Expansions Amid a Global Pandemic

Posted in Blog on December 15, 2020

Expansions Amid a Global Pandemic
By Greg King, Business Solutions Manager
It’s been an interesting year, to say the least. One might even say unprecedented.  Unforeseen, maybe? Definitely crazy. Who would have known? Such uncertain times. Steer clear of the Rona, now more than ever. 
Are you cringing yet? While my colleague Mandy Cooper referred to the new “COVID normal” status in a blog post last month, I see these words and think of the COVID parlance, or COVID talk. For a good chunk of 2020, odds were that someone (and usually, multiple someones) would drop one or more of these words during a phone call, Zoom meeting, Microsoft Teams gathering, Discord stream, or any one of the other numerous means of communication we hobbled together because of COVID-19.
Around the Lakeshore Advantage office, the language skews differently. Resilient. Forward-thinking. Growth. These are but a handful of the words and phrases we’ve co-opted.  A good reason for this is because, despite our fair share of setbacks, we see ample reason to celebrate this year’s perseverance, successes and accomplishments. 
Being on the busines solutions team, I can attest to that firsthand. In a recent survey of company leaders and executives we sent out this fall: 
  • nearly half of the respondents anticipated increasing their sales efforts in the coming months
  • a third will increase their marketing efforts 
  • a quarter of them are producing new products 
  • a quarter are also conducting training or increasing their employee training. 
By the end of 2020, 14 companies will have expanded their operations in Allegan and Ottawa counties. While short of what we had anticipated at the beginning of the year, in the middle of a [insert COVID parlance here] pandemic and all its ensuing complications on sales revenues, purchasing and procurement capabilities, operational capacities, the workforce, education, etc.,  all of these companies saw opportunities to grow and expand. 
Moreover, two of those companies – Perrigo and Hudsonville Ice Cream – expanded not once, but twice during this pandemic year! That’s what I call unprecedented (see what I did there?)
And while there are certainly a number of projects in our pipeline currently delayed or on hold, we have more than twice as many that we are currently working on, advising, leading, or assisting with in some capacity. These include projects big and projects small; projects that add jobs and projects that retain jobs; projects for expansions and projects for attractions; projects that represent hundreds of thousands of dollars and projects that represent hundreds of millions of dollars. 
Economic development and business growth continue amid the new COVID normal.