'We are totally on the map'

| 16 Aug 2017 | 04:36

— Business leaders and elected officials gathered for the Orange County Chamber of Commerce monthly breakfast on Aug. 10 to discuss economic development and the qualities that make Orange County a prime place to do business.
The event, attended by 250 members, was held at Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, which recently completed a multi-million dollar redevelopment project that expands and upgrades the property.
A panel of speakers discussed why some of the top national and international businesses decided to locate in Orange County. The panelists were: Faith Ferguson of Stagecoach Inn and Faith Ferguson Productions; Jay Holt of Holt Construction; Stephanie Johnson and David Mistretta of Simon Premium Outlets; Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus; Ricardo Petroni of Equilibrium Brewery; and Phil Royle of Legoland New York.
Petroni said setting up business in Orange County was easy because of the help provided by Orange County Partnership, the economic development agency in the county, and the City of Middletown. The attitude of both reflected the wider welcoming culture in the county, he said.
Attractions that could draw 20 million peopleThe panel discussed the coming of two major tourist attractions to the region: Legoland New York in Goshen and Resorts World Catskills in Sullivan County. Together with the 13 million people who visit Woodbury Common every year, the three attractions would draw 20 million visitors to the region, creating a major tourism hub in the mid-Hudson Valley. This will boost existing synergy and help all businesses thrive.
Royle talked about the benefits of locating Legoland in Orange County. These include being just 15 minutes from Woodbury Common and very close to Stewart International Airport, which has direct flights to Europe.
The Goshen park would be the final Legoland theme park in North America, he said.
“No one comes just to Legoland,” said Royle. “They plan a two-three-day excursion in the area.”
'Business draws business'The Stagecoach Inn's Ferguson agreed.
“Business draws business, which is good for all business,” said Ferguson. “We are a huge supporter of Legoland.”
Johnson, director of marketing and business development for Woodbury Common, said the outlets makes great effort to do business locally. Woodbury Common recently welcomed Black Dirt Bourbon Barn, a standalone bar on the property, which is a subsidiary of Warwick Valley Winery.
Food trucks on site during the weekends also provide farm fresh, local, in season and sustainable healthy food options for shoppers.
“When we bring something to Woodbury Common that is local to Orange County, it is an authentic experience for shoppers,” said Johnson. “It benefits everyone.”
'The time to get ready'Neuhaus said his administration was working hard to make businesses prosper in Orange County.
“We are making all these marriages around the county,” said Neuhaus. “A rising tide is going to lift all boats.”
Lynn Cione, president and CEO of Orange County Chamber of Commerce, called on businesses to prepare for the increase in tourism.
“This is the time to get ready,” she said. “We are totally on the map.”