Friday, July 3, 2009

Selling a Commodity

There is a smell of desperation in the air. The desperation of how to "sell" a bland and generic place like Dayton as a place to do business.

Dayton is the average mid-sized Midwest industrial city. In other words it is a commodity, since there are plenty of average mid-sized Midwest industrial cities out there.

So how do the economic development people sell a commodity? By selling a commoditity. And not just any commodity but the most basic, bland commoditity of all.

Yes, thats right. They're trying to sell Dayton because it has a reliable water supply. Not really that special in the Midwest; the home of the Great Lakes, largest freshwater supply on the planet.

The Dayton Development Coalition has their H2Open website, which is actually sort of clever with its watery animation....

The site asks the question "...need water for your daily operations?" Which makes one ask what sort of industry need a lot of process water?

A USGS fact sheet on industrial water withdrawls suggests a few:

"Some industries that use large amounts of water produce such commodities as food, paper, chemicals, refined petroleum, or primary metals."

Well, the area already has some paper industry. In fact the big Appleton Papers off I-75 plant has expanded while other manufacturing operations have shut down. But, so far, nothing in the way of chemicals, refined petroleum or basic metals (in other words steel mills and and metal smelting). And since Dayton is surrounded by primo ag land one could see food processing. In fact there already is industrial soybean processing at that impressive Cargill plant on Needmore Road.

So, perhaps this is more plausible than it looks at first glance.

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