When it comes to small-town economic development, northwest Ohio would seem to have a corner on the market.

For the fifth consecutive year, Findlay-Hancock County has been named the No. 1 micropolitan community out of 551 such places in the United States.

The top ranking is becoming commonplace, but should not be taken for granted. What’s good for Findlay is good for the area and the entire state. Findlay’s success in attracting and retaining business seems to be carrying over to other area communities.

The ranking, announced earlier this week, was made by Site Selection Magazine, which counts projects for the national competition based on an investment of $1 million or more; the addition of 20,000 square feet or more; or the addition of 20 or more jobs.

Findlay-Hancock County had 23 such investments in 2018, including growth or projects at Mennell Milling in Fostoria; Veoneer-Nissin Brake Systems; auto parts maker Mitec; Grob Systems in Bluffton; Hearthside Food Solutions in McComb; One Energy; and Ohio Logistics, among others.

Hancock isn’t the only area county on the Site Selection chart.

Seneca County, which includes Fostoria and Tiffin, was ranked 14th nationally in the rankings, the seventh year in a row it was ranked in the top 100.

The northwest Ohio region posted particularly strong numbers, with five of the state’s 18 communities on the Top 100 list located here. Besides Findlay, Defiance (eighth) and Fremont-Sandusky (19th) recorded strong business growth last year, and in the bigger, metropolitan division, Toledo was third nationally.

So what’s driving the business boom in the 419 area code? The workforce? Location? Communities’ quality of life? Low business operating costs? Tax incentives?

It’s likely all the above plus the work of those who market Ohio’s business opportunities. The day-to-day efforts of the Findlay-Hancock County Alliance, the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership and the Fostoria Economic Development Corp. may fly under the radar until the business deals are done, but at the end of the year, all projects — large and small — add up.

As a result, jobs are created, income tax revenues grow, and companies realize why they came — and stay.

The state is getting stronger when it comes to business, in part because of economic development taking place in Findlay, Fostoria and Tiffin. The word is still getting out about northwest Ohio. We hope that strong message continues.

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