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When a company like T-Mobile or Expedia chooses to open a new facility there is an incredibly competitive and relatively unknown process that they go through before choosing the new location.
That process starts with site-selection consultants. Similar to how a talent scout will investigate and work to recruit players for a sports team, companies hire site selectors to use a combination of quantitative and qualitative data to find the perfect location for the company to expand and grow.
“Site selectors and the companies they represent look for a number of different qualities in a community,” Jeff Siefried, the Chamber’s Manager of Regional Development said. “They look at the strength of the region’s top employers, the cost of doing business, as well as things like the availability of commercial real-estate.”
Through the Springfield Regional Economic Partnership, the Chamber and its economic development arm, the Springfield Business Development Corporation work to market the entire Springfield region to site selectors so that when they have a client that is looking to open a new facility, Springfield is at the top of their list.
So far this year, Chamber staff have completed 80 face-to-face visits with consultants, putting us on track to meet an aggressive goal of 150 consultant visits by the end of the year.
Contributing to our progress thus far, Chamber staff and regional partners played a key role in organizing a Missouri Economic Development Council event which brought eight consultants to Missouri for several days. Elected leaders from around the state, including four from our region, met with these consultants to discuss the advantages of locating in Missouri and the Springfield region.
At the local level, the Springfield Regional Economic Partnership completed its first familiarization tour for site selection consultants. Over a two-day period, staff hosted consultants in the Springfield region and provided them with hands-on exposure to the assets and advantages of doing business here. We also connected the consultants with local business and industry leaders, to provide them with a deeper knowledge of our region when discussing prospective locations with their clients from around the country.
These two events, in combination with the outreach planned for later this year, are significant steps in a long-term strategy that positions Springfield to attract companies looking to create jobs and invest in our local economy.