AP NEWS

Drone footage helps market industrial site

September 29, 2018

GERING — Bringing potential new businesses to the community is always a numbers game, but one that’s necessary to appeal to the right prospect at the right time.

“Marketing a new site involves a lot of frog kissing and it takes time,” said Keith Ellis, community and economic development director with Twin Cities Development. “We’re doing the marketing to find potential suitors that might be interested in the Scottsbluff/Gering industrial site.”

The industrial site, located east of Gering, is a joint venture of both Scottsbluff and Gering. It’s currently being managed as a farm operation with Gering receiving some of the proceeds until development starts.

Between TCD and the cities of Scottsbluff and Gering, they’ve made more than 700 contacts to industries that are considering expansion. They’ve also shown the industrial site to a number of interested businesses.

In addition to printed and video marketing materials, TCD arranged with Tracy O’Neil to send a drone up to 160 feet and film the entire 200-acre site, giving it a dimensional perspective.

“When it comes to marketing the site, TCD is taking care of that for us,” said Gering Mayor Tony Kaufman. “They recruit all the potential businesses and show the site for interested parties.”

The City of Scottsbluff, through its economic development department, is also helping in marketing the industrial park. It’s a certified industrial site with all the utilities in place, ready for use by interested businesses.

Kaufman said they’ve had a number of businesses that are considering the site.

“We’ve had more referrals from the state Department of Economic Development in the last 18 months than any time before,” he said. “We’re now on the state’s radar as a community that’s ready for economic development. That gives us a competitive edge over a lot of other places.”

Even with the status as a certified industrial site that’s ready for building, it can still be a long process to attract new businesses.

“When you’re dealing with people who are looking at properties, it can take time,” Ellis said. “Maybe there’s an interested business that would like to expand, but in the future, and any number of different scenarios.”

He said positive relationships with continual contact are important because business situations can change rapidly and are difficult to measure or predict.

“If you can plant those seeds with a prospect today, you have the opportunity for them to remember you in the future,” Ellis said.

TCD’s target prospects for the industrial site are any kind of manufacturing, ag-based production and precision manufacturing.

Another good fit Ellis mentioned was transportation and warehouse logistics because of the area’s central location. It provides for a convenient corridor for trade with Canada and Mexico and also between the east and west coasts.

Gering High School senior Tommy Ganos has been assisting TCD as an intern doing in-depth research of businesses around the country to determine if any of them have expressed an interest for expansion in a new area.

“Our interns give us insight into what a new generation of business leadership is looking for when we market to them,” Ellis said. “We have to grab their interest in just a few paragraphs. It’s a whole different world with new ideas so we need input from our young people.”

jpurvis@starherald.com