Lisa Riggs

A few weeks ago, Gov. Tom Wolf announced the decision by Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories, a global leader in pharmaceutical and food testing, to expand its already major presence in Upper Leacock Township.

The company’s decision to invest in its operations here — both buildings and workforce — is worth repeating and celebrating, not just because of its magnitude but because it is a vote of confidence in Lancaster County.

The expansion validates the premise that the majority of capital investment and job growth in a community comes from existing employers. And it reinforces the idea that the core focus for local and regional economic development efforts is best placed on retaining and expanding our existing base.

The good news for Lancaster County is that Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories isn’t alone in its expansion plans. There is a growing list of businesses in our community that are successfully navigating growth, and they reflect a range of industries and geographic locations.

Here are a few recent examples:

— Denver-based Bench Dogs, a maker of retail store fixtures, purchased a 30,000-square-foot warehouse with plans to add five jobs to its current 55.

— Atomic, a dominant player with a global reach in the live events sphere, expanded its fabrication and design space, taking 65,000 square feet in Rock Lititz’s fabulous Pod 2 and joining 15 other companies in the new 250,000-square-foot building.

— Business advisers and CPA firm Simon Lever is doubling its size in a planned move into a property on West Airport Road in Lititz later this year.

— B&B Custom Trim, a Manheim-based supplier of trim material for residential and commercial customers, purchased and renovated a facility for its new headquarters.

— Rocky Springs Entertainment Center, located on Millport Road, is expanding its bowling and dining operations, investing nearly $2 million into the business.

This type of incremental growth can be subtle, but it drives our local economy.

The “shiny” new business coming into the marketplace can easily garner attention — and deserves a warm welcome. Yet it is important to acknowledge the often subtle growth of existing businesses that ultimately account for the majority of investment and job creation in our community.

One important role business, government and community leaders and economic development organizations can play is to spotlight local companies with expansion plans such as these.

As any business leader can attest that the decision to physically expand a company footprint or an employment base requires taking risk. Particularly for smaller companies with fewer than 100 employees — the vast majority of Lancaster County businesses — that risk is even greater, as the internal capacity to navigate the multitude of issues that can arise isn’t always there.

Those challenges can range from financing to real estate searches, land development, construction, equipment installations and operational impacts. All are undertaken while weathering general business disruption and a range of human resource and workforce development needs.

At Economic Development Co. of Lancaster County, we’re always on the lookout for businesses considering expansion plans. It is an opportunity for us to assess whether we can provide assistance and add to the impressive list of expanding Lancaster County businesses to celebrate.

To read the article on LancasterOnline, click here.