Way More in
The epicenter of low costs, connected infrastructure and skilled talent
Beating in the heart of Central Arkansas is Metro Little Rock, where you can find more space to grow, more bang for your buck and way more than you expect. Ready to be at the center of it all? Find out how your business can prosper here.
Metro Little Rock
Home to almost 1 million people, Metro Little Rock pulses with burgeoning innovation, untapped industrial potential and breathtaking natural beauty. L’Oreal USA, Tyson Foods, Dillard’s, Acxiom and Dassault Falcon Jet are just a few of the big names already thriving here.
The region’s robust interstate infrastructure and strategic location make it ideal for distribution throughout the southeast and beyond. Twenty institutions of higher education are fueling Metro Little Rock’s innovation ecosystem and employment base.
Residents revel in a diverse range of housing and education options, and a variety of perks, including some of the south’s finest trails and lakes and a stunning natural landscape at the heart of “The Natural State.”
12 Counties Fueling
Midway between Dallas and Memphis, the region offers interstate access via I-40 and I-30, which intersect in downtown Little Rock, and I-55, which runs through the eastern part of the state. Two ports and the convenient Clinton National Airport offer connections to markets throughout the U.S. and around the world.
Historically rich, Clark is one of the original five counties that composed the Arkansas Territory when it was established in 1819. Its economy is supported by healthy manufacturing and education sectors, and the region hosts three colleges and universities.
With its blend of mountains and state and national parks located at the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains, Clark County is a popular recreation destination for hikers, boaters, anglers and others. Arkadelphia, the county seat, is home to Ouachita Baptiste University, which offers a liberal arts experience rooted in faith, and Henderson State University, Arkansas’ premier member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges.
Just 60 minutes from Arkansas’ capital of Little Rock, Conway County is designed for residents and businesses seeking the benefits of a big city with the comforts of a small community. Industries from technology and healthcare to food processing are fueled by eight neighboring colleges and universities, including Morrilton’s own University of Arkansas Community College.
Dubbed the Retreat Capital of Arkansas, Conway County is home to eight unique retreat centers as well as Arkansas’ most popular state park atop scenic Petit Jean Mountain. For those who enjoy quiet in the country, Morrilton is a great place to find rustic homes and farmland, all within reach of unique shopping and dining, and arts and culture.
While harvests of varying crops provided an early foundation, Faulkner County has grown into the seventh-largest county in Arkansas thanks to diversification of industry. It’s home to Conway, which is known as the City of Colleges because of its three higher education institutions. As a result, almost 40 percent of Faulkner County adults hold a college degree and work in fields such as healthcare, technology, energy and manufacturing.
As a place to live, Conway has unrivaled public amenities and an elite K-12 school system, all while maintaining one of the country’s lowest costs of living. Business-friendly Faulkner County also calls the culturally-minded, with an arts community that’s home to the state’s only professional Shakespeare theater company.
Garland County’s economy is well defined by its tourism industry, as well as healthcare and education. Garland County is home to the only national park in Arkansas, Hot Springs National Park, which draws over 2 million visitors annually. In addition, Oakland Racing Casino Resort, a casino and live thoroughbred racing complex, just announced a $100 million expansion that includes a 200-room high-rise hotel. National Park Community College is located in Hot Springs and is the fourth largest community college in Arkansas.
Named after the U.S. President, Grant County is an outdoor enthusiast’s oasis. The Saline River flows through the county, creating popular spots for anglers. The City of Sheridan, the county seat, is approximately 32 miles due South of Little Rock, so metropolitan amenities are within close reach of the area’s rolling, pine-covered hills. The adjacent Jenkins Ferry State Park, a Civil War battle site, features swimming, picnicking and a boat launch ramp. The largest industries in the county include manufacturing, healthcare and retail, with a blend of professional, scientific and technical services.
Hot Spring County
Located on Interstate 30, Hot Spring County is 45 minutes south of Little Rock. The county’s hub is Malvern, a city home to the College of the Ouachitas, a public community college where students can earn degrees and certificates in 14 different fields. “The Brick Capital of the World,” the city’s industrial base includes lumber mills, metals, small industry and, of course, brick plants. Each July, the county celebrates with “Brickfest,” an event with arts and entertainment. Lake Catherine and its namesake state park offer plentiful opportunities for camping, hiking and outdoor adventures.
Once known as a capital for the cotton industry, Jefferson County has diversified into a region beating with innovation and opportunity for industrial development. Food processing, healthcare, manufacturing and education are among the county’s largest industries. Home to the Port of Pine Bluff-Jefferson County, the region serves as a hub for the distribution of paper, feed ingredients, fertilizer, steel and other commodities.
At Jefferson County’s heart is the city of Pine Bluff. Residents enjoy a range of activities, from arts and culture at the Arts & Sciences Center to dozens of world-class bass fishing tournaments. Two colleges – the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff and Southeast Arkansas College – fuel Pine Bluff’s workforce pipeline.
Less than 30 minutes from Little Rock is Lonoke County and the cities of Cabot and Carlisle. The area’s proximity to the state capital’s higher education, industries and resources means county residents get the perks of big-city living with all the charm of a small town. Education, healthcare and retail top the list of industries, and Little Rock Air Force Base, the nation’s largest C-130 base, is just five minutes away. Cabot and Carlisle both offer small-town, family-friendly living and their own unique amenities including the Carlisle Municipal Airport and a range of parks and recreation assets, including the Cabot Aquatic Park.
The Ouachita National Forest makes up nearly half of Perry County, creating a balance of lumber-driven commerce and recreation, with 685 miles of county roads woven throughout. Manufacturing and food processing are also an important part of the area’s economy. Notably, Perry County is home to Perryville, and Heifer Ranch, an arm of Heifer International, a nonprofit providing food and agricultural training for people across the world. Rich in natural resources, Perry County is a hub for hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and boating. Lake Nimrod, Fourche LaFave River and the eastern boundaries of the Arkansas River are among the county’s natural greatest assets. Just 20 miles from Conway and 38 miles from Little Rock, Perry County gives residents and businesses direct access to diverse arts and culture and other metropolitan amenities.
The largest county in Arkansas, Pulaski County is made up of a diverse group of cities, including Little Rock, the state’s capital and most populous city, North Little Rock, Sherwood, Maumelle and Jacksonville. The birthplace of FinTech, Pulaski County is a host to numerous economic sectors, including food processing, manufacturing, biotechnology, aerospace and more. Pulaski County’s workforce is bolstered in part to six universities and colleges in the area, as well as resources for entrepreneurs like the Little Rock Tech Park and Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub in North Little Rock.
Moving products and people to and from Pulaski County is made easy thanks to a transportation network that includes access to the country’s busiest interstates, robust rail infrastructure and the Port of Little Rock and Clinton National Airport. As a whole, Pulaski County offers an active arts and culture scene, and numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation, from cycling the Arkansas River Trail, to hiking Pinnacle Mountain.
Over the last 15 booming years, Saline County’s population increased nearly 40 percent, with community infrastructure keeping pace. Benton and Bryant, in particular, have become a draw for the residents thanks to the high quality of education offered at local schools, and upscale city amenities.
Thanks to amenities like the River Center, the region continues to take home rankings for quality of life. In 2018, Benton ranked No. 1 among the Suburbs with the Best Public Schools in Arkansas, and Bryant ranked No. 1 among the Best Suburbs to Raise a Family in Arkansas, according to Niche. Both cities score in the top five on measures of safety and housing value and among the top-10 best places for millennials and families to live in Arkansas.
White County is home to Searcy, its county seat, and Beebe. Three colleges – Harding University and two Arkansas State University campuses – are located in White County, contributing to a skilled and knowledgeable workforce for industries such as healthcare, food processing and manufacturing. Arkansas State University’s branch in Beebe offers an excellent Practical Nursing program, which fuels regional healthcare institutions like Unity Health – White County Medical Center.
White County’s location puts businesses less than an hour north of the Little Rock National Airport, Little Rock River Port and the intersection of Interstates 30 and 40, making logistics and distribution a breeze. Searcy, where the county’s largest population resides, is chockful of recreation, arts and culture, and festivals.