Keeping businesses in Lee’s Summit is a major focal point for the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council and according to a presentation by the organization, business retention in the city is on the upswing compared to just a few years ago.
During a report presented at the LSEDC’s latest board meeting May 1 at Paradise Park, Teresa Evans, the LSEDC’s vice-president, said a total of 39 Lee’s Summit companies took part in a survey as part of the LSEDC’s Valued Industry Program.
Thirteen trained volunteers reached out to local companies as part of the VIP survey and the results of interviews with CEOs and top executives at the companies showed that there is an upward trend in local business forecasts for 2013.
Numbers gleaned from the report state that 77 percent of companies surveyed reported an increase in sales, while another 69 percent reported plans to expand in the next three years. Of the 27 companies that did have expansion projections, they anticipate adding 384 new jobs.
To wit, 47 companies were interviewed in 2011 and 72 percent of them talked of expansion then, but the number of new jobs only totaled 41. In 2009, 43 companies were interviewed and 70 percent of those planned expansion as well, with a total of 334 projected new jobs.
Evans added the businesses visited in 2013 showed an upward trend in the overall business forecast compared to 2011. She attributed that to ownership remaining stable, companies remaining viable and competitive by introducing new products and services, and the aforementioned sales increase.
“The business community here is very stable,” Evans said, “very viable.”
The VIP report covered many economic development issues including challenges and opportunities, legislative issues, workforce, trends and satisfaction. The fifth biennial report assessed the individual and collective needs of Lee’s Summit companies, and gauged the overall business climate, which helps the LSEDC shape it business retention strategies and solutions.
“In 2012 there were over 4,000 business licenses filed in the city of Lee’s Summit,” Evans said, “and 3,000 of those were actually located in Lee’s Summit. Over 97 percent of the businesses have fewer than 50 employees. Many of the larger companies we are already very well-connected with and working with; it’s the other employers that we need to become engaged with.”