Sitting at an important crossroads, Arabel is a major trade center. It also serves as an organizing point for many adventuring bands that use the city as a jumping-off point for the north and east.
The largest commercial enterprise is Thousandheads Trading Coster, which has extensive in Arabel for use on its trade route from Waterdeep to Hillsfar via Scornubel, Berdusk, Iriaebor, Priapurl, Arabel, and Essembra. This company runs thousands of caravans along this route, with each caravan guarded by hired adventurers and mercenaries.
The city is also known for its fine jewelry, primarily the product of the House of Thond, currently run by Peraphon. It is also a major transshipment point for coal mined in the Gnoll Pass area. Dominating the coal trade is the city’s wealthiest local merchant, House Misrim, which has three large warehouses and has expanded its trade into a wide variety of commodities.
Arabel’s importance to trade is demonstrated by the large local facilities of far-reaching trading companies such as Dragoneye Dealing Coster, Iron House (owner of Iron Throne), Six Coffers Market Priakos, and Trueshield Trading Priakos, in addition to Thousandheads. These companies regularly hire exploration parties to maintain their interests all over Cormyr.
Several family merchant houses based in Arabel are prominent locally but concentrate on business near Arabel instead of activity throughout Cormyr. These houses and primary businesses include the Baerlear (cheese), Bhela (weapons and armor), Gelzunduth (winery), Hiloar (brewery), Kraliqh (real estate), Misrim (horses), and Nyaril (grains) families.
Arabel also has a number of entrepreneurs who have built successful businesses without the benefit of a merchant family background. Chief among these is Lheskar Bhaliir , who owns several enterprises that operate on the edge of the law. His general stores sell a motley and ever-changing selection of merchandise and are widely rumored to be fencing operations for stolen goods. He also owns two prominent taverns, the Dancing Dragon and the Dancing Dracolisk, which make no effort to bar shady customers.
Another important businessman is Blaskin “the Bold”, an independent contractor who specializes in wooden structures. With the frontier-like quality of life outside Arabel’s walls, Blaskin has made a fortune building stockades and fences for farmers in the area.
An unusual shop different from any other in Cormyr is Elhazir’s Exotica, an expensive gift shop that features such items as dragonscale shields and painted wyvern eggs. Customers who win the trust of Elhazir may get a chance to buy some of the unique items kept tucked away in his locked back room.
The Lamps hardware store has earned a loyal customer following by offering great selection and service at competitive prices. Its owner, Khelve, is well known and respected in the community.
With so many adventuring companies using Arabel as a base, hiring mercenaries accounts for a large share of the city’s economy. The largest employer is the Red Raven Mercenary Company, which has an impressive headquarters in the city.