Michigan City ‘open for business’
Metro area among 2019’s ‘Best Small Cities for Business’
Staff Reports: The News Dispatch
MICHIGAN CITY – Forget about Denver, Austin or San Francisco, entrepreneurs starting a new business should first consider smaller cities for their startup, according to The ChamberofCommerce.org, which listed the Michigan City/La Porte MSA in the top 100 of its 2019 Best Cities for Small Business report.
“Most of the time (though there are exceptions), modestly sized cities offer a more welcoming environment for young upstarts to enter the business arena than their larger counterparts,” a statement from the organization said.
The national ranking was welcomed by the Economic Development Corporation Michigan City which called it a recognition of all the partnerships built to promote business education, and business expansion and retention programs in Michigan City.
“Michigan City offers a more welcoming environment for young upstarts to enter the business arena than large cities,” Clarence Hulse, executive director of the EDCMC, said. “The rents are cheaper and competition is less intimidating.
“Breaking into the top 100 ranking for 2019 Best Cities for Small Business is exciting. We will continue to improve our business environment by creating a city where people want to live, work and play,” Hulse said.
The list was dominated by cities in the Midwest and central western states, according to ChamberofCommerce.org.
“While cities in the Northeastern, Southern California and the Bay Area regions have a reputation as economic powerhouses and centers of business in many industries, they are conspicuously absent” from the list, the organization said in a statement.
“This is likely due to larger cities in these areas swallowing up most of the business, but high prices in coastal cities also play a role. Small cities in the central western and midwestern states fared the best.”
Small cities in the latter two areas had 15 out of the top 20 cities on the list.
“Cities in these states are bolstered by low unemployment and high job creation numbers,” the organization said. The Michigan City/La Porte MSA was ranked at No. 83 ahead of three other Indiana cities – Muncie (107), Kokomo (108.5) and Bloomington (118). Columbus, at No. 3, and Elkhart-Goshen, No. 9, were in the top 10.
The Michigan City Chamber of Commerce was pleased with the ranking.
“This may help attract more entrepreneurs to our city while encouraging residents to start their own businesses,” chamber president Katie Eaton said. “Michigan City is open for business, and the chamber is ready to assist in any way possible.”
“When a national organization conducts independent research and confirms what we already know to be true, that is icing on the cake,” Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer said. “We are a business-friendly community, investing in increasing the quality of life for all our residents and creating high paying jobs.
“This great honor, although unexpected, is no surprise as my administration has worked tirelessly to invest in Michigan City and create numerous business opportunities for our residents.”
The findings of ChamberofCommerce.org indicate that being located in a specific region of the country does not alone indicate a positive business environment. Geography-independent variables such as a young, educated workforce, established industry, and a low unemployment rate are the best indicators.
“More and more, young transplants and new industrial sectors are revitalizing once staid, remote small cities across the Midwest, bringing opportunities along with them,” the organization said. “This trend makes it an exciting time to be an entrepreneur.”
“I think it’s a wonderful honor,” Bert Cook, executive director of the La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership, said. “We feel the same way. All of La Porte County, especially La Porte and Michigan City, is a great location for a variety of businesses, from small to medium to large. We have a unique location in the Midwest. We’re connected to everything, especially the Metro Chicago area.
“Our local government understands that the local business community drives the success of our area … they are willing to work with the business community to make decisions that make people want to live, work and recreate here.”
Cook said that La Porte, in particular, has many traits that make it an ideal place to start a small business. Besides being home to an extremely strong manufacturing community, the city’s redeveloping downtown offers a host of unique opportunities for entrepreneurs.
“Couple that with a strong school corporation, a government that supports small business and the low cost of living here, it creates an environment that is good for many types of businesses,” Cook said.
Entrepreneurs seeking to start or looking to expand their business may call the EDCMC at 219-873-1211 for more information.
Best for small business
The top 10 cities on the ChamberofCommere.org ranking of the Best Small CIties for Business in 2019, and where Indiana cities ranked:
1. Fargo, North Dakota
2. Billings, Montana
3. Columbus, Indiana
4. Bismarck, North Dakota
5. Rochester, Minnesota
6. La Crosse, Wisconsin
7. Midland, Texas
8. Lake Charles, Louisiana
9. Elkhart-Goshen, Indiana
10. Appleton, Wisconsin
83. Michigan City/LaPorte
107. Muncie, Indiana
108.5 Kokomo, Indiana
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