The final guest blogger for the week is Christa Atchison. Christa is the Executive Director of the Greater Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce and Christa’s primary responsibility is Economic Development.
If you haven’t noticed our national economy is not exactly robust but that hasn’t stopped the City of Clinton and the Chamber from maintaining a focus on economic development. Now, more than ever, it’s important that we position our community to attract and recruit new businesses and retain those businesses with ties to our community. Christa is the point of contact for new businesses interested in our community and it is her responsibility to listen to the needs of businesses that are already established. Christa has been in her role for about a year and during her tenure Clinton has seen growth. Thanks to the work of Christa, individuals with the City of Clinton, Chamber staff and many others, Clinton remains vibrant in a down time and we are well positioned to take advantage of new opportunities as the economy rebounds. Thanks Christa!
Craig called me last week and said “I have a favor to ask of you.” Well when someone asks me that, I usually get a little nervous and think oh no here we go…..but with Craig, he rarely asks much of me, so I was ready to assist if I could! When he told me he needed a guest blogger I thought, Oh no…. what will I say. He told me to write about anything….the Chamber, Economic Development, or dating in a small town. I thought I would combine two of the topics and explain how Economic Development is similar to dating. I am sure at this point you are thinking this girl has lost her mind, but bear with me…..
As Craig has told you, I am the Economic Development Coordinator and Executive Director of the Greater Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce. Yes that is a LONG title and that is why I have 2 business cards J I began working in this position in September 2009. I was born and raised in Clinton. I went to college in Springfield, MO at what I still call SMSU, but is now Missouri State University. I received a degree in Agricultural Business with an emphasis in Management and Finance. I went to college with the attitude that I would not be moving back to Clinton – ever, but here I am and loving it!
There are similarities between Economic Development and dating. Economic Development is about attraction, recruitment and retention. Like your date the community has to look attractive to the prospect to get any attention. There is a certain amount of recruiting that goes into helping the prospect decide that your community is where they want to be and who they want to be with. Just like a partner, once you have them you have to work to retain them. You have to show them how much you appreciate them, how valuable they are and how you are here to help make sure their life is happy and prosperous.
Most prospects request certain information before they make a decision to visit. Sometimes its months before you hear back from them and other times you never hear back. If you are really lucky you might get a response the next day. You can always hope for a site visit or a second date. To be successful you drop everything the minute you first hear from the prospective suitor, reply, give it you’re all, and hope you hear from them again.
As you can see the process is similar to what you go through when dating, engagement and marriage, or so I have heard LOL Both are hard work, but when a match comes along it is not work at all and well worth it!
As most of you know Goody’s had its grand opening last week and it’s great to see Goody’s re-open. Goody’s, along with Factory Connection, Verizon Wireless, The AT&T Store, and Anthony’s Restaurant are new businesses that have made a match with Clinton. So at this point I’ve chosen to concentrate my efforts and this blog on the Economic Development side of things and leave the rest to God.