Stone Brewing Co Site Selection by Facebook

Back in January, Escondido, CA-based craft beer maker Stone Brewing Co announced that it was searching for a site for brewery operations on the east coast.

Bring Stone to Myrtle Beach

Bring Stone to Myrtle Beach (photo – MBEDC)

The company is planning to invest $20 million in the initial phase, and the project is expected to create around 370 jobs.

The site must be able to accommodate 130,000 square feet of space for brewing, packaging and distribution operations, with enough room for expanding to 220,000 square feet.

The project also needs space for an on-site or adjacent hospitality facility including a Stone World Bistro, beer garden and a retail store.

Interested cities were asked to respond to this RFP by March 15, 2014, and the company is now in the process of shortlisting sites from all the proposals that have been submitted.

The company has contacted state economic development agencies, and no doubt the usual site selection process with site visits and negotiations will play out.

But the whole process took an interesting detour in the interim to Facebook, in part because one of the questions that needed to be answered in the RFP was “Why Stone Brewing Co. would be a good fit for this location and community?”

One after the other, the economic development agencies of Myrtle Beach, Charlotte, Greensboro, Roanoke and other cities competing for the project took to Facebook and created pages to rally the community and show Stone Brewing Co. how much support a craft brewery would have in the city.

The Myrtle Beach Economic Development Corporation (MBEDC) set up Stone Brewed on the Beach, which says “Myrtle Beach needs more breweries and we need you! Show your support and help bring the finest craft brew to the Grand Strand!”

They’re also pushing it on the main MBEDC Facebook page, asking people to like and share the Stone Brewed on the Beach page if they want to support job creation in Myrtle Beach and Horry County.

It seems to be working, because the page was created on March 11, 2014 and already has nearly 5,000 likes.

The Charlotte Chamber’s economic development team set up the Bring Stone Co. to Charlotte page on Facebook. They‚Äôve got 1,350 likes so far.

The Charlotte Regional Partnership, which serves as the regional economic development agency for the 16-county Charlotte region, has separately set up a website (stonebrewcharlotteusa.com). Stories about Charlotte’s efforts to snag the brewery can be followed on Twitter under the hashtag #StoneGoToCUSA.

All this is more than enough for the Charlotte team to put in front of Stone executives to prove the support base that exists in the city for the brewery.

The Greensboro Partnership set up the Show Stone Brewing Greensboro’s Home page, which now has more than 2,150 likes. They‚Äôre working with the City of Greensboro and other community partners to recruit Stone Brewing Co. to Greensboro.

Roanoke has the Stone Brewing Co.: YES Roanoke is Worthy page, which has more than 1,780 likes. There are many more east coast cities interested in the project, including Charleston, SC; Norfolk, VA; Bethlehem, PA; and Wilmington, NC, among others.

The Top 5 Companies That Will Go Public in 2014 And What Sets Them Apart

You probably won’t be shocked when I tell you that the companies to pay attention to next year are all tech businesses that don’t offer tangible products, but rather cutting-edge services or modes of communication.

Basically, your stock-trading grandfather would hardly recognize tomorrow’s stock market newcomers.

These companies have proven success and massive growth potential, so keep your eye on the web and the young entrepreneurs who are changing the face of modern business.

Square

Square has completely transformed the way that small businesses and individuals provide services. Now, anyone with an idea, a smart phone and a bank account can easily start doing business. Given that it was co-founded by Twitter creator Jack Dorsey, it’s no surprise that the company is already valued at over 3 billion dollars and has received considerable investments from high-profile investors like Richard Branson and Starbucks.Square Payment

Dorsey recently gave 10% of the company back to Square, in order to increase the number of shares available to employees, which have grown from 400 to 700 in the last year. If their recent, dramatic success and expansion are any indication of where they’re headed, Square will likely go the way of Dorsey’s other brainchild.

Dropbox

As physical documents become more and more obsolete, cloud-based data storage is becoming indispensable. Constant access to personal collections of music, photos and text documents is now a must for individuals and businesses alike, and Dropbox has become the leading provider of this access. This is made clear by the company’s 200 million users, and the fact that the site makes up an impressive 0.29% of internet bandwidth worldwide.

Though the value of the company may or may not actually be the rumored $8 billion, it’s clear that a growing number of individual and corporate paid subscriptions put the company in a good financial place – at least that’s what U2 rock legends Bono and The Edge think. The two musicians, along with several venture capital groups, have invested over $2.5 million in the last couple years. When Dropbox undoubtedly goes public, they may be fighting off investors with a stick.

Spotify

Ever since Napster invaded dorm rooms and gave users unlimited free music, the tech and music industries have been looking for a way to monetize music downloads. It looks like Spotify may have found the right format, and just might be the one that comes out on top in the long term. Though the company uses the popular “freemium” model, they have 4 million paid users. Napster founder Sean Parker has even given it his vote of confidence by sitting on the board and telling a Daily Beast panel that the company’s success is due to the fact that you become addicted to the service, at which point, they have you by the proverbial balls.Spotify

Investors agree, it seems. Last year, an investor group, which includes Goldman Sachs, put $100 million into the company. Since then, they’ve received more hefty investments and are now valued at $4 billion. When both tech and finance big shots are involved, it’s clear that it’s a company worth paying attention to.

Pinterest

Out of all of these picks, Pinterest might be the one that your granddad would understand the least. To the non-tech savvy, a virtual scrapbook may seem like a strange proposition for a money-making venture. The company, however, has taken some major steps towards becoming a highly valuable entity. In October, they launched the Promoted Pins trial, which puts relevant ads in front of users.

This move, along with assuming $338 million in investments earlier this year, make it obvious that Pinterest has realized its earning potential and is making moves to further monetize its free-for-users social network. With 70 million users, the site is a boon for retailers and businesses of all kinds. The company is now valued at $3.8 billion and continues to grow. Considering how much traffic it sends to retail sites, it seems only a matter of time until the company goes public.

Airbnb

Airbnb is one of a number of new companies that are putting valuable services in the hands of individuals. Like Uber and Lyft, which allow anyone to user their car as a taxi, Airbnb lets people rent out rooms or whole homes to travelers looking for a deal or a more unique accommodation.Air BnB

Since its 2008 inception, the site has booked over 10 million nights and has acquired several competitor websites around the world. With 12 locations internationally, Airbnb now offers not just apartments and rooms, but castles, boats, tree houses, igloos and private islands.

The company has already received over $150 million in investments and has taken on Ashton Kutcher as a brand advisor and investor. Now valued at $2.5 billion, Airbnb shows considerable promise as its number of bookings increases every day. When the private company becomes an IPO, those opening up their homes to strangers may not be the only ones who stand to make a buck from the hotel alternative.

While today’s hot IPOs-to-be might bring to mind the myriad dot coms that went belly-up when the last tech bubble burst, these new companies set themselves apart by providing services that a huge number of people now rely on in their daily lives. Unless unseen competitors rise up to eclipse these successful, young businesses, the future looks bright for them and for potential investors.

Guest Author Bio: Andrew May, owner and president of May Law, PC, is a Chicago

FINRA attorney specializing in financial services, commodities, futures, foreign

exchange, options and securities law. With over 18 years of experience, Andrew

has represented clients ranging from individuals and small business to Fortune

500 firms. For more information, visit May Law, PC or find him on Google+.

NYC and 5 Other Cities That Are Great to Start Your Green Business

If you’re the owner of a small business that sells eco-friendly products or services, chances are that living green is always on your mind. The U.S. Small Business Administration states that the most successful green businesses not only sell the green lifestyle they also live it. It’s easier to achieve this if you surround yourself with like-minded people in a city that places importance on being environmentally friendly.

The Big Apple offers you plenty of opportunities if you want to set up shop in a city that matches your small business’ eco-friendly mission. NYC’s five boroughs house a population that is environmentally aware and consciously seeks out green products. However, before you decide on a new home for your small business consider the benefits of other green cities in the U.S.

Berkeley, California

According to Green California, Berkeley is striving to reduce its environmental footprint by building energy efficient buildings and encouraging green purchasing practices. Consider moving your business here if you’d like to live in a city that is considered one of the greenest and most sustainable cities in the United States, according to the City of Berkeley website. If your small business specializes in the renewable energy industry, you’ll be more thrilled to know that Berkeley has also been recognized as being the leader of clean technology for wind power, solar power, biofuels and hydropower.

Cambridge, Massachusetts

If you prefer walking to your destination rather than driving, then Cambridge is the perfect place for you. Prevention Magazine named this city the best walking city in 2008. Fortunately, green transportation doesn’t stop there. For those that do prefer four wheels instead of their two feet, a public transportation initiative has ensured that city vehicles be fueled with B20 biodiesel or electricity, according to Mother Nature Network.

If your small business specializes in property ownership, you’ll also be pleased to know that Cambridge’s high student population makes owning apartment properties a lucrative business, as they’ll be many college kids looking to rent. The American Apartment Owners Association offers a comprehensive list of apartment services, including contracting and maintenance for all your landlord needs.

Eugene, Oregon

Eugene, known as the Emerald City, is a nature lover’s dream. Clean rivers, green mountains, and beautiful oceans will all be a part of your daily life in this city. If your small business is a natural food store or a resale and recycling business, youll fit right in. If you’re interested in getting your green business certified, Eugene also offers the Re:think Business program that awards businesses that make a positive impact on the environment and community. You’ll be ranked based on five categories: waste management, energy efficiency, water conversation, water quality, and purchasing.

Seattle, Washington

The coffee capital of the U.S. is also considered the greenest city, according to a survey conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Its innovative green stormwater infrastructure sets it apart from other green cities. This practice involves stormwater cisterns and vegetated roofs, according to Seattle.gov. If your business is centered around selling produce or other vegetation, Seattle is your go-to green city. You’ll not only be living an eco-friendly life, but using green methods to grow your business product as well.

Austin, Texas

If you strive to have a strong identity as a green business, Austin is well known for its active green business community. Austin Green Business Leaders offers resources for small green businesses and helps them expand their network. This might just be the move you need to make to skyrocket your business and gain countrywide recognition.

Guest Post: Alyssa Drake
Student, writer, tree hugger

Empire State Development, Orange County IDA Land $95M Amy’s Kitchen Project For Goshen, NY

New York State’s chief economic development agency Empire State Development (ESD) announced that natural and organic convenience foods and frozen specialty foods producer Amy’s Kitchen will establish a new food manufacturing facility in the Town of Goshen, NY.

Amy's Kitchen

Amy’s Kitchen (photo – ocnyida.com)

Amy’s Kitchen plans to invest $95 million on developing a 500,000 square-foot food manufacturing plant on a 200-acre site, and will be creating at least 681 jobs in Goshen and Orange County.

Andy Berliner, owner of Amy’s Kitchen, said they are excited about the opportunity to build a plant in Goshen, and mentioned that it is in the perfect spot for supplying their biggest customers. Berliner said the potential to source many of their ingredients close to the plant was another deciding factor.

He added that the site on the Walkill River they have chosen is beautiful, and it’s a great area to attract excellent employees.

Berliner also mentioned that the support the company has received from the City, County and State has been outstanding.

At the state level, ESD has offered Amy’s Kitchen $6.8 million in performance-based incentives, including a capital grant and Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits that are tied to the company’s investment and job creation commitments.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Kenneth Adams said this historic commitment from Amy’s Kitchen proves that companies across the country are recognizing that New York State is the place to be if you’re looking to invest and grow.

The Orange County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) has worked out a 15-year PILOT agreement under which Amy’s Kitchen gets $6.5 million in sales and use tax exemptions, another $4.5 million as property tax abatement, and $420,000 in mortgage tax exemptions.

The project is additionally getting $500,000 from the IDA for infrastructure improvements.

Robert Armistead, chairman of the Orange County IDA, said they worked closely with the State, County Executive’s Office and the Orange County Partnership to ensure that Amy’s Kitchen found a home in Orange County, and they are excited for the opportunities Amy’s will offer the county.

Armistead added that they are more excited about what it means for the community and local workforce, because this project comes with hundreds of jobs created by a company that promises stability and growth.

Petaluma, CA-based Amy’s Kitchen is a privately-held family owned company founded by Andy and Rachel Berliner in 1988, and has racked up double-digit growth every year for the last 25 years since its inception.

Amy’s Kitchen already has 1,900 workers, produces more than 250 organic products, manufactures 700,000 meals daily, 40,000 pounds of tofu weekly, and uses up 32 million pounds of organic tomatoes annually.

Michigan Economic Development Corp Funds Projects Creating 406 Jobs

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has approved community revitalization and business development incentives for projects that will generate a total of 406 new jobs and $133.6 million in capital investments.

Jobs in the Comeback State

Jobs in the Comeback State (photo – michiganbusiness.org)

Gov. Rick Snyder said Michigan is America’s Comeback State and these projects add to the growing momentum.

Gov. Snyder said these new investments will strengthen communities, spur new commercial investment in cities, and fuel new opportunities for Michigan’s talented workforce.

One of the main projects in this lot receiving Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) assistance is BorgWarner Inc.’s expansion project at its Powertrain Technical Center in Auburn Hills, MI. The company will invest $11 million and create up to 200 jobs.

Michigan was competing with other sites in several states, and the project was secured by offering BorgWarner a $3.2 million Michigan Business Development Program grant. Auburn Hills is offering additional local incentives in the form of property tax abatement.

The M1 Rail project in Detroit is getting a $10 million loan. The three-mile streetcar project has 11 proposed stops that will strategically connect to other transit options. The project is expected to create 41 permanent jobs and capital investment worth around $130 to $140 million.

A $4.5 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program loan has been awarded to the Grand Rapids Arena Place Development in downtown Grand Rapids, MI. This proposed mixed-use high-rise development will generate $44 million in capital investment and 65 jobs.

The demolition project of Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena has been awarded $6 million in economic assistance under the community revitalization program.

The demolition is part of a larger public-private project involving the State of Michigan, Detroit economic development agencies and private developers together building a new $450 million events center and ancillary private development worth $200 million on the Detroit waterfront.

Another project the MEDC greenlighted is a brownfield redevelopment in the City of Ferndale, MI. The Brownfield Redevelopment Authority in Ferndale needs $717,829 to redevelop a vacant downtown building into an industrial space to be used by Brass Aluminum Forging.

The company expects to create 50 jobs at the new facility and will be investing $8.6 million. Other tenants in the building may add up to 50 more jobs.

MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney said these projects will help in strengthening and revitalizing Michigan communities and grow companies that are generating new job opportunities.

Zogby Study Highlights NY Economic Development Programs Used by Manufacturers

A study conducted by Zogby Analytics highlights what executives at 114 manufacturers in New York think about the state’s economic climate, policies, business incentives and programs.

Zogby Study on NY Manufacturers

Zogby Study on NY Manufacturers

The study was commissioned by a partnership between the New York Economic Development Council (NYSEDC), Manufacturers Alliance of New York State, and the Manufacturers Research Institute.

There’s a lot to chew on in the study (Manufacturing Executives: Attitudes, Operations, Expectations & Opportunities), including how many of the respondents are making capital investments and creating jobs, and which state or local economic development programs are being utilized most.

Almost half (48 percent) say their company has invested more on plant and equipment in the last five years, while only 26 percent say they have invested less.

When asked to rate their company’s ability to maintain operations in New York State, seven in ten (68 percent) gave it a fair or good rating.

The number of respondents who say their employment levels have gone up has also risen from 22 percent in the previous 2012 survey to 30 percent this year.

When asked how things have gotten better for maintaining operations in New York State, respondents cited a recovering economy, lower taxes, nanotechnology and tech companies adding foundries, and the Governor’s investment in IT and advanced facilities in Western NY.

Asked what is the best reason to have manufacturing operations in the state, a full 23 percent said it provides jobs and helps New York. The workforce was cited by 11 percent of respondents, and quality of life by 10 percent.

Asked to name the top obstacle to having manufacturing operations in New York, an overwhelming 43 percent named taxes as the number one obstacle. The cost of doing business was cited by 12 percent, and the cost of living by 10 percent.

Asked what program or policy changes in New York State would enhance their company’s ability to invest in the state, a 69 percent majority named lower real property taxes and 66 percent named lower corporate income taxes. Energy costs and personal income taxes were named by 64 and 61 percent respectively.

Asked about which local or New York State economic development programs their company is utilizing or has utilized, a full 23 percent named the Empire Zones Program and 21 percent named their Industrial Development Agency (IDA).

NYSERDA (NYS Energy Research and Development Authority) grants and loans were cited by 12 percent, and 10 percent named the Investment Tax Credit Program (ITC).

Seven percent named state grants offered through their Regional Economic Development Council, and three percent named the Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits.

Manufacturers Alliance President Randy Wolken said that in this study, they sought to identify just what manufacturers were feeling about the economic climate, and identify how New York State should focus its attention to help grow manufacturing and the economy.

Read the full Zogby study – Download (pdf)    

Boston Mayor Calls For Greenovate Awards Applications to Celebrate Sustainability Leadership

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced that applications are now being accepted for the eighth annual Greenovate Boston Awards.

Greenovate Boston Awards

Greenovate Boston Awards (photo – cityofboston.gov)

The 2014 Mayor’s Greenovate Boston Awards will recognize sustainability leadership in Boston by community organizations, businesses, non-profits, institutions and residents.

The awards are meant to recognize leaders who are helping the City reach its goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020, and by 80 percent by 2050.

Specifically, applicants must highlight a recent project or practice that demonstrates leadership in one of these categories – Sustainable Food Systems, Alternative Transportation, Renewable Energy, Energy Conservation, Climate Preparedness, Behavior Change, Water Conservation, or Waste Reduction.

Last year, there were 18 winners of the Greenovate Awards, including three in the residential category, 13 in the business category, and two sustainable food leaders.

The 2013 winners included Atlantic Wharf, Boston’s first LEED Platinum certified skyscraper which uses 42 percent less energy. During construction, developer Boston Properties (NYSE: BXP) made sure that recycled material accounted for 30 percent of the total material used. A full 95 percent of the construction waste was diverted from the waste stream.

Atlantic Wharf now hosts educational tours for students, developers and professionals who look at the project as a model for sustainable development. It’s also boosting economic development and job creation in Boston, offering a waterfront mixed-use development with 1.2 million square feet of office and retail space along with urban lofts.

Mayor Walsh said the City continues to work with businesses, institutions and residents to make Boston the country’s greenest city.

Applications for the Greenovate Awards must be sent in before April 18, 2014, and the awards ceremony is scheduled to take place during the inaugural Greenovate Boston Community Summit on May 31, 2014.

Brian Swett, chief of Boston’s Environment, Energy and Open Space Cabinet, said they’re looking forward to honoring this year’s sustainability leaders and engaging future leaders at the summit.

The day-long summit will help gather feedback and input from the community for the Climate Action Plan update, which is due at the end of the year.

The summit will also include workshops, presentations by expert speakers, and a Marketplace of Ideas for showcasing local innovations, products and services.

MassDevelopment Housing Tour Leads to Historic Shoe Factory Redevelopment

MassDevelopment, a Massachusetts economic development organization that administers finance programs and real estate development services, announced a $90,000 predevelopment loan for a redevelopment project in Haverhill, MA.

37 Washington Street in Haverhill, MA

37 Washington Street in Haverhill, MA (photo – massdevelopment.com)

The loan has been awarded to a subsidiary of Boston-based Traggorth Companies LLC (TCLLC) to help the company redevelop 37 Washington Street, a former shoe factory that was built in the late 1800s and has been languishing vacant for the last 50 years.

TCLLC plans to redevelop the 20,000-square-foot property into a mixed-use facility. The project will create 18 housing units, in addition to eight full-time retail jobs and 27 construction jobs.

The MassDevelopment funding will be used to cover the architectural and engineering costs.

TCLLC got interested in the property after it was shown to them during a Merrimack Valley housing tour in April 2013. The tour was organized by MassDevelopment and the Massachusetts Housing and Economic Development (HED) Department.

TCLLC then set up a subsidiary (37 Washington Street LLC) to manage the redevelopment, and acquired the property in Sept 2013.

MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones said their developer tours show real-estate professionals properties and communities they might not see otherwise.

Jones added that the purchase of 37 Washington Street and its redevelopment is exactly the desired result, and MassDevelopment was pleased to participate in the building’s transformation from the beginning, and to fund the predevelopment work to get the project started.

The abandoned shoe factory at 37 Washington Street is close to other projects that have received funding from MassDevelopment, including the Haverhill Intermodal Parking Facility, Hamel Mill Lofts and the Hayes Building.

Dave Traggorth, founder of Traggorth Companies LLC, said they give tremendous credit to MassDevelopment for introducing them to the amazing success that downtown Haverhill represents, and for providing access to early funding for building on that success through 37 Washington Street’s revitalization into beautiful homes and retail space close to transit, parks and shopping.

During fiscal year 2013, MassDevelopment provided finance for or managed 350 such projects that represent an investment of $2.4 billion into the Massachusetts economy. These projects are expected to rehabilitate or build 800 residential housing units, and create more than 7,000 jobs.

Jacksonville, Florida Offer $2M Economic Development Incentives for Adecco HQ Relocation

Adecco, S.A. is relocating its North American headquarters to Jacksonville, Florida, aided by $2 million in state and local economic development incentives for job creation.

Downtown Jacksonville

Downtown Jacksonville (photo – coj.net)

Adecco Group North America is currently headquartered in Melville, NY. The company proposes to invest $3.4 million for the relocation, and will be adding 185 new jobs in Jacksonville by the end of 2016.

The new jobs will have average annual wages of $63,669, plus additional benefits. Even without the benefits, the wages work out to more than 150 percent of the state’s average annual wage.

Not to mention the fact that the relocation project helps retain the 354 existing Adecco employees in Jacksonville. These existing jobs are part of the MPS (Modis) Group which Adecco acquired in Jan 2010 and helped grow from 236 jobs to 354 full-time employees.

Zurich, Switzerland-based Adecco, S.A., the world’s leading provider of H.R. solutions, has more than 31,000 full-time equivalent employees across 5,100 branches in over 60 countries and territories around the world.

In order to secure the project, Florida and Jacksonville are offering Adecco an incentives package of around $2 million. This includes $1.1 million under the QTI (qualified target industry) tax refund program, with Jacksonville putting up $222,000 as a local match for the state contribution of $888,000.

In addition to this, Jacksonville is offering Adecco another $185,000 in local incentives under the Countywide Economic Development Fund (CEDF) Grant program.

Bob Crouch, CEO of Adecco Group North America, said they appreciate the efforts of Jacksonville and State economic development officials, who he said made this project possible.

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown said that global corporations are increasingly considering Jacksonville as a great place for investing and doing business. Mayor Brown said that employees love to live, work and play in Northeast Florida, and the result is a growing and vibrant local and regional economy with good-paying jobs that benefit families and neighborhoods.

Fredrik Eliasson, board chair for the Jacksonville economic development partnership JAXUSA, said the move is yet another example of a large company relocating to Jacksonville after its initial exposure to the city.

Eliasson said headquarters relocation projects are at the very top of JAXUSA’s target list because they bring high-paying jobs and corporate decision makers who contribute to the community and improve the overall quality of life.

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