Selma has the potential to become a major distribution center. The Interstate 95 luring Eastern Seaboard travelers from Maine to Florida has two exits in Selma and Highway 70 from Raleigh to the Coast crosses I-95 at Exit 97. Selma can be considered an inland port.
Two railroads – the Norfolk-Southern and CSX cross in Selma making it a prime area for industries needing rail access. The Selma Crossing certified site is a 160-acre property available for immediate development (http://www.smithfieldselma.com/pages/CertifiedSites1/)
Amtrak station in Uptown connects Selma to New York, Washington, DC, Atlanta, and New Orleans.
Located halfway between New York City and Daytona Beach, Florida along the I-95 corridor, the Town has been able to attract considerable tourism traffic with its abundant lodging, shops and restaurants.
The historic central business district, known as Uptown Selma, serves as a major attraction for antique lovers and heritage tourism enthusiasts. Residents and visitors alike enjoy the quaint shops, fine eateries, cultural and entertainment offerings that make the downtown district an exciting and vital part of the Town’s overall charm and appeal.
Specializing in antiques, the many locally-owned and operated shops offer something for everyone – from the casual buyer to the serious collector. Restaurants offer a wide selection of choices including the soda fountain at the local drug store. The historic Rudy Theatre offers some of the finest entertainment in the Mid-Atlantic region, and annual festivals and special events throughout the year celebrate the history and culture of the area.
Nationally recognized hotels have located in Selma – Hampton Inn, Quality Inn, Days Inn - as well as major retailers such as J.R.’s Tobacco and DeWayne’s Home & Garden Showplace.
New and expanding industries are driving the economy. Sysco has invested nearly $40 million in a food distribution facility creating 500 jobs that pay $48,000 on average.
Johnston Community College launched a $4 million, 30,000-square-foot Workforce Development Center in which tailors training to meet emerging job demands. The county’s diversified economy includes auto supplier SONA BLW with 150 metal forging jobs in Selma.
Agriculture remains a vital force in Johnston County, where annual crop cash receipts of $145 million ranked first in the state.
Metropolitan Advantages in Small Town Setting
Selma was officially chartered as a Town on February 11, 1873, but the Town’s true birth took place on May 1, 1867, during the celebration of a new station on the North Carolina Railroad.
The celebration was organized to help sell lots to those attending in hopes of establishing a new community at the site. The festivities achieved their goal and Selma was born, taking its name from Selma, Alabama which had become known as a rail center. A second rail line was built through Selma in 1886 and a new depot, the Selma Union Depot, was built in 1924.
Having been born as a railroad town, the rail heritage is still evident – from the recently renovated 1924 depot, which supports Amtrak service, to the original Mitchener Station, built circa. 1855 and thought to be the oldest surviving train station in the state.
Growth and Expansion
Selma is located in one of the richest agricultural regions in America. Although farming is still prevalent in the area, the growth of Selma has been advanced in large part by its strategic location within the superb transportation network that has developed to serve the population centers along the eastern seaboard. Within easy reach of the State Capital and the highly developed and widely renowned Research Triangle Park region, Selma provides quality small-town living with quick access to urban amenities. As the urban areas to the northwest have become more businesses and families to the area. Johnston County has, in recent years, been one of the fastest growing counties in the State, and the Selma area has made a significant contribution to this growth.