Friday, March 9, 2012

Business consultants to size up valley

Company advises on business relocation


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

A Chicago-based consulting firm is visiting the Wood River Valley this week to assess the possibilities for business relocation to the valley.

During a meeting Tuesday, County Commissioner Tom Bowman said local economic development group Sustain Blaine has invited Deloitte Site Selectors, a firm that helps businesses expand or relocate, to visit the valley and determine whether it meets companies' needs.

Seven consultants from the firm were invited to visit Boise this week by the Boise Valley Economic Partnership to evaluate the metro area. Following that visit, they are scheduled to come to the Wood River Valley.

Evan Lawler, information officer for Sustain Blaine, said the visit could bode well for the valley's economy.

"It's our opportunity to sell to these consultants that we are a good area for relocation," Lawler said.

According to an email sent to Bowman by Sustain Blaine Executive Director Harry Griffith, the consultants will arrive in Hailey on Friday, March 9, and spend time with employees of Rocky Mountain Hardware as well as other invited local business owners.

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The consultants will ski Bald Mountain on Saturday before having lunch at the Roundhouse with members of the Sustain Blaine board and possibly one or two other local residents. They will continue skiing in the afternoon, after which they will receive a quick tour of the Sun Valley-Ketchum Visitors Center while having a happy hour at Starbucks with local business owners.

The consultants will finish their visit with a dinner at The Cornerstone Bar and Grill with several economic development professionals and Sustain Blaine board members.

Lawler said the events of the weekend are designed for the consultants to network with existing business owners who will be able to sell the benefits of the Wood River Valley. He said the area may have an advantage over bigger cities like Boise—an advantage already-existing companies can talk about.

"Smith, Scott, a lot of the reason they choose to be here is because they can not only do business well here, but they can maintain an active lifestyle as well," he said. "That's true of other more location-neutral businesses as well."

Bowman, who is also a Sustain Blaine board member, said at the meeting Tuesday that the visit would not only could be good for local businesses, but will also help Sustain Blaine achieve its mission of promoting local economic development.

"This is just another example of Sustain Blaine's relentless forward motion," he said.




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