Mount Pulaski Forms New Business Association

The Mount Pulaski Business Association is a perfect example of how the GPEDC can provide support to our rural communities. All of the pieces of the puzzle exist within the community, we are just helping put them together. The MPBA has and will continue to retain and grow their local businesses, attract more businesses, and improve Mount Pulaski’s overall vibrancy.

The first impression of Mount Pulaski (Logan County) is exactly what you might picture- large older homes on tree lined streets with the kind of quiet calm that money just can’t buy in the city. When I arrived at my destination at the historic business district, I was floored. The original 1848 courthouse that heard many cases argued by Abraham Lincoln still stands and is surrounded by period style buildings ripe with potential. You immediately get a sense for Mount Pulaski’s unique identity and community pride.
The meeting took place in a quaint antique shop on the square and included myself, Bill Thomas with the Logan County Economic Development Partnership, and four small business representatives from Mount Pulaski. The group had come together to discuss the future of their businesses and recent cost increases that were effecting their bottom lines. What I quickly realized, was that they were all having the same or very similar issues, they were not working together in an organized fashion to solve them, and they were poised to do so. Thus, the idea for the Mount Pulaski Business Association was born.
I met with this small core group of stakeholders two more times to strategize the launch of the business association. They divvied up the list of 30+ local businesses to personally invite and set out to do so. When I asked how many they thought would come, they were hesitant to commit to 10 people showing up. Turns out, they underestimated themselves!
A crowd of 25 people representing 12 Mount Pulaski businesses showed up to the kick off meeting ready to contribute. We talked about what a business association is, the benefits of having one, and gave some examples of successful association activities. We then got more specific and Mount Pulaski business representatives lead a small group activity to develop goals for their association. In total, they created a list of 17 short term and 23 long term goals for the Mount Pulaski Business Association ranging from a mission statement to implementing a facade improvement program to incentivizing new small businesses to startup in their community.
What’s next? In order to keep the momentum, the MPBA is meeting again in June to elect officers, prioritize their goals, and select three strategic activities that they can carry out by the end of 2016. They are moving full steam ahead!


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