Phillips County Eonomic Development
Phillips County launches Coast-to-Coast marketing campaign. First County in nation as a ‘Destination for Opportunity’!
A ‘Destination for Opportunity’ … (Phillips County,Kansas) is the new expression ‘rallying cry’ being marketed from coast-to-coast through a fully wrapped 53-foot semi truck trailer acting as a 24/7 traveling billboard. This traveling billboard, known as the “Discover Phillips County’ trailer, encourages travelers and entrepreneurs to “Discover” Phillips County as a place to visit, live, and grow a business.
Proclaiming the slogan ‘Entrepreneurs Welcome!’, Phillips County, Kansas is aggressively encouraging small businesses and entrepreneurs to consider the positives of being located in rural Kansas. Phillips County Economic Development (PCED) has made it one of their missions to create new and proactive programs which are specifically geared toward helping small businesses start-up and grow in this rural environment. One of many successful programs Phillips County offers is the Entrepreneurial Business & Enhancement Program (EBEP). The EBEP is a cost-sharing grant program with an educational element which has assisted twenty four (24) businesses with over one-half a million grant dollars cumulatively given over the last 3 ½ years. Taking into account the matched funds of 1.8 million injected into these development projects by business owners, resulting in over fifty-eight (58) new jobs; it becomes clear, that Phillips County (population 6000) has created a unique environment for entrepreneurs. One portion of the program’s educational element comes from training being provided to businesses through the Jon Schallert training given to educating a business on ways to become a destination.
Besides all the business development programs already available only to Phillips County businesses, this county along with a handful across the State of Kansas have been designated Rural Opportunity Zone areas (ROZ areas). The ROZ designation will provide new residents which domicile in Phillips County from out-of-state to be free from State of Kansas – personal income taxes for up to five (5) years. Phillips County is also in the process of providing homesteaders the ability to participate in a loan forgiveness program (through ROZ) for higher education loans incurred while in college up to $15,000 dollars by an individual.
The “Discover Phillips County’ trailer captures the essence of the area in fourteen (14) postcard snapshots of people, items, and locations in Phillips County which are featured on both sides of the trailer. Sharing the uniqueness of the area, these pictures point out the fine arts, wildlife adventures, events, activities and people, which show the ‘soul’ of Phillips County. Two entrepreneurs pointing toward the horizon (viewed from behind the trailer), not only show the location in the State of Kansas where these possibilities for business development are located, but also leave a strong reminder to all that Phillips County is a place where ‘Entrepreneurs are Welcome’.
Coomes Trucking has provided the trailer for the promotion, which Rick Coomes, Coomes Trucking owner, stated “We are proud to be pulling the trailer and being able to promote our county.” Sign Solutions designed and placed the marketing on the trailer for the project, stated Sheila Roberts, coowner Sign Solutions, “It was exciting to see it come together and we felt blessed to be part of the teamto make the project happen!”
The trailer’s kick off display was all three nights of Kansas’ Biggest Rodeo in Phillipsburg, Kansas where it was seen by over 15,000 people. It also received applause and strong acceptance when it appeared in the Rodeo Parade on Saturday, August 6, 2011. Upon finishing its inaugural appearance at the rodeo, the trailer left for its first business haul, which took it to Bakersfield, California returning briefly to Phillipsburg only to set out toward Jacksonville, Florida and the outskirts of Savannah, Georgia. Within one week, it has traveled coast-to-coast putting on more than 6000 miles while marketing PhillipsCounty. “We hope it continues to get the message out across America that people need to ‘DiscoverPhillips County’ and our unique entrepreneurial atmosphere we have created for individuals to pursuetheir dreams,” remarked Jeff Hofaker, PCED director.