Business Community Anticipates Economic Growth for Santa Maria in 2018

With the exciting new business developments, it’s been an eventful year for Santa Maria. As we wrap up 2017, we can’t help but look ahead at what’s in store for our local community in 2018.

The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce recently polled local business members on their concerns, hopes, and predictions for what’s in store for Santa Maria in 2018.

The biggest concerns for Santa Maria businesses? Of those polled the majority expressed concerns stemming from rising costs including an inability to meet demands, the labor pool and labor costs, and an economic slowdown.

“Bills/costs/lease/inventory/payroll have all gone up dramatically, but revenues haven’t kept up with the expenses,” explained Brenda Forsythe of Orcutt Veterinary Hospital. “Finding a way to balance out rising costs is certainly a concern for our business in the coming year.”

The city understands these concerns, and is looking for ways to address them in 2018.

“Rising costs are certainly a concern for the City of Santa Maria in 2018,” said Jason Stilwell, City Manager for the City of Santa Maria. “However, we do have some ideas in place of how to address rising costs of service, including:

1) increasing revenue with new development and regional partnerships

2) implementing cost reduction opportunities in our operations

3) potentially reducing services.”

And while rising costs are a concern for 2018, there are also many exciting developments in the city of Santa Maria to look forward to.

“Wow, there are so many changes coming to Santa Maria,” said Janet Silveria of Community Bank of Santa Maria.  “A new shopping center; a new city manager; a new downtown plan; a new youth task force. The list goes on! It’s certainly an exciting time of growth for Santa Maria.”

The majority of local businesses surveyed were also optimistic about 2018 for Santa Maria, and see growth as one of the biggest changes with additional retail space, more consumer choices and an increase in jobs.

“We have a lot to look forward to in 2018 – it’s an exciting time of growth and development for our city,” Stilwell said. “The three things I’m most looking forward to this coming year include:

1) The new shopping at Enos Ranch and other new businesses throughout the community.

2) Improved maintenance to our transportation infrastructure which will result in fewer potholes, interchange improvements, and better streets as a result of the gas tax funding.

3) High speed internet coming in late 2018 which will be a great benefit to our local businesses who are finding that slow internet speeds have been hampering growth.”

As for what the businesses community is hoping to see in 2018, many commented that continued collaboration between different communities, industries and city entities will continue to benefit the city as a whole.

“In Santa Maria we are very fortunate to have a City Council and Chamber of Commerce that support strong local businesses which allow the community to grow while balancing neighborhoods, open space, recreation, and traffic,” said Craig Zimmerman, President of The Towbes Group. “I think it’s critical to Santa Maria’s continued success that these goals and support remain, without it the entire community would be impacted.”

Generally speaking, the local business community is optimistic about 2018. The majority of businesses polled (69.8%) said they believe the local Santa Maria economy will continue to grow in 2018. And with future developments on the horizon, there’s much to look forward to as a community in the coming year.