By Maureen Murphy, Door County Administrator, and Sam Perlman, Economic Development Manager, Door Count
Door County strategic priority number one is to “promote a diverse and growing economy producing high quality jobs.”
How does Door County government work to achieve this lofty priority? We are the single largest investor in the Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC). Additionally, two County Board Supervisors – Kathy Schultz and Chuck Brann - serve on the DCEDC Board of Directors and another Supervisor – Richard Haines – serves on the Loan Review Committee.
DCEDC is a public/private partnership dedicated to improving the economic vitality of the county and its residents. Founded in 1989, DCEDC has been successful in helping existing businesses create and retain thousands of jobs through a myriad of programs and initiatives.
DCEDC partners with companies and entrepreneurs to help build successful businesses in Door County and continuously improve the area’s economic climate. It’s a relationship that allows businesses to tap into the expertise of area leaders, and provides them with access to a variety of local, state and federal resources.
DCEDC manages a low interest revolving loan fund on behalf of the County to assist businesses start or expand in Door County. Recent loan program recipients have included:
- Wild Tomato Sister Bay
- Drink Coffee
- Anna’s Healthcare
- Renard’s Cheese Store & Deli
- Chop Restaurant
DCEDC Entrepreneurial Services include professional counseling, business planning assistance and resources, an annual business planning course, and many other programs. DCEDC also manages the Door County Business Development Center, a 32,000 square foot business incubator that helps office and light manufacturing clients keep overhead costs low and get off to a strong start in business.
In addition to serving business start-ups, DCEDC works with existing businesses on an ongoing basis to determine the health and strength of the local economy. DCEDC staff and volunteer members of their Business Retention committee work to make local companies stronger by identifying and helping address business needs.
DCEDC also serves as the official County representative on a ten-county Regional Housing Consortium, which is providing Community Development Block Grant-funded housing rehabilitation and first-time homebuyer assistance for income eligible households.
Among the many community development programs at DCEDC, their Technology Council has taken an important leadership role in advocating for improvements in our telecommunications network. This work has led to significant investments from a variety of private carriers to improve access to high-speed data connections for local businesses and residents.
DCEDC also takes a leadership role in Door/Kewaunee Legislative Days, a biennial trip to the state capital in Madison by area residents, elected officials, business owners and other stakeholders, to bring a locally agreed-upon agenda of Door/Kewaunee County issues directly to state elected officials and government agency leaders.
Within the past three years, DCEDC inaugurated the Door County Buy Local program, a grass-roots economic development initiative that seeks to strengthen local businesses, increase employment opportunities and educate the public about the importance of buying locally whenever possible.
As DCEDC celebrates its 25th anniversary throughout 2014, the County remains committed to supporting this vital organization which “promotes a diverse and growing economy producing high quality jobs.”