When we started doing the Prosperity Partnership “industry cluster tours” three years ago – every three months, getting 30-40 business, government and community leaders on a bus for a day-long exploration of a different industry in our region – I had a key organizing principle for how I selected our tour stops: the “I’ve Always Wanted to Go There” rule. It was under the assumption that everyone knew about our various assets in clusters like aerospace, IT and life sciences, but had never had the opportunity and/or the access to go see them. And so, we got behind the scenes tours of Boeing factories or Seattle BioMed’s “insectarium” or REI’s logistics center in Sumner.
But now that we’ve done tours of the major industries in our region, we’ve moved into a new rule of thumb: the “I Had No Idea This Was Here” principle. That was the case back in December when we did a day-long bus tour of the specialty foods industry (stopping at places like Green Mountain Coffee’s robotic coffee packaging facility). And it was absolutely the case last week when we did our latest industry cluster tour…on the stunningly significant fashion & apparel cluster in our region.