Suffolk, located in the South Hampton Roads area of eastern Virginia, has an estimated population of 81,039 (2005) residents. It is located in the largest geographical area of the Seven Cities of Hampton Roads. Established as a port town on the Nansemond River in the Virginia Colony, it was originally known as Constance's Warehouse; later named after Suffolk County, England. The city was originally important for its location and became a transportation gateway to the eastern side of the area, South Hampton Roads.
Best known for its important peanut production, Planters Peanuts established its central growing and corporate headquarters in Suffolk in 1912. Planters is still a major industry and employer of the area, and is now owned by Kraft Foods. Every fall, the city holds its annual Peanut Fest. Other large employers in the City include Unilever Lipton Tea, Wal-Mart, Target, QVC, and Lockheed Martin and Raytheon - large defense contractors.
In recent years, Suffolk has experienced an economy boom with many new businesses. The new Louise Obici Memorial Hospital, completed and dedicated in 2005, provides numerous jobs and premier health care for the area. Suffolk is also served by three freight railroads; providing more jobs and bringing in support for local businesses. Suffolk is also being considered as a location and depot for a high speed passenger rail service between Richmond Road and South Hampton Road.