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Business Essentials

Our goal is to provide a wealth of information, pulled from a multitude of sources, to help you turn your business vision into a reality. We strive to present you with vital information – from local, state and federal government agencies, business organizations and chambers of commerce – to help you shape important decisions for starting or growing a business.

Whether you’re starting a business, growing a business, or relocating a business, we want to work for you! That’s why we passionately advocate on behalf of business by regularly partnering with local, state, federal and private business resource providers. We promote and support economic development engines such as SEDAC’s Sussex County is Open for Business, a one-stop shop for business, Delaware Tech’s One Million Cups, our Chambers of Commerce and Southern Delaware Tourism. We strategize with entrepreneurs and we proactively meet with companies of all sizes because Sussex County values the investment already made in our county.

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ECONOMY

Sussex County drives Delaware’s economy in a number of ways, from our nearly $1 billion agriculture industry – the leading sector in the county and the state – to the $850 million generated annually by tourism. There’s no doubt that agriculture and tourism are Sussex County’s bread and butter. But those alone don’t make a meal.

Sussex County enjoys a versatile economy, with healthcare, manufacturing, retail, real estate/construction, and education firmly planted here, providing tens of thousands of jobs for residents and fueling both the local and regional economies. And those jobs are only increasing, as Sussex County outpaced Delaware and the nation with a 2.6 percent job growth rate in 2014. Sussex County enjoys low taxes, low unemployment and a lower cost to doing business – those combined equal a higher return on investment and spell success for anyone looking to grow a business in our community.

Sussex Demographic and Labor Market Trends

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TALENT

The right workforce is crucial to the success of any business. The total population of Sussex County is 215,263 and has grown 6.15% since 2011. The median age is 45.96 and our unemployment rate is 5.4%. We offer an available talent pool of 101,483. Our average travel time to work is only 24 minutes. Plus, our strategic location allows us to pull talent from a bi-state workforce. The ability to attract, recruit and retain workers from two states adds to the existing bench strength of our labor shed pipeline. We have the talent you need to fill jobs today and well into the future.

Our regional educational institutions and workforce development agencies support ongoing innovative and applicable job training initiatives; all designed to build a robust and fully trained talent pool to contribute to the success of your business.

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EDUCATION

Quality schools and an educated workforce are the foundation for any community’s success. Sussex County is fortunate to have such a firm base, with seven public school districts, a charter school, faith-based private schools and four universities serving our residents. Home to nine National Blue Ribbon Award schools, Sussex County’s students are put to the test with rigorous academic curricula and competitive programs that consistently show positive results. As those students transition into adulthood and move into the workplace environment, our economy is fortunate to have post-secondary education partners, such as Delaware Technical Community College, that can develop and offer career programs to satisfy local employers’ job-training needs.

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CLIMATE

Like the lifestyle in Sussex County, the weather here is just right – not too hot, not too cold. Sussex County’s days are often sunny and mild year-round, a relatively temperate climate that makes our location an attractive destination whether you’re looking for a weekend summer visit or a place to permanently escape the brutal extremes of winter. Summertime temperatures average in the mid-80s, while wintertime temperatures usually average in the mid-40s. On average, Sussex County receives approximately 45 inches of rainfall per year – enough to keep our crops growing and our farmers happy. Don’t despair there, though – the sun shines on more than 200 days throughout the four seasons, making for great days at the beach and refreshing walks through the countryside.

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UTILITIES

Service is provided by Delmarva Power and the Delaware Electric Cooperative. In addition, several individual municipalities (Seaford, Lewes and Milford) provide electric service for residents and companies located within their jurisdiction.
The natural gas service provider in Sussex County is Chesapeake Utilities Corporation.
Sussex County operates several sewer districts and one water district. Many of the cities and towns in Sussex County operate their own water and sewer systems. Capacities vary according to municipal and county service areas.
Sussex County is on the forefront of high-speed broadband service, including several groundbreaking initiatives to continue the expansion of high-speed internet access across the entire county. Broad Band Valley and Fibertech are currently building a multimillion dollar fiber infrastructure, giving Sussex County businesses a competitive edge with valuable fiber expansion and dark fiber availability. With the strengthened telecommunications infrastructure, businesses and their clients will enjoy a wide variety of connectivity options, including high count cable designs, high capacity bandwidth, and dark fiber networks. The expansion will also allow for an increase in access speed from 1.5 MB to 10 GB.

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TRANSPORTATION

Delaware Coastal Airport, formerly known as Sussex County Airport in Georgetown, is the major airport in Southern Delaware. It features a 5,500 ft. main runway and 175 acre industrial park. It is strategically located within a half-day’s drive of the entire mid-Atlantic region. The New Castle County, Baltimore-Washington International, and Philadelphia International airports are less than two hours away from most locations in Sussex County.
Sussex County is served by Norfolk-Southern (Industrial Service), Delaware Coast Line Railroad – Shortline and by Maryland and Delaware Railroad – Shortline. Other rail service, such as Amtrak passenger service is available in Northern Delaware and is convenient for Sussex County. It has more than 80 trains per weekday that provides frequent service to Washington, DC, Richmond, New York and Boston. Access to mass transit is available, with SEPTA commuter rail service connecting southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware.
The service is operated by Delaware Transit Corporation, a division of DelDOT. It provides a full range of fixed bus routes, paratransit, commuter rail and related services. All DART buses are wheelchair accessible and bike rack equipped. Sussex County is also served by the Cape May-Lewes Ferry service.
The recent Nanticoke River dredging project restored the channel to a navigable depth of 12 feet, ensuring safe passage for barges out to the Chesapeake Bay and beyond. The Mispillion River leads to the Delaware River/Atlantic Ocean. Sussex County is also relatively close to the Port of Wilmington, which is located at the mouth of the Christina River, approximately 65 miles from Atlantic shipping lanes. The Port offers 4,000’ marginal berthing with a 38-foot project depth. The Port is located within one-quarter mile of Interstate 495 for immediate access to East Coast markets, and is 25 miles from I-76, one of the region’s major east/west arteries. Rail access to the Port is available via Norfolk Southern with railcar loading docks located next to terminal warehouses.

State Route 1, the largest project in the history of the Delaware Department of Transportation, is the primary N/S artery running through Eastern Sussex. Sussex County’s primary north/south roads are Routes 113, 13, and 5. The main east/west roadways are Routes 9, 24, 26, and 404. Delaware’s network of highways include Interstates 95, 295, 495; U.S. Highways 13, 113, 301, 202, and 9 as well as well-maintained primary and secondary roads.