Retention program targets businesses

By Dave Heaton

The city of DeKalb will continue its retention program to keep local businesses in DeKalb with concentration on specific businesses.

Sue Guio, administrative secretary for Economic Development in DeKalb, said the city of DeKalb, the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation and the Downtown DeKalb Association will combine efforts in the retention program to keep local businesses in DeKalb.

Pam Blickem, economic development specialist for DeKalb, said, “Retention is something the city has practiced for many years, but now certain businesses will be targeted, which is different from the way we’ve done it in the past.”

Blickem said DeKalb’s Economic Development branch will concentrate mostly on industrial and commercial businesses, while the Chamber of Commerce will target retail businesses.

Guio said, “The targeting process will consist of personal visits to local industries and businesses.

“A mailing campaign will be directed toward smaller businesses, and certain companies will be highlighted in a monthly newsletter that is put together by the Chamber of Commerce,” he said.

Blickem said 80 percent of new jobs are created through the expansion of existing businesses in the community; they do everything possible to keep those businesses from relocating elsewhere.

Through maintaining interaction with the business community and making personal visits, Blickem said she will let the owners know she wants to aid them in any problems they might have.

“If we are responsive to the needs of the local business community, they will be more apt to remain in DeKalb,” Blickem said.

Blickem said local businesses have not been leaving DeKalb, but rather, DeKalb lately has experienced expansion with the addition of new businesses.

“We are acting now so that in the future, DeKalb doesn’t experience a loss,” she said.