Economic rescuer

Chabin Concepts offers economic-development solutions

Audrey Taylor

Audrey Taylor

Photo By melanie Mactavish

Audrey Taylor is president and founder of Chabin Concepts, Inc., a Chico-based business started in 1989 that specializes in helping create economic-development and marketing solutions for entities ranging from small California cities to states across the United States.

“The firm’s goal is to creatively position cities, counties and states to win new jobs and investment,” as Chabin Concepts’ promotional material describes it. Chabin’s lengthy portfolio of clients includes the cities of Gridley, Yuba City, Sacramento, Benicia, Santa Rosa and San Diego, the counties of Glenn, Lassen and Placer, as well as Anchorage, Alaska, Beaverton, Ore., Scottsdale, Ariz., Frisco, Texas, and the states of Washington and Oklahoma.

Taylor’s achievements as a businesswoman include receiving the prestigious Golden Bear Award from the California Association for Local Economic Development and being appointed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California Workforce Investment Board’s Green Collar Jobs Council. She also wrote the 1999 book So You Want to Make a Company’s Short List, Huh?, and co-authored the 2002 book, Journey to Jobs.

“Our main focus is to work with nonprofit economic-development organizations in cities and counties, particularly in rural and mid-size communities, to basically help them think about economic development,” Taylor said in a recent phone interview. “We want them to really think about economic development … that really leads to them improving the economy.” Fittingly, Chabin’s name comes from the Cherokee word “chabin,” which means “mountains where the eagles (the entrepreneurs) soar,” said Taylor.

“Every community wants to have a favorable business climate,” she offered. Chabin Concepts works with its clients to develop a plan to move forward by considering such questions as, “How do we best work with existing businesses? How do we make the community attractive for startups? … All communities want the best fit between business and [such things as the community’s] workforce, transportation [access], market opportunities. … They want to help businesses start and continue to grow.”

Additionally, communities are acutely aware of the need to address the issue of sustainability—namely, “how to address it and still be business-friendly,” said Taylor. “What can we bring to a business to help it be more profitable and sustainable at the same time?”

Along those lines, the city of Benicia was recently awarded the Gold Excellence in Economic Development Award from the International Economic Development Council for its Sustainability Management Program, which Chabin Concepts helped develop.

“Your rural communities are always hit harder during recessions,” Taylor noted. “It has not helped that the governor [of California] has caused the demise of redevelopment [programs throughout the state]. That has caused a real challenge for communities in California.

“It’s a team effort,” Taylor said, referring to the company’s seven-woman staff. “We’ve been in business a long time. Job creation is very important to us. We’re very passionate about what we do.”