Economic Development


Ipswich has a diverse economic base that includes manufacturing, retail, service, and natural resource industries such as shell fishing (Ipswich is the state’s largest producer of soft-shell clams) and farming. This diversity is an important part of the Town’s character and self-image: Ipswich is not just a bedroom community but also a place where people grow crops, make products, practice a wide variety of professions, and come to shop and relax. Over the past two decades, Ipswich’s economy has exhibited considerable strength and resilience, and its job growth has been impressive, in large part due to the arrival and subsequent expansion of two major businesses, EBSCO, Inc. and New England Biolabs.


Ipswich’s economic development goals, as described in the 2003 Ipswich Community Development Plan, the Downtown Retail Assessment (2014), and the Ipswich Economic Development Strategy, Phase I (2015) and Ipswich Economic Development Strategy, Phase II (2017) (Timetable for Phase II Action Items), favor continued job growth as well as the expansion of the business tax base, but not at the expense of our natural resources and community character.* Accordingly, the Town’s economic development efforts focus not only on attracting appropriate business development, but also on making sure that this development is compatible with these important Town values. This means making the best possible use of existing business areas as well as undeveloped land zoned currently for economic development, rather than re-zoning additional land for business use. It also means using creative regulatory approaches to support commercial development at appropriate locations within residentially zoned areas.

Economic Development Program

The Town’s economic development efforts are led by Ethan Parsons, the Director of Planning & Development, and rely on a strong partnership with the Ipswich business community. Active partnerships exist between the Town and the Ipswich Chamber of Commerce, the Ipswich Partnership, the North Shore Chamber of Commerce, the Center for Economic Development & Sustainability at Salem State College, the Massachusetts Office of Business Development, and the Ipswich Visitor Center. The Economic Development Program’s current objectives and action items, including priorities are timetables for completion, are provided in the Ipswich Economic Development Strategy.

You may reach the Director of Planning & Development at 978-356-6607, ext. 1, or at

*Other documents that may be of interest are the Ipswich Town Character Statement (2004) and the draft Downtown Development Plan (2009) that was never adopted but which contains much useful information about Ipswich's downtown.