City ranks 14th best for running business

Tuesday, July 27, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:08 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Business is good for businesses in Columbia, at least according to one magazine.

Expansion Management magazine ranked Columbia 14th out of 331 metropolitan areas across the nation of best metros for business expansion and relocation. Columbia ranked fifth among metro areas with a population of 250,000 or less.

Columbia’s highest rankings came in quality of life and public education.

The overall ranking was determined from six categories: public education, college-educated work force, health-care costs, quality of life, logistics infrastructure, and government taxes and spending.

The categories are factors that are important to businesses looking to expand or relocate, said Dave Meyer, marketing director for Regional Economic Development Inc.

Meyer credits local government with Columbia’s ability to be ranked highly in those categories.

“I would really applaud the leadership of the city and county for keeping the community ... a great place to live and work,” he said.

Columbia’s ranking didn’t surprise Carrie Gartner, executive director of Columbia Special Business District.

She pointed to a ranking of Columbia’s restaurant business two years ago. Restaurant Business magazine ranked Columbia 43rd in the nation and first in Missouri of best places to open a restaurant.

“It makes sense,” Gartner said. “We’re a growing community.” She said Columbia has the labor and the people to expand.

Gartner said the business ranking shows that Columbia is still an attractive city for consumers and businesses.

“We are growing as a regional destination,” she said.

Including Columbia, four metro areas in Missouri ranked in the top 26. Kansas City — including the portion in Kansas — ranked second. Springfield ranked sixth. St. Louis ranked 26th, including the East St. Louis area. Nationwide, Des Moines, Iowa, ranked first.

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