Farmington – Tradition & Progress. A great slogan; and Farmington has been very fortunate in the area of progress, while maintaining a lot of the city’s tradition.
Our country is in a recession; the economy has been in decline for over 6 years – but Farmington has survived. Why? Because we have a diverse business base, companies that employ 200-500 people along with the State facilities supported by our many local privately owned small businesses, the backbone of Farmington’s strong economy. We do not rely on one large business that employs thousands of people, which if it failed would leave a huge hole in our economy. We have been fortunate to continually attract medium businesses to replace any that failed or moved.
But the recession has started to have an affect on us with less sales tax revenues over the last year.
With that in mind, some believe that we should be doing more to attract certain types of new business now – I believe that we need to be cautious in that endeavor. I would love to have a Schnuck’s, Dierberg’s, or the like, along with a Target – but I don’t think Farmington can support that yet – and if they did come to what detriment to other businesses. Would it really be a gain to Farmington now or would we just be shuffling the sales tax dollars around?
The undeveloped land and vacant store fronts at the Gundeker property and the lack of any activity at the Koman property, I believe, show that we need to concentrate on maintaining what we have and attracting the small businesses and light industry that we can support.
Now – do we need to give up completely – no, we need to keep Farmington in the minds of businesses like Target, Schnuck’s, Kohl’s, etc. We need to be the first place they think of when they want to start building new stores when the economy starts to recover. To that end, the council has approved the sharing of cost for a new survey that will evaluate the strength of the local economy to support new businesses – the current one is about five years old. Additionally, with an energized group of local developers and Chamber of Commerce – I believe we will be out selling our great city to the businesses we want to see here in the future.
It is unfortunate that we have the vacant store fronts at the Gundeker property – worse would be a big box business coming and going and leaving a really large vacant store front, along with other small ones! Just because you build it does not mean they will come.
Our priority should be maintaining our smaller businesses and attracting the same, continuing the improvements to our infrastructure (like our airport, streets, etc), and ensuring our local education systems continue to provide qualified, motivated workers.
Maintain the tradition and continue the progress.