Erie region invites new businesses to tap into water resources

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Tap into Erie makes a brand new appeal to businesses to build a future in Pennsylvania’s northwest corner, and the tagline for the campaign rides on water, one of the region’s most abundant resources.   

“It rose to the top of the options we considered,” says Jake Rouch, economic development vice president for the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership.  Driving the message?  The region’s $300-million investment in water treatment facilities, which give Erie County a daily surplus of 30 to 40 million gallons of clean water to offer water-reliant industries looking for a location.    

Who might that be?  Many industries use huge amounts of water in their processes, but the Chamber’s campaign, which will start with a budget of about $300,000 a year, prospects among two specific types.  Craft brewers, which need water to make premium beers, and data management companies, which need cooling liquids to control the heat from vast banks of computers.  

Those target industries head the list because they are in expansion modes, and the Chamber wants to draw new business that will become part of future growth for the region.  Other water-consuming industries could be interested, and the region will be receptive to all potential clients.  But the brand value behind Tap into Erie targets new business development rather than pirating current operations from other regions in the highly competitive market for industrial development.

Among all private companies, Rouch says, there are probably 15,500 projects seeking U.S. locations in a year–and nearly that many local governments looking to land them.    With a focused message, a strong value proposition, and a carefully selected target list of potential projects to attract, he’s hopeful that Erie will be able to have meaningful negotiations in the months ahead with 30 to 50 companies for whom clean, reliable water is an essential.

Source: Greater Erie Chamber and Growth Alliance, Jake Rouch
Writer: Joseph Plummer

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