2/16/2007

Growth in Cedar City

I was browsing the Cedar City website looking for statistics on its recent growth. As of 2006, there are an estimated 27,000 residents in Cedar itself. There is an average growth rate of 3.3% over the past five years. I was in a class the other day when the economic developer for Cedar came in and told us they are expecting Cedar to be at 40,000 people in 5-10 years. One of my problems is: There are at this time a reported 81 restaurants in Cedar City with numerous more planned. That is one restaurant for every 333 people in Cedar including kids. There are tons of new businesses that are being built as well. My question: Is there too much building going on in Cedar? Will the growth support the rapid building that is going on? I have seen a couple businesses start up and close down within a few months time because they are not getting enough business. If this is taking place, why are there more companies coming in? I am afraid that people are coming in and setting themselves up for failure. What other evidence is there that people actually want to come to Cedar? What if all these estimates are not accurate? I think that the Economic planners for Cedar should pull back the reigns on allowing businesses to come here. We should wait for a little more actual growth before we dig ourselves in too deep.

10 comments:

bend said...

This is an interesting observation because do more businesses bring more people or do more people bring more businesses. Your observation is that more people bring more businesses. I believe more businesses will bring more people. Would people move to Cedar if there was no Wal-Mart or no restaurants. I think the numbers would be less. If people look at Cedar City and see what it has to offer then they will be more likely to come.

isabelle said...

I think that you make a very valid point. Ideally, that is how it should be: People moving here because of what Cedar has to offer. However, the reason I brought it all up was because personally I have seen at least 5 businesses fail and many more that struggle due to the lack of customers. Maybe my information is skewed and one-sided, but that has been my general observation.

Kate said...

The chicken or the egg, what an excellent question… Valid points have been made, but have we looked at the type of people that are helping the population grow? If Cedar City is planning with retirees is mind would not bend’s analysis be accurate? I haven’t had an update from the city planner for a year, but this was their target a year ago.

Does the failing of a business have to be specifically attributed to the lack of customers or should there be more analysis? Their product, marketing, location or timing could have been poor among any other number of items. Is this further analysis not what we have been educated to do?

TR said...

There have been some good points already made. I also agree that if more business come than that will bring more people. I too have seen a few businesses shut their doors, but those were businesses that simply were too small and under managed. The economic director is trying to bring in well established businesses that don’t rely on customers from here in Cedar City, but are nationally recognized. People will then have to fill the jobs offered and more small businesses will start up because of the growing population. Small, entrepreneurial businesses come and go on a daily basis, but well established companies will tend to stay in business for a longer time. I think the economic director should keep going full steam ahead. The more the merrier.

Eric said...

Thanks for the post it brought up some interesting points. I don’t know what is to come first the people or the business, perhaps both? In response to the end of the post are we digging ourselves in too deep? I say no. Maybe I am a little to heartless but the fact that these five small businesses went out of business hasn’t hurt me. I didn’t dig a thing.

Jacob said...

I too have noticed alot of business coming into Cedar City and soon after shutting down. I would love to see Cedar City grow. I think that state officials expected Cedar City to grow faster than it has. I think that more businesses will bring more people. However, at the same time, businesses want to be where there is a population that can support it business. Cedar City is in a tough situation. I hope to see more growth.

Dr. Tufte said...

-1 on Bend for grammatical errors.

There's a number of issues here, and I don't have solid answers, just directions to point you in.

1) Planning by planners is overrated. Growth is a decentralized process that they influence, but don't control.

2) Isabelle's main question seems to be whether growth is balanced. I'm not sure it is.

3) There is a folk theorem that notes that everything ultimately accumulates to those who possess fixed resources. Cedar has fixed resources that - at this time - society finds quite desirable. Some of these are scenery, climate, and isolation. We also benefit from infrastructure choices which have given us new "fixed" resources - like I-15, and natural gas for heat. We are also benefitting because an important fixed resource of many other places - proximity to "the action" - is diminishing in importance with the internet. All of these things point to continued growth.

4) One bad feature is that small business knowledge isn't very thick around here. My personal opinion is that a lot of new operations in Cedar are lacking in a) cash reserves for slow periods, b) marketing plans to get people in the door, c) merchandise on the shelves to make low marginal cost sales to people who are in the store right now, and d) an adequate understanding of the real options aspects of financing a business.

Anonymous said...

do people who live in Cedar City now like the town they live in now? Or do they only the city they hope it will be?

If you like where you live now why do you need an economic development program that encourages growth? Just let it happen via market forces.

I think sometimes people want a town to grow to put more money in there pocket but then it ruins the small town that they liked in the first place.

Just let government get out of the way and let free markets decide what businesses work best.

William said...

Dr. Tufte,
It seems to me that we should allow companies to come in and that we shouldn't ask that the economic planners refrain from allowing businesses to come in. I see more businesses as more people to tax and more revenue for Cedar City. I think that growth is great and that it will help to make Cedar City a better city not only financially, but also it will help to make bring diversity which I think Cedar needs.

Dr. Tufte said...

I agree. I moved here because I felt Cedar could be that sort of place.