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Wells survey shows growth

By Staff | Jan 13, 2013

Members of the Wells Economic Development Authority board will be doing some reading in their spare time.

In coming weeks, they’ll be looking over results of a business retention and expansion study conducted by Community and Economic Development Associates of Chatfield (CEDA).

Ron Zeigler, chief executive officer and president of CEDA, says the 12-page report is only a draft.

He says board members will get a chance to give input before the results are released to the general public.

“This is one of the most enjoyable surveys we have done. You have a very positive business community, that is very invested and wants to get things going,” says Zeigler.

Staff of CEDA mailed out 156 surveys to local businesses and also did face-to-face interviews with another 30.

Some findings of the $2,000 study – paid by a grant from Bevcomm – included:

79 percent of business conducted in Wells is primarily local, with very little being state, national or international.

66 percent of the businesses do not have a marketing strategy;

despite the recent economic downturn, 44 percent of the businesses have expanded over the past three years. Only 6 percent have made cutbacks.

62 percent believe Wells is a “good” place to have a business, while 12 percent said the city was “excellent.”

most of the customers fit into the 41-55 and 55-65 age groups.

Zeigler says once the EDA board finalizes the study, a copy should be given to area state legislators.

“So they know of the issues you have in your community,” he says. “It is a document to get people discussing and start dialogue.”

Zeigler says construction of a new school and a remodeled manufacturing plant are seen as positives to attract residents and new businesses.

He says there aren’t many communities in the state where their businesses are expanding at the rate found in Wells.

“This is an awesome thing,” he adds.

In other news, EDA board members received information regarding two business ventures.

City Administrator Steve Bloom says Minnesota Energy is looking at re-locating to the South Industrial Park.

Bloom says he is currently talking with company representatives based in Green Bay.

Speed Reaction, a screen printing and graphic business in Easton, is considering moving into the city’s incubator building.

The current tenant – Schrader Enterprises – is constructing a new 84 x 50 facility for its landscaping business near the Dairy Queen along Highway 22.