Day 90: Exisiting Business Stories Continued

Day 90:  Existing Business Stories Continued:  Many years ago before Synchronist existed an economic development organization would make their own survey instrument and go out and make calls.  When I was at the state, we had developed a survey for communities to use.  I would sometimes go out and make calls with the community.  At that time, our state had a Certified Community Process and calling on existing business was part of the certification.  I was out on a visit in a medium sized community that was experiencing some good growth.  They were expanding their roads and making lots of improvement to their infrastructure.  I called on the largest employer in town that was also a manufacturer.  They had recently added a second shift, so when workers arrived and left work had changed.  Because of this change they now had a bunch of people leaving around 3:00 pm.  They were on a heavily traveled road that was the route most parents used to pick up their kids at a nearby school.  While we were visiting, the owner brought up the fact that his workers were having a hard time leaving the parking lot in the afternoon and the workers coming in were backed up.  He wondered aloud if the city could put up a stop sign or a light to help manage the traffic better.  We said we would look into it.  We left the meeting and bee lined it over to the City Manager and shared the concern.  Because this was a recent change in traffic patterns the city was not yet aware there was a problem.  The City Manager said he would have his engineer take a look.  We encouraged him to evaluate the problem as soon as they could and let us know what they found.  The local ED followed up (this was before email!) that afternoon with a phone call and said the city was on it.  A month later the City Manager called the Economic Development Professional and  said they were going to put a three way stop sign as a temporary fix but that the traffic was so heavy they would be putting a light in starting the next budget year, which was only a few months away.  The moral of this story, is to just do a visit is fine.  But if the company expresses a concern and nothing come of that concern it will be unlikely that the company will meet again with you anytime soon.  This community had an Existing Business Committee that was very active.  They planned an annual event and the committee members would go on some of the visits.  The owner of this company was so pleased with the action taken to help alleviate his traffic problem that he volunteered to chair the committee the following year.  Next:  Existing business stories continued.

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