More California headquarters choosing to move to Tennessee


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – New research shows the Volunteer State is the second most popular destination for companies fleeing California, just behind Texas.

Kaiser Aluminum, Oracle, and Mitsubishi, some of the most recent and most popular additions, are soon-to-be additions to our state.

“Life has gotten hard for people out in California and they like the culture and lifestyle in Middle Tennessee and they like the business environment,” said Ralph Schulz, CEO of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Within the last couple of years, California has experienced a major loss of company headquarters to other states, including ours. Schulz says he’s definitely seen an uptick in recent years.

“It’s become the least business-friendly state, not only in the U.S. but across the globe,” said Bob Rolfe, Department of Economic and Community Development.

A report by the Hoover Institution at Stanford University found that from the first of the year in 2018 through June 30, 2021, there were 25 California headquarters that packed up to put boots on the ground in Tennessee.

“Those headquarters, that’s the real trophy at the end of the day,” Rolfe said. “That’s the team that makes all of the decisions that’s the team that invests in the community locally and makes a location for capital expenditure.”

Those communities now include Franklin, Brentwood, Dayton, La Vergne, and Columbia with 15 of the 25 headquarters choosing to move to Music City.

“The reason you want to see those companies considering Middle Tennessee is because they’re going to provide expanded opportunity for the people that are here,” Schulz said. “The whole secret here is when you have growing jobs, you have expanding opportunity, expanding options, you have growth in cultural institutions and the city gets stronger.”

We’re not complaining here, but why are they choosing us?

“Tennessee’s work ethic and skilled workforce are a magnet for businesses,” said Schulz.

Whatsmore, the Fraser Institute noted that Tennessee is one of the top five states measuring what areas have the most economic freedom in areas such as taxes, the labor market, legal systems, property rights, and business regulations.

Chief Executive magazine ranks Tennessee the third best state for business, behind Florida and Texas.

“When I joined the state four and a half years ago it was about incentives, then it became about workforce development and today it’s about quality of life and Tennessee really stands up above our other peer states,” the commissioner said, adding we’re just warming up.

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