Economic development adds jobs in a community and also property to local tax rolls, which happens in two ways: the attraction of new companies and reinvestment by existing businesses.
Columbus economic development officials use a variety of strategies to promote the city and attract new investment — such as trade shows and marketing campaigns.
However, it is the reinvestment by existing companies in Columbus that happens more frequently, and provides more of an economic boost.
For example, the Greater Columbus Economic Development Corp. regularly surveys area manufacturers and uses the results to understand how to meet the needs of area employers. It recognized long ago that some of the best prospects for creating jobs and assessed value already have a presence here locally. Those efforts are in addition to economic development trips to Asia and Europe by the EDC president, Jason Hester, and other city and business leaders to strengthen ties with existing foreign-based businesses by meeting with the parent companies.
The result: More than 70 business expansions, representing more than $500 million in capital investment, have occurred in the past six years alone.
The groundbreaking of a $20 million project by the German-based Lindal Group is a perfect example of how creating a good climate for business can reap repeated rewards.
Lindal, which makes aerosol packaging such as valves, actuators and spray caps, started in Germany in 1959 and launched production in Columbus in 2008 as Lindal North America. Its expansion project on 15 acres south of Deaver Road and east of County Road 300W will result in the creation of a 100,000-square-foot production facility and the hiring of 35 more workers over the next two years.
For the company, it’s a way to improve efficiency and replace three current buildings in Columbus and Hope. The new building will house manufacturing operations, research and development activities, offices and a warehouse.
Lindal was a good addition to the city because it added diversity to city’s economic base, which is mostly reliant on the auto industry.
Its expansion project also shows that companies beyond those with ties to the auto industry are finding good reasons to expand operations in Columbus. That’s a positive sign.
Lindal’s expansion is another reminder of the successful efforts of local economic development leaders over the decades.
Success takes effort, and both have been evident by economic development stakeholders in Columbus.