Business Retention & Expansion Program
The greatest economic development asset any community has is its existing businesses – accounting for 60 – 80% of all new jobs created. This is why a business retention and expansion program is vital to the economic health of a community.
Beginning in November of 2000, TRIDEC started the Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Program. Its objective is to help existing businesses, primarily manufacturing companies, become more competitive, encouraging them to stay and expand in the community.
The BRE program partners with federal, state, and local economic development organizations to continue to participate in the growth of businesses in Benton and Franklin Counties.
Food and Beverage Retention and Expansion Opportunities (FABREO) In early 2014, TRIDEC launched the FABREO program designed to position the Columbia Basin as a globally recognized food and beverage manufacturing region. Food and beverage processing companies create a cluster that today dominates the manufacturing landscape of Benton and Franklin Counties. According to the Washington State Employment Security Department,* food and beverage processing accounts for 45% of manufacturing companies, 58% of manufacturing wages, and 68% of manufacturing employment in the two counties. In 2014 TRIDEC conducted the Columbia Basin Food & Beverage Processing Survey. Seventy-one companies were surveyed: 20 food processing companies and 51 beverage processing companies (82% wineries). The survey results contribute to a better understanding of the industry, confirm a number of assumptions and clarify development opportunities as well as challenges. In 2015, TRIDEC will engage in meaningful dialogue with local educational institutions to explore development of a food processing training program as well as a technical skills training program. In addition, TRIDEC has plans to produce an event featuring locally processed foods and beverages. The event will be the FABREO Expo, “Featuring Food & Beverage Opportunities in the Columbia Basin,” scheduled for June 12, 2015 at TRAC Center, Pasco. The FABREO Expo will not be a traditional trade show, but rather, an “economic development trade show” designed to not only attract food and beverage brokers, distributors, retailers, and support organizations, but also investors and developers.
In 2014 the FABREO website was launched (www.fabreo.org) along with a FABREO Blog and a presence on Twitter and Facebook. In 2015, a FABREO E-Newsletter was launched with a focus on a select group of industry participants, current and potential. Local media was very supportive in 2014. We are confident that participation will continue in 2015 along with coverage in regional and national food and beverage trade magazines.
A key project for FABREO in 2015 will be the development of the Strategic Gateway concept, positioning the Columbia Basin as the strategic gateway for the food and beverage processing industry between America and Asia. This concept is a natural because of the region’s geographic location and the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma and Sea-Tac Airport providing the shortest ocean and flight times between the United States and major Asian markets. This will probably be the most challenging of the recommendations, while also providing the greatest potential.
To turn recommendations into reality, TRIDEC will spend considerable time and financial investment networking with appropriate organizations regionally, nationally, and internationally. This will be accomplished through personal visits (primarily in the Pacific Northwest) and participation in such major food and beverage trade shows as the Winter Fancy Food Show, San Francisco; the Summer Fancy Food Show, New York; Natural Products Expo West, Anaheim; and Natural Products Expo East, Baltimore. Companies interested in relocation or expansion, editors of major trade magazines, potential strategic partners and investors, especially Asian, will be targeted.