By Renee Chapline, The Progress-Index
Within a matter of hours, hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in capital investment were announced in the Gateway Region as a result of two new companies finalizing their plans to build facilities to better serve their target market.
German retailer Aldi shared their plans to build a distribution center and establish their divisional headquarters in Dinwiddie County. After their purchase of 80 acres at U.S. 460 and U.S. 1, the grocery chain will invest $57 million into a 500,000-square-foot distribution facility, generating 145 new jobs.
In the same afternoon, Niagara Bottling LLC announced their acquisition of 62 acres in Chesterfield County. The California-based, family-owned and –operated bottled water supplier will invest $95 million to develop a 600,000-square-foot warehouse. The company expects to create 76 new jobs.
At first glance of the two media announcements, the region gained 221 jobs and $152 million of capital investment seemingly overnight. On the contrary, for every publicized announcement, various entities at the local, regional and state level spend months — often multiple years — working behind-the-scenes to convince companies looking to relocate or expand that the Gateway Region is the best possible place for their business and to work as the company’s liaison to ensure that their endeavor becomes a reality.
From the initial site visits until official announcements, professionals working with state, regional and local economic development organizations (EDOs) compile data and answer questions, ensure that the prospect’s capacity and service needs can be met, work with multiple partners to estimate costs and incentives and even arrange any required workforce training that the company may need. Throughout the entire process, EDOs organize and provide all information and resources necessary to make each project a success, from zoning and utilities to greater planning and regional networking.
Throughout the demanding process that comes with each project, numerous departments work to satisfy the prospect’s needs. Some announcements move quickly while others are so that it takes years to close the deal. Despite everyone’s hard work, most achievements remain anonymous. Regardless, each announcement is a victory for the community, region and state because the process behind all locations and expansions truly is a team effort. At the end of the day, a company announcement is the result of a team of local, regional, state and subject matter experts partnering together to make an opportunity for growth into a reality.
I would like to thank all of our communities and private partners who diligently to promote the region and support prospective as well as existing companies on their new location and continued growth.