County’s diversified search for commerical, industrial business pays-off
Manufacturers are moving into the Minden-Tahoe Airport. Target and Home Depot are planning new stores in Douglas County.
Such economic development does not happen by chance.
Douglas County is stepping up efforts to attract new business to the county and it’s beginning to pay off.
Last year, Fred Jones went to work for the county as the economic development coordinator. Now he’s executive director for the Douglas County Business Council and continuing his campaign.
Jones targets small, privately owned companies. Last year he wrote about 9,000 personalized letters extolling the benefits of relocating to Douglas County. He finds his targets through research at the state library in Carson City and contacting industry associations.
“I dig them out of the woodwork,” he said. “It takes a lot of leg work; a lot of detective work.”
His work is seeing results.
Several small manufacturers have already, or made plans to, move into the area, especially at the Minden-Tahoe Airport. They include businesses relocating from Missouri and Arizona.
“I focus on attracting manufacturing firms rather than retail for a number of reasons,” he said.
“Typically, the owner will move here and be a part of the community. They tend to be more interested in the community, while big business owners live elsewhere and are more interested in the bottom line.”
Increasing industry in the county also creates economic diversification to help balance out gaming, lodging and retail, he said. Currently, 8 percent of the county’s employees work in manufacturing compared to 21 percent in Lyon County and 13 percent in Carson City.
The diversity employment opportunities is another reason for courting industry. Plus, because manufacturing customers tend to be elsewhere, such companies bring in new dollars instead of recirculating existing dollars as retail tends to do, Jones said.
The Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce is taking a different tack. According to Executive Director Dave Bollick, the chamber is working to “stop the sales tax leak” into Carson City. The goal is to provide all the services, particularly retail, that residents want within the borders of the county.
“We’ve just started building a database on what we need,” he said.
Then there’s the big guys.
Target and Home Depot recently announced plans to construct new stores at the corner of Jacks Valley Road and U.S. Highway 395. It was constituted an interception from chief competitor Carson City.
The two stores are expected to contribute $500,000 a year in sales tax revenue to the county coffers.
Incentives created by county commissioners and the ground work of Douglas County Manager Dan Holler helped sway the retailers, said land owner John Serpa.
“(Target and Home Depot) picked the location that they thought was the best,” he said. “With Douglas County doing redevelopment work, that was one of the things that led them to decide on the county.”
Half of the county’s $3.5 million redevelopment fund will go to the Target/Home Depot project plus street, water and sewer improvements in the area. The county is expected to recoup its investment with appreciation of real estate values in Indian Hills.
Douglas County officials are hoping more companies will consider the county to be the best place to set up shop.
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