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Business recruitment. Business retention. Business attraction.

You may have too often heard these terms in association with economic development. Well, these are three valuable goals that an economic developer works towards in their everyday activities.

It is just as important to retain and care for existing businesses in the community as it is to bring in exciting new development. It is equally as important to highlight and show appreciation to the businesses that are contributing to sales tax dollars as it is to be out at trade shows trying to recruit new industry.

Recruitment, retention, expansion and attraction must all work hand-in-hand in order to maintain a successful economy. An economic developer must focus their efforts on all three aspects of attracting and maintaining local business in order to increase economic viability in their community.

So how does Lompoc adhere to the recruitment, retention and attraction tools that are critical to economic development? The City of Lompoc Economic and Community Development Department prioritizes existing businesses and helping them expand, grow and succeed but also welcomes in new development to help overall growth in the city.

Monthly, the department hosts business visits to local businesses to develop, build and strengthen relationships with the business owners and community here in town. These visits are on a voluntary and informal basis and can consist of interviews, general conversation, site tours and allow the opportunity for city staff to learn more about existing businesses needs, concerns, and successes. These visits also allow for business owners to ask city staff any questions they may have or in general to discuss operating a business in the city of Lompoc.

The Economic Development Division has also recognized the need to attract and recruit new development in Lompoc with the goals of filling vacant storefronts, as well as attracting new builds.

Last June, the city partnered with Retail Strategies, a retail recruitment firm that focuses on identifying opportunities in a given market and then building and executing a recruitment strategy specific to the community at hand.

For Lompoc, Retail Strategies conducted an in depth real estate analysis in the city, developed marketing materials to highlight retail capacity in Lompoc, created a comprehensive recruitment strategy and is actively representing our community at national conferences, trade shows, and utilizing industry specific connections to market our community to nationwide retailers.

This business recruitment and attraction effort on behalf of the City of Lompoc allows for Lompoc to “get on the map” and make our small town open for business to companies both inside and outside of California.

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Since partnering with Retail Strategies, we have learned about industry targets that would best suit our demographics and footprint, and have gained insight, connections, and leads for a multitude of retailers. This partnership is an ongoing process for recruitment and attraction and is one of the ways Lompoc is trying to market themselves for prospective business development.

Another way the city is utilizing business retention and attraction tools is through the use of new technologies to market the community.

The city has recently developed industry specific promotion videos to share online and through social media with the hopes of increased visibility to what industry in our city can offer to new and expanding businesses. In the next fiscal year, the city plans to create more promotional videos to highlight industries we see are growing, and thriving in Lompoc.

Overall, business retention, attraction, and recruitment is an ongoing process for economic development. City staff and community partners are working hard towards creating the best possible economic environment in our town.

To stay updated on the EDC’s progress throughout the year like the “Lompoc Economic Development Committee” page on Facebook.

Building the Future Today is a column by the Lompoc Economic Development Committee. The column runs on the first and third Sundays of each month. To contact the committee, email Lompoc Economic Development Committee can also be liked on Facebook