Coffee Co. has a million reasons to attract new business - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Coffee Co. has a million reasons to attract new business

Real estate developer Francis Lott Real estate developer Francis Lott

January 22, 2007

Douglas  --   The Douglas, Coffee County Economic Development Fund got a million dollar gift from a private developer, to be held in an endowment.

Some will be used for marketing the county, a majority will eventually be distributed in grants that grow jobs or enhance economic development in Coffee County.   

Real estate developer Francis Lott knows better than anyone economic development is essential to a county's success. "There's never enough money, and so I just thought it might help, and it's sort of where my heart is, and I hope it will be successful and affective."

That's why he's given his home town a million dollars to market Douglas and Coffee County to the world.

"We're in a flat world today," Chamber Executive Director JoAnne Lewis said. "The global economy is really reaching far beyond where our budgets will allow us to go so we identified in our community a need to get more private involvement in our effort to grow jobs so the fund was established and we're just ecstatic."

The Douglas Coffee County Economic Development Fund will eventually provide grants to develop jobs and strengthen current employer partnerships.

"This is going to really provide a catalyst for us to do some unique and unusual things, particularly in marketing, and grants, anything to do with creating jobs for Coffee County because that's what we're all about," said Luke Morgan, Economic Development Authority President.

The Chamber's strategy to engage private investors has been encouraging and Lott hopes others will help to give Coffee County a competitive advantage.

"The most important role a chamber can play is in creating jobs and creating jobs drives growth and growth drives everything," Lott said.

So Coffee County can continue to attract new business and jobs despite the challenges of competing in an aggressive world market. 

Eventually, the Douglas Coffee County Chamber of Commerce and the Industrial Development Authority will set up a committee to evaluate and distribute grant requests.

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