PITTSVILLE, WI (OnFocus) – Pittsville has had a long-standing tradition of driving businesses big and small in the community. A glowing example of that is the Pittsville Area Business Group.
The group meets once a month and the meetings serve as a medium to air concerns or ideas with other area business leaders.
The Pittsville Area Business Group was started by Tom Gardner, owner of Hay Creek Pallet and part owner of Badger State Food Processing, and other business figures around Pittsville.
“When we started it, we wanted to see what we could do as businesses to improve the business environment in town,” Gardner said. “We wanted to collaborate with the local governing body to help improve the business climate and grow the community.”
According to Mike Hobbs, owner of Event City Design, the group is focused on five things in terms of business and the Pittsville area:
- Promoting housing development
- Promoting/marketing the businesses that are here
- Helping create new business opportunities
- Keeping a good relationship between businesses and the City
- Assisting each other with problem solving/new ideas/general support
Gardner said as established businesses in Pittsville, it is their jobs as community members and owners of local businesses to help usher in more economic development into the area.
“I think specifically some of the members of the group have helped to bring business into town,” Gardner said. “They’ve helped make the business environment in Pittsville more opening and welcoming. There’s been some new businesses in Pittsville and we want to do whatever we can to make sure they know Pittsville is open for business and we want more business.”
Along with Kim Baas, Hobbs runs Event City Design in Pittsville which makes and prints custom products for people to buy on Etsy. When choosing a location to settle down and run their business, Hobbs said Pittsville was the easy choice.
“One of the things we considered when choosing a new place to live was our ability to contribute and have a positive impact on that community,” Hobbs said. “We know that being in a smaller community means a greater need for civic engagement. The business group offered us the opportunity to get involved as well as get to know our community.”
When asked what projects he was most proud of the group for, Hobbs mentioned the groups contribution in the housing and resource areas of Pittsville.
“[A project we’re proud of is] getting the discussion started that has led to the increase in housing,” Hobbs said. “The city has developed a number of building incentives, which has resulted in construction of new single-family homes, duplexes, and apartments being remodeled. Also, developing a network of resources and contacts that are passionate about community development. It’s easy for larger organizations to miss a community the size of Pittsville if we’re not actively looking to make partnerships.”
Scott Larson, President of the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry, works as a facilitator of the Pittsville Area Business Group to help them get through projects and activities that help the City of Pittsville.
“This was a case where there were a number of Pittsville businesses that wanted to start collaborating and trying to address some issues in their community,” Larson said. “I’m from that area and I still live outside of that area so it was a natural outreach. I’m happy to do it because it’s part of the services we provide for Wood County for economic development.”
Larson described the relationship as “mutually beneficial” and the duo’s past projects have included generating more housing and tourism in the area.
With businesses being shut down due to substantial financial losses in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, groups like the Pittsville Area Business Group will continue to think outside-the-box to help boost local economies.
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