marketing efforts focus on the California
year, as many as 4,000 of California’s small manufacturers
opened their e-mail to learn about Walla Walla County’s
economic environment. They were responding to a Port of Walla
Walla recruiting initiative used direct mail and the Internet
to reach some 12,000 businesses with 100 or fewer employees.
The message they got was simple and straightforward.
“Tired of the high cost of operating
a business in California?” they were asked. Then came
the response Walla Walla, Washington, offers a cost-effective,
dynamic, economically thriving environment in which to grow
your business...and an affordable, safe, vibrant community
for your company and employees to live.”
In addition, the Port “mail”
described the county as a haven for business.” Then
it listed these valued points:
• No state corporate income tax.
• No state personal income tax.
• Washington State has the 45th lowest
compensation rates in the nation.
• Washington State is one of the lowest
states in the nation.
• Affordable housing and industrial
• Low business operating costs.
Paul Gerola, economic development director
for the Port, said Walla Walla is the first in Washington
State to initiate this kind of program created by iGroups,
a California-based economic development marketing firm. Yakima
has since decided to embark on a similar effort...and others
are planning to follow our lead,” he said.
So far, the ongoing 12-to-24-month effort
has generated 55 responses that Gerola describes as “active
“In the marketing realm, what we’re
experiencing is worth the investment,” Gerola emphasized.
“If we attract one new industry that creates 20 new
jobs it’ll be a great success.”