OTTAWA — Putnam County Community Improvement Corporation Director of Economic Development Amy Sealts discussed the importance of new business attraction and retention and expansion of existing businesses during the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon Tuesday at Henry’s.
The Putnam County CIC is a 501(c)(3) organization created through the Ohio Revised Code as a way to increase capital investments in the area and helping businesses increase their productivity and economic growth. The organization helps promote expansion and retention of jobs in 11 villages and 15 townships in Putnam County.
“We kind of consider ourselves the front door for business,” said Sealts. “Sometimes we will get a business that will call us that does not know what they need, and we can help step them through that process.”
The Putnam County CIC spends 75 percent of its time on business retention and expansion, said Sealts.
“Sometimes that’s shocking to people because I think they think we are out there everyday trying to beat down doors and get new businesses to come to this county,” said Sealts. “We are working on that, but by and large we want to help businesses that have already made an investment and already going to be here and make sure they have everything they need to do their business and do it well in order to thrive in our county.”
The organization helps businesses become stable, helps with future investments, helps with top needs and priorities, connects businesses with supplies and vendors and helps connect them with tax incentives like tax increment financing and the community reinvestment area.
Outside of business retention and expansion, the organization spends 15 percent of its time working on attracting new business.
“Today, everyone has a site, everyone has a building and everyone is trying to get the next Protec or the next Campbell’s in their community,” said Sealts. “It’s shifted from who has a site to who is prepared. The communities that are prepared are the ones that are going to win. You really have to have all your ducks in a row when those opportunities come down the line.”
When businesses consider relocating, their decision is mainly based on availability of skilled workforce, accessibility, proximity to major markets, occupancy, valuable lands, labor cots, tax rates, state and local biz incentives, energy availability and quality of life.
“We are focusing now on getting some sites in our county that are prepared and ready so that when a business comes today, we can say we are ready to go and everything is in place,” said Sealts.
More information about the Putnam County CIC can be found at www.putnamcountyohio.com.
Reach Camri Nelson at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @CamriNews