Editorial: Keeping dollars at home

July 19, 2013 

The results of a recent study on the spending habits of Wendell residents are a real eye-opener.

Nearly half the money Wendell folks spend is spent somewhere other than their hometown.

The study, conducted by the New York-based firm Esri, show that Wendell residents spend about $42 million per year. But only $23 million of that is spent in and around Wendell.

Business owners have long known that dollars were flowing out of their reach, as shoppers look elsewhere for lower prices, greater variety and the like.

And, from time to time, the town tries to do something to woo customers back into town.

In recent years, the town has developed an economic incentive policy attract business. There have been several efforts made, including one that is currently ongoing, to make the downtown more inviting and easier to navigate.

The town is currently updating its cell-tower policy to encourage the location of a cell tower that will serve the downtown area. Making it easier for businesses to do their work online.

One of the most promising efforts, though, is the work of a citizen committee that meets on a regular basis to consider changes to the way the town recruits business and attempts to retain the businesses that are here.

That committee is only an advisory committee, however. That means town commissioners would make any final decisions regarding new policies that might be suggested.

But the group is made up of a number of the town’s leading business people who have plenty to do other than sit around a table and talk about how they wish things were better.

It will be incumbent upon the town commissioners to seriously consider whatever recommendations that panel makes and look for ways to spend the money (Yes, we said it) to make those changes effectively.

Those changes could create opportunities for businesses to locate in Wendell, giving shoppers reason to keep their money at home.

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