GREENSBURG — Investments, reinvestments and the future.
Those three words were synonymous with a meeting hosted by the Greensburg-Decatur County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Friday.
The EDC celebrated their annual Business Appreciation Day at North Branch Golf Course.
Officials from the EDC say that the purpose of Business Appreciation Day is to thank the community’s existing businesses for the contributions they play in providing jobs, paying taxes, and driving the economic engine of growth in Greensburg-Decatur County.
The afternoon’s guest speaker was author, speaker, humorist, and director emeritus of the Indiana Business Research Center at the Kelley School of Business Morton Marcus. Marcus has also been an advisor to six Indiana governors on taxation and economic development.
His speech may have resonated with those who believe investing in a community’s core is imperative, those who believe that local ownership is crucial, and those who simply want to see their community thrive. Following his speech, Marcus offered advice to Hoosiers across the state.
“Look about you and say, ‘Is this a place that I would want to live if I had been living someplace else?”
Marcus mentioned during his speech that Hoosier businesses need to be protected. Greensburg EDC Executive Director Marc Coplon offered his reaction to that statement.
“Statistically, it just makes great sense, because the existing businesses – across the county, not just here – they’re going to create 70-80 percent of all new jobs,” Coplon said. “It’s wonderful if you’re able to assist a Honda (Manufacturing of Indiana) coming in. You know, they’ve become an existing business, too. So, you’ll work with them. And that’s why we have a strong existing business service program.
“But like I say, the statistics of it just say, ‘Make your existing businesses happy,’ and our good speaker today reinforced that,” Coplon added.
Again, when it comes to investments and reinvestments, Marcus mentioned two companies when asked what his thoughts are on Greensburg-Decatur County’s economic progression.
“I think that they’ve been very fortunate in bringing in Honda and getting a reinvestment by Delta,” Marcus said. “That’s very important. Both of those need to be looked at as very significant. One is a firm deciding to locate here. The other, an existing firm that’s been here for a long time that could have very well just closed up and said ‘We’re going to move to an entirely new plant someplace else,’ but they said ‘No, we’re going to reinvest in this community.’ And that’s what you want to see more than anything else.”
But reinvestments may go beyond larger companies. It can also pertain to small, family-owned businesses that are passed down. Marcus indicated that one issue may derive from business owners who don’t actually live in their business’s area.
“You want to see those merchants downtown fixing up their stores,” he said. “You want to see that reinvestment by the people who have built this community – to continue to build. One of the problems that we’ve had in many downtown areas in Indiana is that the land itself is owned by people who don’t live there.”
Similarly, Marcus reiterated the importance of investing in a community’s core.
“We need to recognize that we need investments in our core,” said Marcus. “And that to me is where Indiana has fallen down so much. We’re so proud of downtown and so many places, but downtown is decaying. And people say, ‘Well, it’s as I remember it.’ Well, your memory is not going to be the memory of your grandchildren.”
Earlier this week, Coplon offered his thoughts on the August employment report, which showed that Decatur County had a 3.4 percent unemployment rate. In two months prior, the county was below the 3 percent mark.
“It was difficult to understand how Decatur County could sustain an unemployment rate below 3 percent, as it was for the last couple of months,” said Coplon. “Three percent is widely acknowledged by economists as full employment. Many of our employers need workers, so the present 3.4 percent may provide some relief for employers who need employees.”
And on Friday, the EDC’s executive director shared his thoughts on the future of the county and city as it relates to business.
“I wouldn’t have come up 400 miles from Chattanooga to be here if I didn’t think there was great opportunity and great potential for this city to do some wonderful things,” said Coplon.
A golf tournament was also held from 12:30 p.m. until 4 p.m. when cash prizes were awarded to the first, second and third place teams. Complimentary tickets for a movie at Wolf Theaters were also available at the luncheon.
Source: Greensburg Daily News