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About Grow Hays

Now Grow Hays, the Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development was founded in 1988, during a period in which the county experienced a downturn in the ag and oil industry, as well as the loss of a major employer.  Community leaders came together to create an organization that could put the community back on the right economic track.  The Ellis County Coalition (Grow Hays) was born.

Formed as a public/private partnership between Ellis County, the cities within Ellis County, the entity was funded in part by Ellis County, the cities of Hays, Ellis and Victoria and private contributions. Grow Hays focuses on one simple mission, the economic growth and being of the community.  To further this end, the Grow Hays works with the community and businesses in a number of areas: affordable housing development, workforce development and training, grant writing, relocation assistance, start-up assistance, business recruitment, and much more.

Grow Hays continues to develop and maintain strong relationships with local, state, and federal organizations in an effort to bring resources and support to businesses located in the community.  As your business succeeds, our community succeeds.  


Core Values:

An organization that exemplifies integrity, collaboration, commitment, communication, and, when necessary, confidentiality.


Core Purpose:

Catalyst for expansion of the economy of Ellis County and surrounding areas by focusing on employment growth and wealth creation.


Core Goals:

Successfully retain and expand existing business, recruit new businesses, and create and foster a spirit of entrepreneurism in Ellis County and the surrounding areas. 

Cooperative Partnering Philosophy:

Grow Hays is committed to advancing economic vitality and innovation to enhance the community and the quality of life for citizens of Ellis County and the surrounding area. To reach our goals, it will take a cooperative partnership between Ellis County, the cities within Ellis County, and Grow Hays. Grow Hays will develop partnerships at local, state, national, and international levels. These partnerships are built on a desire to improve the Ellis County area and the cooperative spirit among the citizens. There is an understanding that economic development and community development are results of continuous improvement that depends on teamwork, pride, and a sense of innovation.  Through the cooperative efforts of the entire community, we envision the future of Ellis County and the surrounding area to include:

  • Aggressive pursuit of employment growth.  This can be achieved through expansion of existing businesses as well as recruitment of targeted businesses and the commitment from the community to provide appropriate incentives and the infrastructure required to facilitate growth in both categories.  Focus should be on industries that emphasis technology, high speed connectivity, and higher wages.  The community will also encourage investments in downtown development, business parks, and investment properties.
  • Promotion of an outstanding quality of life.   Ellis County is fortunate to have elements critically important to our future growth and expansion: excellent schools, a top-rated university, a world renowned medical center, fantastic recreation, safe neighborhoods, rich history, unbelievable art and culture, fun-filled events, great shopping, friendly people, strong work ethic, and so much more.  These points make Ellis County a highly rated micropolitan area in which to live, learn, work and play.  Ellis County will be especially inviting to young people seeking jobs and a great place to raise a family, and be a community well suited for retirement.
  • Recognition as the regional center for Northwest Kansas.  Located on the major east/west corridor of Interstate 70 and supported by commercial air service, Ellis County will continue to strive to serve as the regional hub for employment, shopping, dining, medical, educational, and cultural needs.
  • Support of activities that stabilize population in neighboring counties. Grow Hays will participate in multi-county efforts to address common issues and opportunities.  Our resource partners in the region include banks, utility providers, other local/regional economic development organizations (such as wKREDA, Kansas Small Business Development Center, Northwest Planning & Development Commission), Network Kansas, Kansas Dept. of Commerce, and the U.S. Dept. of Commerce.