Being in the business of helping businesses

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Hammonds Candies gets a lot of web traffic in November and December, and in 2011, disaster struck — there wasn’t enough bandwidth to handle the business.

Ralph Nafziger, chief financial officer with Hammonds, said he begged for Comcast to bring services north, to the company’s location at 5735 N. Washington St. in unincorporated Adams County.

“We needed more bandwidth to grow our website business and keep our business going during that critical time,” he said.

However, he wasn’t able to contact the right person with Comcast and the issue went unresolved until a representative with Adams County Economic Development (ACED) stepped in. With ACED’s help, Comcast expanded their service, which has benefitted so many other businesses in that unincorporated Adams County section of north Denver, Nafziger said.

“(ACED) was crucial for that to happen, they found the right person to do that,” he said. “Since we got Comcast up since February of last year, we haven’t had one glitch in service. ACED will get our cheers forever for that.”

This type of service is just one of many that ACED has provided for primary businesses — defined as businesses that export at least 50 percent of their goods and services outside the county — since it was formed in 1982. ACED is a nonprofit economic development agency serving the more than 8,100 businesses of Adams County and its 10 municipalities.

“As economic developers, we work to attract primary businesses that invest capital and create high-wage jobs, which strengthens our local economy,” said Barry Gore, president and CEO of ACED. “In addition to marketing Adams County as a preferred business location, we help our existing primary employers connect with the people, information and resources they need to be successful.”

Gore said ACED focuses on the significant opportunity for job growth in six industries — aviation and aerospace, energy, health-care and life science, logistics, wholesale trade and advanced manufacturing.

“We accomplish this by offering support in business development, workforce development, and real estate opportunities in order to create a pro-business community to help businesses grow and thrive,” he said. “All primary employers are eligible for support from ACED.” 

Gore said that some of the high-profile projects that ACED has worked on include the Anschutz Medical Campus, Fitzsimons Life Science District, a GE Solar manufacturing facility, redevelopment of the ASARCO industrial site, Spaceport Colorado and the Aerotropolis surrounding Denver International Airport.

Another large project ACED’s has been working on with the city and county of Denver and with Enviro Finance Group is the remediation and redevelopment of the former Globe Plant at 52nd Avenue and Washington Street.

“This site presents a number of significant challenges to redevelopment including well established soil and groundwater contamination, as well as the mere fact that it straddles the border between Adams County and Denver, adding complexity to redevelopment and regulatory oversight,” Gore said. “At the end of the clean-up phase, this 78-acre urban infill site is expected to create up to 1 million square feet of commercial/industrial space and approximately 1,000 jobs. ACED played a critical role in the project and will help market the development to commercial and industrial users to bring jobs to Adams County.”

ACED will hold its annual appreciation breakfast for primary employers Aug. 8 at the Denver Merchandise Mart. It generally attracts about 200 business leaders and serves as an opportunity for ACED to receive feedback and to say “thanks” to the businesses.

For more information, contact Erin Beckstein at EBeckstein@AdamsCountyED.com or 303-453-8516.