By Martin Couch
Bryant’s growth over the past three years has been in part due to the work of the Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development committee which has worked to invite businesses to the area.
Thanks to the initial efforts of C.Ann Fleming, who was essential in the Target store coming to Bryant, the economics of the city has grown by leaps and bounds. With several new restaurants and hotels being built, the committee is focusing on attracting medical, architectural and engineering firms.[more]
“It starts by making contact with them and then we follow up with e-mails or phone calls once a month,” Chamber of Commerce executive director Rae Ann Fields said. “Sometimes it’s successful and sometimes it’s not, but you’re never going to find out unless you ask them.”
The committee, made up of Chamber members who take on certain tasks in the invitation process, also works with the Saline County Economic Development Commission on industrial growth issues.
“We try not to do too much and we pass the bigger industrial (businesses) to the SCEDC,” Fields said. “It’s a co-working committee and everybody on it has an assignment.
“This particular committee doesn’t just take anyone that applies for it,” she added. “They look at what the need is and who is the best person to talk to someone. We had four try to be a part of the committee at the beginning of the year and they were challenged to recruit two businesses to Bryant. Two of them did and two of them didn’t.”
Of course, the top success story of the committee to date was getting the Target store to build at the Alcoa Crossing shopping center.
“A couple of years after the committee formed, C.Ann Fleming was the chairperson and stayed in contact with them,” Fields said. “It was a developer she talked to for Target and they came because she was determined.”
There are several success stories for this valuable committee.
“We’ve been very successful in the past, but we’ve also had some pursued that didn’t come here, too,” Fields said.