Raeford began as a settlement that flourished around Raeford Institute, an early high school. Over time, however, other one-room, one-teacher schools dotted throughout the county kept open four to six months each year as an essential hub of growth and education for Raeford residents.
Residents will have an opportunity to meet local businesses at this event – all for free and open to the public!
Raeford Chamber of Commerce’s business directory has recently been updated and made available online. It contains local businesses, county events and department activities, helpful community information as well as category searches that make this directory an excellent resource for those relocating or expanding in Raeford.
Raeford is situated at the heart of Hoke County and hosts a wide variety of restaurants, shops, banks and local attractions. Raeford is served by U.S. Route 401 which runs east 22 miles (35 km) towards Fayetteville and southwest 20 miles (32 km) toward Laurinburg; North Carolina Highway 210 also runs through Raeford connecting it to Lumberton (30 miles/48 km) south and Aberdeen (17 miles/27 km).
Raeford is home to a small but expanding economy. Residents are employed by both government and military institutions, as well as its strong manufacturing base. Raeford serves as an important center for healthcare and education with over 1,700 students attending an “Academically Acceptable” local school system and many colleges and universities such as UNC at Pembroke and Campbell University nearby. Over time, its population has steadily increased which has fostered growth of many small businesses within its boundaries.
The chamber hosts various events for its members and the wider community, such as hosting a bulk chicken sale to support Hoke County Open Door Soup Kitchen’s hot meals and clothing distribution efforts – this event takes place Saturday from noon-2 pm at Rockfish Uhaul in Raeford.
Next month, the organization is also hosting a Business Expo to bring job seekers and businesses closer together. Held at the county parking lot, chamber members may set up information booths at no charge while non-members must pay an admission fee in order to participate. It will be open to the public.
The chamber also hosts an annual gala to recognize outstanding individuals and companies in its community. In 2009, two people were recognized for their contributions to economic development; this event also recognized two people for membership with North Carolina Economic Developers Association; its director was awarded “Economic Developer of the Year” award from NCEDA that year. NCEDA recognizes those who make significant economic contributions with tangible accomplishments that positively contribute to local economies.
A chamber of commerce can be an invaluable resource for local businesses, offering networking events and professional development training sessions that can help your company develop its skillset and increase profits. Many chambers include these services as part of membership fees – take advantage of them!
Hoke County in the early 1900s was dominated by cotton production with no paved roads and only a handful of schools available to the local residents – one high school located at Raeford and around twelve smaller one-room, one-teacher schools that operated four to six months out of each year.
Companies started emerging in the region, such as a distillery for turpentine production, paper mill, and power plant near Rockfish. Settlers also began cutting timber from the county’s vast pine forests.
Population in 1910 was approximately 10,000 and featured an almost equal mix of German, Irish and English ancestry. Harnett County bordered to its north by South Carolina while to its west was Cumberland County and to its east Harnett. A portion of Harnett was selected for Fort Bragg Reservation which lay within 4.4 miles of Raeford city; as a result of this action many residents left their homes and farms that they had spent decades cultivating for government use.
The Chamber offers many opportunities for businesses to reach more customers and expand their businesses, including sponsorship of Hometown Christmas. Businesses decorate their premises with lights and decorations for this festive evening event and stay open late into the night to offer hay rides and hot chocolate for customers to enjoy.
On Saturday, May 14, the chamber will host its annual job fair. Chamber members can set up information booths and post employment opportunities free of charge; non-members will pay $25 fee to participate. In addition, Executive Director Liz McNeill plans on inviting food trucks for the first time ever at this year’s Expo.
Will Wright is the Director of Raeford/Hoke Economic Development. Additionally, he owns W.J. Wright Realty located on Oakwood Avenue in Downtown Raeford. Since moving back to Hoke County 11 years ago he has become deeply immersed in community life and actively contributes to its revitalization.