Spotlight on Houston & Henry Counties: Economic Engines

Henry County Lake from the deck of Snoring Bear Lakeside Grill in Abbeville

Health Care 

Health care is Houston County’s largest economic sector. Its hospitals and clinics form a regional health care hub, drawing patients from neighboring counties and states.

Southeast Health, with about 3,000 employees, is the largest overall employer in the county. Over the past 10 years, the health system, comprised of the Medical Center, the Medical Group, its foundation, Statera Network and the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine, has experienced rapid growth. 

Flowers Hospital is the third largest overall, with about 1,100 employees. 

Also, Global Resources International – Advanced Product Solutions Inc. has announced plans for a $9.5 million medical manufacturing facility in Dothan.

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Houston County ranks first in peanut production in the state and beyond, with 95 million pounds produced in 2019. The county’s second largest commodity is cotton, with 55,000 bales, according to the USDA. 

Other agricultural interests rank among the county’s largest employers, including Wayne Farms, which is Houston County’s largest manufacturing employer. Agribusiness company GreenPoint Ag in Dothan recently completed a new warehouse facility, while Dothan Warehouse Freezer Storage opened a refrigerated warehouse for poultry and other food products for the Southeast. The $20 million investment created 70 jobs. And Flagstone Foods is one of the county’s largest employers. 

In Henry County, Golden Peanut & Tree Nut, one of the largest manufacturing employers in the county, expanded recently. And Henry County Gin recently invested $1 million for a 45,000-square-foot warehouse. Red Star Yeast in Headland is listed among the county’s largest manufacturing employers. 

Wood products

Great Southern Wood Preserving in Abbeville is Henry County’s largest manufacturing employer. Recently, Abbeville Fiber, a sawmill, opened, a $43 million investment that employs 100.

SmartLam North America, headquartered in Montana, recently acquired 

the former IB XLam facility in Dothan. The company’s two facilities will provide a combined capacity of 6 million cubic feet of cross laminated timber annually. 


Dothan is located on “South Alabama’s Aviation Business Corridor,” close to Fort Rucker, which has a $1.97 billion economic impact on the Wiregrass region.

Dothan Regional Airport, one of six major commercial airports in the state,
is operated by the Dothan-Houston County Airport Authority and has both commercial aviation service and aviation companies on site. 

The airport industrial park is home to several aviation companies including Commercial Jet, Flight Safety International, Aero-One Aviation and Flightline of Dothan. The airport recently received a $919,170 grant to rehabilitate a taxiway.

In Henry County, the Abbeville Municipal Airport was awarded a $150,000 FAA grant to extend its runway and update its master plan. 

Retail & Tourism

A retail hub, Dothan’s retail options are continuing to grow, says Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba. 

Dothan is working to add attractions. Family entertainment center Hangar 38, with bowling and games, is slated to open this summer. And Water World has just finished a $1 million update.

Visit Dothan has worked to attract sports events, bringing more than 65 scheduled events, says Aaron McCreight, president and CEO of Visit Dothan. That means more hotel rooms booked, restaurant meals and more. The uptick of tourism has meant healthy sales tax collections, also. 

Diverse manufacturing

The area has several industrial/business parks and has attracted a diverse group of manufacturers, which has helped tremendously during COVID-19, officials say. The area also has several distribution centers. 

Some of the more diverse sectors in both counties include tire manufacturing, motor freight, logistics, mechanical contractors, industrial systems, utilities, machining distillers, boat manufacturing and trailers. 


Dothan is a finance regional hub for the region with more than 20 local banks, many of them growing.

MidSouth Bank opened a $5 million financial processing center in Dothan. Five Star Credit Union set up a financial processing center in the old Gander Mountain store. SB&T recently completed a merger with Bank Plus with a presence in Dothan, Enterprise and Geneva. River Financial Corp., parent company of River Bank & Trust, announced a merger with Trinity Bancorp Inc., parent company of Trinity Bank, converting Trinity offices in Dothan and Enterprise to River Bank & Trust. 

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