The once sleepy farming community of Florence, South Carolina, is quickly growing into a large, strong economic force to be dealt with. The city is home to Francis Marion University, a state supported liberal arts college offering more than 40 bachelor degree programs. It is also home to the Florence-Darlington Technical College, which also has sites in several neighboring communities, but the Florence site is entirely dedicated to health sciences. Florence is also home to the McLeod School of Medical Technology located at McLeod Regional Medical Center, as well as the Kenneth Shuler School of Cosmetology.
Numerous companies in many different industries have a large part of their operations in this historic Pee Dee city. In 2013, GE Healthcare started the construction of a multimillion-dollar building to recapture waste helium from superconducting magnets in magnetic resonance units. The company already has a large informational technology branch here. Palmetto Government Business Administrators (PGBA), a subsidy of Blue Cross Blue Shield, processes veterans’ TRICARE claims here. Hoffman-LaRoche Pharmaceuticals has a process development and bulk active ingredient manufacturing facility inside a large glass building in the city. IRIX also produces lifesaving drugs. The large job hunting company Monster.com operates its customer service unit in Florence. QVC operates a large distribution center in the city.