COLUMBIA — The population of Columbia has surpassed 100,000, according to growth data gathered in the 2008 census by the Missouri Census Data Center. The report says Columbia has become one of only five cities in Missouri to reach that mark, including St. Louis, Independence, Kansas City and Springfield.
One of the perceptions in the business world is that once a population reaches that "magic number," the market suddenly becomes more economically inviting to national businesses and chains.
"I don't know about the significance of the number, but the important thing is that Columbia has been experiencing continuous growth for 40 years," said Gary Markenson of the Missouri Municipal League.
The data indicates that Columbia has grown by nearly 2,000 people a year since 2000. This growth, however, could be beneficial or detrimental, depending on where you're situated in the city.
"The growth is good for consumers because it means there are more locations to shop at. It's bad for business owners because it attracts more competition to the market," said Brian Ash, owner of Bambino's Italian Cafe.
Johanna Cox-Littrell, executive director of Columbia Locally Owned Retail and Services, disagreed.
"The key to businesses thriving is competition, so (the growth) means more people are shopping at local businesses, too," Cox-Littrell said.
The recent decline in the national and local economies means that more businesses coming to Columbia would be good for generating sales tax revenue, as long as people are buying.
What does a population surpassing 100,000 mean for Columbia businesses?