Local economic development office begins survey process

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Survey says the Craig-Moffat County Economic Development Partnership needs plenty of input before acting on local business' needs.

That's at least part of the message Wallace Ralston, the partnership's executive director, is putting out by taking on an "employment and retention" business survey.

"We're looking for at least 100 results," said Ralston, who took his post with the non-profit organization in April.

Ralston said he hopes to have the data in by the fourth quarter of this year.

The survey, covering a cross-section of local businesses, is designed to assess owners' specific needs, from staffing concerns to expansion.

Or, for example, whether an existing business would run smoother with the relocation of a specific complimentary business, he said.

Based on the survey's conclusions, Ralston said he'll recruit those specific complimentary operations, or, help existing ones expand.

"We will be able to help on financial issues, or in clearing the way with various planning bodies," he said. "We want to help local businesses get over hurdles, and don't want them going elsewhere because it's too difficult to do business."

Ralston, even without survey data, said that several needs are already pinpointed. Restaurants and "big-box" retail operations don't jump out on that list, he said.

But the smaller light industrial type operations, and tech call-centers providing software customer service, do make the grade, he said.

Cathy Vanatta, director of the Craig Chamber of Commerce, said her organization and the partnership have two distinct roles when it comes to business development.

The chamber, she said, should work one-on-one educating businesses, while the partnership should focus on "the things we don't have time to do."

For more information regarding the survey, call 826-2039.

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