Natural beauty and a temperate climate are two of Pender County's greatest assets. Thick woodlands are filled with lofty pines and ancient hardwoods. Wildflowers grow along the roadsides while cultivated plant life seems to thrive in private lawns and gardens. Warm weather begins in early spring and usually continues through November, which means that the county enjoys a long growing season, and that residents as well as vacationers can participate in outdoor activities almost year round.
Pender County was established in 1875 and named for Confederate Army General William D. Pender. The county seat, Burgaw, combines the old and the new that typifies this Southern county. New, contemporary homes and buildings are juxtaposed with 18th and 19th century architecture. Within Burgaw are banking and shopping facilities, municipal and county government offices, a hospital, and a satellite campus of Cape Fear Community College. Ranked as the fastest growing county in North Carolina, Pender County has grown 15 percent since 1990. With a population of 34,000, Pender County has a labor force of 13,992 and a per capita income of $15,497. Several corporations are located in Pender County including: Wieland, a manufacturer of electrical interconnect devices for the automotive industry; W.R. Rayson, a manufacturer of disposable paper goods; Ultrafoam, a manufacturer of polyurethane foam for office furniture; and Chloride Systems, a manufacturer of emergency lighting systems. The terrain in Pender County is basically flat and the soil has proven ideal for the county's primary food crop, blueberries. Other agricultural products, which still form a substantial portion of the county's economic base, include sweet potatoes, strawberries, tobacco, soybeans, peanuts, corn and grapes. Sod farms and nurseries are also evident in areas of the county. Pender County includes Topsail Island, one of North Carolina's prized beaches. In addition, it includes miles of Intracoastal and inland waterways, such as the Cape Fear River, which has played an important role in the development of the county since the American Revolution, and the Black River, one of only two rivers in the nation considered pollution-free. Located in the Coastal Plains section of the state, Pender's countryside is also enhanced by streams and brooks, natural lakes and ponds. Les than 30 miles from Pender County is Wilmington, an historic seaport city in New Hanover County. New Hanover International Airport, which offers 30-minute service to Charlotte, is a 45-minute drive from any point in Pender County. The Wilmington terminal of the North Carolina Ports Authority is a 45-minute commute as well. Access to major highways, including I-40, US 17, and NC 132 make ground transportation in and out of the county quick and efficient. Three institutions of higher learning exist in Wilmington as well - The University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Cape Fear Community College., and Miller-Motte College. Affordable real estate, an available trained workforce, and a thriving economy are just some of the advantages to doing business in Pender County. Discover why families, businesses and industries are turning their attention to this Southern blend of casual living and planned growth.