The Guilford County Economic Development Alliance (GCEDA) has won an “Excellence in Economic Development” award from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

GCEDA is a countywide group of local government and economic development officials formed five years ago to bring new business to the county.

The award was given for a unique incentives arrangement orchestrated by the alliance, one that helped keep The Fresh Market headquarters in Guilford County.

GCEDA won international recognition in 2016 for the efforts that led to the alliance’s creation.

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization made up of economic developers. It has over 5,000 members.

Thirty-five award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in “creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities.”   The awards are judged by a panel of economic and community developers from around the world. The IEDC received over 500 submissions from four countries in the nomination process earlier this year.

High Point Economic Development President Loren Hill said this week that the IEDC gave two awards in 2020 in the Regionalism and Cross-Border Collaboration category, the one the alliance received.

“One was the Guilford County alliance’s unique team effort to retain the headquarters of The Fresh Market,” he said. “The other was the well-known Amazon HQ2 project that landed in Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia. I would say that Guilford County is in good company in cross-border collaboration.”

Greensboro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Brent Christensen said the Fresh Market retention and expansion effort showed “exceptional cooperation between High Point and Greensboro” and it gave the company “a very positive message about how much the community values that business.”

The new corporate offices of The Fresh Market are also expanding by adding 53 jobs as well as remaining in Guilford County.

The Fresh Market incentives proposal was unusual because local governments in Guilford County rarely pertain to the “retention” of jobs. Economic incentives granted in Guilford County, the county or other local governments usually are to help lure a company to the county rather than keep them here.