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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

The Packet of Animal Crackers

At the airport after a tiring business trip, a lady’s return flight was delayed. She went to the airport shop, bought a book, a coffee and a small packet containing animal crackers. The airport was packed full of people and luckily she found a seat in the boarding area, next to a stranger. After a few minutes’ reading she became absorbed in her book. She took an animal cracker from the packet and began to drink her coffee. To her udder shock, the stranger in the next seat calmly reached over and took a handful of the crackers and ate them. Absolutely stunned, she couldn’t bring herself to say anything, nor even to look at the stranger. Nervously she turned away and continued reading. After a few minutes she slowly picked up and ate another animal cracker. Incredibly, the stranger took yet another handful and ate them, then to the woman’s amazement, he picked up the packet and offered her the last one. This being too much to tolerate, the lady angrily picked up her belongings, gave the stranger an indignant scowl and marched off to board her plane, where her flight was now ready. Flustered and enraged, she reached inside her bag for her boarding ticket, and found…… (you guessed it) HER UNOPENED packet of animal crackers…

This story clearly illustrates the danger that making quick assumptions can cause. Like the lady above, many people are fast to jump to a solution before taking the time to discover the entire scope. We’ve all done it. Making quick assumptions is in our nature, we are inherently problem solvers.

Specifically on the subject of Tama County’s economy, I hear from many people that are concerned about the decline of our downtowns (and rightly so). When you look at the problem quickly, the logical answer is to bring in more retail stores to fill all the empty store fronts (cosmetic). The REAL answer to solving our declining downtown problem is to create jobs that create paychecks for the residents of our county that will in turn become customers that will be able to shop at the retail stores we have (and the more shops that will come).

Tama County is poised and ready to move from haggling over individual town interests and come together for a comprehensive, county wide plan.  We have already started.  We have commissioned a private analysis of the area’s economic infrastructure, and workforce that will provide powerful insights and information about the current advantages of Tama County. This data will be used to assist existing and prospective businesses in making key growth decisions.

You can be a part of the data driven initiative by becoming a partner of the Tama County Economic Development Commission. All County residents are STRONGLY encouraged to contact our office at: info@tamacountyiowa.org or by calling 641-484-3108 and filling out a partnership form. This data driven plan will be critical in our success in economic development. I for one believe we need to eat our own animal crackers ;)

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