Canadian Expansion Makes Sense in Buffalo Niagara

I’ve been working with Canadian companies for several years and I love learning about their businesses and also why they are looking to expand. There are the typical reasons – the desire for a “Made in USA” label or contract requirement, currency rates, and the ability to gain access to a market ten times larger than their own. But have you ever though about border crossing costs?

Some companies are starting to look at their U.S.-based suppliers and what percentage of sales is going back into the U.S. market. Once companies start to analyze these percentages, they then start to look at border crossing costs. For example, I am currently working with a Southern Ontario company that purchases most of its raw materials from our west coast and thirty percent of its sales go back to the U.S. Another company is sourcing ninety-eight percent of its raw materials from the U.S. and has sixty percent U.S. sales.

There are several layers of border crossing costs to consider. There is the cost of physically moving the goods over the border twice. Then there is the cost of customs paperwork and fees associated with shipping and potential time delays. This becomes critical when it is a food product or other perishable items.bridge

So what is the total cost of moving these raw materials across the border to be manufactured in Canada to then be sold and shipped into the U.S.? Can these costs be reduced by opening a small manufacturing facility in the U.S.? Can the shelf life of a perishable product be maximized by making it in the U.S.? If the answer is yes, it makes sense for Canadian manufacturers to consider a facility in Buffalo Niagara where they can easily manage their U.S. facility and share key resources. All while saving time and money.

Learn more about Canadian Business expansion and view available resources on our website

By Carolyn Powell, BNE Business Development Manager

We All Scream For Ice Cream!

by Carolyn Powell, Business Development Manager

Cornell University’s College of Agriculture & Life Sciences’ Department of Food Science has undergone a major two-phase renovation project. Its Stocking Hall now houses an impressive dairy processing plant, teaching winery, product development kitchen, conference center, two floors of research facilities and a brand new dairy bar. The Buffalo Niagara Enterprise (BNE) staff recently traveled to Ithaca and toured the 10,000 sq. ft. facility that contains impressive pilot-scale equipment for use in research, teaching and extension. Cornell produces milk, yogurt, pudding, cheese and its popular ice cream. In fact, the university worked closely with Perry’s Ice Cream in Akron on the design and layout of the new ice cream facility.

During the tour, we learned that Cornell has 160 cows on site that are utilized for various processes. They are also researching and testing to increase the shelf life of milk from 7 to 21 days. Who knew that milk is 85% water?

Cornell’s Dairy Processing Plant

Cornell’s Dairy Processing Plant

Cornell’s fully automated plant is a resource to New York State businesses for research and product development. They offer incubator space and programs, a state-of-the-art lab for product testing and development, and a wine lab. Their Extension Programs also assist business owners in producing safe, healthy and wholesome foods. They offer a variety of programs from wine and beer to milk and dairy; fruits and vegetables; entrepreneurship and small scale processing; food safety, sensory analysis and many others. For further information visit: http://foodscience.cals.cornell.edu/extension

Top 10 Reasons Canadian Businesses Expand to Buffalo Niagara

Since 2000, BNE has helped more than 60 Canadian companies expand their business to Buffalo Niagara. Each of these companies was unique and had their own reasons why they wanted to enter the U.S. market however there were certainly some common themes. See the following infographic for the top ten reasons Canadian companies expanded here:
Buffalo Niagara Can Jan2014

Around the Region: Wyoming County, NY

Carolyn Powell, Business Development Manager

BNE’s offices are located in downtown, Buffalo, NY – for those of you who are familiar with the city – we are practically right across the street from Shea’s Theatre on Main Street.

It’s great to be located in the region’s core. However, BNE represents the entire region which is a powerful message when working with site selectors. Companies like to consider a variety of options and have different criteria and needs for their business expansions. Our team constantly visits the communities that make up our eight county region of western NY to stay in tune with available assets, sites, and partners.

Recently, the BNE staff took a drive out to Wyoming County and got an update on the great things that are happening out there. We started our day by visiting the Perry Commerce Center.  This is home to Athletica, Once Again Nut Butter, and American Classic Outfitters.

American Classic Outfitters

American Classic Outfitters

The main tenant in the commerce center is American Classic Outfitters. They manufacture sports apparel for high school, college, and professional sports teams. All jerseys are made to order and are crafted by skilled sewers and embroidery experts. It was amazing to see the amount of work that goes into making the jerseys you see athletes wearing on TV. American Classic Outfitters has over 40,000 sq ft and has over 65 employees. What an interesting operation and to see rows of sewing machines, thread and fabrics. Another company located in the center is Athletica. Athletica is a manufacturer of cheerleading and sports apparel for women. They have over 35,000 sq ft and 50 employees. Once Again Nut Butter is a warehouse and distribution company of nut products, such as organic Almond Butter, Cashew Butter, and Peanut Butters. They have over 30,000 sq ft and 12 employees within the building.

Synergy Dairy 1.4 MW digester

Synergy Dairy 1.4 MW digester

Wyoming County is also known for its large dairy farms, livestock and renewable energy.  There are 323 farms in the county, producing over 1 Billion pounds of milk a year, making Wyoming County the largest milk producing county in New York State.  Due to the large number of farms and agribusiness in the county and surrounding counties, Wyoming County now has a 1.4 MW digester located at the Synergy Dairy.  The digester processes both farm waste and food waste from local food companies.  The idea is to mix manure and food waste to create methane gas. The gas would then burn in a generator to create electricity, enough electricity, in fact, to power more than 1,000 homes.  25% of the electricity generated will be used on the farm, and a byproduct of the process will be used for bedding for the animals.  This is the largest co-digester in New York State.

Wyoming also boasts 237 wind turbines in the county with 58 more currently being installed.  For example, the Bliss Wind Farm has 67 turbines that generate 100.5 megawatts of power, and opened May 18, 2008.

With its mix of quaint villages, unique shops, and excellent restaurants and natural retreats there is so much to see and do in Wyoming County.  With top employers like Pioneer Credit Recovery, Morton Salt, API Heat Transfer, Koike Aronson, Prestolite Electric and Markin Tubing, there’s a great quality of life to be had.

Check out more data about Wyoming County here, or if you are interested in learning more about what to see and do in Wyoming, visit www.gowyomingcountyny.com

Access U.S. – A Great Resource for Canadian Business Expansion

By Carolyn Powell, Business Development Manager, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise

Every month, BNE releases an e- newsletter, Access U.S., which provides information for Canadian businesses considering a U.S. business expansion. Below are the top three most popular articles published in Access U.S. since June 2012.

1. Collecting Receivables in the U.S. - July 2012

2. Part 2 – The Dos and Don’ts of Crossing the U.S. Border - September 2012

3. “Snowbird” Tax Info: Canadians Filing U.S. Tax Residency – April 2013

If you are interested in receiving our monthly e-newsletter, Access U.S., click here to sign up!

Click here to read more informational articles on cross border business.

Connecting Businesses with Skilled Trade Workers

by Carolyn Powell, Business Development Manager, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise

Canadian manufacturers that consider expanding their operations into the U.S. often inquire about 1) the availability of skilled trade workers, and 2) the affordability of those workers.

The Buffalo Niagara region maintains a strong infrastructure of workforce development initiatives to fill the needs for not only production line workers but also the skilled trades. Collaboration between the private-sector, educational institutions, non-profit initiatives and manufacturing associations are leading these efforts. Read more here about resources, funding and initiatives accelerating the workforce development delivery system in the region.

Workforce Development Highlight – connecting industry to skilled workers

While experienced workers are important, companies want assurance that local colleges and universities are continuing to educate students in the skilled trades to backfill the current aging workforce with new talent. Buffalo Niagara has several state and community colleges providing high quality and low-cost education, training and certificate programs.

For example, in a recent visit to Alfred State’s SUNY College of Technology I received a tour of the campus and the various degree programs offered.  During our tour, Craig Clark, P.E., Dean of the School of Applied Technologies explained that Alfred State provides a project-based learning experience that is the cornerstone of their culture.  Students work on real-world problems; thus they learn how to think, not simply what to think. As a result, Alfred State has a 99% employment and transfer rate.

Students can enroll in both Associate degree programs (2 years) and Bachelor degree programs (4 year) at the school.  Everything from Business Administration, Architecture to Applied Science and Occupational Studies (degree programs).

  • The Applied Sciences programs include: CAD/CAM, Electrical Engineering,  Electromechanical Engineering,  Mechanical Design Engineering, Mechanical Engineering
  • Their Occupational Studies program includes:, Air Conditioning and Heating, Drafting/CAD, Machine Tool, Masonry, Welding

Workforce Affordability – maintaining competitiveness in a global market

It is also important for Canadian companies to understand what they will be expected to pay potential employees in Buffalo Niagara.  According to the Economic Research Institute (ERI), employees with the same job titles in Alfred’s Applied Sciences and Occupations Studies program can be expected to be paid the following salaries:

AlfredChart-03_11_13 (2)

Canadian companies looking to expand to the U.S. can learn more on our website. To view of list of Canadian companies BNE has helped expand to the U.S., view our success stories.

Dairy Sanitation and Safety in the U.S.

As Canadian food processing companies consider U.S. expansion, the added element of understanding U.S. food regulations and training new employees on the proper handling of food products and good manufacturing practices could be overwhelming. When you start hiring key top level employees you may find a great warehouse supervisor, but what if they don’t have a food processing background? The reality is that your top candidate might not have that industry-specific training.

The Food Processing and Development Laboratory (Pilot Plant)

The Food Processing and Development Laboratory (Pilot Plant)

Cornell University Department of Food Science has one of the premier food science programs in the nation; they apply the principles of science and engineering to ensure the nutritional value, safety and quality of foods in the U.S. and around the globe. Located in nearby Ithaca NY, Cornell’s food processing development resources provide cutting edge research and support to New York State’s (NYS) food industry. They have facilities and expertise to support product development.

On Cornell’s campus there is a 8,500 square foot food pilot plant that contains product development, sensory evaluation and select lab services. Cornell offers opportunities for industry partnerships with their facilities, staff and various workshops. The Department of Food Science offers food industry resources with over 20 different pieces of processing equipment. Their food processing development laboratory allows for research and product development trials, small batch production, environmental rooms, and sensory trials. They also have a new 13,000 square foot dairy processing plant that supports teaching, research and extension activities.

Cornell also offers a 3-day certificate course in Basic Dairy Sanitation and Safety. This course includes topics like food safety overview, basic dairy microbiology, milk composition and unit processing operations, good manufacturing practices, dairy sanitation, dairy regulations, and food safety modernization act. These topics would be ideal for plant managers, supervisors, and operations staff. Customized training opportunities exist in good manufacturing practices, HAACP and basic food safety, and quality food production. Additional courses are available in Fluid Milk Processing for Quality and Safety Certificate, Yogurt and Fermented Dairy Products, Cheese and Cheese Products. Additional resources are available such as regulatory contracts (NYS Ag and Markets, FDA, and USDA), industry partners, and association partnerships.

For more information on Cornell’s programs please contact: Janene Lucia jgg3@cornell.edu (607) 255-2892.

Visit http://www.cals.dairy.cornell.edu or http://foodscience.cornell.edu/FPDL

Resources:

Click here if you are a Canadian Business considering expansion to the U.S.

Click here if you would like to learn more about the Agribusinss industry in the Buffalo Niagara region.

Site Selection Insights from Women in Economic Development

I recently attended  The Woman in Economic Develop Forum in Chicago, IL  where I met with several site selectors to get an update on what they are seeing and hearing from companies.  Many companies throughout the world reach out to a site selection firms to request assistance in  location analysis, site selection, and strategy comparisons.  These site selectors learn firsthand what companies need in order to expand or relocate, as well as how industries are growing, contracting or otherwise changing.  Much of the information shared at the forum was repeated by more than one expert.

Overall there are positive trends and activity regarding company requests and growth needs.  Most site selectors are predicting an increase in activity for 2013 across the country and industries.

Key points that were discussed during the forum:

Project Trends

  • Fewer consolidation projects happening and there are more expansion needs.  Not all of these expansions are taking place in new locations, many are happening at a company’s existing facility.
  • Companies are looking for new locations to set up regional facilities in order to be closer to their customers.

Industry Trends

  •  There has been a lot of activity in the steel and aircraft industries.  The aircraft demand is specific to the commercial segment,  due to the aging of existing aircraft and growing markets.

Workforce

  • Workforce concerns continue to be a growing and hot topic.  Many companies are doing a lot of due diligence to better understand a region’s workforce trends. Companies want to know if a region has experienced workers and their ages.
  • Companies find it important to locate in regions that have strong programs at local trade schools, colleges and universities.
  • Companies are looking to state programs to assist them in providing  younger workers with  the skills they need to work in their available manufacturing positions.

Incentives

  •  Incentives are an important factor in a company’s decision making process.  Companies look for a clear explanation of incentive programs, including how and when the incentives will be paid.
  • Companies desire front loaded incentives, but they are also facing more claw back provisions in the first couple years.
  • The timing of needed infrastructure plays a role and how incentives can be utilized to develop that infrastructure.

Development in Progress at Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park

Latest aerial photograph of Project Wave (yellow outline) progress at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in Batavia, NY:
You’ll also notice Alpina (white outline) in the upper right hand corner… this artisan dairy manufacturer just announced that two of its yogurts will be available at Tops Friendly Markets. In addition, they recently posted 30 production positions on the NYS DOL job website and have received over 500 local applications.

A NEXUS Pass Helps Save Time at the Border

At BNE we assist many Canadian companies in expanding their business to Buffalo Niagara. During the expansion process, Canadian business owners make multiple trips back and forth across the border to attend various due diligence meetings, tour facilities, visit available sites and more. With today’s strict border regulations people often experience delays, which can become especially frustrating when one crosses the border on a regular basis. To help alleviate this problem, I encourage my Canadian companies that they should apply for aNEXUS Pass.  
The NEXUS travel document enables travelers to use a NEXUS- only lane, promising just a few minutes wait time at customs.  There is also a bridge designated for NEXUS holders; the Whirlpool Bridge where only nexus holders are allowed to cross. The NEXUS costs only $50.00 and is good for five years, a great deal for frequent border crossers.
An important thing to note is that having a NEXUS pass does not allow Canadians to work in the United States.  Immigration and work Visas for any key employees that will be helping to setup and start operations for the new facility in Buffalo Niagara will need to be addressed.
I myself am a NEXUS holder and I have had nothing but a good experience with the program.  Visit  www.nexusniagara.com to learn how you can enroll.
The Niagara Falls Bridge Commission has some other useful tools to minimize your border wait time. A toll-free number (1-800-715-6722), website and even a Twitter feed  provides up-to-the-minute bridge traffic information.
Manager, Business Development