One of the best: WalletHub names LaGrange one of best cities to do business

Published 11:00 pm Monday, April 16, 2018

The secret may be getting out about the “greatest little city in America.”

LaGrange was named one of the top 20 small cities in America to start a business Monday, according to a story by WalletHub. Officially, LaGrange came in at No. 18 on the list, which was the highest ranked Georgia city on the list.

“I think it’s an affirmation that we have great public-private partnerships to create the environment in which businesses can thrive in our community,” said Page Estes, president of the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce. “I’ve had so many organizations, from small to medium to even large businesses, tell me how easy it is to come in and start a business in our community. This is certainly proven true by the ranking.”

The study compared 1,261 small sized cities and used 18 metrics, ranging from average growth in small businesses to investor access to labor costs, according to WalletHub.

LaGrange is No. 64 in business cost rank, the city’s highest overall ranking in the three categories scored, which went over factors such as labor costs, corporate taxes, cost of living and office-space affordability.

LaGrange ranked No. 165 — in the top 13 percentile — in access to resources. That category includes factors such as financing accessibility, investor access, human-resource availability, higher-education assets, workforce educational attainment, working-age population growth and job growth.

LaGrange ranked at No. 614 in business environment rank. The factors for business environment ranking included average length of the work week, average commute time, average growth in number of small businesses, startups per capita, average revenue per business, average growth of business revenues and industry variety.

The study only factored in cities between 25,000 and 100,000 in population. Cities were graded on a 100-point scale, with 100 being the most favorable to start a business. LaGrange received a score of 53.34, just seven points behind the highest score.

“The recognition was not surprising, but instead reaffirmed my belief that our city is very business friendly and has great assets to support business,” said LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton. “I hope many entrepreneurs who are interested in going into business will take a look at LaGrange. We would welcome them here.”

Count Bob Rosato as one of the believers in starting a business in LaGrange. Rosato is one of the partners in the new Your Pie restaurant set to open in LaGrange in June.

“I’ve never really experienced a more-friendly environment and community,” Rosato said. “Just the willingness to work with us in every capacity. It’s been incredible.”

Rosato said every time he’s needed something, he doesn’t have to chase someone down.

“Everybody has been very responsive. You don’t have to go chasing down every detail,” Rosato said. “The whole demeanor and the whole welcoming demeanor of everyone we have engaged with has been extraordinary.”

The top city on the list was Holland, Michigan, which placed in the top 50 in two of the three categories. LaGrange was one of the top five southeastern cities on the list, behind only Wilson, North Carolina; Fort Myers, Florida; Salisbury, North Carolina; and Sanford, North Carolina.

Other Georgia cities in the top 500 were Statesboro (No. 23), Gainesville (No. 50), Warner Robins (No. 117), Tucker (No. 133), East Point (No. 141), Valdosta (No. 144), Newnan (No. 148), Alpharetta (No. 190), Kennesaw (No. 237), Rome (No. 314), Duluth (No. 362), Smyrna (No. 367), Marietta (No. 368), Lawrenceville (No. 369), Stockbridge (No. 372), Sandy Springs (No. 383), Douglasville (No. 404), Roswell (No. 457) and Dalton (No. 493).

WalletHub is a credit score website.

The full list is available on its website,