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The Power of One Small Business

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

In the finance section of newspapers and on TV we often hear about enormous businesses taking sweeping actions that impact large numbers of workers and communities.  In fact, in our own state we have been hearing about the Wisconsin Foxconn project for over a year.  These stories make headlines because of their vast scope and because they are easily understood by the casual observer.  During my one year as the Executive Director of the Polk County Economic Development Corporation I have observed a remarkably different phenomenon:  One small business can have a far-reaching impact on an entire community!  This impact goes way beyond immediate jobs and paychecks.

There are many business owners in our county that may only employ a handful of workers, but their impact goes well beyond earning money for themselves and their employees.  Take, for example, the Morley Maple Syrup business in Luck.  They only employ a handful of people, but their impact on the area has had a multiplying effect.  Earned wages at one business will be spent at other local businesses such as the coffee shop, furniture store, grocery store and other merchants.  In addition, Mr. Morley, himself, has been a driving force for the Maple Farm Tour held each Spring which brings hundreds of visitors to our county who purchase products from multiple maple syrup producers and other businesses.  Morley's also offers educational tours for schools and other groups that want to learn about maple syrup and running a business.  This builds a sense of pride in the community that makes small-town living so rewarding.


Another example is Dick's Fresh Market in Osceola.  As most small towns have struggled to keep essential merchants such as grocery stores, banks, hardware stores and others, some businesses like Dick's has bucked the trend and committed to 'staying home.'  As a result, residents in Osceola have another reason to visit their downtown.   These shoppers often stop into other stores, go to the dentist, have lunch, and much more.  Dick's Fresh Market (and the Caribou Coffee inside of it) employs almost 90 people.  They, in turn, provide for their families or maybe they use part of their wages to further their education.  Dick's, like Morley's, is also involved in community events and charities.

These are only a couple of examples.  Every community in Polk County has their own success stories.  Cafes, bars, auto repair shops, hair salons, landscapers, hardware stores and art galleries have taken root in our villages and offer not only products, services, and wages, but also learning opportunities, training, and the confidence for other business people to open their own enterprise.  The money that exchanges hands is critical to the economic prosperity for many, but it goes beyond that.  It goes to the current character of the village or city and it gives us a direction along with future optimism for our young people.  One business may look small and insignificant to the casual observer but look deeper and you will see that its affect is far-reaching.


The Polk County Economic Development Corporation is a public-private organization that was created to encourage and promote economic development and capital investment, create and retain quality jobs, enhance the tax base and facilitate positive sustainable growth throughout Polk County, Wisconsin.

Polk County Economic Development Corporation
100 Polk Plaza
Suite 226
Balsam Lake, WI  54810
(715) 405-3400

Category: PCEDC Blog