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Retaining and facilitating the expansion of existing businesses is an important component of the City's plan for economic development.
Earlier this year, Maplewood began working with the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce and the White Bear Area Chamber of Commerce, on a project to visit several businesses in the community to gather their thoughts and concerns about conducting business in Maplewood.
“The purpose of the visits is to give the City a chance to speak with business owners to really get a sense of what issues they care about,” said Michael Martin, Maplewood’s economic development coordinator.
Each business visit will include a member of the City Council, the City’s volunteer Housing and Economic Development Commission, and a staff member.
“It’s a Council goal to better communicate and interact with the City’s businesses, and these visits are a way to get out of City Hall and into the community to understand what is happening in the city,” Martin added.
In working the chambers of commerce, the City has identified 25 businesses to meet with. For this year’s effort, the City is focusing on businesses that are experiencing the highest growth potential. Retaining and facilitating the expansion of existing businesses is an important component of the City's plan for economic development. With the increasing scarcity of resources at the local level, focusing on the growth of existing businesses, is more efficient than enticing a new business to move into the community.
“We really want to ensure we understand the needs of our business community so they continue to grow right here in Maplewood,” Martin said.
Additionally, certain companies are so important to Maplewood’s overall health, that annual visits will be established. Annual visits will include 3M, HealthEast (Saint John’s Hospital) and Washington Prime Group (owner of Maplewood Mall).
“These businesses will be able to tell us about the trends they’re seeing throughout the Twin Cities and the state and what we can to embrace those trends here in Maplewood,” Martin noted.
City officials will meet with businesses throughout the spring and at the conclusion of the visits, the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce will aggregate the data.
“The Chamber will then provide analysis of the results to help guide potential City Council policy decisions and to better foster an environment for business growth,” Martin said.
The goal is to include the results of the business visits in a larger discussion during the City’s annual Community Engagement Breakfast in October.
“At the breakfast, we’ll share what we’ve learned and will also discuss potential strategies to make Maplewood and even better place to do business,” Martin explained.
Visit www.maplewoodmn.gov/outteach for more information on the Business Engagement Program and other business opportunities.