Since 2010, Lexington County’s population has increased 9%, bringing the total population to almost 286,000 residents.
With increased population growth comes business growth, and the Greater Lexington Chamber has announced 17 new businesses opened in November. The businesses range from law firms to spas to restaurants, and five are located at 5228 Sunset Blvd.
Otis Rawl, chamber president, said he was pleased with the new businesses, but there are still a few goals that the chamber continues to work toward fulfilling.
“We have gaps in small businesses,” Rawl said. “Food stores, bridal shops, restaurants and auto dealerships are all probable gaps.”
Rawl said there are two key factors to retail growth in Lexington County. The first is the population and the other is the county’s per capita income, among the highest in the state.
“With the expected growth over the next 10 years being almost 100%, businesses are realizing Lexington County is where the people are,” Rawl said. “Much of the population is driven by the quality schools we have in the county.”
Lexington-Richland District Five has been named the top overall district in the state according to online ranking site Niche. The company used reviews from parents and students and data from the U.S. Department of Education. Lexington District One was ranked fifth.
Lexington District One ranks eighth in the state with 26,000 students enrolled, and adds an average of 533 new students each year, according to statistics provided by the district.
Rawl said with so many young families in the county, it’s important for Lexington’s economic development to recruit businesses with higher paying jobs.
“We’re pretty good in retail, but we want to draw a company that hires 500 to 600 workers with jobs that pay between $50,000 and the $60,000 a year,” Rawl said. “We don’t want to have our residents to travel outside of Lexington for work.”
Rawl used Nephron Pharmaceuticals as an example. This year, Nephron moved its operations from Florida to West Columbia in Lexington County. Prysmian Group recently announced a $15 million expansion to its North American headquarters in Lexington, which will create 30 new jobs and bring total employment close to 400.
Employment in Lexington has grown by almost 17% since 2010, while the unemployment rate fell from around 10% to 3.4%. Median household income in the county is $57,382, an 11.2% increase since 2010. That ranks fourth among all South Carolina counties.
The boom is not expected to slow down anytime soon. An 81% growth rate is predicted for Greater Lexington by 2040.
Despite the growing numbers, Rawl believes there is even more to be done.
“We still have an opportunity to expand downtown,” Rawl said. “Around the new amphitheater, I would like to see a hotel/motel along with shopping and dining. I think most of the growth will be in west Lexington.”
From downtown, traveling Interstate 20 or U.S. Highway 1, that would include Gilbert and Batesburg-Leesville.
With more people comes more traffic. An estimated 136,000 cars travel through the town of Lexington each day, and The State newspaper recently listed the five worst traffic headaches in Lexington County. They were:
- Columbia Avenue in Chapin
- U.S. 378 at Lexington Medical Center
- The half-mile of U.S. 378 and S.C. 6
- U.S. 378 at Corley Mill Road
- Augusta Road near I-26 ramp
“We get more traffic, but we can only do so much,” Rawl said. “Over the next 10 years, no new money has been earmarked from the tax being collected by the roads bill (passed by the General Assembly). I have to give the town its due on traffic; they are doing the best they can.”
Lexington’s latest budget, released in June 2017, states that work will continue on the Adaptive Computerized Signalization System, which will help alleviate congestion by monitoring and synchronizing traffic signals to balance traffic flow. It also will continue work to transition portions of Lake Drive and Church Street to one-way pairs, doubling the capacity for those roads.
Additional traffic projects include crossroads improvements at Lake Drive at Sunset Boulevard and Corley Mill at Sunset Boulevard.
The business that are opened in November are:
- Lawyer Lisa law office, 5175 Sunset Blvd., Suite 1
- Elite Wholesale, 101 Vera Road, Suite B
- Saluda Law LLC, 137 E. Butler St., Suite 4
- Tao Spa, 812 E. Main St.
- Tijuana Flats LLC, 5318 Sunset Blvd., Suite H
- South Carolina Styling LLC, 5228 Sunset Blvd., #F
- Zachary Construction Corp., 293 Dooley Road
- Fish Tank Enterprises, 5556 Sunset Blvd.
- Coye Salon, 5228 Sunset Blvd., F12
- Onsite Computing LLC, 114 Old Carrington Parkway
- Junion Handyman LLC, 107 Tidas St.
- Hands On Therapeutic Massage, 5228 Sunset Blvd., F17
- Sunflower Hair Studio, 5228 Sunset Blvd., F8
- Thai Table LLC, 126 E. Main St.
- Retrospek, 5228 Sunset Blvd., F30
- Wisp Hair Studio, 5228 Sunset Blvd., F1
- MCF Service Inc., 404 Plymouth Pass Drive