Experience the Beauty

There are many reasons why Amherst County is a place where companies choose to locate. Thanks to our prime geographic location, low cost of doing business, beautiful surroundings, and a hard working, well trained workforce, Amherst County is an excellent place to do business.

From the quality of its workforce to its prime transportation location, Amherst County offers a wide variety of strategic advantages for any business looking to relocate its operations.

#1 – Low cost to do business

We offer companies predictable savings in operating costs that are below the national average.

  • Business tax rates are well below the national average – both Amherst County tax rates & Virginia state taxes. Learn More »
  • Central location on east coast means excellent long haul freight rates.
  • The 6% Virginia corporate income tax rate has not increased in over forty years and is one of the lowest in the nation.
  • Low cost industrial land with infrastructure
  • Building costs in Amherst County are 15% below the national
  • Water Rates are highly competitive. In 2013 they were 11% less than the state average. Learn More »
  • Sewer rates are even more competitive. In 2013 Amherst County rates were 30% less than the state average. Learn More »
  • In 2014, electric rates in Amherst County for the industrial sector were approximately 25% lower than the national average.
  • Virginia has one of the lowest average worker’s compensation costs in the nation and has been consistently among the lowest cost states for over 15 years. Learn More »
  • The unemployment insurance tax rate is the 5th lowest in the nation and is 33% lower than the national average. Learn More »

#2 – Superior Location

Central location on the eastern seaboard means 1-day access to major East coast metro areas.

  • Halfway between Maine and Florida
  • 40% of the U.S. population falls within a one-day (10 hour) drive.
  • In a single day’s drive, vehicles leaving Amherst County can reach every major metropolitan area on the east coast between New York and Atlanta. Other major destinations, such as Chicago, New England, and the Canadian border, are just a few hours beyond.
  • Central location means excellent long haul freight rates
  • 4-Lane divided highway with quick access to major east-west and north-south interstates.
  • Rail access sites available.

#4 – Virginia is Pro-Business

Virginia has a strong, educated labor force and a pro-business regulatory climate according to Forbes.com.

Did you know?
  • Virginia is ranked #1 by Forbes in pro-business regulatory environment
  • Virginia is ranked #2 by Forbes in labor supply
  • Virginia is ranked #5 by Forbes in quality of life
    (source: Forbes.com – October 2015 rankings)

    • Virginia is ranked #5 by Forbes for best state for business  (source: Forbes. com – November 2017)

Virginia Economic Development Partnership - Business Location and Site Selection Services - Economic DevelopmentVirginia is One of the Best States for Business
(Source: VEDP, Virginia Economic Development Partnership)

Virginia provides a wealth of opportunities, a great atmosphere for development and expansion, and leadership that truly understands the importance of maintaining the best business environment for economic prosperity. Virginia’s profit-friendly environment is due to:

  • Competitive Operating Costs
  • Stable Taxes
  • Business Incentives

Pro-Business Advantages for Companies
  • Strategic east-coast location and excellent infrastructure provide easy access to national and global markets.
  • Stable, low tax costs for corporations and individuals and a 6% corporate income tax.
  • Minimized payroll costs with low worker’s compensation rates and a low unemployment tax.
  • Favorable business environment that protects “at will” and “right-to-work” employment practices.
  • One of the highest-ranked states in high-technology employment.
  • A vibrant and diverse multi-cultural community where employees can live and work.
  • An experienced, educated and productive workforce puts Virginia in the top 10 states for productivity.
  • Recruitment and training programs to help businesses become operational faster and maintain their competitive advantage.

Virginia’s Cost-Effective Operating Climate

Believe it or not, companies have improved their bottom lines just by locating in Virginia. From soft costs like healthier, more productive workers, to hard costs like cheaper, available and reliable electricity, these companies have benefited from the combination of resources that only a Virginia location can offer.

Stable Taxes

Virginia’s corporate income tax has not been raised in forty years, since 1972. At 6 percent, our rate is one of the lowest in the nation.

Business Incentives – Investing in Each Other

Virginia works enthusiastically with new and expanding employers that create a high standard of living for Virginians and enhance local and state economies through increased revenue growth. Incentives are Virginia’s investment in its economic future and a business decision for both the Commonwealth and the company. As a result, they must make good fiscal sense for all parties. Virginia continues to demonstrate a willingness to invest in those who invest in the Commonwealth.

Designed to target the needs of the company and the development plans of localities and the state, Virginia offers a variety of performance-based incentives. From tax credits to tax exemptions, Virginia continues to demonstrate its willingness to invest in those who invest and reinvest in the Commonwealth.

Our highly trained workforce of over 230,000 is drawn from a excellent mix of job experiences across seven counties and five cities. Companies in Amherst County agree the workforce has strong work ethic and low absenteeism rates. Very low union activity combined with Virginia’s Right-To-Work law creates an ideal environment for businesses.

Here is a quick view of Amherst County’s workforce.

Amherst County Extended Labor Market Total
Population 32,300 461,400 493,700
Labor Force 15,110 211,916 227,026
Unemployment Rate 4.3% 4.3%

Labor knows no boundaries. Workers in the region commute long distances for good jobs.

Extended Labor Market

Within Amherst County’s extended labor market is Region 2000, a 2,000 square mile area composed of the City of Lynchburg; the counties of Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford and Campbell; and the towns of Altavista, Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, and Brookneal. For Region 2000 labor market information go to Region 2000 »

For additional detailed labor information on Amherst County, go to the Virginia Employment Commission community profile.

Postsecondary Education in the Amherst Region: Essential Workforce Development

Collectively, more than 800 engineering students graduate from the institutions on our map each year. And just two hours away is Virginia Tech, offering still more resources for research and talent.

Other nearby institutions include James Madison University in Harrisonburg (about 90 minutes’ drive) and Mary Baldwin University in Staunton (about an hour away).

Area Educational Institutions

American National University Career-oriented Associate, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degree programs in business, IT, and medical pathways. 104 Candlewood Ct, Lynchburg, VA 24502
Byers Technical Institute Located just outside the western border of Amherst County in the town of Buena Vista, BTI specializes in pipe/mechanical welding instruction. 2694 Glasgow Highway, Buena Vista, Virginia 24416
Centra College of Nursing Centra College of Nursing is committed to providing excellent care to individuals, families, and patients in the community through the development of professional nurses. 905 Lakeside Dr A, Lynchburg, VA 24501
Central Virginia Community College Many courses are geared toward technical studies/certifications, with options to adapt content to employers’ needs. 3506 Wards Rd, Lynchburg, VA 24502
Hampden-Sydney College Founded in 1775, this men’s college today combines a liberal arts education with a respected career center. 80 College Rd, Hampden Sydney, VA 23943
Liberty University Hosts 14,000 students on campus, with 17 colleges & schools, including engineering and osteopathic medicine. 1971 University Blvd, Lynchburg, VA 24515
Longwood University Longwood offers more than 100 programs of undergraduate study, as well as MBA and other graduate degrees. 201 High St, Farmville, VA 23909
Randolph College This liberal arts college also makes its summer online courses available to the general public. 2500 Rivermont Ave, Lynchburg, VA 24503
Southern Virginia University A small, faith-based college built upon the liberal arts education model with an emphasis on job placement. 1 University Hill Dr, Buena Vista, VA 24416
Sweet Briar A college for women, boasting an accredited engineering program (mechanical, electrical & environmental). 134 Chapel Road, Sweet Briar, VA 24595
University of Lynchburg Among its resources: a College of Business, a College of Health Sciences, and Westover Honors College. 1501 Lakeside Dr, Lynchburg, VA 24501
University of Virginia Just 50 miles from our county, this renowned institution provides convenient access to business & engineering studies. Charlottesville, VA
Virginia Military Institute This historic school maintains degree programs in civil, computer, environmental, electrical and mechanical engineering. 319 Letcher Ave, Lexington, VA 24450
Virginia Technical Institute Hands-on, tailored career training in project management, electrical, welding, plumbing, HVAC and more. 201 Ogden Rd, Altavista, VA 24517
Virginia University of Lynchburg An institution originally begun in 1886 by the Va. Baptist State Convention. 2058 Garfield Ave, Lynchburg, VA 24501
Washington & Lee This school’s Physics and Engineering Department supports undergrad and graduate studies in multiple fields. 204 W Washington St, Lexington, VA 24450
Central location on the eastern seaboard means 1-day access to major East coast metro areas.

Highways
  • 4-Lane divided highway (Rt 29) through the county with easy access to I-64 (east-west) , I-81(north-south), and US 460.
  • The U.S. Route 29 corridor in the eastern region of the county has become the focal point for most commercial, industrial and residential development. The county is part of the Lynchburg Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).
  • Virginia maintains the third largest state-maintained transportation network including the major Interstate routes of I-95, I-81, I-64, I-85, I-77, and I-66.
  • Central location means excellent long haul freight rates
Airports
  • Local: Lynchburg Regional Airport is 15 minutes away
  • Regional: Charlottesville Regional Airport is 1 hour away.
  • International: Washington Dulles International is less than 3 hours with non-stop commercial airline service to over 100 destinations worldwide.
Rail
  • Two of the nation’s largest railroads, CSX Corporation and Norfolk Southern Corporation, serve the area.
  • Rail access sites available.
  • Amtrak has daily service to Northern Virginia, Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York.
Seaports
  • Norfolk International Terminals, Newport News Marine Terminal, the Virginia Inland Port in Front Royal, the Port of Richmond, and the Port of Virginia (4 hours east by 4-lane highway) offer one of the largest intermodal networks on the U.S. East Coast and a naturally deep harbor devoid of overhead obstructions.

Utilities in Amherst County, Virginia

Electricity
  • American Electric Power (AEP) provides steady, reliable power to Amherst County businesses. Electric rates are approximately 25% lower than the national average (depending on usage). Learn More »
  • Central Virginia Electric Cooperative provides service to the northern section of the county.
Natural Gas
  • Columbia Gas of Virginia in southern portion of the county
Water
  • Amherst County Service Authority. Water rates are highly competitive. In 2013 they were 11% less than the state average. Learn More »
Sewer
  • Amherst County Service Authority. Sewer rates are even more competitive. In 2013 Amherst County rates were 30% less than the state average. Learn More »
Telecommunications
  • Verizon
  • Comcast
  • Lumos
  • Mid Atlantic Broadband
  • Ntelos

Taxes

Local & State

Local taxes in Amherst County are well below the national average, offering significant tax savings to companies and their employees. Learn More »

Incentives

Local & State

Amherst County wants your business. We work hard to understand the needs of companies and work proactively to address them. We understand every project is unique and we are ready to find creative ways to meet the constantly changing demands of business. Learn More »

Manufacturing in Amherst County, Virginia

Name Business Type # of Employees
Clorox / Glad Plant Plastic Bags 351
Greif Paper Mill, Containerboard 280
England’s Stove Works Wood Burning Stoves 175
Buffalo Air Handling Industrial/Commercial Air Handling Equipment 101
S&S / TruBall Metal Fabrication, Archery Equipment 90
Shibuya Hoppman Packaging Machinery 75
Cooper Steel Structural Steel Fabricator 40
Quality Archery Design Archery Equipment 40
Hermle North America Clocks, Furniture 30

Non-Manufacturing 
Amherst County, Virginia

Name Business Type # of Employees
Central Virginia Training Center Residential Facility for People with Intellectual Disabilities 150
Sweet Briar College Higher Education 330
Centra Health Medical 225
CSE, Inc. Heavy duty cranes, Construction Metal Fabricators, Industrial Maintenance 200
Old Dominion Job Corps Residential Training Program 130
Cowan Systems Transportation 75-100
H.T. Hackney Wholesale Food Distributor 72
Tyto Athene (formerly Black Box Govt. Solutions) Communication/Technology Services 40
Integrated Technology Group (ITG) Technology Services 22

Regional Large Employers

  • Framatome, Inc.
  • Automated Conveyor Systems, Inc.
  • The Babcock & Wilcox Company
  • Banker Steel Company, L.L.C.
  • Bausch & Lomb Inc.
  • Belvac – Production Machinery
  • CENTRA
  • Central Virginia Community College
  • Delta Star, Inc
  • Fleet Laboratories
  • Flowserve
  • Genworth Financial
  • Griffin Pipe Products Company
  • Hanwha Azdel
  • HARRIS Corporation/RF Communications Division
  • International Paper
  • J. Crew
  • Liberty University
  • Lynchburg College
  • Sonny Merryman, Inc.
  • The News & Advance
  • Parker Hannifin
  • Progress Printing Plus
  • Randolph College
  • RR Donnelley
  • Southern Air, Inc.
  • Southside Electric Cooperative
  • StarTek Inc., Lynchburg
  • Teva Pharmaceuticals
  • Westminster Canterbury
  • Westover Dairy
  • Wiley/ Wilson

Low Cost of Living – High Quality of Life

An abundance of natural beauty, easy commutes, affordable homes and proximity to cities make it easy to live and work in Amherst County. Views of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, the George Washington National Forest, the James and Piney rivers, are all part of the attraction of Amherst for both residents and visitors alike. It’s no wonder Amherst has extremely high air quality and water quality indexes.

Food, housing, and healthcare costs well below the national average. This chart shows how the region’s cost of living stacks up against other cities in the U.S. Amherst’s cost of living is consistently below the national average (100).  Source: ACCRA Cost of Living Index, Second Quarter 2017 data.

Composite 100% Housing 27% Groceries 13.96% Utilities 10.23% Trans. 12.12% Health 4.41% Misc. 32.17%
Amherst/ Lynchburg, VA 89.4 79.5 86.0 108.8 85.1 91.1 94.1
Virginia Beach, VA 101.6  93.7 98.1 100.3 93.6 100.8 104.6
Roanoke, VA 88.1  81.7 87.3 95.4 87.9 101.0 90.0
Richmond, VA 96.1  88.7 88.7 106.8 91.9  108.3 101.3
Raleigh, NC 96.4 83.4 106.1 98.1 99.7 100.8 101.3
Baltimore, MD 117.0 146.9 107.6 107.7 102.9 91.9 106.0
Boston, MA 148.2  207.0 106.2 141.8 110.8 135.7 135.0
Philadelphia, PA 117.2 129.5 116.6 125.2 114.9 106.1 107.4
 Chicago, IL  123.6  155.6 108.6 90.7 126.6 101.6 115.1

Living in Amherst, it’s easy to take advantage of the activities and resources that small and large cities have to offer. It’s just a few hours’ drive from such major metropolitan areas as Washington D.C., Richmond, and Charlotte, and the City of Lynchburg is just minutes away. Additionally, Amtrak has daily service to Northern Virginia, Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York.

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Amherst has a mild climate with four seasons.

January average temperature: 35°
July average temperature: 76°
Average annual precipitation: 40″
Average annual snowfall: 21″

Hiking, climbing, kayaking, camping, swimming, canoeing, fishing, biking – the list goes on. With the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Jefferson National Forest, the James and Piney rivers, and parks, there are abundant outdoor opportunities for fun, exercise or relaxation. Within an hours drive you can get to Smith Mountain Lake, the largest lake in Virginia, and the Wintergreen ski resort.

The western boundary of Amherst County is formed by the Blue Ridge Parkway with miles of scenic driving along the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains and countless opportunities for relaxing stops. The eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains are cut by numerous streams and rivers and dotted with lakes affording opportunities for 165433_1533705993511866_2322871215913469359_nfishing and boating. Many people enjoy fishing, float trips and kayaking on the James River, which forms the southern and eastern boundary of Amherst County.

The Appalachian Trail, which extends over 2,000 miles from Maine to Georgia, passes through Amherst County. The Appalachian Trail and a number of other trails wind through the western part of the County in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, which constitute over 57,000 acres of Amherst County.

IMG_0304The county has multiple parks, some near lakes or rivers, and 2 bike trails. The Virginia Blue Ridge Railway trail is 7 miles long and winds it’s way through Amherst County along the Tye and Piney rivers and includes a photo worthy covered bridge. Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail

Learn more »

Amherst County has several golf courses with gorgeous views and challenging courses. Winton Country Club‘s 18-hole championship golf course is recognized as one of the finest courses in Virginia and it has the added bonus of having no surrounding residences, which is becoming more and more unique. Winton also boasts a junior Olympic swimming pool and on-site restaurant as well as a banquet facility and the historic Sarah Henry Manor which predates the Revolutionary War. Poplar Grove is Amherst’s newest golf course and features rolling terrain, natural streams and lakes, and sweeping mountain views. Poplar Grove was the final design of golf legend Sam Snead.

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Homes and land are affordable, with the average home in the region costing about $150,000.  Property tax rates are approximately 30% below the national average. The housing market has remained stable during economic downturns

Education is a key component of success in Amherst County. The Amherst County Public Schools are totally committed to providing a high-quality education for all students.

  • 4115 students
  • 6 Elementary Schools.
  • Student to Teacher ratio of 17:1 (Elementary)
  • 2 Middle Schools & 1 High School.
  • Student to Teacher ratio of 20:1 (Middle & High)
  • 749 Staff

High school students have the following opportunities:

  • Complete up to 2 years of college through CVCC
  • Attend the Central Virginia Governor’s School for Science & Technology http://www.cvgs.k12.va.us/
  • Attend the Governor’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Academy at CVCC  http://www.xlr8academy.com/
  • Take Advanced Placement course

Amherst is home to Sweet Briar College and a branch of the Central Virginia Community College (CVCC).  Sweet Briar College is a private, women’s liberal arts and sciences college founded in 1901 and occupying 3,250 acres. Sweet Briar is one of only two women’s colleges to have an engineering program. It is consistently rated as one of the most beautiful campuses in America. http://www.sbc.edu/

The Amherst CVCC branch is an asset for the community and offers college classes and workforce education and training. http://cvcc.vccs.edu/Off-site%20Centers/Amherst.asp

Central Virginia offers a wealth of other post secondary educational resources. In fact, the region is home to four liberal arts colleges, one university, one community college, and two business colleges. Moreover, the University of Virginia is less than an hour’s drive and Virginia Tech is about 1.5 hours away — both of which regularly collaborate with area businesses on R&D projects, internships, and other programs – and along with Sweet Briar College they offer strong engineering programs.

CaptureThe region’s colleges and universities produce more than 2,000 graduates per year, and nearby institutions contribute another 10,000 annually—offering area businesses a continuous pool of educated employees.

One of the fastest growing universities in the U.S. is Liberty University (LU). LU’s growth has proven to be an economic engine in the region, as well as producing graduates who often remain in the area and provide a young, educated workforce. http://www.liberty.edu/aboutliberty/

Learn More » 

Centra built a new $9 million dollar medical center in Amherst in late 2016. The 17,500 square foot facility is an urgent care center for the treatment of non-life-threatening injuries and provides primary care services, X-rays, laboratory services and physical therapy. There are two nationally ranked and award winning hospital hospitals about 15 minutes away. Virginia Baptist Hospital and Lynchburg General Hospital consistently rank among the top 10 percent of hospitals in the country. Additionally, one of the top ranked hospitals in the United States, the University of Virginia, is less than an hour away in Charlottesville. Learn More »

Actor In Classical Open Air Theater Performance

Amherst County and the surrounding area are rich in cultural opportunities. In the county, cultural life centers around two extraordinary facilities.

Sweet Briar College is a private, women’s liberal arts and sciences college founded in 1901 and occupying 3,250 acres. It is consistently rated as one of the most beautiful campuses in America. In fact, the National Register of Historic Places has designated twenty-one of its buildings on the main campus as The Sweet Briar College National Historic District. The College maintains an active calendar of cultural events.

The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts is nearby Sweet Brier College on a 12 acre site. It is one of the largest working retreats in America for writers, visual artists, and composers providing two week to two month residencies where artists work free from distractions and responsibilities.

Additionally, two important museums chronicle the area’s rich history: the Historical Amherst County Museum and the Monacan Indian Museum.

PictureIn 2015, Second Stage | Amherst signed a five-year lease with Amherst County allowing this not-for-profit organization the opportunity to convert the historic building into a center for creativity and community! The studio spaces are rented with artists, classes, and small businesses. Many area organizations hold regular meetings in the public spaces that are available. There are also performances by regional and local entertainers. http://www.secondstageamherst.org/

CaptureHistory abounds in Amherst and so do the opportunities for fun and recreation. There are plenty of choices for great food, shopping, and accommodations, including several wineries and a brewery.