Pfaff explains how quality of life attracts jobs and employers | Business

Bill Pfaff has been director of economic development for Sussex County for nearly six years. Before taking the helm as the county’s top business development driver, he spent 25 years as executive director of the Small Business Development Center associated with the University of Delaware – an incubator for new businesses and ideas. of growth.

“Jobs are only part of the equation,” Pfaff said at a Sussex County Conservation District awards luncheon in Millsboro this month. “Here in Sussex County, we are focused on attracting, retaining and expanding businesses, and creating an entrepreneurial culture.”

The county is taking innovative approaches to attracting business, including creating pop-up office parks, reconfiguring existing space for remote working, and pivoting to the new “gig economy.”

The Excite Sussex Fund provides $16 million to attract employers, and the fundraising motto is “Keep Sussex Strong”. Excite provides longer-term loans of $250,000 to $1 million to businesses to purchase equipment or real estate in the county. It is a collaborative low interest loan program underwritten by Discover Bank and the Grow America Fund.

“Our team has developed economic development zones associated with our waterways,” Pfaff said of the regional plan mapping. “We have the Nanticoke, Indian River and Broadkill areas, and we’ve put funds behind that.”

He described the Delaware Coastal Business Park and the Great Outdoors Cottages plot, which offers outdoor workspace cabins. There is 45,000 square feet of workspace and approximately 150 employees work at the facility. The inauguration in Millsboro took place last December.

“These are very high-end cabins that a company can rent out,” Pfaff said.

“For the community, this means more jobs and more stimulation, and jobs for a long time to come,” Blue Water and Great Outdoor Cottages CEO Todd Burbage said in a statement. “We plan to expand here, in our own footprint. We have purchased the acreage next door and already have plans to expand as it has been so successful.

Pfaff hailed successful businesses in Millsboro’s office cubicle park, including Jenny’s Gems, which has 21 people.

“She’s been very successful at selling these gems on Etsy and other online stores.”

He confirmed the county could double the size of Millsboro’s modular office workspace to an additional 45,000 square feet.

The Western Sussex Business Park will also receive a $2 million investment from the county. “We are proud to announce that this one is on the way,” Pfaff said.

The Frankford Business Park has also attracted business, with 158 employees and six new businesses.

“One of them is CP Cases, which we brought out of Maryland,” Pfaff said of the company’s relocation. “They do business for the military.”

The company, which also supplies enclosures for industries including broadcasting, moved to a 25,000-square-foot Frankford production facility from Bishopville, Md., in December.

Pfaff also spoke about the Little Faces Learning Center in Georgetown and an initial investment of $1.2 million to provide more child care services in the area. The daycare has a capacity of 47 children and has hired 15 early childhood professionals.

“Daycare centers are essential for our region,” said the economic development manager.

Christophe Tulou, executive director of the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, noted during the discussion that companies should consider providing housing options for people connected to these new business parks.

“We need to maximize proximity to work,” said Tulou, who suggested workplaces that are more walkable and bikeable.

“Quality of life is very important for people who want to move their business to this area,” Pfaff said.

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