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Expert: Beauty, recreation can fuel region’s economy

 

Curry County’s spectacular scenery and outdoor recreation opportunities can be a catalyst to diverse economic growth, according to a development expert.

Ron Fox, executive director of Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc., spoke during the annual Business Outlook Conference in Smith River earlier this month.

 

Many small businesses looking to relocate are drawn to places where employees will enjoy living, Fox said.

“Curry and Del Norte counties just shout out quality of life,” he said, “whether it’s a boat ride on the Rogue River, a walk through the Redwoods or a fishing trip.”

Attracting visitors is often the first step toward having a business relocate in that area, he said.

He gave some examples of small businesses that have set up shop in Southwest Oregon after the owners came to the region as visitors. They include:

•Bauer Fly Reels of Ashland, which manufactures and distributes its $300 to $800 reels worldwide.

•Esquire Piano Inc. of Medford, which restores high-end pianos including some used by Elton John.

•Cary’s of Oregon, which produces toffee in its Grants Pass plant.

•Marzi Sinks of Ashland, whose owners relocated after years of attending the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Fox added that broadband Internet access is “very important” to luring new businesses.

Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. has devised a six-county Southern Oregon marketing team. Curry, Coos, Josephine, Jackson, Klamath and Lake counties are included in the collaborative marketing effort.

“We work diligently to connect with the thousands and thousands of tourists who travel through our area,” Fox said.

More information about Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. is available at www.soregon.com.

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