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“Economic Development For the People” Business Retention: It’s a Partnership, Not an Event 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

By Dale Kroop


           We never have enough time for it, everyone has a different opinion about what it is but we all know it takes 70-80% of our time each week. It isn’t always splashy but Economic Developers know it is the time best spent in our communities. I am talking about Business Retention.First we need to define it. Like many things economic development (i.e. incentives), local elected officials and some of our EDCs generally look at Business Retention through the prism of an old paradigm.

            We tend to see retention as an event based on research, we gather the forces in our community and make a visit to our local companies as part of a listening tour. Then we make promises and a plan to alleviate concerns that they may have. You can almost always predict what they are, taxes, workforce, transportation, taxes, the cost of doing business, utility costs, perhaps blight and the local building department. All of these are legitimate concerns of business large and small.

           Business Recruitment is different than Business Retention. With Business Recruitment you focus on more macro issues such as school systems, community branding and perceptions, housing prices, etc.                                                                                            



Economic Development is about creating opportunities where there was none before. It is not only about the transaction, i.e. the leased building or the redeveloped site, it is about the work that we do to improve the community in a more sustained way. 


A good way to illustrate this is through workforce development. If is far more important to spend our efforts to train or education a young person to be employable rather than just get them a job. This way they are more willing to develop Hamden roots and become part of the civic infrastructure. 


We work with businesses to help them find good employees through job training grants and helping them to gain access to retraining dollars. These are smart investments that sustain economic development in the Town. Almost all research shows that the number one need for business is finding a qualified and dependable workforce. 


Changing Face of Retail  Online Grocery Competition

Retail has changed and will continue to do so. The grocery market is also changing, first with the purchase of Whole Foods by Amazon. Now as predicted the rest of the players are getting into the game. Here is a recent article that begins to describe who is expanding into the grocery delivery market space.



The Changing Face of the Economy and How It Affects Hamden
Technology Challenges the Marketplace

Technology has forever changed the local, state and national economy. It affects retail trade, services that we buy and products that we have come to know.

The landscape of retail continues to change. The list keeps getting longer for stores that are closing in the northeast and across the country. According to Money Magazine and many other publications, it is anticipated that over 25% of all shopping malls in the United States will likely CLOSE by the year 2022. This change in the retail marketplace began slowly and then accelerated quickly with the growth of the on-line marketplace. The last few years have been dominated by Amazon, who has changed the retail marketplace because of innovations such as Amazon Prime.


The Supply Chain of Cheese  What do you think about when you look at a package of Mozzarella Cheese? Do you think about economic development? No you probably think about lasagna or pizza!

This kind of cheese and many others are manufactured at Liuzzi Cheese in Hamden CT and sold in 31 states. Because of this demand, many people have jobs to make, sell and distribute the cheese as well as other products.


Buy Hamden: Despite the history and success of Magic Mile with its regional and national box stores and restaurants, there are unique and successful businesses that provide important and interesting services, employ a lot of people and support families and the communities in where they are located.

Highlight on Hamden Businesses: #1 Fish Market

Highlight on Hamden Businesses: SNP Technologies

What is Economic Development Anyways?: Our job is to not only recruit new businesses to Hamden but more importantly to help retain our current businesses by offering services and incentives to expand right here.


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