Letter: Fostering a welcoming business climate

Published 11:03 pm Friday, August 10, 2018

In our door-to-door visits, I am continually inspired by all the good people we have here in Albert Lea. We possess a high concentration of brilliant entrepreneurs and business people. There are products being manufactured here that not only stay here, but are distributed around the world. My good friend, John Hibbard, from Albert Lea Electroplating, taught me, ”It’s easier to take care of a good customer and keep them than to lose a good customer and replace them.” This is the kind of philosophy we must have as a city, and that begins with leadership.

Our community has suffered some significant losses in the past 18 months: our full-service, acute-care hospital; Herbergers, Bridon Cordage and now Holiday Lanes. These losses will affect Albert Lea and our surrounding communities for years. Many members of our community who have depended on these companies to feed and care for their families or for entertainment are now gravely concerned about our community’s future. With almost every door I knock, I am hearing these concerns firsthand. I am deeply sorry for those who are now facing unemployment. I am convinced that, with every loss, comes new opportunities. I want to be the leader to inspire our community to dream again, in spite of our times of crisis.

Albert Lea, more than ever, needs the right leadership to help turn things around and rebuild our local economy. We cannot afford to endure any more losses. We must come alongside our local established businesses and support them, while at the same time work aggressively to pursue new businesses that pay living wages. We also need to grow and develop our local workforce by fostering pathways for our youth to stay in or return to our community. Now is the time to push like never before in our history.

Email newsletter signup

In our door-to-door outreach, I am learning what our local businesses do and the services they provide. We need to view our business owners as experts in their fields, build on their strengths, and get behind them to attract clients which need what they offer. We need to capitalize on our Interstate 90 and Interstate 35 intersection by attracting traffic that needs our transportation and hospitality industries. For example, we have the largest travel center in Minnesota. We have truck and trailer repair, outfitting companies, semi truck and trailer sales, a tanker wash company, welding and metal fabricators, restaurants and hotels right near our interstates. These businesses alone have the potential to draw in visitors, customers and potentially even warehouse/distribution industries and the like.

I am committed to serving our community in creating and fostering the most welcoming business climate in southern Minnesota. Let’s start with winning back the hearts of our local business community. Let’s be more aggressive than ever before to rebuild our local economy. Let’s do it together! To see more, please visit my George Marin for Mayor Facebook page.

I ask for your vote on Tuesday.

George Marin

Albert Lea