Fresh start wanted for Vidor businesses

Published 10:42 am Monday, March 5, 2018

By Larry Holt

The Orange Leader

VIDOR — Vidor City Manager Mike Kunst led a public workshop with Vidor City Council, Vidor Chamber of Commerce, business owners, and interested citizens, on Tuesday, to begin generating ideas for how to promote Vidor businesses.

A few reasons to promote Vidor businesses, explained Kunst in his PowerPoint presentation, is to, “increase jobs when businesses expand. More sales tax gathered will assist quality of life in the city such as sidewalks, and lighting.”

“What does short term success look like to you?” Kunst asked attendees. After a long silent pause hesitant discussion sprang up and flourished for a short while until conversation died away without a clear notion of what “success” promoting Vidor businesses would look like.

An elephant in the room was past challenges among business owners and the chamber of commerce to sustain a promotion effort in an environment of fairness, transparency, collaboration, and shared vision.

After multiple rounds of discourse among attendees it became clear to interested parties passionate about promoting Vidor businesses, the effort needs a “fresh start” as Mayor Robert Viator expressed it.

Speaking at-large to business owners present at the workshop, Chamber of Commerce President Jeanette Winfrey said, “Nobody is going to promote your business but you. We can help you. We can stand with you. But you are your own best advocate.”

A general call for more citizen participation was echoed by many in the attendance at the meeting without follow on ideas to kick start the effort.

Kunst agreed saying in part, “The best method to promote Vidor businesses is a vital, healthy Chamber of Commerce with active member participation.”

Viator remarked, “Promoting businesses in our community improves the quality of life for all of us.”

He went further to make it clear, “If businesses don’t step up, the city has a responsibility to go on its own to promote Vidor businesses. You may not like what we come up with so now is the time to get involved.”

After more back and forth, on and off topic, a general consensus was reached. A meeting is scheduled for City Hall, Monday March 5 at 6:30 p.m. to further discuss and possibly either restructure the Chamber of Commerce, or create a new business promotion citizen organization.

Kunst said there is a possibility of the city creating a separate Economic Development Commission that would work alongside the Chamber of Commerce, business owners, and any other business promotion organization citizens deem necessary to give Vidor businesses a fresh start. An EDC for the City of Vidor would help the city seek grant money for business promotion and city growth.

Vidor City Council members may attend and participate in the Vidor Chamber of Commerce meeting to be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, March 5 at the Vidor City Hall, 1395 North Main in Vidor. No action will be taken by Council.