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Motor City and North Bay a good fit, American trade rep says

Mark Denson (L) with Jay Aspin, the international trade advisor for the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce, (C), and Rainer Kunau. Photo by Phil Novak, BayToday.

Mark Denson (L) with Jay Aspin, the international trade advisor for the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce, (C), and Rainer Kunau. Photo by Phil Novak,

North Bay companies have the opportunity to fill niches in the market of Michigan’s largest city, says Mark Denson, director of North American marketing for the Detroit Regional Economic Partnership.

Denson ended a tour of Northern Ontario with a stop in North Bay Thursday.

Some successes
DREP is the economic development arm of the Detroit Regional Chamber, the largest chamber of commerce in the United States, with 20,000 members.

Denson, who was joined by Rainer Kunau, the Canadian trade commissioner to Detroit, said he was in the city to “build on some relationships” that were started back in 2003 when Team Northern Ontario went to the Motor City to explore business relationships with companies there.

“I’m doing a little bit of follow-up to that, talking to some companies that have had some successes in Detroit and doing some follow-up with those that have yet had an opportunity to find their niche in the Detroit market,” Denson said.

“We are trying to grow the North Bay business community by helping ourselves to some of the expertise here locally here in North Bay.”

Significant number
North Bay has some “wonderful” specialty niche companies doing “wonderful things” in the manufacturing community “that could be of great use to companies in the Detroit market,” Denson said.

“What you have a significant number of specialty fabricators in particular that are making very unique uses of steel and fabrication of that steel, and that goes into some of the buildings that are being built, particularly auto plants and manufacturing facilities that may or not be automotive,” Denson said.

“Also some of the buildings that are being renovated and being built from the ground up in the city of Detroit are utilizing North Bay companies.”

Denson’s itinerary included visits to Mindoka Technology, RA Warren Equipment, G&P Welding and Plastitech.

Detroit has always had a wonderful working relationship with Windsor and other Ontario cities, and the city wants to bring North Bay into the mix, Denson said.

“And we also want to further build on some of the expertise of some of the local companies here so that they can provide super service to our home-grown businesses back in Detroit,” Denson said.

Made stronger
The next step will be to help North Bay companies not yet doing business in Detroit make contact with potential customers and suppliers in the city, Denson said, “and of course helping those companies in Detroit understand what North Bay companies have to offer.”

Denson said North Bay companies can grow by being introduced to business opportunities with Detroit companies.

“Those Detroit companies not able to produce some of the kinds of things that go on here in North Bay are then made stronger,” Denson said, “because now they’re better able to service their customers and clients, and that’s good for your companies here.”