Olive Branch, Mississippi, has been named by Bloomberg Business Weekly the fastest growing city in the nation over the past 20 years. The northern border of the city is the Mississippi/Tennessee state line, and Olive Branch is considered a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee. The first settlers came to the area in 1836 and by the turn of the 19th century, almost 200 people had become Olive Branch residents. Amenities such as a public water system and electrical service were soon added, and R.M. Norvell’s cheese plant, which opened in 1929, became the first major industry. Today, the population is listed as 33,484, according to the 2010 census.
The city has won several beautification and urban forestry awards and takes pride in its parks and recreation offerings. Olive Branch City Park, for example, comprises 135 acres, has three lakes, numerous walking trails and five tennis courts plus ball fields, picnic pavilions and a playground. Several communities, such as Maplebrook, Cherokee Trails and the Retreat at Center Hill offer new residential construction from 2,000 square feet and up and a short commute to schools and the city proper. When residents wish to enjoy big-city dining, shopping and entertainment, the drive into Memphis, a major cultural center and the world-famous birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, takes only half an hour. Olive Branch has its own favorite shops and dining spots, however, such as the Old Style Barbecue, which has been a local landmark for decades.
A number of businesses, in fact, have been operating in Olive Branch for many years, including Olive Branch Printing, Holiday Inn and Bancorpsouth. Some residents commute to Memphis, however, where there are large companies such as Nike, well-regarded for its diverse work force and Fed Ex, the city’s largest employer. Other Fortune 500 companies to be found in Memphis include AutoZone, International Paper and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, all easily accessible from Olive Branch.