Over the past few months we have seen many signs of economic progress in Flint-Genesee County. Businesses are investing in the region through expansion projects and new construction, and we are forming economic development partnerships at the state and national level.
Let me review a few examples of economic news that is already paying dividends while other projects will yield fruit in the near future.
First, companies continue to invest in our region and create jobs. Repocast.com is an Internet company that conducts millions of dollars of auction sales annually and has a broad following of online bidders from all over the world. The company has invested $2 million to expand their operations to a larger facility in Flint. The expansion has created new jobs and they expect to add 200 jobs over the next year.
Landaal Packaging Systems is moving its corporate headquarters to Flint and creating an Innovation Center in downtown Flint in the ROWE Building. Landaal is investing $2 million into construction and equipment, and will have a small number of new jobs.
Serra Automotive just opened a new Volkswagen dealership at the Al Serra Auto Plaza in Grand Blanc hiring 40 new employees, and the expansion continues with new Cadillac and Subaru stores. Just recently Genesys announced the long-awaited plans to open a Downtown Flint Health Center. It’s a $3 million investment over seven years that includes an urgent care clinic, a retail pharmacy, an internal medicine health care clinic, and a women’s health care clinic.
Among small businesses in the area there have been multiple ribbon-cutting events: Horizon Physical Therapy; Maurice’s, and coming up are events for BEADS and Creative Financial Centre to showcase their new facilities.
Also important to the region are the strategic partnerships that the Regional Chamber forms with key state and federal entities. The I-69 International Trade Corridor is a collaboration between four counties – Genesee, Lapeer, Shiawassee and St. Clair. The economic development agencies for each county are working together to strategically market the region’s transportation assets and attract new businesses.
As part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s goal to collaborate more with economic development organizations in Michigan, they have loaned members of their staff to enhance the Regional Chamber’s efforts to expand, retain and attract new business in Flint and Genesee County.
Another example is our partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce. We have entered a Memorandum of Agreement to create awareness of the economic benefits of exporting. The partnership also aims to educate businesses on how exporting can help increase the region’s trade capacity and economic viability, and create jobs. The Coffee Beanery is a great example of a company that is exporting successfully; in fact, we have over 300 client companies that are exporting goods and services outside of the U.S.
There are many great stories that demonstrate how we are growing and diversifying our economy. While there’s no doubt that we have challenges, a lot has happened this year to drive optimism. We have a strong business environment where companies can invest and be successful.
Please join me in promoting positive news. If we want to drive continued growth and change the perception of our community, we must let the world – and our own community -- know what’s possible in Flint-Genesee County.