Shelton, Washington, was slow to recover from the Great Recession. As of 2018, employment levels had not reached pre-recession levels and the region’s unemployment rate remained several points above the national rate. Furthermore, residents struggled with negative perceptions of the local government and the community itself.
The city of Shelton hired TIP Strategies to prepare a strategic plan that would set the community on a positive trajectory. Based on a survey of residents, multiple visits to the area, and input from dozens of stakeholders, TIP helped establish a vision of Shelton as a dynamic and vibrant city led by guiding principles centered on people, place, and prosperity. To better understand Shelton’s competitive position and highlight its advantages and challenges, TIP completed an economic assessment, which benchmarked the city against regional and aspirational peers. The data provided context for the target industry analysis, which examined timber milling, specialized agriculture, hospitality and tourism, retail, and light industrial. The strategic framework set a baseline for city economic development programs, suggested the formation of an economic development committee, articulated internal marketing ideas, and recommended the development of amenities to garner talent and attract industry through partnerships and incentives.