Biz Walk reveals boost in area business
El Dorado Hills’ friendly, positive atmosphere keeps business owners happy.
Teams of El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce members, civic leaders and El Dorado County leadership learned this and more during last Wednesday’s seventh annual Business Walk. Teams canvassed 13 commercial centers, including the El Dorado Hills Business Park, El Dorado Hills Town Center, La Borgata and the Safeway shopping center.
Teams were encouraged to ask managers or business owners: How is business? What do you like about doing business in your community? What needs to be done to improve business conditions? While answers varied by location, teams overwhelmingly reported that business is good and growing. The No. 1 perk of doing business in El Dorado Hills was attributed to a friendly, positive community.
“Wow, that’s the most positive feedback we’ve heard in a while,” said Debbie Manning, president and CEO of the El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce. “This is my absolute favorite chamber event. We’ve got to be talking with the businesses.”
The purpose of the walk is to broaden awareness of businesses in El Dorado Hills, take their pulse and also to identify those that need life support, according to Manning
“There have been times in the past when we’ve saved businesses,” Manning said. “If they need triage they’ll get a call tomorrow.”
El Dorado County Economic & Business Relations Manager Jim Claybaugh manages the economic development program for the county. Claybaugh was teamed with Village Life and covered the Investment Boulevard. and Robert J. Mathews territory of the Business Park during the Biz Walk.
While many of the austere buildings along that corridor don’t bear signs or any outward indication of the industries operating within, there are booming national and international businesses in El Dorado Hills. Software company Amdocs has an office in El Dorado Hills but is headquartered in Israel. Only a security guard was on hand to talk, which was a recurrence at many of the businesses in that area. Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal Funds handles portfolios for companies nationwide and ART Inc. contracts with the Department of Defense, “ruggedizing” equipment (making fragile equipment like laptops sturdier for the military). At the corner of Robert J. Mathews and Investment Boulevard, DST Output is the largest private sector employer in the county, providing printing and e-business services for companies like Comcast.
The most common complaint heard while visiting retail shopping centers like Safeway was a lack of signage or wanting clearer signs. However many of the businesses along Investment Boulevard seem perfectly content to stay private.
“There are businesses that sell all over the world right here in El Dorado Hills and many people have never even heard of them,” Claybaugh explained during the walk. “That’s how big the economy is.”
Software developer Konstantin Berezenko works at Insync, a company that designs and builds industrial electronics for clients locally. “It would be good if we knew what other businesses around us were doing,” he said of wishing to network more in that vast, private area of the Business Park.
One business owner in the Business Park that said they’d benefit from sign visibility is Bouncetown & Lazercity. “People get lost or don’t know we’re here,” said manager Dereo Dumas of the tucked away location. “I think a sign out front on Robert J. Mathews Parkway would help.”
Just around the corner business is booming at Kids Camp. The drop-in childcare site’s owners weren’t present, but staff reported they’ve recently expanded from their original two locations in Folsom and El Dorado Hills to include an empire of Kids Camp locations in Elk Grove, Roseville, Citrus Heights and Eureka.
Besides signs, the second most common complaint came from Town Center business owners who reported to their Biz Walk team they don’t like seeing vacant storefronts.
“The Biz Walk is really about business retention and expansion,” said Claybaugh about why it behooves business owners to take the opportunity to weigh in during Biz Walks. It’s not too late. Surveys were left for owners who weren’t able to meet that day.
“These face to face meetings are what it’s about,” continued Claybaugh. “We take the information and put it in a data base. Then when other businesses have the same problem we can help everyone by improving the business climate.”
The El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit business organization (501c6) which represents the business district of El Dorado Hills and surrounding areas and provides benefits and services to their community and membership. For more information call (916) 933-1335 or visit ElDoradoHillsChamber.org.