Downtown Clayton showed a net gain of 11 new businesses and 18.5 new jobs from July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009 according to statistics released by the Clayton Downtown Development Association. Three (3) businesses expanded and ten (10) downtown buildings had facade improvements with one (1) building totally renovated. Private investment in downtown, including property purchases and improvements totaled $1,353,488. There was $276,247 in public investment, which includes local, state, federal funds and grants.
Downtown Development Coordinator Bruce Naegelen said he is pleased with these figures given the economic downturn this past year. ”The numbers show that we have a stable business environment in downtown Clayton. Although fewer businesses opened this year (18), substantially fewer closed (7) than in the previous year, so we ended with the same net gain of new businesses (11) both years,” he said. There has been a net gain of 34 new businesses opened in downtown Clayton since 2005/2006, the first year the statistics were measured.
During the past fiscal year, for every public dollar invested in downtown Clayton $3.90 was invested privately. ”That was a little less than half the previous year (1:10) but given the state of the economy, that’s still pretty good,” according to Leslie Hubbard,vice chair of the DDA’s Economic Restructuring Committee. Over the past three years, since the downtown program began, there has been a 1:6.76 ratio of public to private investment.
Although there are many variables, downtown Clayton compared favorably to many of the other Main Street communities in North Carolina. Of the 49 downtowns that reported, 4 towns had a higher net gain of new busineses than downtown Clayton (11). 2 others were tied and 11 towns showed net business losses. 11 towns had between $2M-19M in private investment and 11 towns had between $1M-2M which is where Clayton lined up.
DDA chairman, Edward Knight said, ”The statistics help us show that downtown Clayton is a stable and desirable place to invest and locate a business.”
The DDA keeps track of these statistics each year as one measurement of economic development in downtown Clayton. These statistics are also provided to the NC Main Street Center to help provide a statewide picture of downtown development. Other economic development measurements include an annual survey of downtown retail and service businesses and market analysis, which is underway. A consumer survey will be conducted in mid-September.