City Chamber reaches out to local businesses

City Chamber reaches out to local businesses

CREATED Mar 14, 2012

Reporter: Stephani Ruiz

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Local business owner Janice Dickman says things need to change.

"There's a lot of business issues that a lot of business owners are facing," Dickman said. "It's just so regulated. There's a fee for this, fee for that, it just seems like they don't want you here."

Dickman says opening both of her Meat and Deli stores was a headache. Especially when she recently relocated on the eastside. She tells KGUN9 the city's strict standards and added demands didn't feel like a warm welcome to the Tucson community.

"I had a business back in Wisconsin, and even when health inspectors come in they want to work with you. They want you to succeed. They want that business. They bend over backwards to put you in here. Here, I feel like they're so far above you that they want to put that authority on you," Dickman said.

Concerns like this are what the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber is looking for. The Business Expansion And Retention (BEAR) Project will tackle obstacles local businesses face.

"The BEAR project is all about going out and finding out which businesses might be at risk for leaving the Tucson/Southern Arizona area. We also want to identify opportunities and hurdles that businesses might be facing," Michael Varney, President & CEO of the Tucson Metro Chamber, said.

Volunteers will form teams to meet with business owners, identify red flag issues and help find solutions. A crucial effort, because the chamber says Tucson simply can't afford to lose these businesses.

In the next 30 days, volunteer teams will start interviewing local business owners and conducting surveys to identify those problem issues. In a year, the chamber will put together a summary reporting the trends and key areas of concern.

So far, there are 12 volunteers on this project. To join in, call the Tucson Metro Chamber at 520-792-2250.