Economic Development

If you’re looking for big opportunities, try a small town.

Safford, Arizona

There’s a lot to be said for the high quality of life of small town USA, but there’s also a lot to be said for the high quality of conducting business in a small town, especially when that small town offers many of the advantages of larger cities. Great retail amenities, entertainment, education, recreation, medical facilities, and weather all combine to make Safford a terrific place to live. Just as important, Arizona is a business friendly state and Safford is a business friendly city. All of that, combined with a high quality labor force and a regional population fast approaching 50,000 makes Safford an excellent place for your business.


Safford Area Profile

The City of Safford is located in the Upper Gila (hee-la) River Valley of southeastern Arizona where the San Simon River and the Gila River meet near the foothills of the Pinaleño Mountains. At 10,700 feet, the scenic Mount Graham is the highest peak in the mountain range and one of the highest peaks in Arizona. Safford, the Graham County seat, was established in 1874 as an agricultural town using the Gila River to create 40,000 acres of irrigated agriculture.


Local Attractions

Just because Safford is a small town hardly means there isn’t anything to do, in fact, the area is loaded with entertainment and recreational amenities. It’s just 10 miles to the Coronado National Forest, provides many recreational facilities. Popular spots are 10,720-ft. Mt. Graham and Pinaleño Mountains. Swift Trail, a 36-mile tour and one of many scenic drives in the area provides a route to the summit and features many picnicking and camping sites. Discovery Park is a 160-acre attraction that includes Natures Hideaway Riparian Wetlands, a Narrow Gauge 1880s Railroad and Gov. Aker Observatory. Discovery Park also hosts tours of the Mt. Graham International Observatory which houses 3 large telescopes atop Mt. Graham, including the Large Binocular Telescope which is the world's highest resolution and most technologically advanced telescope. The Bureau of Land Management administers 740,800 acres of land within Graham County. Some of the unique recreational opportunities are Hot Wells Dunes, Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area and Black Hills Back County Byway. Roper Lake State Park, south of Safford, has overnight camping and day use picnic areas, plus mineral water hot springs.

Area attraction 1.jpg

Principal Economic Activities

Safford, the seat of Graham county Arizona, serves as the commercial and business center for southeastern Arizona and a portion of western New Mexico, encompassing a total population of about 65,000 and about 49,000 within the immediate area of Graham and Greenlee counties in Arizona. There is substantial employment in a variety of business sectors including retail and service businesses, mining, agriculture, higher education (Eastern Arizona College), medical (Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center), and light manufacturing.

Agriculture has been a mainstay of the Safford and Graham County economy, with cotton as the principal commodity and remaining acreage used for hay and small grains. NatureSweet operates a 20-acre greenhouse and produces tomatoes and cucumbers year round and distributes them throughout the United States.

Mining is a major local employer and local employment and businesses receive a substantial boost from Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. which has mines in Safford and nearby Morenci in neighboring Greenlee County.

The corrections industry is another major area employer with two Arizona State Prison facilities and one Federal Prison in the area. Other major employers include Eastern Arizona College, Mount Graham Regional Medical Center, and DRG Technologies (a global label manufacturer for companies such as Honeywell and Master Lock). County and municipal governments and school districts round out the major employers in the Safford area.

Business 4.jpg