Economic package focuses on bringing business to Juneau

Posted: Sunday, December 09, 2001

The Juneau Economic Development Council has produced a fact-filled marketing package to attract new business.

JEDC Executive Director Lance Miller said he hopes the publications will encourage expansion and diversification of local businesses and demonstrate that Juneau supports the private sector.

"We don't want to recruit new businesses at the expense of local business that could grow and capture that market," he said.

Titled "Juneau, Alaska! Open for Business on the Last Frontier," the package includes a large-format, glossy booklet filled with color photographs and text about "Alaska's Banana Belt." Accompanying the booklet is an eight-page newsprint tabloid titled "The Economy of Juneau and Southeast Alaska: Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going? - November 2001."

The publication says Juneau is "an economic frontier" with a "great business climate" featuring no personal income tax, a low sales tax, a low property tax, abundant fiber optic capacity, world-class sports and cultural activities, excellent air access, a low crime rate, clean air and fresh water.

Miller would like to attract businesses such as light manufacturing, software research and development companies, value-added fish producers or small timber manufacturers.

Because Juneau does not have highway connections or a railroad connection, it's a challenge to produce a product here and market it elsewhere, but it can be done, Miller said, citing Alaskan Brewing Co.

"We have no road (connecting to major highways), but we have pretty good transportation. The brewery shows it can be done - but it has to be a passion of the person in charge to make it work," Miller said.

Juneau has an advantage in cheap, reliable, sustained power from a hydroelectric source, he said.

The marketing package also can be used by existing agencies and businesses in Juneau to recruit employees or promote products in the Lower 48, Miller said.

The package was paid for with $10,000 from the city and additional money from GCI, Alaska Marine Lines, Alaska Electric Light & Power, First Bank, Wells Fargo Bank of Alaska and Coeur Alaska. "GCI especially helped," Miller said.

JEDC printed 2,500 copies of the package for under $14,000, leaving the rest for a travel budget.

"This can't be used in a blanket way because towns all over the country are doing that," Miller said. "Business recruitment has to be strategic. It's a huge world out there, and there are a lot of reasons to go outside Alaska rather than within the state" to look for new businesses for Juneau.

The package was printed last month in Anchorage. The booklet was created by Christianson Communications of Juneau, with photos by Pat Costello, Michael Penn and David Gelotte. The tabloid was compiled by JEDC and the McDowell Group, a research firm in Juneau.

Ann Chandonnet can be reached at achandonnet@juneauempire.com.



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