Noreen Moore, business resource director for the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, talks about unity, communication and integration as the keys to helping existing businesses succeed.
She calls this plan "economic gardening," and when she talks about it, people listen. Moore's words helped to inspire the reincarnation of the Hayden Economic Development Council by helping council members Don Johnson and Jack Giessinger better understand what an EDC can do in Hayden, Giessinger said.
When the EDC has a full board of seven members, it will meet again with Moore and the Hayden Chamber of Commerce to discuss the primary steps to creating an environment where entrepreneurs feel welcome and can easily find help, Moore and Giessinger said.
The Hayden Town Board approved a resolution Dec. 18 creating the Hayden Economic Development Council as an arm of the Town Board. The resolution was approved, stating the EDC would "assist the community in marketing, retention, and expansion of existing businesses, job creation and review of potential projects for the good of the community."
"Much of the traditional quest for economic expansion is shaped in the efforts of economic hunting," Moore writes. "This works by identifying, inviting and enticing businesses to come to your community. Economic gardening locates the people who have already chosen to be here and helps them succeed in their enterprises."
A diverse group of businesses exist in Routt County, some of which are known throughout the world, such as SmartWool and TIC, and some that are almost completely unknown, such as people working out of their homes or garages, Moore said.
The first step in economic gardening is defining what and where businesses are.
"One of the big pieces is finding them, and another piece is supporting them," Moore said.
"The idea is to foster an environment that says 'we really want you to be here.' Oftentimes, businesses make it on their own. Some businesses need help."
A second step to economic gardening is finding how to connect the community of businesses so they can communicate with each other and possibly use each others' services or products. One business may be purchasing a material overseas when it is produced in Northwest Colorado, Moore said.
"This is an ideal situation," Moore said. "Most businesses are willing to help other businesses."
Educating businesses about keeping money in the community is key, Moore said. She also said she plans to instruct the EDC about the importance of the local economy.
"If a business goes out, it affects everybody," Moore said. "It's all important (that) we help in the health of businesses."
Moore said she would like to see EDCs from across Northwest Colorado meet so that communication is at its highest for the success of all businesses. Creating an online listserv is on the agenda to define local businesses and provide contact information so that other businesses could use their services and better both businesses involved.