Companies Look to Less Populated Areas for Recovery

17 Jun 2020

In the wake of COVID-19 many companies are looking to rural areas for their recovery. With urban areas hardest hit by COVID-19, many companies are considering less populated states as a way to help mitigate any future losses associated with operational shutdowns and delays caused by future pandemics and quarantines. Given how quickly COVID-19 spread, preparing for future pandemics must now be part of every business's risk mitigation strategy.

The impact of COVID-19 was felt the most strongly along the coastlines of the country with states like Washington having quarantined for upwards of three months. New York , New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland also experienced prolonged shutdowns and stay at home orders that made it difficult for companies to maintain operations. By comparison, less populated states issued short-term state home orders or left it to the public to decide. Arkansas Governor ASA Hutchinson never issued a stay at home order in the midst of COVID-19. Instead, the state encouraged people to practice safe social distancing, stay at home if they were feeling sick and spent more money on resources like PPE. The governor's targeted approach was possible in part because of the state's low-density population. In spite of the governor not issuing a stay at home order, Arkansas has one of the lowest rates of COVID-19 in the country as of June 8th. Arkansas benefits from low population density that makes social distancing easier by nature, making it possible for the governor to leave it to the people to decide if they wanted to stay home or continue going to work, etc. 

Arkansas companies have benefited from the ability to stay open. For example, Walmart, one of the biggest companies in the world, stayed open during COVID-19. Walmart is based in Arkansas and the company played an important role in supplying the country with essential items like food, toiletries, pharmaceuticals and household items throughout the pandemic. They have been viewed as an example of how to practice safe workplace policies while remaining open. Vice President Mike Pence even visited the company to demonstrate to the national public that America's supply chains remained open unhindered at the height of the pandemic. Walmart is one example of the continued success that Arkansas companies had during the pandemic. 

Companies located in other states who struggled due to stay at home orders, or are still under state home orders, should consider looking to Arkansas for their recovery. In addition to being less populated, the state offers numerous advantages such as: 

  • Convenient location 
  • Affordable real estate 
  • Access to ports, rail, and highways 
  • Lower cost of doing business
  • Tax advantages 

At a state and local level, financial and tax incentives are also available that make it more financially attractive to locate in the state. 

Contact us

We invite you to learn more about the benefits of locating in Arkansas. Consider making a location in a less populated area part of your business recovery plan. For information on available real estate and incentives contact J.D. Lowery, Manager, Community and Economic Development for Arkansas Electric Cooperative by emailing