by Valerie Verkamp
Landmark assistant editor
One of the most important decisions a business owner can make is identifying the most suitable environment to open a new business. According to an analysis by the consumer finance site NerdWallet, Parkville is one of the leading places in the state to open a business.
Considering key economic factors, including business climate and local economic health, NerdWallet compared data of 117 cities in Missouri to take the guess work out of finding the top places to open a business.
Based upon their study, Parkville received a ranking of the 12 best place to start a business in the state.
“Parkville is a great place to start a business because it offers the best of both worlds,” said Lauren Palmer, city administrator. “There is convenient access to all of the big city amenities and services, but at its heart, Parkville is a charming small town. Organizations like the Parkville Chamber of Commerce, Parkville Economic Development Council, and Main Street Parkville Association work hard to support their members and promote a sense of local pride in our businesses,” she remarked.
“There is an entrepreneurial spirit here, and small business owners help each other. Much of our recent growth has been start-ups or local expansions. Anecdotally, we know those decisions were influenced by business owners or leaders who fell in love with Parkville and committed to growing a business here for both personal and professional reasons,” added Palmer.
Just shy of 5,700 residents, Parkville offers “exceptional” municipal services.
“We have a modest staff, but we make it a priority to efficiently route businesses through the application process for various zoning and permit approvals. I often hear compliments from the business community about our accommodating employees. We work hard to be partners and problem solvers, not just regulators,” said Palmer.
Additionally, Palmer credits the active role city employees play in their community.
“You will not find a more engaged and dedicated police force that knows most of our business owners by name and consistently looks out for the safety and security of private property. We keep the streets plowed in the winter and the parks beautiful in the summer, so customers always have a reason to visit Parkville,” she added.
News of this recognition comes at a time when the city is working with property owners and developers to build something new near the Intersection of 435 and Highway 45. The area is a western gateway into Parkville. The city is still waiting to receive any formal development plans for the area.
There are roughly 756 business in Parkville. The average annual revenue per business is $604,586. Parkville has an equivalent percentage of businesses with paid employees compared with the top two ranking cities, identified as Creve Coeur and Clayton, according to data compared by NerdWallet.
“It is interesting that most of the cities that outranked us are in the St. Louis area,” said Palmer. “One of Parkville's great advantages is our strategic location within the Kansas City metro, a national transportation hub. Parkville is conveniently located between two major interstates (I-29 and I-435) and at the intersection of two key state highways (Route 9 and Route 45). We're just 10 minutes from KCI Airport and 15 minutes from downtown Kansas City.”
At the heart of downtown Parkville is Park University. Recent graduates and skilled workers serve as an engine for local economic growth.
“Our partners at Park Hill School District and Park University are growing a talented work force,” said Palmer. “Both Park Hill and Park University have robust internship programs that create a pipeline for smart talent to flow to local businesses.”
The key factors experts use to detect local economic health is comparing the median annual income of employees, the median monthly housing costs and the unemployment rate.
Parkville's unemployment rate was 6.0 percent compared to Missouri's unemployment rate of 5.8 percent in May.
According to a Missouri Economic Report, the employment rate in Kansas City increased two percent over a five-year period. In 2009, there were 508,037 people employed in the Kansas City workforce. By 2014, there were 518, 256 employed workers and 149,528 active job seekers.
In 2014, 43 percent of the job seekers were registered in the unemployment insurance system, according to the Missouri's workforce data system. The report states that employers posted 297,882 online job ads during at time.