Warrensburg Main Street, Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce and the Johnson County Economic Development Corp. cooperate to attract and retain businesses.

Johnson County EDC

The EDC, working in cooperation with Warrensburg and state officials, accomplished a major economic coup in May.

Through the use of incentives, the EDC played a key role in attracting the $110,110,000, 1.1 million-square-foot Dollar Tree distribution center to Warrensburg. Expected to open by spring 2018, the facility will employ 375 people full time when operating fully.

The EDC provides a variety of business services across the county.

The EDC strives to generate new wealth and the retention, expansion and attraction of high-value, high-growth business investment opportunities that will create quality employment opportunities and complement and add value to existing businesses and the overall economic well-being of the county.

EDC directors consist of representatives from the various sectors of the economy, including Warrensburg, smaller cities, Johnson County, chambers of commerce, school districts, University of Central Missouri, local industry and retail businesses.

The agency has two “customers”: existing and potential businesses and government agencies consisting of cities in the county, as well as Johnson County.

To help businesses and public agencies plan for the future or determine the need or demand for specific products and services, EDC collects, analyzes and compiles demographic data. The major focus of the agency in 2015-16 is implementation of the corridor study on the Johnson County Innovation District. The study, by Olsson Associates, identifies opportunities for economic development along the Highway 50 corridor from Highway 58 to the East Loop and Highway 58 to Centerview.

The EDC’s regional partners include the Central Missouri Economic Development Alliance, a five-county cooperative marketing organization, and the Whiteman Area Leadership Council.

The EDC provides financing information to clients, ranging from individuals to major employers, including pros and cons of each option and contacts with each agency or bank.

The agency’s micro-loan program provides up to $10,000 per project at low interest rates to qualifying local businesses. The loans can be used for operating expenses, inventory, supplies, equipment or real estate.

Learn more at http://www.growjocomo.com.

Main Street

Warrensburg Main Street is recognized nationally for community-based business efforts; is accredited by the national and Missouri Main Street programs; is one of six state-accredited Main Street programs in Missouri; developed the Warrensburg Business Incubator Program; to date has worked to have $2.4 million reinvested in the downtown through efforts that included obtaining grants, government appropriations and downtown business owner fund matching; and hosts events throughout the year that attract visitors downtown, including the weekly Farmers Market during the growing season, the two-day Burg Fest, the Summer Concert Series and the Dickens Christmas Living Windows program. Learn more at warrensburgmainstreet.squarespace.com/.

Chamber

The Chamber of Commerce provides member services: Networking – luncheons, coffees, business after hours, ribbon cuttings and the Chamber Leads Exchange Group; Marketing – businesses use the chamber as a source of traditional and social media to market community businesses, with options including the Friday Chamber Flash that keeps members updated on chamber events while allowing businesses a way to let other business people know what they are doing; Referrals – chamber staff provides referrals for members, and all members are listed in an easy-to-use online directory; Advocacy – the chamber is a unified voice to represent business at local, state and national levels of government, including by going in person to Jefferson City; and Professional growth – members are invited to Chamber University presentations and the Chamber Leads Exchange Group, and to participate in groups including Women In Networking and other committees.

The group spearheads the Love What’s Local campaign to encourage people to shop locally to support Warrensburg’s people, economy, social and community services.

Learn more at warrensburg.org/index.asp.

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