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The partners involved in Drum Country, New York have a two-word message for businesses that might be interested in moving to the region: “LET’S MEET.”
Drum Country, New York is the new name for the economic development initiative that markets Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties as one region.
And LETS MEET is the new marketing campaign that Drum Country, New York kicked off last fall to continue its economic development efforts in the north country.
Located in Central and Northern New York, its partners are each of the industrial development agencies in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties, the Development Authority of the North Country (DANC) and National Grid’s regional economic development office. DANC acts as a liaison to the other partners.
“It’s a collaborative effort,” said Michelle Capone, DANC’s director of regional development and the point person for the initiative. We help make businesses and companies their home.”
It was first organized under the name of Drum Country after a 2007 survey completed by the former Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization — now called Advocate Drum — found a need for the three individual counties to work together on economic development through a regional approach.
As a result of that survey, the initiative helps in business relocation and expansion, workforce development and job training, business assistance, customized business programs and financial incentives.
To achieve that, the partners point out that Fort Drum — the largest United States Army base in the northeast — is the heart of Drum Country’s culture and economy. Fort Drum employs more than 4,100 area residents and generates $1.88 billion in annual economic impact.
The initiative encourages business expansion throughout the region, draws new business and industry to the area and attracts and retains a skilled and diverse workforce.
Drum Country, New York calls itself a multi-sector economic and workforce development partnership created to help prospective Drum Country employers access the information, resources and incentives needed “to make our location their best asset.”
Originally launched in 2010, Drum Country, New York rebranded a decade later, right before the pandemic hit in March 2020.
Part of it was driven after it lost its URL internet domain and had to acquire another, so it was time to rebrand anyway.
“It was sold without us knowing, so we had to get another one,” Ms. Capone said. “But it was the right time and right thing to do.”
That’s how “LET’S MEET” came about when it officially launched the regional economic development campaign in October to further its mission to help businesses come to Drum country.
The partners worked with the Glens Falls design firm of Black Dog Design on the rebranding, its new messaging and the marketing campaign.
According to Drum Country, New York’s website, “Drum Country is a prosperous region rich in character and opportunity for economic development and growth, its partners insists. We know bringing your business to Drum Country is a smart choice and we are here to show you how our region’s strengths and potential can be the advantage your business needs to thrive in a competitive market.”
As she sees its mission, Brittany Davis, executive director of Lewis County of Economic Development, the collaborative effort tells the region’s story about why a business should locate here.
Ms. Capone said the initiative points out the region’s best assets and includes messaging such as LET’S MEET outdoors, LET’S MEET opportunity, LET’S MEET growth, LET’S MEET industry, and more.
Those assets include Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, outdoor recreational activities, the proximity to the Canadian border, the Adirondack Mountains, and, of course, Fort Drum, Mrs. Davis said.
As a collaborative effort, she said the five partners work together to find the best fit for a company wanting to locate here. They help a business — small companies or large corporations — select a location in one of the three counties that’s best for them.
Drum Country is in close proximity to seven of the top 10 U.S. markets and to 60% of the Canadian population with target industries such as manufacturing, food processing, renewable energy, finance, insurance and real estate.
Jared Paventi, a National Grid spokesman, pointed out that New York, Boston, Buffalo, Cleveland, Philadelphia are among the targets for attracting businesses to locate in Drum country.
National Grid has five offices working on economic development in the state. Joe Russo, an economic development specialist for National Grid based in Syracuse, is the company’s representative involved in Drum Country’s efforts to attract business and industry to Northern New York.
Keeping the region’s workforce and residents here also is a goal of its efforts.
Drum Country, New York seeks to employ and to retain recent graduates, and they also seek to bring back those who may have left, Ms. Capone said.
The partners also realize that Fort Drum’s soldiers, their spouses and families are a driving force for regional economic growth and development.
They are part of the region’s workforce. That’s why it’s important to convince them to continue to live in the north country after they leave the Army, Ms. Capone said.
“You see a soldier — we see a workforce,” she said.
Along with the economic engine of Fort Drum, a lot of trade occurs between the north country and Canada, whether it’s business coming from the Canadian border, or businesses here doing business with companies across the border, Mr. Paventi said.
Drum Country, New York focuses on those efforts, as well, Mr. Paventi said.
International and national businesses crossing a variety of sectors flourish in the region, Drum Country officials said.
And they said they’re ready to help all kinds of companies in a variety of industries, from manufacturing and food processing to renewable energy and finance, insurance and real estate.