The small businesses and entrepreneurs calling Upper Arlington home reflect the professional nature of the community. UA has a stable, educated population with over 70 percent of residents holding a Bachelor’s degree and home ownership rates exceeding 80 percent.
UA Chamber of Commerce President Becky Hajost sees professional businesses like medical, financial and technology offices, as well as some niche retail establishing themselves in the neighborhood. Robert Lamb,Community & Economic Development Manager, sees a trend of engineering firms and healthcare companies.
“We are really encouraging professional business growth,” Lamb says. UA is hoping to attract more medical professionals, lawyers and engineering and financial firms.
The Upper Arlington Chamber of Commerce is the main support system for bringing business to the area.
“The Chamber fosters trusting relationships that create and maintain an innovative approach to business growth,” Hajost says. The Chamber is responsible for programs that help with everything from starting a business to getting customers through the door.
To help businesses get established, UA offers small and large business loan grants, some of which are forgivable based on company history and size.
Once established, The Chamber offers a year-long advisory program that connects new and existing business owners. A panel of seasoned business professionals advises new entrepreneurs on topics like management practices, human resources, finance, marketing, legal issues and taxation.
Being a member of The Chamber creates a host of other opportunities for UA businesses.
“We offer networking opportunities for face-to-face meetings,” Hajost says. ” We offer expanded marketing efforts through sponsorships, event recognition, social media marketing, online visibility and leadership opportunities to leverage businesses year-long marketing strategies.”
Once a businesses is established, programs like Shop Local and other seasonal events bring customers to the area to foster growth. UA Best Gift Ideas is an online campaign during the holiday season that presents ideas for unique, local gifts. During spring event Community MarketPlace, households coordinate garage sales and businesses are encouraged to offer specials and discounts to take advantage of the increased traffic to the area.
A survey of local business owners has proven these initiatives to be a success. Forty-four percent said it has brought new customers, while 64% said it had made city officials more aware and supportive of independent businesses.
UA’s close proximity to Ohio State and downtown make it appealing to the professionals that call the area home. Close proximity to the highway also provides easy access to other neighboring suburbs and communities.
Lamb describes four main areas of commerce and economic development within UA’s borders. He projects continued growth for the Lane Avenue Corridor over the next five to ten years. Redevelopment and expansion also defines areas along Route 33 / Riverside Drive. Kingsdale Shopping Center and the Henderson Road area provide the other two hotspots for businesses.
To learn more about UA, visit uachamber.org.
For more information on business loans and grants, contact Robert Lamb [email protected]
Photo by Anne Evans.