How a Business Retention & Expansion (BR&E) Visit Can Impact Job Creation and Business Growth

Friday, June 07, 2019

Itasca Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), a 501c3 nonprofit organization under the leadership of Mark Zimmerman, experienced firsthand how a Business Retention & Expansion (BR&E) visit can impact job creation and business growth.  During a visit with Bud Schneider, President of Arrowhead Promotion and Fulfillment, Mark learned that the company had recently gone through strategic planning which resulted in several initiatives – one of which was to better utilize its existing assets including a large building used for a warehouse. 

About nine months later, Mark received a phone call from ASV’s Chief Operating Officer, Jim DiBiagio.   ASV was considering bringing their distribution center back to Grand Rapids but in order to make it work they needed to find a building.  Within an hour, Mark had arranged for Jim and Bud to meet.  Keep in mind that ASV and Arrowhead are located blocks from each other.  Without the knowledge Mark had gained from his visit with Bud, ASV would not have known that the warehouse building they drove by on the way to work every day was available and would perfectly suit their needs.

“IEDC is a valued resource in the Itasca County area.  They are a great conduit for businesses to achieve their goals.  Mark was instrumental in assisting Arrowhead Promotion and Fulfillment with one of its strategic initiatives – to better utilize its assets, in this case an underutilized building”, stated Bud Schneider, President.

DiBiagio said, “I have worked with economic development agencies throughout the country, so calling IEDC – the economic development organization for Itasca County – was the logical choice for me when I needed information for our expansion project.  Mark quickly put me in touch with Bud Schneider and then connected me with Rob Mattei from the City of Grand Rapids.  Mark and Rob provided great assistance throughout the project, especially with obtaining funding through MN DEED and IRRRB.  As a result, ASV was able to return its distribution center to Grand Rapids, creating 13 FTE positions and solidifying ASV’s presence in the business community.”

Economic Development is a team sport.  Many players were needed to bring this project to completion.  IEDC would like to especially thank Rob Mattei, Community Development Director for the City of Grand Rapids, who was instrumental in bringing together partners from the IRRRB and MN Department of Employment and Economic Development.

According to Zimmerman, “IEDC utilizes many strategies to assist with economic development, job creation, and business growth, but one of the key strategies that can touch on all of the aforementioned is business retention and expansion (BR&E).”

The Department of Applied Economics University of Minnesota defines a successful BR&E program as one that serves the following key purposes:

  • To demonstrate to existing firms that the community appreciates their contribution to the local economy
  • To encourage expansion that leads to sustainable job growth
  • To help businesses solve their problems and challenges
  • To assist local businesses in gaining awareness of available resources
  • To develop collaborative relationships for participating in comprehensive long-range retention and expansion activities
  • To build the community capacity and cooperation to sustain growth and development activities
  • To provide better information and understanding for all local leaders of the strengths and weaknesses of the business climate.

Arrowhead Promotion and Fulfillment and ASV represent perfect examples of how a BR&E visit can help solve a company’s issue, create jobs and develop long lasting relationships.  Please feel free to contact IEDC for further information on BR&E and how it might benefit your business.







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