A Call To Help Maintain Businesses In Essex

A member of Essex town council believes the town should be doing exit interviews with business owners who have closed up shop.

Sherry Bondy will bring forward a motion at the next council meeting that would call for a review of the town's business retention strategy. It would include the potential for exit interviews with those who have closed a business to find out why they left or closed.

"There has to be a way the town can help 'mom and pop shops,'" says Bondy. "Is there something, is there a package that we can have where we can prevent these small business closures and maybe we can't prevent them? I'm not sure, I don't have all the answers but, maybe it's a questionnaire saying, 'How can we better support you?'"

Bondy wants to see if a prevention strategy can be drawn up to help keep businesses afloat. "For example in Harrow when one closed, I called the owner and I said, 'Well, what happened? Tell me what happened so I know,'" says Bondy. "I heard right form the owner some of the hurdles. One of the answers was that locals don't support our businesses enough."

Bondy says it's a lot easier to keep an existing business than to attract a new one. "We're doing all of these [Community Improvement Plan] programs and we're doing everything we can — tax increment financing — to attract new businesses, but really we need to come at it two-fold. We need to look at the businesses that are here and make sure that they're healthy and strong and keep them here."