In Episode 13 of the Rural Business Show we spoke with the key players in a Colorado resiliency study. This study identified characteristics of strong rural economies. It observes “that for a community to be economically resilient there needs to be a mix of active community and business leaders with foresight. These individuals must develop and foster a culture of commitment, seizing opportunities and continually building businesses and the assets of a community.”
The city of Salida was one of two examples the study used to showcase what a resilient, rural economy looks like. I’ve spent the past few weeks learning more about Salida and talking to people in the business community there. The community looks poised to weather future economic storms. It came to this point through a lot of work by various community members and groups that addressed aspects of the larger economic whole. The city is where many rural economies hope to be – less dependent on a single industry for survival.
Here in Episode 15, I talk to Wendell Pryor, Director of the Chaffee County Economic Development Corporation. Salida is the seat of Chaffee County.
Pryor talks about how Salida evolved from a mining-dependent economy into a mountain resort community over the last few decades and how the city has built a diversified economy better-situated to weather economic storms. He touches on the importance of public-private partnerships and how useful it is when local governments and the private sector take an active role in the direction of the economy. He also shares some tips on what steps a community can take to get the ball rolling.
The next two episodes of the Rural Business Show will feature long-time business owners in Salida. They share their perspective on what it was like doing business there 15 years ago compared to today and the things they learned along the way. An upcoming feature will be all about how to build a resilient rural economy.