The Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce is embarking on a new, long-term strategy to increase the marketability and competitiveness of Spartanburg County as a premier location for corporate business and with it, more white-collar, knowledge-based jobs.
The game plan, to be executed by the Economic Futures Group of the chamber, is being led by Jansen Tidmore, its newly named executive vice president for corporate and urban development.
Tidmore joined the Spartanburg Area Chamber in May 2017 as executive vice president of the organization’s Downtown Development Partnership. In his new hybrid role, Tidmore will direct countywide corporate recruitment efforts while continuing to manage downtown development in concert with public- and private-sector partners.
In an interview following his promotion, Tidmore emphasized that Spartanburg will not be reluctant to tout its assets and capabilities “’cause it’s a great story to tell, and it’s one that, maybe sometimes, we’ve been shy about telling,” he said.
Working from a chamber-commissioned study by economic development strategists Avalanche Consulting, the Economic Futures Group will focus on recruiting, developing, retaining, and expanding corporate opportunities in four categories: an ongoing effort to attract regional corporate headquarters in manufacturing; an immediate, related effort to pique the interest of consulting firms that maximize efficiencies within manufacturing and logistics; a drive to attract additional professional business services in the short term; and a long-term effort to secure companies that provide back-office support for the financial and health care sectors.
“I think in this first year, what you’re really going to see us doing is developing some of our baseline foundation for a long-term success … establishing ourselves as the resource network, establishing our marketing toolbox, making sure that we have the right presence in the right places,” Tidmore said.
One issue bound to be addressed is “the cart and the horse” of office space, Tidmore said, echoing remarks he made at a Nov. 14 presentation to students at USC Upstate’s George Dean Johnson Jr. College of Business and Economics.
“99.2 percent of our Class A office is full. Now, from an economic development standpoint, that’s fantastic,” Tidmore said. “But when you’re trying to open up a shop and you’ve got a base of what you can pay, that demand probably outpaces your capability of what you should be paying for an office space,” Tidmore told the students.
With nearly $5 billion in total investments since 2013, including 11 project commitments so far in 2018, the Economic Futures Group has helped bring 9,763 current and committed jobs to the county, according to the group.