LSCP Perspectives: Business development services lead to stronger businesses and communities

The Lake Superior Community Partnership (LSCP) has served many roles in Marquette County throughout its twenty-five-year history. As we actively engage with members about what the next twenty-five will look like, the impact of our behind-the-scenes business development and support programs has commonly been cited as a critical component of our work.

The concept of business development can take many forms, and each local economic development organization fine-tunes its offerings to meet its community where it’s at and where it hopes to go. For the LSCP, this has meant a consistent business retention and expansion program, maintaining an accurate database of available sites, developing strong relationships with financial institutions, understanding state and federal economic development programs, and more.

But today, I’d like to focus on the actual impact of those efforts by talking about two outcomes from our business development work.

Iron Golem Games engaged with the LSCP in 2021 to foster business growth and establish its business. Working hand-in-hand with our team, Iron Golem Games received direct help establishing their business entity, developing cash flow projections, a comprehensive business plan, and more. They also utilized the LSCP’s site selector database to identify a prime location: downtown Marquette. In May 2022, they were ready to open and used LSCP business promotion tools such as a ribbon cutting to get the word out. Iron Golem Games takes pride in providing a unique experience. Within its walls, customers can explore a variety of demo games and find ample space to engage in gameplay on numerous tables. The store also hosts a dynamic range of events, a testament to its commitment to fostering a vibrant gaming community.

You hear us talk often about small businesses like Iron Golem Games because they provide goods and services that create a sense of place and drive economic activity. And while they’re now up and running, the LSCP business development team will be here to help again when they’re ready to expand. In the meantime, they can continue to benefit from our efforts to drive population growth and a locally strong economy overall.

Our business retention and expansion efforts also resulted in a major new investment many of us have seen in action: Ore Dock Brewing’s expansion. At a regular business retention and expansion visit with Ore Dock Brewing Company, the LSCP learned of upcoming expansion opportunities they wanted to accomplish over the next several years. Our business development team discussed an internal tool the LSCP could provide – economic impact studies – which unveiled the profound potential their expansion could have on our community. Ore Dock Brewing was able to use this tool to create a more competitive Revitalization and Placemaking (RAP) grant application, successfully receiving $3.9 million from a highly competitive round that saw statewide requests that far exceeded available funding.

The LSCP is known for its ability to evolve and rise to meet emerging needs; some have even referred to it as the multitool of economic development. With tools ranging from business planning and succession planning support to knowledge of available sites and capital resources like the Economic Development Corporation of Marquette County’s Revolving Loan Fund, the partnership’s investment in business development tools is paying dividends for businesses of all types and sizes. These two stories are just the tip of what the LSCP makes possible throughout Marquette County. Please reach out if you are considering starting, expanding, or relocating your business. We’re here to help however we can.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Christopher Germain is the Lake Superior Community Partnership’s CEO.


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