Monday, August 09, 2010

Downtown: It's Worth the Drive

A few weeks ago, the Business Journal ran a story about Gateway Packaging, a local, family-owned business based in Granite City that recently sold a 75 percent stake to a private equity firm in order to raise money for future acquisitions.  Gateway's CEO, Roger Miller, hopes to eventually increase sales to $300 million, from $79 million in 2009.

Buried in the article was this brief mention of the company's future office space needs:

If the company expands to $150 million to $250 million in sales, Miller said he might open a corporate office in Clayton, where he lives.

This took me back to a speech given by Mark Mantovani, CEO of downtown-based NSI, at the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis' annual meeting in July. To paraphrase, he stated that local CEOs need to locate their businesses based on what's best for the region - and strengthening our downtown is one of the easiest ways to improve our region - instead of choosing an office that's simply close to their homes.

Hopefully Mr. Miller will give downtown a shot when it comes time to lease space for his growing business; I'm sure he'd be welcomed with open arms! The impact his firm could have on the downtown renaissance would certainly be worth a few minutes' extra drive time.


Anonymous said...

Or at least recognize or value some of his Illinois employees who might appreciate a shorter commute to downtown then going to Clayton.

samizdat said...

They sold a 75% stake to a privately held firm? Oh, boy, parking in Downtown STL is now the least of the employees potential problems. These equity companies are often ruthless, cold, calculating groups of professional sociopaths. I would bet layoffs are coming for production employees first, and then they'll cut "the fat" in middle management and office staff. To be sure, the PR is all over the "growing the Business" hype, but these firms reeeally like to make money. Seeing that current economic "theory" sees living human beings (employees) as an impediment to profit, weeell...Those poor buggers. I wish them well.