MSA: Clarksville, TN-KY
Best places ranking: #4 among midsize metro areas
A few decades ago, Clarksville could have still been classified as a small town: it's grown out of the agricultural and tobacco trade, and the presence of nearby Fort Campbell meant that when soldiers were deployed to conflicts, they and their families emptied out of the city.
But over the years, the city has nurtured its own hub of commerce, helped along by the presence of Austin Peay State University and spillover growth from Nashville, located 50 miles away. Military personnel now look to settle in Clarksville and develop their own businesses when they retire.
In December, Hemlock Semiconductor announced an initial investment of $1.2 billion to build in Clarksville a new manufacturing facility for the production of a key raw material for solar cells and semiconductor devices. The site is expected to employ up to 800 people, as well as 1,000 construction workers over the next several years, and local business leaders say it will provide an opportunity for the small business community to service the growing green energy sector. The city's so buzzy right now, in fact, that what publishers say is Clarksville's first business magazine began printing in September. -Tina Peng
Resources for getting started in Clarksville, TN
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Clarksville Business Statistics
"We want to be both the heart and soul. The business of Clarksville is the heart, the heritage is the soul." -David Shelton