By: Mary Ellen Humphrey, Town of Durham, NH
I like to joke: “Hi I’m from the government, and I’m here to help. Really! I am.” There are many ways we economic development folks can help you in your commercial business endeavors. First, we know what’s going on in our town. We know the potential opportunities for sale or redevelopment often before the public knows. We know the ins and outs of our community’s planning and approval process and can assist you and your clients as they wind their way to a successful conclusion. And we can help you develop a strategy for dealing with potential challenges.
Economic Development has a lot to do with connecting people with other people and resources to make things happen. You are an important link in that chain and should be well-acquainted with your local economic development professionals. Our purpose is to maximize opportunities to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for our community. That means attract and retain jobs, and encourage investment. Your efforts complement our own.
We know the resources your business clients may need to take that big step of buying a new business or opening up a second location. While New Hampshire is not a big business incentive state, there are some, and if you have a commercial listing, you should check with the town to see what incentives may be available. There are Economic Revitalization Zones, HUB zones, and RSA 79E districts, for example. I can tell you from my own experience that these have sometimes made the difference in the decision to choose a particular location or go forward with expansion.
Just like Realtors, Economic Development professions adhere to a code of conduct and have an express duty to keep information confidential until it’s ready for public announcement. Keeping in touch with your local officials is one way to learn about potential opportunities for your business. We also keep your information confidential.
If your business is commercial real estate, the various local economic development directors should be on your speed-dial, and on your frequent contact list. Not only do they have information and assistance invaluable to you and your customers, but they are eager to help you succeed. Their goal is to enhance the economic development in their community, so your success is also their success.
Tip: Read the planning board agendas and minutes for the towns where you focus your efforts. Many communities post this information online and it is public information. You can learn about proposed subdivisions, redevelopment projects and other potential client opportunities. In many cases, the applicant’s name and contact information is also available.
Mary Ellen Humphrey, Economic Development Director
Town of Durham, NH
phone 603 590-1387 cell 603 496-3237