When it comes to attracting businesses to an area, nothing seems to work better than successful home-grown ones.

Moscow, like thousands of communities around the country, requires economic growth to maintain its quality of life. It’s a constant battle by numerous entities to find and recruit businesses to relocate to the area. Those new businesses add to the tax base, job market and general growth of the community.

Marketing Moscow has seemingly become an exercise with few significant results, as annual economic growth creeps along.

PowerPoint presentations in windowless hotel conference rooms trying to lure businesses to north Idaho paint a pretty picture, but often that picture is not enough for business owners to pull the relocation trigger.

Maybe it’s time to sell Moscow by putting an emphasis on local success stories.

In the past few years, Moscow companies have made commitments to their workers, products and community through major expansion projects.

Northwest River Supplies and Emsi are excellent examples of growth within a small, rural city, and they should be held up as success stories to firms looking to relocate.

NRS is in the process of adding 100,000 square feet of space to its existing warehouse facility at the old Tidyman’s building on the Troy Highway. The building, estimated to cost about $13.5 million, will become the company’s new headquarters.

Bill Parks started the business in 1972. The company has about 110 employees.

Emsi, a computer software company founded in 2001, has outgrown its current location on Jackson Street and is building a multi-million dollar headquarters a few blocks to the north. The 3.7-acre site will contain a four-story building with space to accommodate about 500 workers. The company currently employees 160 people in Moscow.

Both NRS and Emsi plan to stay put in Moscow for the future. Their renewed presence will go a long way as examples to potential business of what can be done.

Moscow has the people to fill the needs of new employers. The school system and university can adequately provide the education and skill sets needed by new employers. In turn, those jobs will pay well enough so workers can put down roots and invest in the community.

This is not a new concept. During the onset of the fast-food wars in the 1970s, McDonald’s would perform extensive due diligence when looking to locate a new store. Demographic surveys, traffic counts and other factors figured in the decision-making process. If all looked good, the golden arches went up.

Burger joint rivals only had to buy nearby property and build their own outlet skipping another extensive and expensive selection process: it had already been done.

Moscow and the Palouse have much to offer as NRS and Emsi aptly demonstrate. If the area is good enough for them to stay and grow, it should be a great place for others to do the same.

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