Rochester gets the Amazon spin-off effect

December 14, 2017 06:38 PM

Rochester is in a national competition to win the Amazon headquarters bid. And while the application was happening in September, I'd get people whispering in my ear: "We may not win Amazon but we're going to win other companies."

And it looks like that's happening.

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Matt Hurlbutt, Greater Rochester Enterprise: "This is the busiest December we've ever had, since I've been here."

Hurlbutt is the CEO of Greater Rochester Enterprise, a group that tries to get business to relocate or expand here. He's also the co-chair of the Rochester Buffalo Amazon bid.

Now here's the potential Amazon spin-off. This week, three companies made visits to Rochester. Next week, two more are coming.

Matt Hurlbutt, Greater Rochester Enterprise: "We will win some of those deals. I can't get into the odds of each one and many of those are confidential but I can tell you that we show well and people come because they're invested and they're considering the finals."
Brean: "Do you think those companies would have come here had it not been for the Amazon application and the Amazon buzz?"
Matt Hurlbutt, Greater Rochester Enterprise: "Well, I think it creates an opportunity for us. When we are listed with cities like Austin, Philadelphia, Atlanta, people ask why."

Austin, Philadelphia and Atlanta were listed as top Amazon contenders by Moody's Analytics. Rochester was ranked 4th and Hurlbutt says businesses around the country saw it.

Matt Hurlbutt, Greater Rochester Enterprise: "And it validates the point -- they have to consider us."

Amazon and the applicants -- like Rochester and Buffalo -- signed non-disclosure agreements. But the thought is Amazon is going to whittle the more than 200 applications down to the top 20 or 30 sometime next year.


Berkeley Brean

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