Once known as a peach center, Ellerbe now features truck farming, tobacco farms, and poultry and swine farms in the surrounding area.
Downtown has antique stores, a general merchandise store, a hardware; beauty salons, funeral homes, a realty/forestry office, a medical clinic, banks, churches, grocery stores, a feed, seed, and fertilizer store, a small-engine repair shop, garages, service stations, a post office, a drugstore, an ice cream stand, a hosiery mill, a recycling center, and three restaurants. A restaurant/inn is located just 1/2 mile north of the city limits.
The town has a multi-cultural population. The 2000 census reported 1,021 residents.