Worthington Develops Businesses Through Community

Whether in need of retail, office or warehouse space, Worthington has the capacity. The northern-Columbus city sits right inside the outerbelt and offers a community-driven atmosphere catering to mostly white-collar businesses.

Economic Development Manager Jeff Harris says Worthington is home to a healthy amount of small businesses. He is seeing several two-to-four person offices along with a significant population of at-home businesses. They types of businesses fall more towards white-collar industries with a number of financial planners, insurance agencies as well as both local and national banks. The at-home worker is typically from the IT industry.

Within the city, three corridors, each with a different focus, house the majority of businesses.

worthington-ohio-03Huntley Road north of State Route 161 to the Busch Brewery is the industrial corridor with warehouses and factories. Wilson Bridge Road East and West is the primary location for offices in Worthington. The stretch houses $1.7 million in office space. High Street from I270 south to St. Michael’s Church is the primary retail area for the city.

Harris says many people are surprised to learn the boundaries of the City of Worthington as the school district expands slightly beyond the city lines. Worthington occupies the space South of 270, West of Huntley Road, North of around Shelby Boulevard and East of 315.

Harris explains why Worthington with one word: accessibility.

“Worthington is really strong at accessibility to people,” he says. For example, he says if you tried to call the city manager, the city manager himself would likely pick up the phone.

“If you want that personal touch, that personal attention, you can get that here,” Harris says.

Accessibility also extends to the city’s location. The area lies between many of the major interstates within Columbus.

Through his position, Harris also helps make Worthington accessible to small business owners. He acts as a referral network while connecting new businesses with the resources they need to either develop their concept from the ground up, or can help at the later stages when an organization needs a bank to go to for a loan.

worthington-ohio-02The Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce is also a resource for the small business owner. Harris refers new businesses over to the group for their events and networking opportunities.

While Worthington may not have the same types of incubation programs that other cities do, Harris says the community is a powerful resource.

“The whole community can incubate them,” he says. An engaged Worthington community welcomes newcomers who are adamant on embracing the community as well.

In regards to trends, Harris says things are picking up. Business owners are starting to see a return of consumers and are no longer just treading water.

As for future business development, Harris is looking for development catered towards more medium-sized businesses. Worthington has seen some businesses get too large and move from the city. Ideally the city would like to develop and keep small businesses in the area while providing them room to grow.

For more information, visit businessworthington.org or worthingtonchamber.org.