COLUMBIA — The Better Business Bureau in St. Louis saw its presence lacking in areas surrounding St. Louis, so it is opening its first branch in Columbia.
"For the first time in our 93 year history, we’ve opened a branch business," said Michelle Corey, president and CEO of the bureau in St. Louis.
Expected to open in mid-August, the Better Business Bureau of Saint Louis has signed a lease in the Buttonwood Business Center, Corey said. Interviewing has started for a full-time local manager. Once the branch is opened, Corey hopes that internship opportunities at the branch will attract university students.
"We’d like to get more exposure in larger populations that we have underserved in the past," Corey said.
Most of the bureau's services are offered online, but it isn't as accessible as it could be to Columbia residents, Corey said. "We’re not accessible to the media for our interviews, or don’t have watchdogs there to monitor advertising or watch over students," Corey said.
The 2010 census showed future growth in Columbia, and those were factors considered in the opening of the branch, Corey said.
Corey outlined the purpose of the Columbia branch as:
- An educational campaign to educate businesses on how to meet consumer needs.
- More education for consumers on how to spend their money wisely.
- Getting more exposure in a larger, underserved population.
- Providing better accessibility to the strong media market in Columbia
- Providing a watchdog service for businesses and students.