A disappointing outcome

The latest development at the Marshall City Council meeting regarding a new business, Chasing Our Tails, is gravely concerning when it comes to recruiting business to the city of Marshall. Do we want to be known as hard to work with? Anti-business? Anti-growth? Anti-jobs?

This situation reminds me of the Marshall Public School referendum. Please know the facts before spreading non-factual items regarding a project.

Although it’s everyone’s right to voice their concerns at meetings like the Planning Commission meeting and City Council meetings, it’s even better to voice concerns when the concerns can be substantiated.

The business community would have welcomed this business who was willing to uproot their company from New Hampshire all the way to Minnesota. It is unfortunate they weren’t exactly welcomed with open arms.

Here were a few of the concerns:

• The potential odor of the business itself

• Increased traffic

• Having a manufacturing business in the middle of town

Let’s address the first one. Numerous calls were made to neighboring businesses at their current location in New Hampshire. One neighboring business wasn’t even sure what they did as they are a very low-key type of business. The neighbors didn’t have any complaints.

Regarding increased traffic, County Fair generated more traffic (customer and shipments) compared to what Chasing Our Tails would have. If there were concerns because of the traffic and having West Side School nearby, why not put your energy behind getting the Public Schools referendum passed?

The fact is that traffic will increase at that site if it is ever redeveloped. Perhaps the neighborhood wants it to stay empty?

As for having a manufacturing business in the middle of town, it’s clear that the building isn’t meant for retail. After all, it’s been empty since 2014. The retail landscape that we once knew is not what it used to be. As for the legalities of having a manufacturing business in a non-manufacturing zone? Was it really manufacturing? Technically, a meat processing business (excluding live slaughter) would be allowed there. How would this be different? The City of Marshall comprehensive plan is more than 20 years old. At the time of the plan, it fit. The City is well aware the document is past its useful life and they plan to rework it in the near future. The way we do business 20 years ago compared to now is drastically different. We need to evolve with the changing times and be welcoming to new businesses and industries.

If we want Target, or other larger retailers to come Marshall, chasing other businesses out doesn’t help our cause of growing our regional presence. Running businesses out of town does quite the opposite.

Now we have a building that will still be sitting empty. We could have had 25-30 new jobs, and another business that would be paying taxes in Marshall. Not to mention the added employees who would likely be spending their earnings in Marshall as well. The ripple effect of this decision is significant. I hope that Tracy or another community in our area can help him find a location that works.

Are we truly this picky? Are we too good for some businesses to locate here? I welcome anyone to come to the Chamber office to have discussions. It seems like a small minority of residents blew this business opportunity.

Brad Gruhot is president of the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce