Beaufort citizens and visitors alike are passionate about shopping at local businesses. The downtown has a thriving business district and the commercial district on Highway 70 offers a range of businesses to suit most any need.
According to The Carteret Economic Development Council, the county’s vibrant tourism cluster benefits from a distinctive cultural heritage and a rich history. Recent accolades include Beaufort’s designations as “America’s Coolest Small Town” and Best Yachting Town and Morehead City’s ranking as a Top Fishing Town. Carteret County is also recognized as a center for business and industry. A strong logistics sector is anchored by the Port of Morehead City, one of the deepest ports on the US East Coast, and easy access to major markets by US Highway 70, an extensive railroad system and nearby international, regional and local air service. The county is home to a long-established base of marine related trades and boatbuilding; a wide range of manufacturing, production and assembly operations; a growing cluster of marine science education, research and technology; and of course the military. Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and Fleet Readiness Center East’s Engineering and Product Support facility have more than 10,000 military and more than 4,000 civilian employees, adding up to a total workforce of almost 15,000. Nearby Camp Lejuene has a complement of over 45,000 active duty Marines and Navy personnel and almost 6,000 civilians.
Carteret County’s growing population of more than 68,000 people is enhanced by an additional 100,000 people over the long summer season. A dedicated workforce of over 30,000 is fueled by an excellent public school system, one of the best in North Carolina, Carteret Community College’s comprehensive, specialized workforce development training and a large number of “former military” members who want to remain in the area.
The Carteret County Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based organization that is independent of government funding. The Chamber is a private, not-for-profit 501(c)(6) organization. It unites more than 850 businesses, industries, professionals, organizations, educational institutions and individuals who are committed toward building a better community. The organization is there to help new businesses moving into the area, including Beaufort.