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Old 04-16-2020, 05:36 PM
 
Location: Oregon, formerly Texas
6,384 posts, read 4,328,694 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Therblig View Post
Most small towns that survive become bedroom communities and accept a much smaller commercial base and little to no industrial base. Folks live there and want some local business for convenience, but will still go do their main shopping in the big town or city. They are no longer closed communities keeping all functions local.

If a town is too remote or unappealing to attract a bedroom community after losing its employment anchors... it dies. There really isn't any cure.
I've seen two ways they succeed -

1) tourism & recreation. The locals hate the kind of growth this brings because it usually results in property values spiking. But some towns, particularly in the western and mountain west states, are able to leverage their natural resources quite well. It really helps if they can locate some kind of annual event there. Some race or music festival or something. Then some people, including entrepreneurs, visit and think "I want to live here!" and a virtuous cycle occurs.

In this current crisis that is taking an enormous hit.

2) Developing a niche sector, usually with the help of a university. Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Bozeman, Montana, Ogden, Utah, Bellingham, WA, Yuma, AZ, Nampa, ID come to mind. Often they do both #'s 1 and 2. A lot of those cities were something like 20-30k only 30 years ago, now they're 50-100k.

Last edited by redguard57; 04-16-2020 at 05:51 PM..
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Old 04-17-2020, 07:45 AM
 
Location: equator
5,078 posts, read 2,229,569 times
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I'm wondering about my ex town of Moab, Utah. Strictly tourism based on the national parks, the Colorado River, jeeping and mountain biking. It had been growing by leaps and bounds. About 2/3 of its tourism was Europeans.

Thoughts?
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Old 04-17-2020, 09:44 AM
 
2,011 posts, read 510,658 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redguard57 View Post
1) tourism & recreation.
Not everywhere has features to draw either.

I just collaterally wrote about a Maine mill town, built from empty wilderness around 1900, boomed, sank and is now so economically limited that when I went to contact the library for some historical info, I found it had been closed two years ago. (When a small town, especially those in the northeast, lose their library, it's like going on a heart-lung machine.) But their website still bravely waves the flag for tourism, hunting, fishing, recreation... things on which they have no real desirable edge.

Both also edge into that 'service' or 'luxury' realm assuming there is a sufficiency of people with the T&E budget to travel, visit, recreate etc. Not a sure bet any more.

Quote:
2) Developing a niche sector, usually with the help of a university.
A lot of the same thing. There are only so many niches and so many universities and so much funding for niche operations, think tanks, dev centers, genius incubators etc.

The town I lived in was the gateway to a major university. One of the... entities I worked with was a sort of micro-scale Bill Gates (or he thought he was) who had built just such an "incubator" years before. It had indifferent support and results and was renting out most of its space to other small businesses. But bygod the fifty acres adjacent was going to to be Los Alamos or Oak Ridge or Eureka someday. Unfortunately, the university four miles away never bit.

So there are alternate solutions for towns that lose their economic engine... but not nearly enough to go around, and things like a university adjunct will be subject to fierce, Olympics-like competition from all the towns within range.
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Old 04-17-2020, 09:49 AM
 
4,922 posts, read 5,099,622 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redguard57 View Post
I've seen two ways they succeed -

1) tourism & recreation. The locals hate the kind of growth this brings because it usually results in property values spiking. But some towns, particularly in the western and mountain west states, are able to leverage their natural resources quite well. It really helps if they can locate some kind of annual event there. Some race or music festival or something. Then some people, including entrepreneurs, visit and think "I want to live here!" and a virtuous cycle occurs.

In this current crisis that is taking an enormous hit.

2) Developing a niche sector, usually with the help of a university. Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Bozeman, Montana, Ogden, Utah, Bellingham, WA, Yuma, AZ, Nampa, ID come to mind. Often they do both #'s 1 and 2. A lot of those cities were something like 20-30k only 30 years ago, now they're 50-100k.
This is probably true. My town falls into group 2. Relatively small town(s) with a University and 3 Fortune 500s that basically are the entire economy.
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Old 04-17-2020, 09:53 AM
 
2,011 posts, read 510,658 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mizzourah2006 View Post
This is probably true. My town falls into group 2. Relatively small town(s) with a University and 3 Fortune 500s that basically are the entire economy.
I can't quite imagine a "small" town with one F500, much less three.

There's also a distinction between a "town" that is for all effective purposes a suburb or outlier of an anchor city, and one that is a full township from the next such burg. Denver, for example, has a plethora of small cities around it, but good luck being able to tell if you don't read the boundary signs.
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Old 04-17-2020, 09:57 AM
 
4,922 posts, read 5,099,622 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Therblig View Post
I can't quite imagine a "small" town with one F500, much less three.

There's also a distinction between a "town" that is for all effective purposes a suburb or outlier of an anchor city, and one tha is a full township from the next such burg.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwest_Arkansas

No big cities near so not sure how it could be considered a suburb or outlier of an anchor city as the nearest "city" is 3 hours away.Maybe not a "tiny" town, but I wouldn't call it a city, more a collection of medium sized towns.
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Old 04-17-2020, 10:09 AM
 
2,011 posts, read 510,658 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mizzourah2006 View Post
No big cities near so not sure how it could be considered a suburb or outlier of an anchor city as the nearest "city" is 3 hours away.Maybe not a "tiny" town, but I wouldn't call it a city, more a collection of medium sized towns.
Oh, I'm sure such examples exist — my guess would be that such companies are ag, mineral or timber related and choose to be close to the workforce/plants.

I just don't see JPMC relocating to a midwestern township.
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Old 04-17-2020, 10:16 AM
 
4,390 posts, read 3,571,355 times
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Got to thinking about my present address this morning, a mid size city right next door to a very large city. I visited here in the early eighties and the town was in pretty bad shape. Many of the parks were open air drug markets, the main street was awash in the signs of abandonment degradation, the riverfront a mess of industrial residue from better times. The big city next door was flourishing, and my town was dying.


Today, the town has gone through a huge socio/economic revival, most of the old mercantile buildings have been re purposed for new bars and restaurants. Others are now housing new business. The once abandoned areas of in town real estate has turned a 180 and now those homes are bringing huge asking prices. This shutdown is really hurting the entire gentrification effort though, and some of the bars/eateries aren't going to make it through the hard times. The realization that many more could have died had we not sheltered in place only underscores the fact that our fear of death is still greater than our fear of going broke, if that's hard for some to fathom--if the survival of business trumps our own survival concerns--I don't know if I'd want to live among those who feel that way
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Old 04-17-2020, 10:19 AM
 
4,922 posts, read 5,099,622 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Therblig View Post
Oh, I'm sure such examples exist — my guess would be that such companies are ag, mineral or timber related and choose to be close to the workforce/plants.

I just don't see JPMC relocating to a midwestern township.
Walmart, Tyson, and JB Hunt. Not really any of those.
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Old 04-17-2020, 10:52 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
75,841 posts, read 88,714,300 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redguard57 View Post
My town is in a similar boat as this.

https://nyti.ms/2XxYeM3

Like those business owners they interviewed said, business owners I've talked to say they can last to the summer, with great difficulty, before it's all over. Longer than that and they're done.
I think it depends on 1-what are we talking about, size of small town? and 2-what type of business? This is why some of us are doing what we can to support the small businesses.

I think it will look a lot brighter when people start going out and companies, large or small can open back up again. Those days look like they are coming in the near future for, at least some regions of the country.
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