8:02am

Tue January 31, 2012
Regional Coverage

Syracuse one of four metro areas working with Brookings Institution to increase exports

CenterState CEO in Syracuse is trying to get more companies in Central New York to do business outside the area.  Syracuse is one of four metropolitan areas in the U-S that are working with the Brookings Institution to increase exports over the next five years.  As part of two initiatives, they are asking local business for data about their exports, and encouraging them to look at more business opportunities outside the area.  

One local business that CenterState CEO points to as a kind of poster child for this initiative, is the Pinckney Hugo Group, a full service marketing and communications firm based in Syracuse.

Doug Pinckney was born and raised in Central New York., and then spent 20 years away from the area. When he a decided to return home to raise a family ten years ago, he and his partners bought Siano Spitz Advertising, the oldest ad agency in Central New York, and grew their businesses  in a renovated  building in the old automobile row portion of West Genesee Street .  

He says the Pinckney-Hugo Group had a very good 2011.

"We grew about 25 percent, which means we added about ten new team members to our staff,” said Pinckney. “And a lot of that growth, about half, came from outside the market. And it's companies that are in insurance and financial service business, even some products you see on the shelves at the grocery stores, that are national brands, those are some of the companies we are doing business with."

So just how much of their business comes from national and international clients?

"Our business right now is about 40% outside Central New York and 60% local,” said Pinckney.

Pinckney says the number one reason for the success outside Central New York is talent, much of it drawn home the way he was.  But he says there is also a lower cost of living here also allows a better price point when compared to competitors in pricier, bigger cities.

According to figures from the Brookings Institution, export figures in Syracuse have dropped from 10% in 2008, to 8% recently.  The Brookings Insititute Initiative is in the information gathering process right now. These pushes follow President Obama's call to double U-S exports over the next five years.