Pickerington Times-Sun


City officials want to create a merchants' association


Pickerington City Manager Bill Vance and Development Services Director Joe Henderson seek to enhance marketing and promotional opportunities for businesses located within the Pickerington city limits.

To achieve that end they have kickstarted the process of establishing a city-sponsored business association called "PickeringtonOne Merchants Association."

Henderson and Vance unveiled the concept at Pickerington City Council's Service Committee meeting on Dec. 18.

They said the goal is to improve Pickerington's business climate by enhancing marketing and promotional strategies with an eye towards improving access to city staff's expertise to achieve that goal.

"(Members) can share their ideas, and help us do our jobs better," Henderson said.

"It will be a team effort," he said.

Councilman Tony Barletta said the proposal appears to closely mirror the services offered by the Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce, a separate organization founded in 1978.

According to its website, the chamber states it "provides a vital link to support local businesses through advocacy, networking, education, marketing and leadership opportunities."

Vance said the chamber doesn't specifically and aggressively promote city businesses and has implemented no recent marketing plans to benefit city businesses.

He elaborated further after the meeting.

"This concept is not in competition with Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce, which seems to concentrate on sustaining chamber membership networking and marketing and promoting the Pickerington Area Chamber itself," Vance said.

He said there are more than 100 active businesses in the city that are not chamber members that otherwise "may appreciate an opportunity to join a distinct local business association, sponsored by the city and its Development Services Department."

Vance said PickeringtonOne aims to actively know and understand every business in the city, not just those that are chamber of commerce members.

He anticipates the organization will be up and running by the spring of 2014 whereupon it will be launched by an aggressive marketing campaign titled: "We Take Care of Business."

Vance projected yearly individual membership dues for PickeringtonOne to be in the $200 to $225 range, and the money collected would be reinvested in both marketing and promoting the city's business community.

He said the organization would initially be administered by the city's human resources department "to support and sustain its operations."

He said PickeringtonOne members would meet on a bi-monthly basis "with public supporters of Pickerington's business community such as Pickerington's mayor, City Council members, city manager, development support staff, school board members, school board superintendent (and) interested (Violet) Township officials."

Vance pointed out that 43 percent of Violet Township's tax revenue is derived from within the Pickerington city limits.

He also envisions participation from the Fairfield County Commissioners and Fairfield County's Economic Development Office.

"Members of PickeringtonOne (will) have direct access to all the players in position to support Pickerington's business community via direct feedback and positive influence from Pickerington's business community," Vance said.