Open for business: Chapel Hill focuses on economic development

By Natalie Yerger, freelance reporter

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has always been the Town of Chapel Hill’s claim to fame. Thomas Wolfe, class of 1920, famously said his years of study there were “as close to magic” as he’d ever been.

While many graduates only return for homecoming or a brief stroll down Franklin Street, there are plenty of people who call Chapel Hill their permanent home and the town continues to paint a robust picture for its guests and citizens alike. It’s not just a backdrop to the university; Chapel Hill is “open for business” and has become a breeding ground for companies in a variety of sectors.

Dwight Bassett, the town’s economic development officer since 2007, has spearheaded much of the change.

“When I first arrived here, Chapel Hill had never spent any time on economic development,” Bassett said. “We spent a year on strategy. In the end, the nutshell of it was to grow the tax base and create jobs.”

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