City of Marion

Economic Development

The City of Marion is active in business recruitment and retention offering a wide range of assistance and programs to help strengthen the local economy. The Marion Economic Development Office is operated by the Marion Business Association, which coordinates activities with various economic development partners at the local, regional, and state levels. From business incentives to site and location planning, the Marion Economic Development Office provides direct assistance for those looking to do business in Marion.

The City of Marion, Marion Business Association, McDowell County, McDowell Chamber of Commerce, McDowell Economic Development Association and partner agencies offer numerous programs designed to assist with business and real estate development in Marion. Please see the following brochure for more information:

Marion Economic Development Resources for Business and Real Estate Development

For More Information Please Contact:

Freddie Killough, Executive Director
Marion Economic Development Office/Marion Business Association
Mailing Address PO Drawer 700, Marion, NC 28752
Physical Address: 58 Depot Street, Marion, NC

For information on available commercial properties in Marion, please visit Marion NC Commercial Properties on Facebook or visit the Available Commercial Properties listing at

Industrial/Workforce Development

Old Cash Register

The McDowell Economic Development Association takes the lead on industrial development in Marion and McDowell County and is assisted by the City of Marion, McDowell County, the McDowell Chamber of Commerce and the Marion Business Association.

Marion and McDowell County have a strong manufacturing heritage, with available sites and a great workforce suited to almost any company. The City, County and other agencies are committed to workforce development and helping new or expanding businesses to fill available jobs. As part of this effort, in 2018, McDowell County became the first County in North Carolina and one of only a handful of communities nationwide to complete a Strategic Employment Plan to identify ways to increase the workforce and to fill available positions. To view the McDowell County Employment Plan click here.

For more information about industrial development, please contact:

Chuck Abernathy, Executive Director
McDowell Economic Development Association
Mailing Address: 60 East Court Street, Marion, NC 28752
Physical Address: Universal Building, 634 College Drive, Marion, NC
(828) 652-9391


Marion has experienced rapid growth in recent years. In 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that Marion had a permanent population of 7,838 residents, as of the April 1, 2010 Census, an increase of 58.6 percent over the 2000 Census figure of 4,943 for Marion. This considerable increase places Marion among the fastest growing communities in North Carolina over the past years. The City's 2014 State certified population is 8,223 and continues the rapid growth shown by the City of Marion in recent decades. Since 1970, Marion has increased in population by 147 percent. Because of Marion's growth in recent years, Marion was designated by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2013 as a Micropolitan Statistical Area. Micropolitan Areas are a fairly recent designation of the U.S. Census Bureau and are defined as areas with an urban core of at least 10,000 residents but less than 50,000 total population plus adjacent territory that has a high degree of social and economic integration with the urban core. The Marion Micropolitan Area includes a population of approximately 45,000 people. The Marion Urban Core has a population of 13,363, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, representing approximately 30 percent of the population of the Marion Micropolitan Area.

Marion is one of 25 designated Micropolitan Areas in North Carolina and one of 536 such areas in the United States. The Marion Micropolitan Area ranks in the top half in population among the 536 Micropolitan Areas in the United States. Marion was named one of the Top 100 Micropolitan Areas in the United States, in terms of economic growth, in 2014 by Site Selection magazine.

Past trends and its excellent location indicate that Marion and its Micropolitan Area are poised for additional growth in the future.

City Awards and Recognitions

The City of Marion has received many awards and recognitions in recent years, involving a variety of departments and services.

Please click here for a list of City of Marion awards and recognitions over the past few years.

Starting A Business in Marion

Requirements and Contact Information

To conduct business in the City of Marion you must first have a City issued business license and zoning compliance approval. A business license is issued by the City Tax Collector after receiving zoning compliance approval from the Zoning Administrator. A business wishing to locate in a permitted zoning district without the need for development approval can obtain the necessary compliance permit and license in one 30-minute visit to City Hall. For businesses requiring City Council or Planning Board approval or requiring a building permit the process may take between may take longer. Whether opening a large manufacturing facility or a downtown retail shop, the City is ready to help you through the process.

Building Permits, Sign Permits, and Zoning Compliance

Walk-through application and permitting service for all permitted uses within the City of Marion is available in the Planning and Development Services Department at City Hall Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. For more information and to download required applications click here.

Fire Prevention Inspections

The City of Marion Fire Inspector will conduct a fire inspection prior to opening a new business. This service is free of charge and can be scheduled prior to opening by calling the Marion Fire Department at (828) 652-5201.

Business License and Commercial Waste Services

The City Tax Collector is available at City Hall Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to issue a business license to operate a business and set up commercial waste service. The cost of a business license is $20 per year per business. The cost of commercial waste collection services varies based on the frequency of collection. For more information and to download required applications click here for business licenses and click here for sanitation services.

Water and Sewer Hookup and Payment

The City Utility Services Department is available at City Hall Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to establish new water and sewer service accounts. Any business requiring the installation of a new tap may download an application from our website, but the City recommends contacting the Public Works Director prior to submitting the application to the Utility Services Department. For more information regarding utility services and to download an application please click here.

Other Helpful Links

Federal Tax ID Number: To obtain a Federal Tax ID Number visit click on “Online EIN application”

North Carolina Tax ID Number: To obtain a North Carolina Tax ID Number visit Complete form NC-BR for sales and use and income withholding.

Business Name Registration: To register a business name contact the McDowell County Register of Deeds at (828) 652-4727

McDowell County License and Tax Listing Requirements: For information on McDowell County license requirements and tax listing business property contact McDowell County Tax Collector at (828) 652-7121.

Health Department Inspections: Certain types of businesses require a health department inspection. For more Information please contact the McDowell County Health Department at (828) 652-2921.

North Carolina Department of Commerce: The North Carolina Department of Commerce offers the business community a centralized information source for business start-up information, existing industry resources and state business regulations. or (800) 228-8443.