Opelika is a city in and the county seat of Lee County in the east central part of the U.S. state of Alabama. It is a principal city of the Auburn-Opelika Metropolitan Area. According to 2008 Census estimates, the population of Opelika was 26,808. The Auburn-Opelika, Alabama MSA with a population of 130,516 which, along with the Columbus, Georgia-Alabama MSA and the Tuskegee, Alabama Micropolitan Statistical Area, comprises the greater Columbus-Auburn-Opelika, Georgia-Alabama Combined Statistical Area a region home to approximately 500,000 residents
Recent projects include 170,000 square feet (16,000 m2) Daewon, an employer of 170 employees. Other new, large employers include Gambro Renal Products (a Swedish manufacturer of dialyzers for kidney dialysis). Gambro made the largest single initial investment in Lee County’s history of $110 million.
The Tiger Town retail shopping complex continues to expand its commercial developments with the recent openings of Kohl's and Bed Bath and Beyond.
Opelika has received several honors over the last several years for its success in attracting new business. In 2004, the city of Opelika's Economic Development Department was named one of the top 10 economic development groups in North America by Site Selection magazine, a national industry trade publication covering corporate real estate management and economic development. Site Selection again recognized the efforts of the Opelika Economic Development Department in its Top Groups 2005 list in the Honorable Mention category.
In early 2006, the Economic Development Association of Alabama named Opelika the top community in Alabama for business recruitment for the year 2005. Opelika also received the #1 rank in the South as "Small Market of the Year" by Southern Business and Development magazine, a professional publication that helps corporations around the country (and world) in their expansion, relocation and development decisions. The city earned its #1 status through its success in bringing Gambro, Jo-Ann, Maxforma, Benteler and Mando Corporation to the community in 2005.
In April 2009, officials with Michelin North America announced it would close its BF Goodrich Tire Manufacturing plant in Opelika by October 31, 2009. The announcement was part of a company restructuring plan, and official blamed an overall decline in demand.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Template.cfm?Section=Find_a_County&Template=/cffiles/counties/usamap.cfm. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Annual Estimates of the Population for All Incorporated Places in Alabama" (CSV). 2000 to 2005 population estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. June 21, 2006. http://www.census.gov/popest/cities/tables/SUB-EST2005-04-01.csv. Retrieved November 9 2006.