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City economic development "kicking into high gear"

 

October 13, 2017

City economic development "kicking into high gear"

Sidney's economic development efforts are "kicking into high gear."

Melissa Norgard, economic development director, reported to the Sidney City Council Tuesday on current efforts to promote the city's assets and workforce.

"We have a lot of good stuff going on," Norgard said.

Agri-Plastics of Ontario, Canada, last week officially announced it was expanding its operations to Sidney. The manufacturer is closing a deal with Lukjan Metal Products LLC to purchase roughly half of its 1 Greenwood Road facility.

"They're excited to expand their operations into the U.S. and will begin hiring for various positions in the coming week, with the facility targeted to be operational by late January," Norgard said. "Initially Agri-Plastics will be looking to employ 20 people with the intention of future expansion."

The city has been working closely with Agri-Plastics and the state with questions on benefits, taxes, permits and other business-related matters that are different between the U.S. and Canada, Norgard said.

"Socialized medicine is the biggest thing," she said. "They pay their people an hourly wage and that includes everything. Here they are going to pay their people benefits on top of the hourly wage, they're just trying to make sure that's comparable with what they pay their people in Canada."

An agri-business marketing collateral piece has been readied, following on a target marketing study completed this year that identified 88 agri-business companies ranging from marketing to wholesalers and retailers.

"The marketing piece focuses solely on the top-producing crops in our area and the raw materials that can be easily used to make a final product and ship it out," Norgard said.

The marketing piece touts Sidney's crop production, farmland, access to natural resources, abundant ground water supply, and "convenient centralized location."

Norgard is also creating an info-graphic marketing piece for social media distribution.

"Info-graphics communicate an idea simply and quickly, high-quality info-graphics are 30 times more likely to be read than text articles or posts," she said.

The piece will include Sidney demographics, climate, location, "ease-of-access to urban markets," incentives available, housing facts and workforce skill set.

Marketing brochures are also being sent out to companies to "help continue to diversify the economy of Sidney."

"We continue to brainstorm and target various companies we believe match the talented, skilled labor pool Sidney has to offer," Norgard said. "I'll follow up with phone calls and emails to gauge interest levels with the companies and field any questions."

 

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