City invites local businesses to take business expansion and retention survey

Staff report

The city of Homer’s Economic Development Commission has launched a new Business Retention and Expansion initiative to work with the local business community to identify priority projects to help support Homer’s business interests.

According to a city press release, the project is geared toward existing local businesses because existing businesses are valuable economic and employment assets. They account for more than 70 percent of new job growth and capital investment in rural economies. Thriving local businesses create jobs and circulate revenue within the community, contributing to a stronger community with a high quality of life.

“Engaging the local business community is key to the BR &E’s success,” said Jenny Carroll, special projects and communications coordinator for the city.

The Economic Development Commission is reaching out to all Homer businesses with a postcard asking them to take a few minutes to complete its BR &E survey, and, if the company is willing, to host a visit from someone who serves on the EDC. Businesses are urged to take this opportunity to share their views, contribute to the pool of information about local business conditions and help direct the city’s economic development actions.

To take the 10-minute survey online, visit:

http://www.cityofhomer-ak.gov/edac/homer-businesses-join-conversation-let-us-know-what-you-need-business-success.

The survey will be open until Oct. 13 to allow summer business owners time to participate. Hard copies of the survey can be picked up at Homer City Hall, 491 E. Pioneer Ave., or businesses can request a mailed copy with a return postage paid envelope.

Alternatively, EDC commissioners are ready to meet with businesses to go through the survey or discuss survey topics that are important to your business.

“The EDC has worked hard to establish an inclusive postcard mailing list, but begs a pardon if there are gaps,” Carroll said. “Businesses are definitely invited to take the survey whether they have received a postcard or not. Fill out a survey and pass the card on. We want to hear from you.”

Individual survey information, comments and interviews are completely confidential, but the aggregated information will be used to shape a narrative of the local economy, and to identify local strengths and weaknesses.

This winter, the EDC will release a summary document available to the community and they will present a summary of key findings to the Homer City Council, establishing a line of communication with public leaders.

“Through this BR &E initiative we are aiming to show existing local businesses their importance to Homer by asking them about their needs, business trends, and how they think the local business environment could be improved,” said Karin Marks, chair of the EDC.

“Benefits we anticipate from the BR &E initiative include identifying areas where the EDC can immediately work on red-flag issues, strategies or programs that improve the local business climate, building valuable relationships and dialog among business owners and local government, and recommending long-term policies over the following two years,” she said.

Thanks to area businesses for participating and spreading the word. Broad participation helps strengthen the EDC’s ability to understand local business needs and positively respond.

For more information, or if your business would like to schedule a face-to-face interview, contact Jenny Carroll by phone at 907-435-3101 or email at jcarroll@ci.homer.ak.us.

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