Wal-Mart grant will be used to create Web site for Carroll Home page will feature local industrial properties

April 09, 1997|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

A $4,000 grant from Wal-Mart will help Carroll County attract more business and industry.

The county Department of Economic Development will use the grant, payable over two years, to create a Web site on the Internet. The professionally designed home page will feature graphic images and information on local industrial sites.

"This gives us another dimension to offer brokers and site locaters," said Jack Lyburn, county economic development director. "We used to compete against other counties, but today our market is becoming international. This page will give us access to international markets."

The nationwide retail chain, which has stores in Westminster and Eldersburg and plans a third outlet in Mount Airy, started its industrial development program about five years ago to help communities recruit industry and create jobs. The company awards more than $2 million annually to cities and towns.

"The program enhances communities that our stores serve with jobs and industrial recruitment," said Stacey Webb, spokeswoman for Wal-Mart in Bentonville, Ark. "The main guideline for awarding the grant is that it goes to bettering the community."

Once the company let the county know the grant was available, Paige Sunderland, the county's manager of business and development, wrote an application.

"It was excellent they came to us and we had a creative way to put this grant to use," Sunderland said. "It will help us create a professional and quality-designed page."

Advertising on the Internet was on the "have-to-do" list, particularly for prospects looking for instant answers, said Sunderland, who hopes to have the page available by the end of this year.

The grant will cover the cost of hiring a computer consultant who would design a home page, similar to those that several neighboring counties have posted on the Internet.

"Many of our competitors are receiving several inquiries a day from their Web sites," Sunderland said. "We don't have that capability, and we have got to be there to make our information available."

Some site locaters rely solely on the Internet, she said. Without an electronic market capability, Sunderland said, the county would miss many opportunities.

The economic development department also is shooting a video promoting local sites. The film, scheduled for completion next month, includes interviews with business leaders and touts county schools and the quality of life.

The Wal-Mart store in Eldersburg is awarding a $2,000 grant for playground equipment to Eldersburg Elementary School. Store associates ran two raffles for the school fund and applied to Bentonville for matching grant money.

Pub Date: 4/09/97

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