Galesburg Revives Business Retention Campaign

Galesburg, IL – The Galesburg Regional Economic Development Association, or GREDA, is starting its Business Retention and Expansion campaign this month, after being dormant for nearly two years.

Mayor Sal Garza says the initiative is designed to study what local businesses need to survive, expand, and flourish.

"It's easier to expand a local business than it is to attract a new business," says Garza. "Unfortunately there are communities that are focusing more on business attraction, versus being more accommodating to the businesses that you already have in your community."

Garza says GREDA representatives will visit local businesses to gather information about what they need. He says aldermen will then work together to determine how to address those problems, if possible.

Sometimes business issues are relatively simple. Garza points to the city's new Jimmy John's franchise, the owners of which requested pay parking be instituted behind the store. That way, those who work downtown won't park behind the restaurant all day.

Problems could be relatively minor, or, they could be a bit more extensive, such as problems with the city's tax structure. But, Garza still says there's a possible remedy for those situations as well.

"We have enterprise zones where sales taxes on things that you buy for, you know, whatever process you have at that particular site, become exempt," says Garza. "So there's an opportunity on the back end to do the cost avoidance for businesses."

The volunteers conducting the BR&E campaign will visit 75 local businesses this year.