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Despite the negative perceptions of the economy, the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce says Missouri’s third largest city is thriving and continues to grow. KSMU’s Kristian Kriner reports.
Chamber of Commerce officials say there are struggling businesses, but Springfield hasn’t seen as many layoffs as other cities in Missouri.
According to the Chamber of Commerce, in 2008 many banks and local businesses saw at least a 10 percent profit increase compared to their 2007 statistics.
Michelle West is the communications manager for the Chamber of Commerce.
She says several companies in Springfield are expanding and hiring more workers.
“We’ve seen, for example, Rick’s Automotive is undergoing a 14,000 square foot expansion right now. Basically, this expansion is going to allow them to tap into a new market of tire sales and that’s where we’re seeing a lot of the successes. People that are established businesses in Springfield that are taking this economic situation and looking for opportunities to tap into new markets,” West said.
West says 90 percent of Springfield’s economy centers on small businesses, which is a business with 100 employees or fewer.
She says the major healthcare companies and universities help keep Springfield’s economy stable.
West says the businesses that are having trouble are literally going door to door to sell their products and are also getting help from members in the community.
“People in this community are very resourceful. Business owners want to succeed. The community wants our businesses to succeed, so a lot of people are maybe where they might have purchased something on the internet, might go down to the corner store and buy it right now. Because they want to make sure that corner store is still there next year or ten years from now,” West said.
She says Forbes Magazine rated Springfield in the top 20 percent of cities in the U.S to do business in or start a career.“We love to hear about the positive things that are going on. You know I think it just reinforces that this is a great place to live, it’s a great place to do business and if we all pull together we can maintain a strong local economy,” West said.
West says she’s optimistic that Springfield will continue to maintain a stable economy and see businesses grow.
For KSMU News, I’m Kristian Kriner.