Businesses are so much a part of our everyday landscape that we may not even realize it — from providing necessities like food and entertainment to improving the economic, political, and social well-being of our residents.
“Businesses are the foundation of our community,” said Denise Dyer, Pierce County Economic Development Director. “A thriving community is usually one with a strong, diverse business base.”
The South Sound is home to a wide variety of companies. These include primary industries like manufacturing, healthcare, tourism and the military, which bring new money into our economy; service and retail industries like banks, shops and restaurants that provide jobs and keep money circulating within the local economy; and nonprofit businesses that improve our community with museums, theaters and an array of cultural and social services.
Here are the ways that businesses — from single-person shops owned by your neighbors to large enterprises with thousands of employees — make crucial contributions to our lives.
Deliver goods and services
Our stores, restaurants and medical services provide the goods and services we rely on everyday. Our local businesses publish our newspapers, build our roads, construct our homes, landscape our parks and gardens, and create sports stadiums and theaters. In short, these enterprises provide everything we need to survive, as well as the activities that enrich our lives.
Provide tax funding
Almost every public service and structure we rely on — from police and fire departments to parks, roads, highways, and schools — is supported by taxes, a substantial portion of which come from businesses. The lower the tax revenue from businesses, the greater the burden on individuals.
“A community devoid of business would have a very difficult time meeting the needs of its citizens,” said Dyer.
Employ us and pay wages
Most of us gain our livelihood working for someone else, and more businesses mean more employment opportunities. Thanks to those jobs, we build our lives, our homes, our families, and we enjoy benefits like medical insurance and retirement plans.
The money people earn from their jobs not only furnishes them with what they need for a full and satisfying life, it also circulates within the community to local shopkeepers and service providers, so each new dollar entering the community gets re-spent several times and many people benefit.
From public health and social services to arts and education, non-profit organizations care for us in the most human of ways. Businesses provide non-profits with much-needed support through contributions of cash, in-kind gifts, pro bono services and volunteer hours.
Take, for example, the cooperative relationship between Interstate Distributor, one of Pierce County’s major trucking firms, and the Emergency Food Network (EFN), whose mission is to ensure that no one in the county goes hungry.
Interstate Distributor not only bought a box van to help EFN distribute food, they are also paying the driver’s salary for the next three years. What’s more, Interstate’s employees volunteer at the EFN warehouse, which benefits both Interstate and EFN.
Provide the skills and knowledge to succeed
We hone our work skills while on the job. That includes starting in an entry-level position and advancing our career as we learn new skills. The more businesses there are to provide employment, the more likely there are possibilities for advancement. Entrepreneurs leverage those skills to create their own businesses, furthering economic growth.
Many businesses begin with a neighbor who has a dream. Local car buff Art Morrison had a passion for vintage street rods and drag racing. He’s now famous among car aficionados for the custom-made Morrison chassis, built at Art Morrison Enterprises, the business he grew in Fife.
Another Pierce County resident, Shaun Broback, was a restaurant worker for twenty years, until he had a life-changing realization: “If I can do this for others, I can do it for myself.”
That insight led to the two restaurants he now owns, Crockett’s Public House and Trackside Pizza in Puyallup — and this former employee now provides jobs for some 100 other people.
Invest in our communities
Businesses invest millions of dollars in Pierce County. You can clearly see the benefits in an area like Frederickson, which has welcomed such companies as Boeing, Toray Composites, Northwest Door, James Hardie and Medallion Foods over the past thirty years.
Companies like these generate construction jobs and invest in equipment when they first move in, then create long-term employment opportunities that bring prosperity to individuals, families and the businesses they patronize.
Help our community thrive
You need businesses to build almost everything that enhances our lives — a museum, a ski resort, a toy store, café or mall. Businesses can also bring an infusion of money into a community, through everything from construction projects to special events.
One stunning example of what a special event can contribute economically was the 2015 U.S. Open Championship, which took place at the Chambers Bay Golf Course last June. That one-week event brought an infusion of $134 million to Pierce County and its neighbors and would not have been possible without the support of many businesses.
Building a bright future
Today, the South Sound’s business climate is flourishing, thanks to local businesses and global industries who have seen the benefits of making a home here.