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More Grand Forks biz interest coming from Manitoba, Ontario

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Business interest in the Grand Forks area is coming more and more from points east.

In a report to city council this week, Community Futures Boundary had 44 business inquiries in the last year.

Economic Development Manager Sandy Elzinga says about two-thirds of those were serious about setting up shop.

“We’re very happy with the inquires that we’ve had. They have resulted in referrals to our business advisory program. The inquiries are quite serious and they are ready to move forward with developing a business plan and starting their business,” Elzgina said in an interview with Vista Radio.

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“The inquiries have been for smaller businesses. They could be a mom-and-pop operation or maybe one or two employees and that’s for the most part. We have had additional inquiries for other businesses, very small franchises,” she said.

Some are even new business proposals.

The agency saw migration from larger centers in B.C. and Alberta during the pandemic but that’s shifting – with interest now coming from Ontario and Manitoba.

“We focused primarily on B.C. and Alberta because of a noticeable trend that we had in terms of in-migration into our community. We are noticing that there is some in-migration from Ontario area,” she said.

Elzinga says when InvestGrandForks.com launched in January 2021 during the height of the COVID crisis, businesses were looking to escape urban areas of B.C., like Vancouver and the Okanagan, as well as larger centers in Alberta.

She says the website is “robust” with information for potential investors but will be tweaked based on questions in the future from clientele.

The agency hopes to hear soon on an Economic Trust of the Southern Interior (ETSI) grant application to develop sector profiles for health care, agriculture and hospitality.

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