New book shines a light on inner-city decline in America and offers innovative ideas for fostering growth and prosperity
HALTOM CITY, TX, June 17, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ — When you are trying to solve a difficult problem, sometimes, all you need is a little good advice. Small Business Activist & Author Ron Sturgeon believes that, and he believes he has the right advice to help aging small cities seeking more growth and prosperity.
His new book, Keeping the Lights on Downtown in American’s Small Cities, shines a light on the pervasive issue of inner-city decline and highlights strategies for turning things around.
To help local leaders interested in revitalizing the aging parts of their cities, Sturgeon has mailed copies of the book to city managers and members of city councils in Tarrant County’s 41 cities.
“Over the last two years, I have learned a lot about what really fuels growth in small cities, and I want to share that with leaders who can act on those insights,” Sturgeon said.
A serial entrepreneur and commercial real estate developer, Sturgeon founded Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) in Haltom City approximately two years ago.
“I tried to open an event center in Haltom City and even though no one opposed my new venture, and many spoke in favor of it, the permitting process was so arduous requiring several rounds of public hearings and more than a year and a half to complete that I almost gave up on the project,” said Sturgeon.
“The experience helped me realize that that many small cities are struggling to revitalize because they have lost sight of how important attracting new small businesses is to long-term prosperity,” said Sturgeon.
For small cities seeking to revitalize, Sturgeon has some clear advice:
• Develop and promote a clear brand for the city. The brand should express a clear idea of what the city is and what makes it distinct from other cities. It should include reasons for a small business to choose your city rather than one nearby.
• To revitalize a struggling business district, try a brand-based overlay district. Getting buy in from the business community and other stakeholders is crucial to building the coalition needed for a successful overlay district.
• Don’t do anything that makes it harder for businesses to grow. Consider ways to amend your city’s use matrix so that opening many types of small businesses is easier in your city than in the cities you compete with.
• Determine in advance how you will measure success. Consider doing an annual small business census on the same day each year so that you can accurately measure how many businesses have come and how many have left.
• Benchmark your progress against other similar cities elsewhere. Don’t be afraid to experiment and replicate ideas that are working in other cities. For example, Mansfield, Texas recently made the change from use-based to form-based code for its historic downtown. In six months, four new projects are already underway in the district.
Keeping the Lights on Downtown has garnered praise from community and business leaders alike. According to Tarrant County District Clerk Tom Wilder, “The authors present what all cities must grasp, that the business community and attraction of new businesses have to be a top priority to revitalizing their aging areas.”
About Ron Sturgeon
Ron Sturgeon, “Mr. Mission Possible,” combines 40+ years of entrepreneurship with a deep resume in consulting. When his dad died and Ron had no place to live, 17-year-old Ron began a career in entrepreneurship which led to his building a chain of salvage yards sold to Ford in 1999. After his repurchase of Greenleaf from Ford and subsequent resale to Schnitzer, Ron became a real estate investor. He has 1,500+ tenants and loves small businesses. As a consultant, Ron shares his expertise in strategic planning, capitalization, compensation, growing market share, providing field-proven, high-profit, best practices well ahead of the curve.
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