. “We add Swiss quality to American craftsmanship.” Another Swiss-based textile supplier, SwissTex America, opened its headquarters in Dalton in 2011. Along with producing equipment for complete yarn extrusion plants, the firm supplies equipment for making glass fibers and technical yarns like those used in flameretardant material and tire cord. “Dalton and Whitfield County have been very welcoming to us,” says president Elichai Hoenig. “Companies here have a long tradition of helping one another regardless of whether they are competitors or not – that’s the spirit of the Dalton community.” Floor covering makers around the globe are also drawn to Dalton. At the height of the recession, Belgium vinyl floor covering maker IVC US broke ground on a $75 million plant in Dalton. IVC celebrated its first anniversary in Dalton by announcing its plans to add a third shift, extending production to five days a week and creating 30 more jobs. “We have grown new markets and expanded existing ones, and we have achieved this largely by taking share from our competitors,” says Xavier Steyaert, co-CEO of IVC US. “If it were not for the community and people here, we might have gone somewhere else. We have incredible partners here helping us here.” – Kevin Litwin
Pho to C ou rte sy o f Al r ol

Photo Courtesy of James Schoomaker

“It’s one of the most advanced carpeting innovations the commercial industry has seen in quite a while.” Shaw co-founder Bob Shaw came out of retirement to launch Engineered Floors, which has reengineered the process of making solution-dyed polyester carpet, resulting in reductions of water usage, energy and greenhouse gas emissions. The firm recently completed the second expansion of its new 470,000-square-foot Dalton facility, which employs more than 200. By the end of 2013, it expects to double the size of both its facility and workforce. Shaw cites the region’s superior transportation assets and skilled labor as its biggest advantages and his desire to help reinvigorate the regional economy as his motivation for reentering the business. “The community has so much going for it,” Shaw says.

Photo Courtesy of James Schoomaker

Retail Resurgence
Shoppers, retail businesses flock to Greater Dalton
Story by Liisa Sullivan • Photography by Brian McCord

ith more than 100,000 people in Whitfield County and thousands more in surrounding counties, Greater Dalton is becoming a hot spot for retail and entertainment in Northwest Georgia. One of the largest downtown districts in Georgia, Dalton is home to more than 300 businesses with approximately 3,000 employees, according to the Dalton Whitfield County Joint Development Authority. Since 2011, retail sales in Dalton have been growing at 10 percent,


twice the state’s average. This is due, in part, to local efforts to keep the sales tax rate the lowest in Georgia. “Our mayor has been a driving force in keeping the sales tax rate low,” says Alex Stall, senior project manager for the Dalton Whitfield County Joint Development Authority. “While it recently increased to six percent, it’s still the lowest in the area, making us that much more retail-friendly.” Stall also attributes the rise in retail to the growth in area shopping venues.

“This increase makes it easier for people to shop locally,” he says. “For example, we now have an Academy Sports and Outdoors; this is unlike anything we’ve had before. Kohl’s and Petco are also newcomers to Shugart Road.” The region’s mall – Walnut Square Mall – provides a familyfriendly shopping experience and is the only enclosed mall located in North Georgia. “We are constantly working to bring new retailers not only to the mall, but also to Dalton,” says Walnut Square manager Brandy

A shopper browses merchandise at Sweet Cheeks Denim Boutique, one of several retailers drawing business to downtown Dalton.


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M. Whaley. “CBL & Associates Management has solid relationships with hundreds of retailers throughout the country, and we continue to look for ways to enhance our tenant mix.”
Downtown Revitalization Since 2008, more than 40 businesses have set up shop in downtown Dalton including Cotton & Twine, Sweet Cheeks Denim Boutique, Maxx

Outsourcing, Lisa’s Cafe and Catering, Fit Factory, Hamilton’s Food & Spirits, Total Tuft, State Farm Insurance, O’Gwin Investment Planning, Magnolia Creative, and the Sweet Spot. The Downtown Dalton Development Authority (DDDA) is doing its part to draw people and traffic downtown through its Main Street program. “The Main Street program drives our efforts to revitalize

downtown Dalton,” says DDDA director Veronica French. “Our goal is to create a positive image that will rekindle community pride, increase population density and improve consumer and investor confidence in our commercial district. We work to retain and expand successful businesses to provide a balanced commercial mix by sharpening the competitiveness and merchandising skills of


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Clockwise from left: One of the largest downtown districts in Georgia, Downtown Dalton is home to more than 300 businesses; Customers enjoy frozen yogurt from The Sweet Spot, one of several new businesses downtown; Cotton and Twine Boutique downtown caters to women shopping for fashionable, affordable clothing; Anchored by Belk, JCPenney and Sears, Walnut Square Mall is home to more than 60 specialty stores, including American Eagle and Bath & Body Works, and has a 12-screen movie theater.

business owners and attracting new businesses that the market can support.”
After Hours Activities The friendly charm and beauty of Dalton’s historic downtown also attracts shoppers, and civic groups hope to enhance its appeal even more. The University of Georgia’s Archway Partnership is working with the Grow Greater

Dalton initiative, sponsored by the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce, to develop plans for a walkable district downtown with access to art and entertainment venues, parks, and hiking and cycling trails. With more young adults working downtown, the DDDA, along with the Young Professionals of Northwest Georgia and the Dalton Hospitality Association,

are looking for ways to encourage people to stay downtown after the workday ends through activities such as networking functions, festivals, volunteer opportunities and more. “We have created several events and social meetings that engage and involve young professionals in the downtown revitalization effort,” French says.
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In the Green
Greater Dalton companies bolster commitment to sustainable products, processes
Story by Nan Bauroth Photography by Brian McCord

other Nature has gone into the carpet business. In Greater Dalton, where carpet has long been king, companies are ramping up their commitment to the environment by incorporating more sustainable products and processes into their operations. As a result, they’re discovering green can be gold. “Carpet companies in this region are our partner,” says Don Cope, president and CEO of Dalton Utilities. “We enter into many sustainable projects because it is more cost-effective for us to do them on a larger scale than it would be for our customers to do them individually. This allows our customer base to benefit and take credit for sustainable projects.” Dalton Utilities’ green initiatives center on its 9,800-acre Land Application System, which is used for environmentally-friendly wastewater treatment. There, the utility provides treated wastewater to cool a merchant power plant for a major state water reuse project, composts biosolids, creates biodiesel and produces solar energy that generates renewable credits for future use.
Cutting Back on Consumption The carpet industry is also finding ways to reduce water consumption during the manufacturing process. In a first of its kind for the industry, J&J Industries adopted the Aquafinity


BASF, which operates a Carpeting Technical Service Center in Dalton, recently developed the first latex for carpet backing adhesive made with renewable materials.
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Water Reclamation System, a breakthrough method of removing dye and chemical additives from manufacturing wastewater. It allows J&J to reuse 65 to 70 percent of wastewater fed to the system, saving an estimated 2.2 million gallons per month. “With the Aquafinity System, we are going to see warmer, cleaner and more consistent water than we have ever seen,” says Howard Elder, J&J’s director of research and environmental affairs. “We won’t have to use as much energy to warm the city’s water, and this process should improve quality in the dyeing process, enabling us to save 5 billion BTUs of energy each year – the equivalent energy to power 150 local homes for a full year.” Instead of using water to color its fiber, Engineered Floors uses solution-dyed polyster, an innovative process that saves millions of gallons of water per year.

BASF Debuts Sustainable Latex Chemical company BASF has responded to carpet manufacturing sustainability goals by launching the first latex for carpet backing adhesive made with renewable materials. “Our Styrofan ECO 4810 Latex is exclusive to carpet backing applications, but we have other technologies used by f looring manufacturers besides traditional carpet,” says Bert Templeton, business manager for carpet. Other Greater Dalton companies increasing sustainability efforts include Mohawk Industries, which diverts more than three billion pounds of material from landfills each year and is a major provider of renewable f looring, as well as U.S. Floors, which uses solar power to supply up to half of its energy and makes eco-friendly bamboo and cork f looring.

Industry Growing Greener The industry has made strides toward environmental protection, according to the Carpet and Rug Institute. It is one of the only industries in the U.S. to voluntarily meet the Kyoto Protocol for carbon dioxide emissions – and its emission level today remains at 1990 levels, despite producing more product. The energy used to produce a square yard of carpet has fallen 70 percent since 1990, with water usage dropping 46 percent. Carpet recycling efforts have also saved about 1.5 billion pounds of waste from being deposited in landfills. “Over the next two to three years, the carpet industry will be looking at Environmental Product Declarations,” Elder says. “These are a comprehensive way of looking at carpet to explain relevant, verified and comparable information about its environmental impact in a format consumers can understand.”

Aquafinity Water Reclamation System
Using a unique combination of filters and reverse osmosis, J&J Industries’ Aquafinity Water Reclamation System is cleaning industrial wastewater by removing dye and chemical additives. The innovative system, which was launched in March 2012 in Dalton, is predicted to enable the company to recycle approximately 25 to 27 million gallons of wastewater on an annual basis. In addition, the system will save 5 billion BTUs of energy each year while also protecting the nearby Conasauga River Watershed and its more than 75 fish species. J&J Industries is offering tours of its Aquafinity facility to associates, customers, regional officials and competitors. To learn more, visit www.jj-invision.com.

Recycled Water Back to Dye House

J&J Industries Dye House


Screen Filter

Ultra Filter

Reverse Osmosis

Wastewater Pit

Concentrated Dye House Effinent

Make-up Water from Dalton Utilities

Dalton Utilities


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Quick Connections
Region’s broadband offers Fast, reliable data transport for businesses
Dalton-Whitfield is ahead of the bandwidth demand curve. Dalton Utilities offers a 100 percent fiber optic backbone and fiber optic connectivity to all of its telecommunications customers with connections that run to their premises, which is the first network of its kind in Georgia. This ensures that they benefit from lightning-quick data transport speeds up to 2.5 GB per second to stay competitive in a nonstop, 24/7 world. “Our OptiLink telecom system moves data so fast that one major carpet company is much closer to a just-in-time operation,” says Don Cope, president and CEO of Dalton Utilities. “They can take orders, automate financial reporting, logistics and production for these orders, and save a tremendous amount of money.” Other telecommunications providers include Charter Communications and Windstream Communications, which has the area’s largest fiber network and serves local businesses from the smallest to the largest, including Shaw Industries, Tandus Flooring and Mohawk. “These companies have multiple sites both locally and around the country, and to secure voice and data services, we are able to provide their telecommunications equipment as well,” says Bill Scott, Windstream Communications’ area manager for Northwest Georgia. “Our nationwide network really enables Windstream to connect every location a business may have, no matter where it is.” System reliability is another top priority for the Greater Dalton area’s telecommunications providers. “The electrical supply to the brain behind our data system has multiple high-voltage sources including diesel generation and several days of emergency backup battery supplies,” Cope says. Additionally, Dalton Utilities’ secure data center site with double redundancy minimizes the likelihood of downtime for back office operations and enables businesses of any kind to maintain data storage in a highly cost-efficient manner. – Nan Bauroth


Greater Dalton is served by BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific.

Dalton on the Move
Region’s multimodal network drives business growth
Story by Gary Wollenhaupt • Photography by Brian McCord

or businesses with a growing customer base and long-distance shipping needs, Greater Dalton offers a multimodal transportation network with quick and convenient connections. From the Greater Dalton region, companies can reach half the nation’s population within a day’s drive. Along with interstate access, they can also link to national and international markets via competitive air freight and ocean carriers.


Local manufacturers and distributors move goods via Interstate 75 and U.S. Highways 41 and 76, both within proximity to metropolitan areas such as Chattanooga and Atlanta. Companies requiring rail service can access CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern via dualserved rail transloading facilities for both rail-to-truck and truckto-rail transfer services. Both railroads also serve the port in Savannah, as well as other ocean shipping facilities.

Corporate and commuter air services are also available via Dalton Municipal Airport. Plus, the region is located within 30 minutes of Lovell Field in Chattanooga and two hours of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. “If a company has transportation and logistics needs, they’ll find our community to be one of their lowest-cost options because of the different modes of transportation we have available,” says Elyse Cochran-Davis, executive director


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of the Dalton Whitfield County Joint Development Authority.
Competitive Steps To spur development, Whitfield County’s leaders approved a new Freeport tax exemption which exempts 100 percent of a manufacturer’s inventory from taxes. The move brought Whitfield County in line with surrounding counties as well as nearby Tennessee. Industrial sites in the county are well-suited for companies serving the burgeoning

automotive manufacturing base in eastern Tennessee, such as the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga. “The 100 percent Freeport extension is a real competitive asset for us,” Cochran-Davis says. For companies looking for manufacturing, warehousing or distribution space close to the interstate, Dalton’s Carbondale Business Park is at the top of the list. This Class-A business park is one of 21 in the state designated as a Georgia Ready For Accelerated Development site, which means

it’s shovel-ready for projects. The site features underground utilities on its 184 acres with lots available from three to 50 acres. It’s the only Class-A industrial park between Chattanooga and Atlanta with interstate road frontage, in this case about a mile’s worth, Cochran-Davis says.
Growing Infrastructure Carbondale Business Park will benefit from infrastructure improvements under way by Whitfield County and the Georgia
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(706) 226-1985
704 S. Thornton Ave. Dalton, GA 30720

www.cbcnorthgeorgia.com www.cbcworldwide.com

Living green starts from the ground up.
Living green is making sure the air in your home is healthy for your family to breathe. Test your home for radon and build radon-resistant. It's easy. That's living healthy and green.

Just call 866-730-green or visit www.epa.gov/radon


Learn more about the Komen Race for the Cure by visiting www.komen.org or calling 1-877 GO KOMEN.
This space is provided as a public service. ©2008 Susan G. Komen for the Cure®


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Above: Interstate 75 runs through Dalton and connects the city with Chattanooga, Atlanta and several smaller cities along the way. Below: The Dalton Freight Depot attracts train enthusiasts because the main lines for CSX and Norfolk-Southern cross in front of it.

Department of Transportation. The state is revamping two I-75 interchanges, including highway access at the business park, complete with new bridges and ramps designed for truck traffic. That’s vital because the stretch of I-75 between Chattanooga and Atlanta has more vehicle trips per day than any other stretch of nonurban interstate in the country. “A truck can pull out of a business and be right at the interchange to pull onto I-75,” says Whitfield County engineer Kent Benson. “It’s a pretty special piece of property.” Among other projects, the county is improving access to the South Dalton Bypass from a business park on Enterprise Drive. One company there has already expanded, adding jobs and truck traffic. “If there is a need for a road, business fronts or a corridor leading to it, we have made a lot of our improvements with future development in mind,” Benson says.

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Cutting-Edge Care
Hamilton Medical Center offers residents top-notch technology, treatment
Story by Kelly Kagamas Tomkies Photography by Brian McCord

esidents in Greater Dalton benefit from more than 90 years of established, quality health care through Hamilton Health Care System (HHCS). Through its nine affiliate centers and 282-bed medical center, the system strives to meet community health-care needs through an evidence-based team approach and cutting-edge technology and treatment programs. Not only is the health-care system well-regarded regionally, it has also earned recognition nationally.


In 2012, HHCS’s pulmonary, gastrointestinal, and critical care areas received a five-star rating from Healthgrades, which named its medical center a Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence for the second consecutive year. Hamilton Medical Center was also recognized among the nation’s best regional hospitals by U.S. News & World Report and Becker’s Hospital Review. It also made Georgia Hospital Association’s (GHA) Partnership for Health and Accountability

(PHA) Core Measures Honor Roll. “We are proud that these areas have been singled out as exemplary, but we focus on all areas of care equally,” says Dr. Steve Rohn, HMC’s chief medical officer.
Teamwork and Technology HMC has developed teams of doctors, nurses, and technicians who focus on continuous improvement. “This enables us to practice the latest techniques and provide the most up-to-date care,” Dr. Rohn says.

A team prepares the da Vinci surgical robot at Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton, the first hospital in the area to use this technology.

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Examples include the hospital’s Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, which recently upgraded its CT system, and its robotic surgery program. “Hamilton’s surgical robot is used in all types of surgical situations,” Dr. Rohn says. “The robot has been proven to shorten the recovery period and hospital length of stay. Our successful robotics program has been a patient and physician satisfier.”
Expansions, Renovations for Better Care HMC’s latest expansions and renovations are part of its efforts to continually improve patient care. The hospital recently added on to its Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and renovated its cardiac step-down unit. “We now have the most up-todate patient monitoring system available, and patient rooms are designed to provide better, more efficient care in a comfortable setting,” Dr. Rohn says. “We have received extremely positive reviews from patients and visitors.”
Left: A surgeon at Hamilton Medical Center performs an operation using the da Vinci Surgical System.


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HMC has received full accreditation by the Joint Commission for most of its programs, including its Chest Pain Center and Primary Stroke Care Center. “We’ve been able to call Code Strokes in the field with our EMS, which allows for quicker treatment because our personnel are waiting and ready when the patient arrives,” says Dr. William Pullen, HMC’s stroke program director. More improvements are in the works at the hospital, including state-of-the-art cardiac catheterization laboratories with robotic and digital imaging technologies and renovated postoperative recovery rooms. HMC also plans to expand its MediaVision service – interactive touch-screen technology used to entertain and inform patients. “Hamilton is the only hospital in the state that offers this service,” Dr. Rohn says. “It enables patients to receive personalized education and have direct ‘touch of a button’ communication with our nursing, housekeeping and food services. Patients will have access to the Internet and be able to video conference with their physicians and loved ones.”

A Fit-Friendly Workplace
For the second consecutive year, Hamilton Health Care System (HHCS) achieved goldlevel status from the American Heart Association (AHA) as part of AHA’s Fit-Friendly Companies recognition system. Companies across the country earn this recognition by implementing at least six criteria suggested by the AHA to encourage workplace wellness. The gold-level status is the highest available, and HHCS achieved this status by offering employees support for physical activities and healthy eating options at work, while also promoting a wellness culture.

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Life Lessons
Career preparation starts early for students in the Greater Dalton area
Story by Kevin Litwin Photography by Brian McCord


rowing companies can find a plentiful workforce in the Greater Dalton area, and business and community leaders are working together to build an even better one. From elementary school to college, programs are being implemented at all academic levels to develop talent and ensure that future workers have the skills to succeed at high-demand jobs in the region’s top industries. Dalton State College and Georgia Northwestern Technical College are teaming with industry leaders to entice students to remain in the Whitfield County area upon graduation. “At Dalton State, we’ve been adding more in-demand curriculums, including recently introducing chemistry and biology,” says John Schwenn, Dalton State College president. “We’re even constructing a new science building that will open in February 2014. In late 2012, we introduced our first intercollegiate athletics program director, which brings us closer to becoming a traditional four-year college.”

Dalton State College’s programs prepare graduates for high-in-demand jobs in the area.
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Schwenn adds that Dalton State, which pumped more than $122 million into the regional economy and created 1,500 jobs in 2012, provides many internships with local industries that give students skills they wouldn’t otherwise obtain. “From pre-K through college, it’s all about building a trained, skilled core of current and future workers who are prepared for the high-tech demands of the area’s top industries,” he says.
Opportunities Emerge in Carpet Industry One of those top industries in the Greater Dalton area continues to be the carpet industry, which offers more career paths than in years past. Nowadays, employment in the sector includes opportunities for robotics, graphics and computer operators, along with nurses, accountants and researchers who work on site at companies. “The carpet industry also has a major need for trained, high-paid electronic systems workers and industrial systems workers, so the industry recently set us up in a wonderful facility in Dalton (on the campus of Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy),” says Ginger Mathis, associate vice president of academic affairs at Georgia Northwestern Technical College. “We now have 500 students enrolled at GNTC and 100 percent placement for electronic systems and industrial systems graduates.” Readers to Leaders, Career Camps Community leaders are also looking at more concentrated classroom training at the high school, middle and elementary school levels to ensure that students are properly educated for the future job market. One such effort is Readers to Leaders, a program led by the University of Georgia Archway Partnership whose goal is to eventually have all third-grade students reading at a third-grade level. Studies show that third grade is when students need

to be caught up on their reading skills to excel in the rest of their academic lives. “Another program is Explore Experience with high school juniors shadowing local business or industry individuals at various job sites,” says Barbara Ward, director of workforce development with the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce. Other annual initiatives include the Dalton State College World of Science Camp, which introduces students to a variety of advanced careers, and a Design, Engineering and Manufacturing Camp held at Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy for middle schoolers.

“The Design, Engineering and Manufacturing Camp gets young students thinking about the future,” Ward says. “There are hundreds of challenging, highpaying industrial-related jobs in Whitfield County that K-12 and college students might not even know about. It’s time to get the word out about these career opportunities.”

A student in Dalton State College’s newly launched chemistry program conducts an experiment in an on-campus laboratory.


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Career Minded
Academy offers students training in top industries
Students in the Greater Dalton area looking to get a jump on college preparation and career planning can find tools to help them gain an advantage at the Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy. Formerly known as the Whitfield County Career Academy, the school recently changed its name to reflect a more regional teaching focus and will work in partnership with local colleges, school systems, organizations and businesses. Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, the academy’s instructors will teach courses in several high schools and middle schools to students interested in career training in areas such as agriculture, business, family consumer science, health care and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). These courses will be taught along with traditional high school and middle school curriculums. All five Whitfield County middle schools will participate in the program, along with Coahulla Creek High School, Northwest Whitfield High School and Southeast Whitfield High School.

Alliance National Bank www.alliancenationalbank.com Alrol of America www.alrolofamerica.com Bank of America www.bankofamerica.com Beaulieu of America www.blissflooring.com City of Dalton www.cityofdalton-ga.gov Coldwell Banker Commercial – Kinard Realty www.kinardrealty.com Courtyard Marriott www.marriott.com/chadl Dalton Public Schools www.daltonpublicschools.com Dalton Utilities www.dutil.com Dalton-Whitfield Joint Development Authority www.locationdalton.com Dalton-Whitfield Regional Solid Waste Management Authority www.dwswa.org Downtown Dalton Development Authority www.downtowndalton.com Engineered Floors LLC www.engineeredfloorsllc.com H2B Creative www.h2bcreative.com Hamilton Health www.hamiltonhealth.org J&J Industries Commercial Carpet www.jj-invision.com Lyle Industries Inc. www.lyleind.com Minor, Bell & Neal www.mbnlaw.com Mohawk Industries www.mohawkind.com North Georgia Electric Membership Corporation www.ngemc.com Shaw Industries Group Inc. www.shawfloors.com

visit our

Getting Students Thinking
The academy recently received a $2.6 million grant to broaden its reach into schools throughout the region. Funds will be used to renovate parts of the participating high schools and middle schools to better offer the five courses to interested students. The mission of the program, according to academy officials, is to get students connected at a younger age to careers that might interest them, as well as available and emerging jobs in the region. The academy is also working with Dalton State College, Georgia Northwestern Technical College, the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce, and local and regional businesses and industries to prepare students for a smooth transition into potential careers. By offering academic content that relates to more real-world scenarios and experiences, community leaders hope to get students thinking ahead – and invested in staying in the region and making it a better place to live. – Kevin Litwin

S ta ff P h o t o

State Farm – Dan Combs www.combsagency.com
Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy prepares students to enter the area’s workforce through career pathways such as construction, computing and electronics.

US Floors www.usfloorsllc.com

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Part of the Tunnel Hill Heritage Center, the former Western & Atlantic Railroad Tunnel was the site of several Civil War battles. B r i a n Mc C o r d

Off the Beaten Path
Dalton is full of natural, historic attractions to explore
Story by Jessica Walker Boehm


rom nature buffs to hobbyist hikers, Greater Dalton attracts outdoor lovers of all kinds with its diverse terrain and wealth of natural attractions. Those who enjoy competitive running or cycling can find plenty of events to get their adrenaline pumping. For the past two years, Dalton has hosted the Georgia Jewel, best known for its 100-mile race. The event, which also includes

35- and 50- mile runs, takes place on the rugged Georgia Pinhoti Trail located in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Mountain bikers also flock to the trail in January, February and March for the Snake Creek Gap Time Trials. Each event draws approximately 400 participants who compete in 34-mile and 17-mile races, according to Brett Huske, executive director of the

Dalton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Another popular event is the Georgia Cup Dalton Grand Prix, which brings 250 cyclists to the area and generates about $50,000 in economic impact. Competitors in the region who want to take on more out-of-thebox races can experience the Georgia Zombie Run For Your Lives and Superhero Scramble


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Clockwise from left: Greater Dalton’s mountain biking events, including the Snake Creek Gap Time Trials and the Georgia Cup Dalton Grand Prix, draw competitors and spectators to the area; Dalton is just 30 miles away from Chattanooga’s Lookout Mountain, a top attraction for rock climbers; Visitors can explore Civil War history at the Tunnel Hill Heritage Center’s museum, which includes exhibits on the former Western & Atlantic Railroad Tunnel and the Clisby Austin house, a former Civil War hospital and headquarters.

events, both of which will debut in Dalton in 2013.
More Outdoor Attractions Those who prefer to enjoy the outdoors without the pressure of a race can also find plenty to do. The 750,000-acre Chattahoochee National Forest, which encompasses part of Whitfield County, offers miles of hiking trails, and Lookout Mountain, less than 30 miles away

in Chattanooga, Tenn., is a popular spot for rock climbers. Soon there will be even more room to roam. The city of Dalton is using a $100,000 grant from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to extend hiking and biking trails on Mount Rachel and $500,000 from the Georgia Department of Transportation to construct a greenway connecting the trails to downtown Dalton.

Brian McCord

J e ff Adk i ns

S ta ff P h o t o

Fishing, canoeing and kayaking are also available on the Conasauga River, while the nearby Ocoee River offers whitewater rafting. Golf is another popular pastime in the area with several 18-hole courses, including The Farm Golf Club in Rocky Face, Nob North Golf Course in Cohutta, Tunnel Hill Golf Course and the Dalton Golf and Country Club.
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Haven for History Home to several Civil War sites, Greater Dalton is also a destination for heritage tourists. The region recently marked the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, an observance that will continue into 2013. Tourists can follow the “War Comes to Dalton” Civil War driving tour to find historically significant sites, including the Tunnel Hill Heritage Center, home to the former Western & Atlantic Railroad Tunnel and the site of several battles. The center also includes a museum and the historic Clisby Austin House, a former hospital during the Battle of Chickamauga and headquarters for Union General William Sherman. Those who visit Tunnel Hill during the weekend after Labor Day can see the Battle of Tunnel Hill Civil War Reenactment. Other stops along the driving tour include Dug Gap Battle Park and the restored antebellum Hamilton House. Prater’s Mill, the first stop on the Cohutta-Chattahoochee Scenic Byway, is also a must-see for history buffs. The mill was used as a campsite during the Civil War by both armies and now hosts two annual arts and crafts festivals. The Prater’s Mill grounds are also used for activities such as fishing, picnicking, canoeing and hiking throughout the year. Cherokee Indian sites bring tourists to the area, too, with destinations such as the Chief Vann House, built by Cherokee Indian leader James Vann in 1804. Visitors can also embark on the Old Federal Road Driving Tour, which extends through what was once Cherokee territory.

J e ff r e y S . OTTO

Above: Golf enthusiasts can find plenty of championship-level courses to tackle in the Dalton area. Below: Dalton’s annual Snake Creek Gap Time Trials draw 400 competitors.


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Best Kept Secrets
Small Towns to Visit in Whitfield County
Small towns throughout Whitfield County are drawing new residents and tourists with unique destinations, festivals and more. In 2011, Varnell scored a spot on Bloomberg Businessweek ’s list of The Best Places to Raise Your Kids. Though it only comprises two and a half square miles, the town offers plenty of family-friendly attractions, including the half-mile Varnell Springs Trail, playing fields, tennis courts and a playground. Varnell is also home to Prater’s Mill, where the popular Prater’s Mill Country Fair takes place every October. In 2012, the town held its first Blackberry Festival, a summer festival complete with food and craft vendors, entertainment and a blackberry dessert contest. In the southern part of the county, Resaca is home to Silver Shoe Ranch, which offers guided and unguided quail hunting, pheasant hunting, a shooting station and fishing on the Conasauga River. The ranch also encompasses a portion of the Western and Atlantic Railroad, where the Great Locomotive Chase occurred during the Civil War. To the northeast, Cohutta draws visitors to its spring-fed Farmer’s Lake at Red Clay Resort. In warm weather months, typically from May to September, the half-acre lake’s cool water attracts swimmers and sunbathers, but centuries ago it was frequented by Cherokee Indians who believed the water had healing powers. Just south of Chattanooga, Rocky Face is known for its agritourism attractions, including Freeman Springs Farm, which offers hayrides, pumpkin picking and a corn maze during the fall. The farm’s country store, in what was once a dairy barn, sells jams, jellies, homemade soaps and more. – Jessica Walker Boehm

What’s going on in Dalton, Georgia?

Visit us at www.cityofdalton-ga.gov,
and join our email list to receive monthly updates


Retail is thriving in Dalton’s downtown district, home to more than 300 businesses. Photo by Brian McCord


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Built in 1909, Dalton’s former post office building now houses the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce and other local groups. Photo by Brian McCord

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Ad Index
C2 Alliance National Bank 44 Alrol of America 28 Bank of America C3 Beaulieu of America 41 City of Dalton 28 Coldwell Banker Commercial – Kinard Realty 4 Courtyard Marriott 34 Dalton Public Schools 22 Dalton Utilities C4 Dalton-Whitfield Joint Development Authority 33 Dalton-Whitfield Regional Solid Waste Management Authority 28 Downtown Dalton Development Authority C3 Engineered Floors LLC 28 H2B Creative 30 Hamilton Health C2 J&J Industries Commercial Carpet 2 Lyle Industries Inc. 2 Minor, Bell & Neal 4 Mohawk Industries 28 North Georgia Electric Membership Corporation 8 Shaw Industries Group Inc. 28 State Farm – Dan Combs 25 US FloorS

economic profile
Business Climate in the Greater Dalton Region
The Greater Dalton Region is home to a labor force of 1.3 million within a 60-mile radius. Top industries include advanced manufacturing, health, automotive production, plastics and chemicals.

Population (2011)
Dalton, Ga.: 33,313 Whitfield County: 103,359

Marketing Alliance Group Inc.: 600 Shiroki North America Inc.: 550

Labor force draw area (60-mile radius): 1.3 million Population of labor force area: 989,567

Services: 5.2% Administration & Waste Services: 4.2% Public Administration: 3.2% Other Government Services: 1.3% Construction: 1.3% Management of Companies, Enterprises: 1.2% Finance & Insurance: 1.2% Information: 1% Mining: 0.1% Agriculture & Forestry: 0.4%

Per Capita Household Income (2007-2011)
Dalton: $21,430 Whitfield County: $20,139

I-75, U.S. 41, U.S. 76

Median household income (2007-2011)
Dalton: $38,231 Whitfield County: $42,379

Major Employment Sectors
Manufacturing (floor covering, automotive, plastics, chemicals, etc.): 34.2% Retail Trade: 12.4% Health Care & Social Assistance: 7.7% Transportation & Warehousing: 7.4% Educational Services: 5.5% Professional & Technical Services: 5.2% Accommodations & Food

Dalton Municipal Airport 30 minutes from Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport 90 minutes from HartsfieldJackson Atlanta International Airport

CSX, Norfolk Southern, BNSF and Union Pacific

Top Employers
Shaw Industries Inc.: 7,517 Mohawk Industries: 6,015 Beaulieu Group: 2,056 Hamilton Health Care System: 1,900 Whitfield County Schools: 1,500 Tandus: 985 Dalton Public Schools: 800 J&J Industries: 665

Nearby ports
Port of Chattanooga Center South Riverport Sources: www.daltonwhitfield economicdevelopment.com, quickfacts.census.gov

What’s Online 
For more in-depth demographic, statistical and community information on Dalton-Whitfield, go to businessclimate.com/dalton and click on Demographics under Facts & Stats.

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