Fewer companies looked to the County Department of Economic and Community Development for help in locating or expanding here this year, but Carroll shouldn't worry that its time as a boom area is over, said James C.
Threatte, department director.
"The measure of activity is not necessarily a measure of results," he said. "It only takes a few companies to make a difference."
Walter L. Patton, a Realtor with KLNB Realtors in Baltimore, said Carroll isn't the only county experiencing a slowdown.
"The market does not have to do with Carroll County per se. It's just the market in general that's down."
So far this year, 58 companies have inquired about sites, said William E. Jenne, business and industrial representative for the county. Of those, two actually located or expanded here.
Last year, 89 companies were listed by the department as industrial prospects, and 12 located here.
The numbers do not reflect all new industry that came to Carroll, because some companies locate here without department assistance, Jenne said. Also, some companies counted as prospects in previous years completed their moves this year.
The department deals mainly with industrial firms, not retail or office prospects.
The two 1990 prospects that decided to locate in Carroll were Cole Medical Inc., a medical equipment and supply distributor, with plans to build a facility in Eldersburg; and BCDE Enterprises, an industrial control systems consultant in the Air Business Center in Westminster.
Economic development records also show about five other companies decided to locate in Carroll in 1990 and six others expanded.
One of the projects was announced by Patton in July. National Instrument Co. in Baltimore plans to build an industrial park on Route 97 near the Community Pond.
Threatte said Carroll is still a "good value" for some businesses.
The Eldersburg Business Center under development by Merritt of Baltimore is an example, he said. The company found an uncongested location for a good price, he said.
Preliminary construction work has begun at the center, located at Route 32 and Bennett Road, said Tamra Edwards, Merritt's marketing director. The company plans to build almost a half-million square feet of warehouse space.
Threatte said even though it's not likely the number of industrial prospects will increase in the remaining months of this year, the county remains a viable place for companies because of its location.
"Carroll County offers good access," he said.
Interstate 795, the Northwest Expressway, opened in October 1986, making it easier and faster to reach the county from Baltimore and Washington.
The next year was one of the county's best in terms of industrial prospects, Jenne said. In 1987, 105 companies were considered prospects, and 17 expanded or located here.
Activity fell off in 1988, though, when 66 companies were considered prospects, and three came or expanded in the county.
The department continues to work with some companies that were first considered prospects as far back as 1986, he said. Some companies operate on five-year development plans for projects.
"These decisions aren't made overnight," Jenne said.
Copyright The Baltimore Sun 1990