2007 Economy Starts Out In A Funk
I dislike the idea of writing my first column of the new year and be negative. As a business journalist, my job is to tell the readership what I know. This first week of the new year has been a rude awakening based on my discussions with business leaders throughout the community.
For the first time in nearly 20 years of publishing The Bottom Line, I have struggled to find positive news within the region to report about to start the new year. Usually, I take my two-week break over the Christmas and New Year's holidays and know that, upon my return to work, I will write about at least five or six companies that are planning to expand and/or relocate soon or employers who are in the process of buying another business. I relish the opportunity to start the new year to write about business activity that no other media outlet has previously reported. But this year has been very different.
On a positive note, I do know about 10-15 business transactions or expansions and/or relocations that should take place within the next few months. There are also another 8-10 businesses (mostly retail) that will be opening in the Chippewa Valley during the first quarter of the year. On the other hand, I have been calling on the same 15 business owners or developers who have told me that they had plans to begin a project soon. Some of the prospective deals were supposed to be under way by now or were slated for construction nearly two years ago.
Unfortunately, four or five of the businesses who considered an expansion have put their plans on hold. Most of the developers who I call on for business news have admitted that the regional economy is in a poor state. They tell me that they are not sure if they will proceed with their intended projects anytime soon.
There is the possibility that I am not calling enough of the right people to find out what is happening within the business community. I am committed to enhancing my business contacts this year, so if you know something that I do not know about, I encourage you to call or e-mail me with information that is pertinent to this weekly newsletter. (715) 834-7337 or e-mail: email@example.com.