Economic Development

Slater Barr

Object of the Game:

Imagine that our local economy is represented by a bucket filled with water. The walls of the bucket symbolize the boundaries of Dyer County. The water inside the bucket equals the wealth within our community. Circulating that water around, acting like a blender, are those local businesses serving Dyer County’s residents. Most local businesses are referred to as consumptive industries, comprised of restaurants, retailers, and most professional and service providers.

However, every transaction – every sale that takes place – generally involves some amount of that local “wealth” leaving our community, going somewhere else. Think about it. If you are buying a consumer product, chances are good that product was built somewhere else, so part of your purchase price goes to the original manufacturer who, in turn, probably bought sub-components from yet another location. That product was then shipped into Dyer County, so another part of the purchase goes to pay the shipper and their employees. So for every transaction, part of our local “wealth” leaves Dyer County, analogous to having a hole in our bucket, leaking dollars away from our community.

To replenish the water (wealth) in our bucket, we need to fill it back up. Industries that make something here and sell it somewhere else are called primary industries. The most common example is manufacturing, although many retailers and service industries also create a product that they are selling to customers outside of Dyer County. Therefore, primary industries are bringing wealth back into our community, replenishing those dollars leaking out.

It makes sense that the more primary industries that you have – and the more diversified that they are – the more stable will be your local economy. With a variety of industries, as one is experiencing an economic slump, another may be doing well.

That is why economic development organizations such as the Dyersburg/Dyer County Chamber of Commerce place so much emphasis on the attraction of primary industries such as manufacturing. The attraction, as well as the expansion, of primary industries is the object of this game and makes the difference between winning and losing.

I hope you've enjoyed this week's segment and I encourage you to join me next week. Have a great week and please don't forget to join us on February 8, 2020 for the Annual Chairman's Banquet and Awards Program!

Slater Barr, CEcD

Slater is a Certified Economic Developer and a certified Economic Development Finance Professional. He is a graduate of Mississippi State University with a BS in Electrical Engineering and of the prestigious Advanced Management Development Program in Real Estate from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. In addition, he has the Urban Land Institute Certificate in Real Estate Development and is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute.