New South Bend advertising campaign hopes to bring more business to city

By: Barbara Harrington Email
By: Barbara Harrington Email

Sometimes you have to spend money to make money.

That is what the city of South Bend is doing, and they are already seeing results.

Its new "Why South Bend?" advertising campaign rolled out last week, touting the city as a great place to do business.

Since then, several companies have contacted the city, expressing interest in coming to Ignition Park.

Tom Price, assistant to the South Bend Mayor, says, “We really have a lot to offer for a town our size.”

It is all being showcased in local television commercials, national internet ads, and a revamped website.

It is all in an effort to bring more companies to South Bend's Ignition Park.

“Jobs are everyone's number one concern. The city doesn't create jobs, but what it can do is help create an environment for private investors, where they can be involved in creating jobs. So, one of the things we're doing with Ignition Park is highlighting the assets there the city has already put in.”

There are examples like the Metronet connection and the power that is stronger and cheaper than in most other places in the country.

They are assets that city leaders say will make companies choose South Bend over other, bigger cities, and some already have.

Startup company, Data Realty, will break ground at the technology park by the end of the year.

Larry Bilinski, co-owner of New Group Media, says, “The number one asset for them really is the power. There's a data center in Chicago that's the world's largest data center, and Ignition Park has twice the amount of power that that data center has in Chicago at a fraction of the cost.”

As cities across the nation deal with the volatile economy, cost is key because hundreds of communities are competing to attract the same employers, hoping to put people back to work.

Price says, “We are like many cities in this part of the country that are in a transition from an old manufacturing era to something new. We believe what we're seeing coming will be jobs based on research, based on technology, advanced manufacturing.”

South Bend's appeal is not just all about the infrastructure and technology.

Bilinski says, “The support from the community, the people that I've known all my life, it's been overwhelming, and I think that's one of the virtues, the overwhelming support from the community, the goodwill, the tidal wave of goodwill we rode when we first established the business.”

That same good will is waiting to greet new businesses and new jobs to South Bend.

Price says, “We have a great heritage where entrepreneurs grew companies like Studebaker and Bendix and because we have the infrastructure that was here for them and because we've added new types of infrastructure like the Metronet, this is still a great place for businesses.”

The advertising campaign cost the city $170,000.

That money comes from the TIF district near South Bend's airport.

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