Downtown Proves the Place To Be
When it comes to a thriving place to be, look no further than downtown St. Joseph. The city is enjoying a wealth of activity and a wave of revitalization that’s bolstering plenty of excitement as new businesses move in, old ones expand and entertainment venues allure locals in day and night.
According to Rhabecca Boerkircher, executive director of St. Joseph Downtown Partnership, the center of the city is enjoying a vast array of economic development.
Mosaic Life Care renovated the German American Building to move their professional offices there. Mosaic Life Care operates innovative health care facilities throughout Northwest Missouri.
In addition, Mosaic Life Care worked in partnership with the city on a new parking facility that potentially will house retailers and restaurants on the ground floor, with parking on the upper level, Boerkircher said.
One of the companies moving into the new facility is CliftonLarsonAllen. According to Boerkircher, the accounting firm is expected to move into its new space in November. The firm’s St. Joseph location provides comprehensive financial services, such as planning, insurance and investment strategies.
Geared toward entrepreneurs, start-ups, freelancers and those who work from home, CoJoe is an innovative coworking space in historic downtown. Individuals can buy a membership or rent a private office. This fully functioning workspace provides numerous benefits for members, which include high-speed internet, comfortable seating, dry erase glass, rentable conference rooms for meetings, and of course, coffee.
Hunterland Mall is relocating to downtown, and an Aldi grocery store plans to move in to the former antique mall’s location on the Belt Highway.
On top of that, two new businesses have set up shop just off of Felix Street Square. One is Room 108, which serves as an event space with rooftop deck, and the other is Felix Street Gourmet, which sells wine, cheese and other ingredients from all over the world. Another eatery nearby is Gallery on Sixth Deli & Theater, between Edmond and Felix streets in the former Paradox Coffee & Theatre location. Manic Snail, an eclectic cards and gifts shop with unique merchandise, operates at Sixth and Francis.
With such investment in St. Joseph’s downtown, the city will continue to be attractive for newcomers, recruiting businesses and expansion of existing companies. nA Pool of Talent
Fostering A Highly Trained and Engaged Workforce
Companies looking to expand in St. Joseph, or those in search of a new location, want to invest in a place that has a strong talent pool and resources for business owners. Keeping the workforce flourishing is a key focus of the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce.
“We work with local school districts, colleges and universities to help students better prepare for careers in St. Joseph,” said Patt Lilly, president and CEO of the Chamber.
By forging partnerships with local education and business stakeholders, the Chamber pursues a plan that prepares the future workforce for positions right here in St. Joseph. One way the Chamber and these partners are doing this is through Manufacturing Day, which takes place each October.
“Manufacturing Day is a national program celebrating manufacturers throughout the country,” Lilly said. “We connect St. Joseph students to local manufacturers, which gives them hands-on experience and an understanding of available careers.”
Taking the importance of a local talent pool a step further, the Chamber’s Workforce Development Alliance supports a culture of preparing future and current employees for the workplace. By working with businesses and educators, the Alliance helps coordinate local training and educational programs that support a strong and engaged workforce, which in turn, leads to successful businesses.
Likewise, St. Joseph is home to several global manufacturers with opportunities for gainful employment. One of St. Joseph’s workforce perks is its proximity. The city sits in the center of the Animal Health Corridor, which stretches from Columbia, Missouri, to Manhattan, Kansas. In fact, the city earned the No. 4 position on Forbes magazine’s America’s Strongest Farming and Agribusiness Regions List, thanks to the presence of the animal pharmaceuticals and food processing industries.
Moreover, Stockyards Industrial Business Park, Mitchell Woods Business Park and Eastowne Business Park provide ready developable sites in St. Joseph. The industrial parks are situated near interstates, major metro areas, international airports and various modes of transportation including a river port, which sets it apart from other cities in the Midwest.
“The work ethic of our [St. Joseph] employees is often recognized by our local companies,” Lilly said. “We take pride in that.”
Top 10 Employers
Company: Product/Service: Employees
Mosaic Life Care: Health Services: 4,072
Triumph Foods: Food Processing: 2,900
St. Joseph School District: Education: 1,853
139th Airlift Wing, MO Air National Guard: Government: 1,521
Boehringer Ingelheim : Animal Pharmaceuticals: 1,070
American Family Insurance: Insurance: 793
Missouri Western State University: Education: 757
Wal-Mart: Retail: 740
City of St. Joseph: Government: 698
Tyson Foods: Food Processing: 670