By Al Litman

On Feb. 16, I will be presenting” The State of The City Address.”  It will be positive and give a detailed overview of the progress and growth Mesquite has seen over the past year, and what we can look forward to in the coming one. 

We are experiencing growth in virtually, every area with the exception of retail, and to lesser degree restaurants.  Several restaurants are on the books for the coming year.  I’ll talk about them on the 16th. 

When it comes to brick and mortar stores, the New York Times, in a recent article, discussed the state of the American Mall.  It doesn’t bode well for the way so many used to shop.  Major retailers have closed locations in numbers not seen before. 

Numerous restaurant chains have filed bankruptcy and a number more are slated for 2022.  Between the pandemic and the lack of employees, along with rising wages, these businesses will be hard pressed to show profitability in the coming years.

I bring this all up, not to be negative, but to be realistic in a changing economy and work environment.  I received a letter the other day from a resident who wants to know why we don’t have another super market in Mesquite.  I, for one, wish we did.  So why don’t we?

Expanding a business or relocating is an expensive and risky proposition.  CEO’s don’t leave much to chance.  They follow a strict process of nomination and elimination.  They crunch numbers, pull data and cover all the bases. 

They do this after using professional site selectors.  Most of their work is done behind the scenes.  Locations are usually completely clueless about whether they made the list, if they were cut from the list, or the list even existed in the first place. 

There are a number of things that go into site selection.  I’ll mention a few.  Labor is the biggest one.  Companies can’t do anything without employees.  When it comes to taking on the risk of moving to a new location, most businesses need to know they will be able to find the qualified help they need. 

It doesn’t matter what size or specialty, every company will demand access to a deep pool of skilled, local talent. Companies look for available buildings if possible, and of course, the cost of land if they need to build. 

Other concerns are incentives, availability, cost of utilities and infrastructure, accessibility, future trends, and more.  Depending on the type of business, affordability of housing plays an important role.  Supermarkets normally stay busy year around, but many businesses are hard pressed in the hot Mesquite summer months, when few if any activities are taking place.

This coming year you will see a number of businesses coming to Mesquite.  Some are relocating and some are just expanding.  I can assure you the ones that will succeed used professional site selectors when they picked Mesquite. 

Once the selection has been made, that’s when we can and do as much as possible to get them operational.

Al Litman is mayor of the City of Mesquite.