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OneSweetWorld

Attracting Major Corporations

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We need major corporations downtown in order for it to grow. I'm talking about offices with more than a thousand jobs. Look what Amway/Alticor has done to the Ada/Cascade area. Look what Ford and GM has done to the Detroit/Dearborn areas. Major corporations bring huge growth to the areas they are in.

Now, does anyone else here think that the local government needs to do waaaaaaaay more to attract major corporations? Ann Arbor some how got Google to place a 1000+ job office there...why can't Grand Rapids attract these kind of new businesses? My understanding is that Faust's RiverGrand project is to have a major corporation locate downtown. I also understand that there are businesses like the Right Place that help attract corps. But I just think the government needs to do more to attract big businesses.

P.S. I'm not talking about manufacturing companies. I'm talking about knowlege-bases companies, such as Alticor and Google.

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Well I'm sure it's not that simple. It takes more than the city government deciding it wants to attract large corporations. Not everyday does a fortune Five Hundred company decide it wants to move either. I understand what you are saying and I agree. But there are a great number of things that go into a decision about a company uprooting itself and moving. Ann Arbor is a very attractive area for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is its proximity to the University of Michigan. Which is one of the highest ranking places of higher learning on earth. The brain capitol right in Ann Arbor is greater than some major cities. Grand Rapids is quickly positioning itself to be attractive to companies. I'd say Jennifer Granholm is now, and has been for a while lobbying pretty hard for more things like the google R n D Facility to come our way. Be patient. All good things in time.

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"I'm talking about knowlege-base[d] companies, such as Alticor..."

Bwahahahahahaha! :rofl:

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Ford and GM started in metro-Detroit.

Amway started in metro-GR.

You're talking about attracting companies to move to GR but citing examples of companies that were started by entrepreneurs in their own home cities.

The other biggest companies in Michigan all started here as well.

Kellogg - started in Battle Creek by a Battle Creek kinda guy.

Whirpool - started by a Michigan native

Delphi/Visteon - just spinoffs of GM/Ford...clearly started (indirectly) by Michigan natives.

Even Google's 1,000 jobs to Ann Arbor is a big win for the state...but google is co-founded by a Michigan native.

I think the future of GR (and Michigan in general) is getting natives to start "the next big thing" and have the state/GR win as a result. That's why I see the #1 risk facing Michigan as the brain-drain of recent college grads moving out of state (most of the ones I've known in the past 10 years since I graduated college have ended up in greater-Chicago).

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Kellogg - started in Battle Creek by a Battle Creek kinda guy.

Interesting description. :lol:

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I think attracting large companies is fine, but small businesses (fewer than 500 employees) employ the greatest percentage of the population. Make it easier for small businesses and entrepreneurs to start up, and increase their chances for success (remove as many arbitrary obstacles as possible).

Look what Ford and GM has done for the Detroit/Dearborn areas

You may want to use some different examples in your rationale. Some might say they have killed the inner cities of Detroit and Dearborn.

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...

You may want to use some different examples in your rationale. Some might say they have killed the inner cities of Detroit and Dearborn.

Yep, and not so good on the fringes/suburbs either. (I used to work for the city of Detroit, and lived in Dearborn. Don't get me started...)

Warren (GM's HQ) is no Seaside, either (although they just got their first Meijer).

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Bringing in a major corporation is not an easy thing. Corporations only move because a municipality and area has several things that they are looking for, and they are not there in the current location. It makes it even more dependant on what type of company it is.

Some of the things that need to happen is the potential or existing construction of massive office buildings with up to date, state of the art technology, the service and support industry in place or the potential for it to be easily created, desirable housing stock, an exceptional housing stock, and infrastructure in place to aid in their operations.

Oh and having demographic made up of a desirable workforce is a major plus. Cool Cities is an attempt to attract the

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If I were to answer the question, I'd go asking a shareholder first.

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In my economic development class (2002) we discussed what attracts a company. Can't recall any examples from then, but let's use Google. One of the founders grew up in Michigan and he loooooves Ann Arbor.

Sometimes it's a small thing; your target CEO has a boat, an affinity for a local team, ancestors with a cottage near Higgins Lake, daughter looooves Mackinac Island, etc. The Indy news piece I found mentioned that local folks got matching T-shirts and did this big cheerleading-type of appeal, letting the search committee know that "we'd love to have you, here's why we love our community."

OTOH, if the CEO is wined and dined on, say, 28th Street (or Telegraph) at some same-ol' chain place, why bother moving?

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OTOH, if the CEO is wined and dined on, say, 28th Street (or Telegraph) at some same-ol' chain place, why bother moving?

Excellent point! when I hear of conventioneers at Devos Place being bussed out to Rivertown I think "ugh!!!!" If I were a person on the GR steering commitee I'd be encouraging CEOs to go to Yesterdog, or the 1913 room depending on what type of company they are.

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They're probably not going to goto Yesterdog or 1913 because:

Conventioners' don't know they exhist,

Conventioners' don't care, and want to spend massive amounts of money at a mall they brings them familiarity.

Why is there a demand to push conventioners out to Rivertown?

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They're probably not going to goto Yesterdog or 1913 because:

Conventioners' don't know they exhist,

Conventioners' don't care, and want to spend massive amounts of money at a mall they brings them familiarity.

Why is there a deman to push conventioners out to Rivertown?

I dont know why, but theres busses that take them there.

I think its more a matter of bad marketing. At Devos place should literally be a wall of brochures like you see at any hotel with local guides to places in town. Thats what we always did when we went on vacations is look at those little packets on the walls for good LOCAL restaurants.

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They're probably not going to goto Yesterdog or 1913 because:

Conventioners' don't know they exhist,

Conventioners' don't care, and want to spend massive amounts of money at a mall they brings them familiarity.

Why is there a demand to push conventioners out to Rivertown?

Because Rivertown (en masse) has a larger membership in the C&VB? Because the buses are provided by Rivertown?

[dunno, wild guessing]

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because there is NO shopping DT, lets face it, its the truth (besides a few niche stores)

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I dont know why, but theres busses that take them there.

I think its more a matter of bad marketing. At Devos place should literally be a wall of brochures like you see at any hotel with local guides to places in town. Thats what we always did when we went on vacations is look at those little packets on the walls for good LOCAL restaurants.

You know, that is a phenomenal idea! Local specific gift baskets for CEO’s, major developers, and people who can get things going waiting for them when they arrive at the hotel.

Personally, if it were me, I would want some incentive to get from my hotel or conference center to point B. This could be a coupon or discount for something. But that point B would have to be something that has an atmosphere that not only makes me want to come back on my dime, but also to bring my friends so they can see it. Oh and it would help of it screamed GRAND RAPIDS BABY!

I would also want to know how to get from the hotel or conference center to this point B. Typically a list of cab companies, a pass for the Rapid, and a few well designed maps would be helpful. I have yet to see a map of downtown or the City that I have been impressed with. All of them look like they have been overly mass produced have limited user friendliness, and the visual value has been on the sad side. On the way, I don’t want to see rundown neighborhoods or large stretches of store fronts that look vacant, but instead a place that is vibrant, interactive, and welcoming.

Other things in the basket would be a list of activities going on in next few days and big events in the next month, a few post cards, and possibly samples or information on some of the products made in Grand Rapids. Things such as brochures on the history of Furniture City, information on Founders Brewery, the BOB, and the Museum would be a definite help.

Now if we could just get the Hotels, the DDA, Tourism Agencies City, and Economic Development Agencies to all work together, imagine what could be accomplished!

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You know, that is a phenomenal idea! Local specific gift baskets for CEO

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You don't like Bike GR?!?!???

I don't have that map yet... :D But that NEEDS to be included too. Many CEO's like easy access to recreation!

Huh. The button show's loot bag had a tourist book for Saugatuck, agricultural brochures (Michigan Corn Producers, Blueberry, etc.), a sample of dried cherries, and a handful of other nondescript stuff. I think there was a restaurant list. And some button-related stuff.

It needs to be focused to Metro Grand Rapids... not West Michigan.

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I think what would be interesting to see is a forum between city and business interest. Get to the point where both sides are asking questions, answering them, and then acting on suggestions. Also, not just assuming that its just taxes that keeps companies from comming. Grand Rapids, The Furniture City, should build a table and some chairs. Ideas can flourish around tables when there a seat....

Though this concept probably has already been done before. Lets just emulate a city that is doing well and do what they do...

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I think what would be interesting to see is a forum between city and business interest. Get to the point where both sides are asking questions, answering them, and then acting on suggestions. Also, not just assuming that its just taxes that keeps companies from comming. Grand Rapids, The Furniture City, should build a table and some chairs. Ideas can flourish around tables when there a seat....

Though this concept probably has already been done before. Lets just emulate a city that is doing well and do what they do...

Such as advertising the city as a great place to visit and shop and hang out?

Seems like I heard something about that last year...

[11/04 - 4/05: temp seasonal Planner I, city of GR...]

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Not to beat a dead horse, but this is exactly why I was ashamed when City Hall stuck its feet in the ground and said "we aint moving!"

even if you must stay there, if there was one thing I'd like to see its the giant stone wall replaced with something, anything that would add interest to Monroe Ave.

Even if all you do is add some facades to the parking garage and build outward a little bit in front of the plaza, hey at least its a start!

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Such as advertising the city as a great place to visit and shop and hang out?

Seems like I heard something about that last year...

[11/04 - 4/05: temp seasonal Planner I, city of GR...]

Keep it a secret.

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Ugh, that whole blank wall could instead be a wall of storefronts pushed right out to the sidewalk! Maybe even two floors worth with good access to the Calder and stuff. Such a project probably wouldn't be all that expensive compared to most downtown projects, could generate revenue for the city, and reinvigorate that plaza without needing to tear down City Hall.

-nb

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Here's the rest of the loot bag:

Plastic bag with the CVB logo, visitgrandrapids.org URL on it

Flyer for Lincoln Square retirement residence (3121 LM Dr)

West Michigan Buttoneers wooden nickel decorated like a button

West Michigan Buttoneers bookmark (Kinko's cheapie)

Card from McFadden's good for a free appetizer or dessert, with a cool air photo of the S curve showing where the place is (map on reverse)

"Michigan's Amazing Asparagus" brochure with recipes

Memo pad from a buttoning couple (custom printed, no contact info)

A couple pieces of matt board on which I'm supposed to display my collection

Short lengths of telephone wire, same use

Convention brochure, claims that GRAND Rapids is a city known for its warmth and hospitality

Floorplan map of AGP

Loot bag (folded up) purportedly made from corn products, from the Corn Marketing Program of Michigan

Brochure from Little River Casino (Manistee)

The afore-mentioned book for Saugatuck/Douglas

GR Visitor's Guide

Recipe card for Caramel Apple Buckle (not button??), michiganapples.com

Brochure & recipes from the Michigan Bean Commission

and a pen hawking Diflucan (fluconazole), which it turns out is a prescription med for **fungal infections!**

(now I am starting to wonder about this button collector demographic...)

I was wrong (hey, a third mistake!) about the restaurant list. No loose DT map either; there's one buried in the GR visitor book (tear out) with the M-DOT city highway map on one side, the City's DT map (just like on their website) on the other

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