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Chamber wants to increase reach to Moline businesses

Chamber wants to increase reach to Moline businesses

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Moline mayor Stephanie Acri delivers the annual State of the City address on March 18, 2019, at the TaxSlayer Center in Moline.

The Quad Cities Chamber wants to partner with Moline to enhance relationships with businesses in the city. 

During a city council work session Tuesday night, Moline Special Projects Director Sally Heffernan commended aldermen for their willingness to work with the Chamber. 

"I think it is a laudible goal for city council to want to be more communicative with their business community," Heffernan said. "My question to you is, where do you want to be? We can target whoever you think we should be targeting."

Moline City Planner Jeff Anderson said his office has been proactively reaching out to businesses to offer regulatory guidance and to build relationships. He said the Chamber's one-on-one visits with businesses are a unique opportunity that provides information, guidance or incentives.  

Anderson said he and former Economic Development Director Ray Forsythe conducted business workshops for a "number of years. We take time to teach a class, provide a tour of downtown Moline and provide real-life examples of how to do development."

Moline Centre Main Street Manager Geoff Manis highlighted recent successes with the city such as the Thursday night summer concert series, Cabin Fever Pub Crawl and the Lighting of the Commons — events already in place before he took over the job last year, but he offered a few ideas for how to promote the city moving forward. 

"My office isn't necessarily perfect. There's a lot more we can do," Manis said. "I still have a long way to go. There are still a lot of touch points ... we need to establish that relationship, that friendship, that trust to get (businesses) moving in the same direction that I've been working hard to keep everybody moving in the same direction. 

"There is a lot of improvement I look forward to doing as I get better and more capable at this job," Manis said. 

Liz Murray-Tallman, Chief Economic Development Officer for the Quad Cities Chamber, said the Chamber basically has two functions: to attract new businesses or investment to the region; and business retention and expansion. 

"We work with existing businesses in a variety of ways to help them grow here in our region," Murray-Tallman said, noting the Chamber conducted 145 interviews with businesses last year. 

"We want to be supportive of our businesses; that's our council goal," Moline Mayor Stephanie Acri said. 

Of the 1,677 businesses in Moline, Heffernan said she has identified a list of about 70 "critical businesses" and suggested city officials meet with them to say, "we just want you to know we appreciate your presence, we're glad you're here. We're here for you if you need us. Something really simple."

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