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Harvey House hosts packed business summit
BARSTOW • Close to 80 people packed the Harvey House for the Business Leadership Summit, sponsored by the city of Barstow, the Barstow Area Chamber of Commerce and Barstow Community College.
Thursday’s event gave business owners, community leaders and prospective developers an opportunity to speak with representatives from the city, college and chamber of commerce about the business climate.
Economic Development and Planning Manager for the city of Barstow Gaither Loewenstein hosted the event and gave an overview presentation on national, state and local economic trends.
The summit had a panel discussion on how the city, college and chamber of commerce can help promote local economic development. The panel consisted of Barstow Community College Superintendent/President Dr. Deborah DiThomas, Barstow Area Chamber of Commerce chairwoman Carol Randall and City Manager Curt Mitchell.
Ryan Crosby, owner of the State Farm office at 989 Armory Road, suggested the city looks to redevelop and market downtown Barstow into a “tourist-friendly” destination.
“The first time I walked down Main Street, I got a nostalgic and historical feeling,” Crosby said. “But at the same time it feels like a lot of business aren’t willing to invest in the area ... I think it would be great for the city. This area along Interstate 15 is a gold mine. The city just has to figure out a way to mine it.”
Loewenstein agreed with Crosby’s suggestions and said attractions such as museums and other attractions could help renovate the downtown area along Main Street.
After the summit Loewenstein said the three organizations will do everything they can to see businesses succeed in Barstow.
“We’re delighted so many business people came out and had this discussion,” Loewenstein said. “We need to mobilize this group of business supporters so that when we have new projects coming to town, we bring them to the meeting to speak in support of job-growth in Barstow.”
DiThomas was thrilled to see the turnout at the summit. DiThomas said it was nice to see so many stakeholders attend the summit and provide their input.
DiThomas said that seeing city, education and commerce systems work together proves their commitment to meet the needs of the community.
Joseph W. Brady, President of the Bradco Companies, commended the sponsoring organizations efforts to promote more investment in Barstow.
“Barstow is a real progressive city,” Brady said. “The city staff not only welcomes businesses but they want to figure out how to make something happen. Barstow is the last (big) city on Interstate 15, and all prospective businesses are welcomed here. The city of Barstow has really positioned themselves well, this was a great event and I would really recommend they make this an annual event.”
Jose Quintero can be reached at 760-256-4122 or JQuintero@DesertDispatch.com.