County Info


Food Processing

The North Eastern Strategic Alliance (NESA) Region of South Carolina, located halfway between New York and Miami, is within an 8-hour drive to over 50 percent of the major U.S. markets, making it an ideal location for food processing operations.  With a skilled workforce, extensive transportation infrastructure, reliable electricity, and an abundance of water, it's not hard to see why companies like Perdue Farms, and National Choice Bakery have chosen to make this nine-county region home.

Why locate your food processing facility in the NESA Region?

Reliable and Low Cost Electricity

NESA knows that having a reliable supply of electricity is vital for food processing operations.  The NESA Region is served by both Progress Energy and the state-owned utility, Santee Cooper via Horry Electric Cooperative, Lynches River Cooperative, Marlboro Electric Cooperative, Pee Dee Electric Cooperative, and Santee Electric Cooperative.  Average electrical rates are $0.05/kWh and back-up power generation is available

Qualified Workforce

  • Industry wage rates that are 7% below national averages
  • Population base of over 680,000 with a labor draw of over 340,000 workers
  • Seven colleges and universities within the region
  • Per capita income of $28,333
  • One of the lowest unionization rates (4.1%) in the nation
  • ReadySC, a division of the South Carolina Technical College System, is a pre-employment training program provided at no cost to employers and is 100% customized to fit the needs of new and existing businesses.
  • The Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology (SiMT) is the first facility of its kind in the United States and features an Advanced Manufacturing Center, a Virtual Reality Center, and a National Robotics Center.  SiMT offers open-enrollment, on-site and customized training as well as manufacturing start-up assistance and consulting services.

Water and Waste-water

Many sites in the region have millions of gallons per day in excess water and waste-water capacity.  Some sit atop aquifers, which provide unlimited supplies of clean water.


  • Interstates 95, 20, and the proposed Interstate 73
  • US Highways 17, 378, 52, 521, 701, 301, 1, 501
  • Florence Regional Airport and Myrtle Beach International Airport
  • Class I CSX rail
  • Port of Georgetown

The Region is also conveniently located within 45 minutes of:

  • Interstates 26 and 77
  • Charlotte Douglas International, Columbia Metro, and Charleston International airports
  • Port of Charleston and Port of Wilmington


To find out more information on why the NESA Region is the ideal place for your food processing operation, please click here to download our Food Processing Brochure.