ST. JOHN | Economic development efforts in St. John recently received a boost in the form of a sleek full-color brochure highlighting the town’s assets.
The Open for Business brochure is the centerpiece of a marketing campaign first authorized by the Town Council in 2012, Town Manager Steve Kil said.
Proposed distribution of the brochure includes commercial real estate agents in Northwest Indiana and the Chicago area and the parent companies of popular sit-down restaurants, he said.
“We also plan to provide this information to large commercial land developers, commercial builders and brokerage firms in the Chicago area,” Kil said. “Our hope is that we can attract commercial businesses to the community and will do that by aggressively marketing the town.”
Those efforts were spurred by the closing of the St. John Kmart at 9950 Wicker Ave. in April 2012, Kil said. Sears Holdings Corp., the Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based parent of the discount retailer, announced plans in December 2011 to close the St. John store. That property remains vacant.
After Kmart closed, the St. John Economic Development Committee formed to create a plan for attracting more upscale businesses to the town.
The Town Council hired the Chicago-based marketing company Mauge Inc. in January to create the brochure and campaign.
“They held monthly meetings and did a tour of the community,” Kil said.
The brochure highlights St. John's ranking as Best Place to Raise Kids in Indiana 2013 by Business Week and CNN’s recognition of the town as 48th out of 100 best places to live in the United States in 2009.
Other features being promoted include demographics, such as average household income of $103,662 and median home value of $255,100; the town’s proximity to Chicago, but without Illinois taxes; and the 7,000 acres in St. John available for commercial development.
“St. John has a lot of good things to offer,” Kil said.
“Our population nearly doubled since 2000. Our housing starts are significantly up from last year. We have the U.S. 41 and Route 231 commercial corridor,” he said. “This is all attractive to businesses.”