Before the economy came to a screeching halt due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, several bakers were looking to expand. Although most of those projects have been put on hold, don’t put them out-of-mind. In fact, now is a perfect time to reassess long-term goals and lay the groundwork, especially when it comes to site selection, for when expansion needs reemerge.

Perhaps the greatest dilemma involves weighing the initial investment along with potential tax incentives or other financial assistance against ongoing expenses and other extended mitigating factors. Keep in mind, long-term issues always win out ultimately.

With a new employment picture, labor may be more available, but bakers still need to look at workforce capability, ability for training and average cost per hour for skills desired. Don’t forget infrastructure, all-important water quality, adequate wastewater treatment and those essential utilities and their reliability to provide service without interruption.

Look for “shovel-ready” sites, which had been difficult to find or expensive in the past. Those are sites with utilities already in place for immediate construction and the ability to connect to the grid when completed. In addition, make sure to ask a question that may not show up on a spreadsheet. Is the community the right fit?

As we struggle to get past today’s crisis, don’t forget to keep an eye on the future. Certainly, if your company is fortunate enough, a new bakery will be a welcome site in many communities when the economy rebounds.