SALISBURY — Six months in, the freshly created Office of Business Development gave its first status update to the Salisbury City Council this month.
So far the outlook is good, according to Director Laura Kordzikowski, as the office has made headway with its “Let’s Do Business Salisbury” campaign and economic interest downtown appears to be growing.
Seeing as how the office has only existed for half a year, Kordzikowski admitted that there has been a lot of “self-created job training” as she has adjusted to the position.
“It’s really been a great opportunity to kind of make this position my own because I’m the first one in it. So I’ve really found that the position is a blend of being a business development resource, working with people that want to open businesses, kind of walking them through the process of the city and helping them find incentives. And then also being a liaison to them,” she said.
In the first six months of operation, Kordzikowski reported that a lot of her time has been spent networking and looking for new partners. This means attending a lot of economic development events, working with the Chamber of Commerce and reaching out to existing and potential business owners.
“I’m going to continue marketing our incentives and traveling to some local, regional and state networking opportunities to see if we can get some new businesses here,” Kordzikowski told the council.
Her goal is to develop a practical document with information for how to start a new business in city limits. As for existing businesses, there seems to be some positive feelings on growth in Salisbury, according to Kordzikowski. Downtown continues to be an economic driver and several business owners have expressed interest in a façade grant program that would have them putting some of their own money into their buildings.
That’s a healthy thing for the city, said Council President Jake Day, as façade re-investment indicates businesses want to stay in Salisbury for the long haul. Day said that he’s excited to see the new department.
“I think at this point, given where we’re at and the progress we’re making with downtown revitalization, I think it’s also really important that we compliment it with continuing to push on the ‘Let’s Do Business Salisbury’ efforts,” he said. “So much has been accomplished there and I think so much more can be accomplished especially since it’s a joint city, county and chamber partnership. We are becoming the business friendly place. And we need to pick up and hold that mantle.”