Yakima County Development Association promoted doing business in the Yakima Valley at the Northwest Food & Beverage World this January in Portland.
YCDA participated in the event as part of the Eastern Washington Economic Development Alliance, meeting with over a dozen local companies as well as making new company contacts with organizations that may be interested in siting operations in our region. A unique partnership between several different county EDO’s enables the group to jointly market related industries while reducing costs to the participating economic organizations.
“A key part of our marketing strategy includes outreach to companies and industry clusters we’ve identified as a good fit in the Yakima Valley. Industry specific tradeshows provide us the opportunity to introduce ourselves to decision makers and provide compelling information why it makes sense for them to do business in our region” explains Joe Schmitt, Director of Business Recruitment for Yakima County Development Association.
Yakima County is home to a large and growing food processing industry. Targeting related and complementary businesses is one of many strategies employed by economic developers.
“Recruitment is a long-term process,” said Schmitt, “and maintaining a presence and building relationships are key to remaining top-of-mind when decisions are made.”
The group met with about a dozen prospective businesses, ranging from a company with unique wastewater treatment solutions for dairies and food processors to a commercial contractor that’s seeking sites in our area for cold storage facilities and warehouses.
“It was a successful trip for our organization” Schmitt said. “The return on our investment isn’t immediate or always tangible, but these efforts can and will have an overall impact on our results.”
The group is off to the World Ag Expo in February, a much larger trade show where they will meet with 30-40 prospective companies over three days.