The Place for Business

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19 Mar 2024

Business Attraction, Blog, News

The Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation has a few key program areas that make up a majority of what we do: Business Attraction, Business Retention & Expansion, Entrepreneurship, Community Development, and Administration. Today, we’d like to expand more on Business Attraction.

What is Business Attraction?

Business Attraction includes efforts to bring new businesses into the region, either through relocating or expanding into a new facility within our four counties. Attraction activities may include responding to Requests for Information from the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) as potential projects arise, directly responding to business decision makers who are interested in locating here, or by actively recruiting business through attending trade shows or making cold calls.

Preparedness is key

To be successful in Business Attraction, preparedness is key. Many times as RFIs from the state or businesses come in, staff has a short period of time to return information to be considered. The more information already prepared on the sites & buildings available in the region, the faster and easier these RFIs can be turned around. That includes space available (square footage, acres, building specifications), utility information (providers, costs, infrastructure in place), taxes, incentives, workforce and wage data, and any other information decision makers are requesting.

What Companies are looking for

In addition to site and building specifications, businesses looking to relocate are also looking at the workforce and the quality-of-life amenities available. Not only do decision makers want information about the amount of workforce available, average wage and benefits information to determine if they can hire enough individuals, but businesses also want a community that is attractive to their workforce. This means that childcare, housing, and recreational opportunities are important to support the workers of these new and expanding companies.

Setting the Corridor apart

The Iowa Lakes Corridor Region boasts a Laborshed area of over 116,000, close to double the region’s population; four major rural hospitals; a number of quality public, private, and higher education institutions; and more. As a region, the Corridor can be highly competitive with our quality of life: 21 lakes with 22,493 acres of water, 203+ restaurants, 16 golf courses, 4,323 acres of park and public land.

Recent Business Attraction Successes

In our 2023 Annual Report, we shared a few recent Business Attraction successes including the recruitment of Mahaska to Spencer and Dakota Supply Group to Spirit Lake. In 2022, Platinum Crush decided to invest in Buena Vista County with a new location.

Resources for Recruitment

One way to attract new business is to have space available and ready for occupancy. That is why the Corridor is working with the City of Spencer, Clay County, Spencer Municipal Utilities, Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative, and Corn Belt Power Cooperative to construct a 30,000 square foot speculative building in Spencer. Have a shell/spec building means that companies looking to expand or relocate have a bare-bones facility to customize for their own goals.

The Corridor partners with our communities and resources like Retail Coach and the Community Venture Network to market the region to businesses throughout the Midwest and the nation. Staff also will partner with our local utilities and state organizations to attend the occasional trade show, especially when specific businesses or industries are targeted to be recruited to the region.