County of Suffolk meets City of Suffolk at chamber of commerce export event

From left, David Redhead, Suffolk Chamber board member, John Dugmore, Suffolk Chamber chief executiv

From left, David Redhead, Suffolk Chamber board member, John Dugmore, Suffolk Chamber chief executive, Amy Parkhurst, from the Hampton Roads Alliance economic development organisation in Virginia, Gregory Byrd, City of Suffolk assistant director for economic development, and Charles Macdowell, the Hampton Road Alliances UK consultant. - Credit: Archant

A visiting official from the City of Suffolk in the US state of Virginia has given businesses from around the county an insight into exporting to the United States.

Night-time downtown in Suffolk, Virginia

Night-time downtown in Suffolk, Virginia - Credit: Visit Suffolk Virginia

Gregory Byrd, the city’s assistant director of economic development, outlined the services it can provide to help companies get established, including property searches and connecting with local advisers.

Among the Suffolk companies at the event, which was hosted by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and held at Ipswich Town Football Club, were cider and vinegar producer Aspall and St Peter’s Brewery.

Also represented were other chamber members targeting the US market from sectors including construction, shipping and cleaning products.

John Dugmore, Suffolk Chamber’s chief executive, said: “This was an informative and friendly event allowing our members to better understand the opportunities and procedures for trading with the US.

Canoeing on Lake Drummond in Suffolk, Virginia

Canoeing on Lake Drummond in Suffolk, Virginia - Credit: Visit Suffolk Virginia


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“Suffolk Chamber is playing a key role in sharpening local businesses’ international trade awareness and expertise through networking events such as this one, our export documentation services and our training courses.”

The City of Suffolk is the fastest growing city in Virginia, with a substantial food and drink industry and warehousing for goods imported through the nearby port of Norfolk.

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It was founded by English colonists in 1742, taking its name from the home county of the royal lieutenant governor of Virginia, William Gooch.

The current City of Suffolk was formed in 1974 – coincidentally the same year that Suffolk County Council was created under local government reorganisation in the UK – through the merger of a number of smaller authorities.

The riverside Hilton Garden Inn in Suffolk, Virginia

The riverside Hilton Garden Inn in Suffolk, Virginia - Credit: Visit Suffolk Virginia

It forms part of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area of Virginia which also covers cities including Chesapeake, Hampton, Norfolk and Portsmouth.

Besides being a major centre for the processing of peanuts – it is the home of Planters, part of Kraft Foods – Suffolk, Virginia, is also a major road and rail hub, with a mix of businesses also including manufacturing, retail and tourism.

Mr Byrd said: “It is great to get such a warm reception from our friends here in Suffolk, England. We are ready to help them succeed ‘across the pond’.”

He was accompanied at the Ipswich event by Amy Parkhurst from the Hampton Roads Alliance, a regional economic development organisation, and Charles Macdowell, the alliance’s UK consultant who is based in Ipswich.

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