Developing healthy businesses key to retention, expansion efforts.

Developing healthy businesses key to retention, expansion efforts. Main Photo

4 May 2022

News, Business Retention and Expansion

As part of its business retention and expansion work, EDASC coordinates with planning departments across the county to help small businesses overcome unique hurdles.

For example, in early 2021 EDASC coordinated a meeting between a local planning department and lawmakers with a local food & beverage small business to discuss zoning barriers preventing the owners from expanding and launching a farm-to-table experience.

Meaningful economic development activities don’t usually have quick or simple steps and outcomes. EDASC plays the long game for many of these projects, said EDASC CEO John Sternlicht.

“Some expansion or retention proposals may go on for years,” Sternlicht said. “And you are never sure about the result until it’s done.”

Case in point: the aforementioned small business owners are still seeking a suitable site for their farm-to-table plan with EDASC support.

Through its business retention and expansion efforts, EDASC focuses heavily on developing a healthy environment for those who are already here as well as those not yet here. Consequently, business attraction successes have been a direct byproduct of our business retention and expansion efforts.

Business retention and expansion requires strong planning and expertise, something EDASC is happy to provide in many forms.

EDASC works with local businesses of all sizes to ensure a healthy and thriving community. For instance, it may work with small businesses to help navigate aforementioned zoning barriers or support larger businesses like Eddyline Kayaks’ Burlington relocation in 2020 or Scratch and Peck’s expansion in 2021.

Maritime growth has also been a point of emphasis in Skagit County, offering one of the most competitive locations in the Pacific Northwest for sustained and future maritime growth. With jobs in this sector providing secure family wages, EDASC has done much over the past several years to foster domestic growth and international cooperation.

Since 2019 EDASC has been working with the City and Port of Anacortes, as well as the Chamber of Commerce, to implement the Anacortes Maritime Strategic Plan, a blueprint guiding growth of the sector. EDASC has also hosted multiple international delegations of maritime business leaders and partnered in a regional Joint Innovation Program to win a grant to develop new clean energy fast hydrofoil ferries locally.

EDASC has worked with large companies like PACCAR Technical Center and Hexcel to assist with workforce training and expansion, and with medium-sized companies like Chinook Enterprises for growth opportunities.

EDASC is also constantly helping small businesses with workshops, no-cost advising, and more.