VERMILION — Plans for a nearby big box store in Vermilion Township will not stop city officials from letting local businesses know they are important to the city’s economic success.
Earlier this month, the mayor’s office — in conjunction with the city’s Economic Development Committee’s Business Retention and Expansion Program — sent nearly 300 surveys to area businesses in hopes of learning what businesses are planning for the future and how the city can assist them.
The four-page survey is a proactive approach to showing existing businesses that they are just as needed as new ones, Mayor Jean A. Anderson said.
“While we want to recruit new businesses, we don’t want to take our current businesses for granted,” Anderson said.
This comes at the same time as when the Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart is eying a 37-acre plot of land in Vermilion Township with the hope of building a 24-hour Wal-Mart Supercenter on the site.
Anderson wouldn’t talk much about the deal as it is outside her jurisdiction but said if it goes forward, she will work to make it a positive for her city.
“It’s part of the Route 60 corridor that is really being developed right now and, if you follow that, it takes you right into our historic downtown area that has always been a big draw for visitors,” she said. “We will springboard from that and hopefully get more people into downtown.”
The businesses chosen to receive the surveys are on the city’s current tax record and include everything from the largest employers to the smallest.
“Sometimes it’s those little businesses that mean a lot to the city,” Anderson said. “If it’s the hope of little businesses to expand, this is how we will know what we can do to help.”
For example, she said, the city may be able to help by hooking up a business up with a needed training program or helping a small business tap into cooperative health insurance, Anderson said. They are all worthwhile ventures, but unless the lines of communication are opened there is no way the city will know what they can do to retain their current businesses.
“Successful businesses will make the city more successful,” she said.
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.