Guest Column: Attracting, growing and retaining businesses

Published 9:25 am Thursday, March 2, 2017

By Noelle Hagen

Noelle Hagen is the small business and marketing manager at the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency.

The Albert Lea Economic Development Agency, known as ALEDA, is an organization dedicated to the economic development and business climate improvement of our community. In 2016, we responded to over 50 projects with 28 percent of them moving forward in some form or fashion.

Noelle Hagen

Our organization responds to many projects throughout the year from companies inside and outside the community looking to expand or relocate to our community. The requests from outside of the community usually come from site selectors and not directly from the company who is looking to relocate. When we receive these requests we respond in a timely manner with information regarding the requested specs for the interested company. These requests and proposals are confidential and if and when we are told the name of the company, we are subject to a promise of confidentiality. Not only is the name of the inquiring company kept confidential, but when a site selector is gathering this information, they are generally inquiring about multiple cities, oftentimes in several different states.

Because we cannot share this specific information, it becomes difficult to show the community all that we are doing in regards to attracting new businesses. That said, this year we are making an effort to provide more information to the community through our partners, the Albert Lea Tribune and our social media pages.

As we continue to market and promote Albert Lea as a place for new business, it is also important to remember that many of our new businesses come from within the community. Our ALEAP program focuses on local entrepreneurs and helping them grow and create new businesses in Albert Lea and Freeborn County. Since ALEAP’s inception in 2015, entrepreneurs in Albert Lea have started five new businesses and have created 20 new jobs. Over the years, ALEDA has also been involved in many business expansions in our community, including recently: Advanced Family Dental, Mrs. Gerry’s Kitchen, Zumbro River Brand, Pro Manufacturing and Schippers Pro Power Wash.

Please stay tuned for updates throughout the year on what we are doing to fulfill our mission, “To provide and promote services and resources to retain, expand, create and attract businesses, increase tax base and create quality employment opportunities in Freeborn County.”

For more information about ALEDA, our programs, progress and initiatives, visit us online at www.growalbertlea.com or stop by our office at 2610 Y.H. Hanson Ave., Albert Lea.