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7 ways businesses can benefit from Caterpillar's upcoming Victoria site

By ALLISON MILES
Aug. 28, 2010 at 3:28 a.m.


Have additional questions about how your business can see a boost from the local Caterpillar venture? Contact the University of Houston-Victoria Small Business Development Center at 361-575-8944 or visit them online at http://sbdc.uhv.edu.

Caterpillar Inc.'s Aug. 12 announcement that it will locate a new manufacturing plant in Victoria means 500 new jobs and a tax base increase for Victoria.

But the city and county aren't the only ones that stand to benefit from the venture.

Here, industry pros give their take on how other businesses and individuals can gain from Caterpillar's upcoming move to the Crossroads.

Boost in construction jobs

The project means construction positions for the plant and for any supporting businesses that come down the road in the future. That can mean additional work for local construction companies and increased business for hotels, motels and other sites incoming workers will use for temporary housing.

Opportunities for other cities to house supplier businesses

At Caterpillar's new Seguin location, the company's goal is to bring a majority of goods in from within a 50-mile radius to save on transportation costs. If the same applies to the Victoria site, cities like Gonzales, Hallettsville and Yoakum are in prime locations to act as a good central ground.

Assistance with ancillary services

From janitorial services to machining various parts and even greasing down equipment, Caterpillar will likely utilize help from various companies throughout the region. Now is a good time for existing companies to evaluate their business practices and determine whether they might be able to assist Caterpillar down the road.

Business boost from the 500 plus new employees

It isn't just the company that will utilize business services. The infusion of employees means more people using dry cleaners, going to banks and taking part in the same daily activities most everyone else does. This offers growth opportunities to existing businesses and potential new business opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Transportation industry boost

The project means additional transportation moving in and out of Victoria with parts, finished products and the like. That means potential for existing trucking companies to grow, expand business practices or even develop partnerships with other companies in nearby cities

Extra positions for college kids

Although extensive training is necessary for many roles with Caterpillar, college students will likely be able to find work with retail sites, restaurants and other service businesses that open or expand due to the company's Victoria site. And, with the University of Houston-Victoria bringing on freshmen and sophomores, the area will likely boast more job-seeking college students than in the past.

Chance for businesses to do their homework

Businesses that plan to expand or cater to Caterpillar's new project have a while to ready themselves, since production isn't slated to begin until mid-2012. Now is a good time to look over business plans and see if any changes need to be made to grow the business. Different business practices are likely necessary for companies hoping to grow, versus companies looking to mitigate risks. There is also time to click onto Caterpillar's website to learn more about the company or peruse the newspaper to attend events where business owners can meet with Caterpillar representatives.

Sources: Lisa Barr, senior business adviser, Joe Harper, director, and Joe Humphreys, associate director with the University of Houston-Victoria Small Business Development Center, Dale Fowler, president of the Victoria Economic Development Corp.

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