Main Street - regional planning, former John's Hobby Shop

File Photo. 

Editor's Note: This story is part of a month-long series that highlights 31 ideas included in the "Mansfield Rising" plan. The 67-page document was created by 15 local leaders after attending the South by Southwest Conference last March in Austin, Texas.

Idea 18: Create a new business concierge position

MANSFIELD -- The 'Mansfield Rising' plan proposes the creation of a business concierge position.

Someone in this role would recruit new businesses to downtown Mansfield and be dedicated to help those companies with their needs.

The business concierge would act as a general contractor and help step-by-step to find solutions for both start-ups and existing businesses. He or she would assist with requirements, regulations, permits, ordinances, funding and available sites and buildings. That individual would be a liaison to the codes and permits department.

When recruiting businesses to locate in downtown, it would be this person's responsibility to insure a good mix and variety. Success would be based on the number of new businesses established each year. 

The notion is that a variety of new businesses would increase foot traffic and a need for downtown housing, which in turn would increase population and have a positive impact on the tax base.

To further help new businesses that are considering moving into downtown Mansfield, the plan suggests listing step-by-step instructions for a particular type of business on the city of Mansfield website. This might include 'how to establish a restaurant," "how to establish a daycare," or "how to establish a retail shop."

Down the road, an expanded city concierge department with volunteers would be able to help visitors interested in moving here with their various needs, such as housing, employment and entertainment. Volunteers could act as ambassadors for the City of Mansfield. Volunteers could be incorporated similar to how SCORE maximizes its capabilities in this way.

The plan notes that places like Columbus and Delaware, Ohio, as well as Dubai, already have business concierges. Dubai, the plan explains, has an interactive online concierge named Rashid, who helps businesses, residents and tourists.

The process of creating a business concierge position could start with a conversation with the City of Mansfield and the Economic Development director to discuss the possibility of housing it within the city and how this would impact the city's organizational chart. The new position/department needs further support from other city employees and could include comprehensive customer service training for employees who interest current and potential business owners.

Support Our Journalism

Our content is free and always will be - but we rely on your support to sustain it. Become a member starting at $5 per month.

This Solutions Journalism story is brought to you in part by the generous support of our Newsroom Partners: Spherion, Visiting Nurses Association, PR Machine Works, Nanogate/Jay Systems, DRM Productions, OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital, Richland Bank, Mechanics Bank, Area Agency on Aging, and many others. To learn more about Solutions Journalism at Richland Source click the "About Solutions Journalism."