Mayor seeks new businesses in town

By By Thomas Tingle
Record Managing Editor
What can Madison do to get a new business interested in locating here rather than setting up shop somewhere else, and is a movie theatre in Madison's future?
Madison Mayor Jan Wells said the city is aggressively working on a new way to sell itself to outside businesses looking to recruit. She said she'd like to get businesses that aren't located here in North Alabama interested in coming to Madison. However, the mayor said there are certain steps that must be taken first before the city can actively pursue those businesses.
While attending the International Council of Shopping Center's Southeast Regional Conference in Franklin, Tenn., the mayor said she, along with her aide, Michele Miller, came back with a wealth of new information the city can use to market itself.
"It's easy for us to say we would like to see this business come to Madison or we'd like that restaurant here. It's easy for us to say what does Huntsville have that we don't have," Wells said. "Certain businesses have certain criteria they look for in recruiting. That means Madison won't get everything it wants, but we certainly can have more."
The mayor said she'd like to see more retail and service businesses come to Madison. She said it's easy for residents to go to Huntsville or Birmingham or Nashville to shop, but it is possible for residents to stay at home if those shops are located here.
"Businesses narrow their lists quickly when they see what a city has to offer," Wells said. "We need to be pro-active in developing new marketing materials for Madison and that is what we are doing now. When we go to a meeting like this, we need to make sure we have everything in hand to show off our community."
Of the seven businesses the mayor said she thought would be a likely candidate to come to Madison, only one expressed an interest in the city.
"We looked at a number of businesses and a movie theatre has shown an interest in Madison," Wells said. "We will continue to talk to the folks we spoke with and perhaps we can pursued them to come here."

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