You Don’t Know You Need Us (Until You Do)

We’re a land use and economic development company.  Most people aren’t sure what that means, but essentially we have three types of clients:

  1. Developers – we help developers get the permits and approvals then need (especially difficult ones) in a timely manner.  We also help them analyze and select locations for their projects.  We also help bridge the gaps where a jurisdiction’s policies, permits and practice don’t quite fit or are not anticipatory of a type of project.
  2. Cities/Countys/EDOs – knowing what it takes to make a project happen, we help advise communities on policies, programs and marketing so that they are more effective at getting the economic development they want.  Essentially, we help these clients get smarter, more strategic and we do it for a better cost structure than “planning” companies.
  3. Small Businesses & Individuals – zoning is one regulation that applies to every business, every non-profit and every individual, so when small businesses run into zoning challenges that are complex and political, we help them navigate to safety.  Click here for an example

Unfortunately, we frequently hear our new small business and individual clients say something like, “Wow, I didn’t even know people like you were out there. . .”

We recently helped a small business, The Grayson, resolve a zoning compliance matter that threatened to shut them down because their c0-housing solution to long term rentals for corporate relocation clients was defined as a “hotel” though it’s a far cry from such.  It would be incredibly difficult to walk through the challenges of their situation in a single blog post (so we won’t try).  But, we’d like to provide you with our client’s thoughts, which she allowed us to share:

“Toyer’s firm has a great background and working knowledge of regulations, zoning, and code. Toyer was able to navigate the complexity of county planning department and code, succeeding in getting a resolution that kept our business from having to close. More incredible was the fact that Toyer was successful where attorneys had failed to help us with the problem.  Without Toyer Strategic’s involvement, we would have spent thousands of dollars fighting a losing battle,”  Mariam Zinn, Owner, The Grayson

We’re proud of the work our company does and what it means to small business and entrepreneurs.

Got a zoning or zoning compliance issue?  We can help. Contact us


Approved: Hawks Prairie Logistics Park

Last night the Lacey City Council approved the master site plan and wetland development permits for Hawks Prairie Logistics Park, a 130-acre industrial development that will feature three buildings totaling 1.9 million square feet of industrial space.  The main building on the site will house a new Home Depot distribution center.

Our firm played an instrumental role in the project’s approval, providing the project’s economic impact analysis and performing required land use analysis to address the policies and conditions that limit the granting of wetland development permits.

Additionally, we provided early project management services to support the project’s pre-application site plan review,  the processing of the land use applications, and the facilitation of a meeting with the adjacent residential neighborhoods.

Founder’s Focus: How I Hire Talent

Note: this blog is the first in a series of blogs I hope to write on various topics that aren’t related to our company’s services, but definitely related to how we cope with the same challenges that our clients and colleagues often face as small businesses.

Running a small business is challenging, but growing a small business is even harder.  One of the major challenges for small businesses as they grow is hiring additional staff.

Posting a position and receiving hundreds of resumes to review isn’t practical, I’ve got a business to run.  Plus, resumes are of limited insight as they really only show that person’s ability to proof read and that person’s story-telling – it’s natural instinct (even coached) to tout the performance and contributions of oneself much like my 7 year old might when we return from a day fishing at the lake.

My first significant experience hiring employees occurred in my mid-20s when I worked at a growing real estate company.  Responsible for growing a division of the company, I deliberately hired individuals fresh out of college despite their lack of experience and I made my hiring decisions based on specific talents I though each person brought to the team.  It was an incredible success and the individuals that worked for my division grew considerably and have gone on to have incredible careers.  While I’d like to say it was the result of a great strategy, at that point in my career it was born out of my arrogance and unwillingness to hire someone that had more experience than me.

The success I had in this early part of my career has been a major influence in my hiring.  From that experience, I’ve confirmed

  1. The traditional hiring process doesn’t work for a small business like mine
  2. While I’d like experience, I can succeed by hiring someone with 70% of the talent I need
  3. I have to be committed to developing any new employee regardless of their experience or skills

To make new hires (interns, or full- or part-time employees), I still look to recruit from students at colleges, universities, communities colleges and even high school (junior/seniors).  To start the hiring process I reach out to educators and ask them to pass along  to students looking for work.

And instead of having them submit a resume, I ask them to review a Candidate Opportunity Packet, and complete and return our Skills Simulator (example below).

Candidate Skills Simulator 2.1

You Should Know the Economic Impact

How often have you. . .

  • Heard a company press on a city or county to make a decision based on their economic impact locally, but without any data?
  • Considered incentives for an economic development deal without knowing more than the number of jobs and total investment as given by the company?
  • Lacked specific information on the projects your economic development group helped support?
  • Had a developer tout the economic benefits of their proposed speculative building, but not have data to back it up?

In every case, it is important to have this data:

  • To help prioritize how to invest your resources
  • To ensure incentives are based on a ROI to your community
  • To prove the effectiveness of your EDO

Our firm helps our clients (cities, EDOs, companies) with the analysis of the economic impact.  Relying on RIMS II multiplier data from the BEA, we can help you analyze and determine the direct, indirect and induced impacts of a project (or projects) on jobs, economic output and wages.

Contact us and let us help you determine the impacts of your next project.


Welcome Anna to the Team

We’re excited to announced that Anna Leidl has joined our team as a research intern and will be supporting a number of our economic development and marketing projects.
Anna, a native of Saskatchewan, Canada, is a sophomore at Iowa Wesleyan University where she is double majoring in Psychology and Marketing while playing volleyball and softball for the Tigers.