Business Retention and Expansion Program in Hamilton County Grows

Over the past 8 months, HCDC and its newly formed Hamilton County Business Retention Council have been strategically reaching out to Hamilton County businesses. With the help of a grant from The Duke Energy Foundation, HCDC escalated its business retention and expansion efforts by increasing the number of companies included in our reporting, creating program guidelines, and coordinating retention outreach among multiple jurisdictions and partners.

“We want to understand the issues and challenges businesses face,” said Harry Blanton, Vice President of HCDC. “Our job is to remove barriers to success and expansion by connecting companies to the right resources and making sure our elected officials understand the economic climate of our communities in Hamilton County.”

According to Blanton, “The worst feeling for any economic development official is to read in the paper that a business is moving out of the area when we could have helped retain those jobs through a coordinated effort.” The Business Retention program has been successful at meeting with companies before it gets to that point and retaining them in Hamilton County.

Business retention and expansion efforts are not new for HCDC. Acting as Hamilton County’s Economic Development Office, HCDC has had a formal program for the past nine years. Prior to the funding infusion provided by Duke Energy Foundation, HCDC’s staff only had the capacity to complete and track approximately 50-75 company retention calls a year. With the new investment, HCDC and the Hamilton County Business Retention Council are on track to make 105 retention visits within the first year. Along with hitting its outreach numbers, HCDC is coordinating between communities and economic development officials to avoid overlap and ensure consistency. The additional companies also provide information for HCDC’s annual Business Retention report, increasing the sample size of survey respondents which in turn makes the information that HCDC provides the Hamilton County Commissioners and our partners statistically more significant.

To learn more about the Hamilton County Business Retention and Expansion Program, contact Harry Blanton at