Archive for Thursday, June 26, 2003

Chamber of Commerce seeking new businesses

June 26, 2003

Judging by the number of business licenses issued in Basehor during the past three years, new businesses haven't exactly flocked to the city in droves. However, those numbers are not telling of what lies for the city in the future, members of the Basehor Chamber of Commerce contend.

The week of June 23 to 27 marks Business and Industry Appreciation Week statewide in Kansas. In previous years, there wouldn't have been much to appreciate in Basehor, where commercial, industrial and retail development have lagged behind a boom in residential growth.

From 2001 to 2003, the number of business licenses issued in Basehor has hit peaks and valleys, climbing as high as 54 and as low as 49. However, those numbers may not be the whole truth.

City officials said not every business renews its license annually as required, meaning the actual numbers are probably higher in reality than city records show.

That, coupled with a downtrodden national economy, has caused some of the delay in new city business ventures, said Julian Espinoza, a member of the Basehor Chamber of Commerce, City Council and financial planner.

"I would definitely say it's improving," said Espinoza, "but I would also say it's a very difficult time for small businesses right now."

The city does have major business developments planned for the future -- areas along State Avenue such as the Basehor Town Square, Pinehurst, Prairie Gardens, Prairie Lakes and the Wolf Creek Industrial Park are just some of the developments with areas slated for commercial and retail uses.

And in recent months, new restaurants such as the Harbor Hop, Doc and Bruties Pizza, Sonic and Simple Simons have hung "We're open" signs in the city. Another restaurant, The Brassie Bar and Grille at the Falcon Lakes development on Kansas Highway 7, is expected to open for the first time July 4.

Debbie Bonee, Basehor Chamber of Commerce president, said the floodgates are set to open with new business es pouring into the city.

"With the amount of land that is currently zoned for commercial/retail use in the city of Basehor, I think everyone is expecting more commercial and retail businesses to locate here," Bonee said. "Many establishments look at the number of rooftops in the area, and without a doubt these numbers are increasing."

Businesses go where the people are and with more than 2,000 homes currently at some stage of development, Basehor will soon be home to a burgeoning population, Bonee said.

The Chamber of Commerce has begun helping to ease the process of new businesses coming to Basehor: Chamber members are working with city and county officials to develop a uniform documented process for permit applications and zoning change requests.

"This effort is already under way in order to create an environment that is friendly and cooperative for businesses," Bonee said.

And with the completion of the Community Assessment process -- an overall evaluation of city strengths, weaknesses and needs -- two new businesses have been targeted for the city.

"Through the Community Assessment process, goals were set to attract a doctor as well as a hotel to Basehor," Bonee said. "These goals will involve creating search committees that will include representatives from the city, Chamber of Commerce and private enterprise."

All in all, the future business outlook for the city appears bright, Espinoza said.

"I think the city will look like a completely different place," he said. "Anytime you give people options to spend their dollars at home, that's a good thing."

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