As infrastructure investments continue, new jobs are being created by private industry. This is particularly evident with the recent reappearance of manufacturing through niche high end products that cannot be replicated by cheap and unskilled labor from abroad. Many older manufacturers are also adapting and finding inventive ways to compete and grow through the infusion of technology. Evidence of job creation and industry expansion is significant.
In both the 500 acre Fall River Industrial Park and the 160 acre Commerce Park, over 70 businesses employ more than 6000 men and women. Products ranging from medical sutures to solid state lighting fixtures are designed, manufactured and distributed by prominent international and domestic firms such as Phillips, Whirlpool, Blount Fine Foods, Millstone Medical, Bristol Marine, Fall River Manufacturing, H&S Tool and Engineering, Rex-Cut Products, Inc., John Matouk and Company and R.I. Novelty.
Adjacent to the Fall River Industrial Park is the 300 acre Life Sciences and Technology Park. Known as the “Biopark,” it has express zoning that accommodates biotech manufacturing, medical device manufacturing, life science, IT and other industries. Abutting Route 24, the building sites include all utilities and can accommodate water usage of 1.5 to 2.0 million gallons per day. MassBiologics was the first tenant. Amazon.com recently opened a 1.2 million-square-foot, large-item fulfillment center on a 90-acre site. The Amazon Fulfilment Center, the largest in the United States, has already created over 1200 area jobs. Many other commercial enterprises including boat manufacturing and repair services exist along both sides of the Taunton River. Noteworthy examples include TPI Composites, Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding and Bristol Marine.
Sustainable economic activity cannot exist without a supportive business climate and workforce. A key partner in Fall River’s business development efforts has been the Fall River Office of Economic Development (FROED). FROED was established in 1978 as a one-stop shop for economic development with the very clear objectives of creating new jobs, retain existing jobs, and assist local businesses in their efforts to grow. FROED offers an array of incentives to startup, expanding and relocating businesses, including low-interest financing, tax increment financing (TIF) approval and connections with employee recruitment and training services as well as site selection assistance. FROED also provides technical support for permitting, infrastructure, licensing and various other business needs. These programs can be packaged with other private and public sector incentives. All FROED services are offered free of charge.
FROED and other local government incentives serve as a complement to the region’s favorable business climate, which is supported by a business friendly zoning system. The combination of streamline permitting, preferential business districts, tax increment financing, lower business costs and a unique collection of business advantages along with natural resources such as an abundant water supply make Fall River and its many surrounding towns an ideal region for businesses to expand or locate. Real estate, including raw land and existing space, is also very affordable when compared with other metropolitan locations such as Providence and Boston. Commercial tax, water and sewer rates are also among the lowest in Southern New England. In addition, electric and other utility costs are competitively priced with neighboring Rhode Island and Connecticut.
The common thread to the entire region is the amazing people who live here. The majority of residents are between the ages of 25 and 44. Business training and educational programs are readily available through a superb higher educational network that includes Bristol Community College and UMass – Dartmouth, along with Brown University, Providence College, Bridgewater State University, Roger Williams University, Fisher College and many other educational institutions. Many of these high educational institutions are working in partnership with the Chamber to connect with quasi-government groups such as the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), SouthCoast Development Partnership (SCDP), the Southern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD) and the Bristol County Workforce Investment Board to assist the workforce in meeting existing and future employment needs.
With so many assets available, the Fall River to Providence metro area is ready to meet the prerequisites of any business developer looking to locate or expand within Southern New England. Clearly, the region’s brightest days are being manufactured right now in Bristol County. Call or visit the Bristol County Chamber of Commerce today with any inquiries of interest.