By Emily Hamann
The Bellingham Business Journal
A new website aims to make it easier for businesses to start, grow and relocate in Whatcom County.
Choose Whatcom, launched last month, is a one-stop resource for new or veteran business owners.
Choose Whatcom is a collaboration between more than a dozen local organizations, including the City of Bellingham, the Port of Bellingham and the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“The whole idea was to have kind of an aggregator,” said Dodd Snodgrass, an economic development specialist at the port.
The website serves as a portal for business owners to connect with the resources that already exist inthe county. The website serves as a first point of contact, a “front door” for people interested in doing business in Whatcom County. When you go to ChooseWhatcom.com, there are three main options: Do you want to start a business, grow your business, or relocate your business to Whatcom County?
Each option opens a new page linking to resources and organizations, offering guidelines about rules and regulations
and gives a name or two of a point of contact.
Previously, this information was spread across many different organizations and many different website.
The website also acts as a slick advertisement for doing business in Whatcom County. It features videos starring local business people, including Bob Pritchett of Faithlife and Boe and Frank Trosset of Aslan Brewing.
It also provides information about what makes the county a good place to do business.
One of the major selling points is Bellingham proximity to both Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. The site boasts that businesses in Bellingham can reach 6 million customers within 90 miles.
The site also mentions that Forbes ranked Bellingham no. 22 for the best places for business and careers in the country.
Snodgrass said there are lots of reason businesses choose to relocate to Whatcom County.
Things are cheaper than being in the city,” he said. Our proximity to Canada is also convenient for U.S. businesses that want to break into Canadian markets, and for Canadian companies that want to establish a U.S. presence.
Then, of course there are the same reasons that apply to everyone who wants to move to Whatcom County: the outdoors, the short commutes and lack of traffic.
“I wouldn’t say a company would exclusively move here for the lifestyle,” Snodgrass said. “But it’s a factor.”