On behalf of the Salem Industrial Development Corporation, Hans Oliver attended a Chicago Manufacturer Trade Show the week of March 10. The trade show is one of the largest in the industry. The goal of SIDC is to find and encourage potential businesses to relocate to the area.
Oliver said it was the first time SIDC attended the trade show. "It's a move to get things started; it's a step in the right direction for Fulton County," he said.
Oliver said due to the economic slump there have been around 150 jobs lost in Salem since November of 2001.
Oliver is the strategic alliance director at North Arkansas Electric Cooperative. He said NAEC donated his time so he could attend the show.
Show objectives included identifying qualified prospects or leads; building positive name awareness of the state as a natural location for business; identify opportunities for established industries that will enhance their operations; and complete 100 percent of assigned calls on exhibitors.
Due to economic setbacks the show was down from 24,000 vendors to only 12,000. Representatives from Arkansas set up and ran the booth during the week. Potential customers were asked if their businesses had manufacturing facilities in the United States and whether those businesses were located in the South. If the answer to that question was yes it was considered a good lead.
Oliver's assignment was to find out as much information about the company and which products they offered.
Oliver said, "The real work starts now." Those who expressed an interest in the area will receive a letter from the Arkansas Department of Economic Development as a follow-up.
SIDC is designing a Web page for consultants to view for industries that are looking to relocate.