Page 36 - Guide to Greater Philadelphia
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Hub in Pennsylvania” and the “Mushroom Capital of the World.” With nearly 165,000 acres of farmland, Chester County ranks #2 in the state in agriculture sales. Some of the “Coolest Companies” in the region are head- quartered here – QVC Network, Inc., Victory Brewing Company and Evolve IP.
With more than 515,000 residents, Chester County is committed to smart economic growth through VISTA2025, a public-private partnership that is focused on balancing progress with preservation. VISTA 2025 will ensure that Chester County will sustain its economic health while maintaining the “sense of place” that makes it attractive to residents and businesses.
Delaware County: Delaware County is the most diverse of these four counties — stretching from the urban center of Chester to the Main Line towns of Wayne and Radnor and into the Brandywine Valley with its rolling hills, historic homes and famous gardens. From urban to suburban to countryside, the county offers opportunities for business and industry as well as many different housing and educational options.
Delaware, known as Delco, is the third-smallest county in the state by area, but the fifth most populous with more than 558,000 residents, according to the 2010 census. Its unemployment is low and its medium house- hold income of nearly $69,000 is above the state average.
Its county seat, Media, is only 12 miles southwest of Philadelphia and can be reached by a trolley — among many other modes of transportation — from 69th Street, running on lines built in the 1890s. With its quaint Main Street, trolley line and shops operating in buildings
erected decades ago, Media is one of Delaware County’s tourist lures, and an attractive place to live as well. Recently, it has earned the name ”Everyone’s Home Town” for the friendliness of its people and the welcom- ing attitude.
Among the biggest employers in the county
are Boeing, United Parcel Service, and Villanova University. Wawa, the popular convenience store operating in six states, is headquartered in Wawa, Pa., near Media, where it was founded more than 50 years ago. About 300 of Wawa’s 22,000 employees work in the corporate headquarters.
A relative newcomer to the business scene is Scrub Daddy, the widely sold sponge/scrubber with a smiley face made famous by QVC and Shark Tank. Its new headquarters and factory are in Folcroft, a town of about 6,600 people.
The Brandywine Valley, which covers parts
of Delaware as well as the southeast region of Pennsylvania, offers great sightseeing, history lessons, or just a break from city living with its gardens, river trails and museums. The Brandywine Battlefield pre- serves the site of the largest battle of the Revolutionary War in 1777.
On the banks of the Brandywine River is the Brandywine River Museum of Art, home to generations of art by the Wyeth family, including the home of N.C. Wyeth and the studio of Andrew Wyeth.
Montgomery County: Abutting Chester County to the north and east is the largest of the four coun- ties, Montgomery, with more than 800,000 residents,
Brandywine Museum of Art
according to 2015 census estimates. Like Chester County, Montgomery has a median household income that tops $80,000, and a well-educated and largely employed populace.
Montgomery has seen significant population growth since 2000 and expects to continue growing, particularly in the western portions of the county. The number of housing units grew almost 10 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to county statistics. These new residents will continue to find jobs in the expanding businesses and industries of the county.
Montgomery County is also home to the largest shopping mall in the United States, the King of Prussia Mall. Located 25 miles northwest of Philadelphia. King of Prussia features a diverse mix of over 450 stores and dining options and continues to develop as a place not just for shopping. Long-term construction plans include mixed-use space where people can live, work, play and shop.
Healthcare is the county’s leading industry, with pharmaceuticals, education, banking and finance also among the keys to the county’s prosperity. Tourism, too, is a major employer, with nearly 500 hospital-
ity businesses in the county. Much of Montgomery County’s $689 million tourism/hospitality industry emanates from the county’s rich history, many historic sites, scenic towns, educational institutions and natural beauty.
The parks, trails and historic sites drew more than 1.5 million visitors in 2016. The Schuylkill River Trail, part of which runs through the county, was voted the Best Urban Trail in America by USA Today.
One of Montgomery County’s best-known sites is Valley Forge, the 1777/78 winter encampment of the Continental Army, led by Gen. George Washington. A national historic site that attracts about 1.6 million visi- tors annually, Valley Forge brings to life the story of that winter and how a unified army emerged to eventually win the Revolutionary War. Washington’s headquarters is one of the most popular stops on that site.
The county has strong public schools that serve more than 108,000 students. Likewise, there are many private schools and a variety of colleges and universi- ties, including Bryn Mawr and Villanova.
Although these natural and historic sites may seem like luxuries, they make the county an attrac- tive place to live, work, and establish and build businesses. Green space and historic sites increase home values, lead to economic development, promote health and attract new residents.
Taken together or individually, these four Pennsylvania counties offer a bounty of natural, his- toric, educational and economic amenities enhanced by their proximity to Philadelphia and other commercial, arts and population centers of the Northeast. It’s easy to see why so many people and businesses call this area home.
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