A mix of public and private concerns helped form the Marion Business Association (MBA) as a means for stakeholders to have a structure for planning and action.  

Expanded in 2006 to advocate for all businesses in the City of Marion, the MBA serves as the Economic Development Office for the City of Marion and continually works between business owners, potential new businesses, the general public and elected officials addressing all areas of concern.

Mountain Glory Festival 2019


The MBA provides citizens with a sense of community by coordinating a full calendar of events such as the Liver Mush Festival, Fourth of July Celebration, SideWalk Yard Sales in May and August and Mountain Glory Festival.

The MBA also provides technical assistance to a variety of organizations that now host Downtown events, including the WNC Bigfoot Festival and Marion Cruise-Ins.

Since 2007, Marion Business Association has coordinated the Historic Marion Tailgate Market.  The market is housed in a 5000 sf shade shelter that hosts a variety of events throughout the year like car shows and the City’s fall festival. 

Contact us today to find out why Marion, North Carolina is a great place to live, work, retire, start a business and raise a family.

Extraordinary Experiences


Downtown Marion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, along with the Depot District and nearby churches.  Every effort is made by the City of Marion and Marion Business Association to protect and preserve the historic character of Marion.



With global economic changes, now more than ever before, a strong representation for rural communities is essential.  Downtowns remains the heartbeat of a community.  The MBA is seeing a renewed interest in the downtown with a variety of new businesses, including a tap room, brewery, and an entertainment venue.



It is imperative that organized efforts continue to represent business recruitment, beautification, and preserving the sense of community that is unique to Marion, North Carolina. To grow Marion’s entrepreneurs, the MBA provides an active entrepreneur training, Growing Entrepreneurs Marion (GEM) with classes in the fall and winter. GEM provides entrepreneurs with skills to be Marion’s future business owners and community leaders.


The Marion Business Association operates as a 501c4 non-profit business organization and is governed by an active Board of Directors (See Board Directory Attachment). The MBA is funded by the City of Marion, membership dues, and special events. Located at 58 Depot Street, the MBA staff has 2 full-time and 1 part-time employees. Marion Business Association is a certified North Carolina Main Street Community and a national Main Street City. The Marion Business Association works in close association with the City of Marion, McDowell Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Center at McDowell Technical College and the McDowell Economic Development Association of McDowell County to promote the growth of new and established businesses.

Affiliation and Accreditation

As a Main Street America™ Accredited program, the Marion Business Association is a recognized leading program among the national network of more than 1,200 neighborhoods and communities who share both a commitment to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. All Main Street America™ Accredited programs meet a set of National Accreditation Standards of Performance as outlined by the National Main Street Center.