Business Retention & Expansion (BR&E)

One of the most effective ways to improve the economic vitality of a community is to help the businesses already in that community to grow and expand. The first step in helping them grow is to find out what issues are preventing them from growing.

This is the philosophy behind the Business Retention and Expansion Survey. Starting in 1999 and held every 3 years since, the Grants Pass-Josephine County Chamber of Commerce along with Josephine County, the City of Grants Pass, and 50 to 60 volunteers attempt to interview every traded sector business within Josephine County.

This award winning program develops a questionnaire that takes about 45 minutes to an hour to complete. Then 2 volunteers take the survey out and interview the local traded sector businesses. The findings of each survey are then combined to provide a brief snapshot of the local economy. This snapshot is presented to the community at large, and the success stories are celebrated by the community. The "red flag" issues or issues that the businesses are facing are given to a committee made up of economic development professionals and community volunteers that work to help solve the issues raised by the survey.

Over the years, this work has lead to the development of Spalding Industrial Park, the creation of the Small Business Management Program at the Rogue Community College Small Business Development Center, the Power Up Academy at the Job Council, and became the foundation for the City of Grants Pass recruitment program.

This program won the 1999 "Sustainable Oregon" award for its effort to provide a sustainable approach to local economic health. In 2001, the program won the "Outstanding Community BR&E Program" from Business Retention and Expansion International.

Why It's Important
Most new jobs are created by existing small businesses. Beyond that, the return on investment of financial and human resources is much greater when invested in local businesses than on new business recruitment. A happy and healthy local business climate will actually make new business recruitment much easier as existing businesses become ambassadors for the community.

See the Latest Survey
View the 2014 BR&E Survey (PDF). Past surveys are available now at the Grants Pass-Josephine County Chamber of Commerce website. You can also check out the 2003 Profiles of Change report (PDF), prepared by the League of Oregon Cities, contains a wealth of information about the economic climate of Oregon.

For more information, contact the City of Grants Pass at 541-450-6000.