A book store? A camera shop? A guitar store? Bagels? A zoo? A virtual reality park? It could happen.
We live in a growing area here in Saline County. Great schools and a healthy amount of choice for eating, shopping and entertainment. Even through the pandemic, even through a time of inflation, restaurants and other businesses are still opening. There are some really great choices that are either in the works or that have already opened their doors to the public in the last few years. But there’s room for more.
“THAT restaurant? No thanks. They should have put a THIS restaurant in that spot!” If this is ever your response to finding out a business is coming to town, read on to find out how to be proactive in the process and maybe end up getting more businesses you like.
It’s absolutely okay to have your favorite shops, entertainment and eateries, as well as those you don’t like. It’s also ok for investors to spend their money in a way they like, so long as it meets city or county code for doing so.
Local governments advise business developers on the requirements, and approve or deny requests based on whether they meet the requirements. Governments may entice businesses to come to set up shop, but ultimately it is the choice of the business whether to invest. All this to say… If you want a certain type or brand of business to open in your area, you have a few choices for how to bring them to reality.
The first choice is to contact a company through their website or in a letter, and let them know you want them to open a location in your community. You can also talk to the economic development departments of local cities. They are the ones who can provide companies information about population, average income, spending habits, the availability of local work force, traffic numbers, taxes, utilities and more. You can also form a group of like-minded friends and family so that they can contact the company as well.
Another way to go about getting the business you want is to find an investor. This is a little trickier, since you need to find someone with the financial wherewithal, and the same goal of having that business type. This is their money on the hook, so they will want to have a passion for the idea. There is a lot of planning and processes before they ever open their doors.
Even if they have the money and the passion, they will have to deal with a lot of code, regulations and other milestones in the process. That could mean more or less, depending on the business. A retail shop wouldn’t need a grease trap or vent-a-hood, or have to pass inspection by the health department like a restaurant would. New construction would need to use a surveyor, an architect, engineering and more, while a business just moving into an existing building wouldn’t need those services.
The third way to get that business you love is to start it yourself. It’s the same story as above, except it’s your own money. If you want it bad enough, you might be able to make it happen yourself. Look at your life. Decide who will be a supporter, whether they are just a cheerleader or a customer or someone who will physically work in the business.
Check with small business resources online, but also talk to people at ASBTDC. That stands for Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center. They have classes to educate you in specific areas. They have counselors to help you to learn about the need and feasibility of the business that you want to start. They also can help you to get funding. Have a look at their website to get started.