Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI) was pleased to host Cagli, Italy Mayor Alberto Alessandri and his assistant Marco Valeri last week for a “lunch & learn” and tour of local manufacturer HOTSTART. In town for the Sister City signing ceremonies – Cagli is Spokane’s newest Sister City – Mayor Alessandri joined a group of elected officials, local businesses, and international trade supporters to discuss our local economies and future partnerships. County Commissioners Al French and Nancy McLaughlin, as well as city of Spokane Valley Mayor Rod Higgins and Liberty Lake Mayor Steve Peterson were on hand for the meeting.
While much smaller in population (less than 10,000) Cagli is very similar to Spokane in that it serves as a hub for commerce to a surrounding area. Also similar to Spokane, the vast majority of businesses in and around Cagli are small businesses. Primary industries include food and wine, hand crafted goods, real estate and tourism.
One of Cagli’s largest companies is Cariaggi, a worldwide leader in the production of fine yarns for knitwear and textiles. The company employs about 260 and distributes in 28 countries, providing goods to such companies as Ralph Lauren.
During his remarks Mayor Alessandri commented that Italian companies are continuing to look more towards the United States than the European Union for business opportunities. He also stressed that he is truly interested in exploring business partnerships between Cagli and Spokane, and that this initial visit is a great start to those efforts.
In addition to Mayor Alessandri’s presentation, the meeting included presentations by Tim Robinson of Visit Spokane on regional recreation and tourism, and a regional economic and industry overview by GSI’s Drew Repp. Following the meeting the delegation took a tour of HOTSTART, a local manufacturer of engine and generator heaters. HOTSTART currently exports to Italy but is pursuing additional opportunities in the market.
Mayor Alessandri and Marco Valeri presented a beautiful picture book of Cagli. Be sure and swing by our offices to take a look!
Be sure and also check out the video made by Cagli for the Sister Cities project.
GSI’s International Trade program works to enhance the regional economy and support job creation through the growth of local trade activity. With more than 95 percent of the world’s population and roughly 75 percent of the purchasing power located outside the United States, the global marketplace represents a significant opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses to expand their customer base. Facilitating trade relations for local businesses is one way which GSI seeks to support trade activity.