Grow Smart: How economic development software supports Lathrop, CA’s rapid growth
Cities all across America are experiencing rapid development—and many are enlisting economic development software to scale support and knowledge sharing.
We had the chance to speak with Shelley Burcham, the current Economic Development Administrator of the city of Lathrop, CA, who has decades of experience in economic development. She shared how Lathrop is using digital solutions—like Bludot’s business retention platform—to keep up with the growth in population, businesses and even government departments.
Keeping track of a growing business community with Bludot’s economic development software
Located just an hour away from the Bay Area, Lathrop, CA has seen an 11.1% growth rate over the last year, seeing their population grow from 31,331 in the last census to now over 35,080—and still growing. With Lathrop’s population boom, Shelley’s initial focus was to respond to the new residents’ desires to have more retail offerings. However, she soon saw that the city was faced with challenges in keeping track of its current businesses. On one set of promotional materials, she noticed that due to a lack of streamlined data, outside brokers and homebuilders were promoting businesses that weren’t even located within Lathrop’s city limits. She also recognizes the key role that local businesses play in our communities:
“A lot of times your local businesses or your small businesses are the ones that are going to create jobs quicker than just bringing in a large company. So, if you can help them grow and have that connection I think that's key.”
To help them grow, Shelley knew that the first step was to keep track of the data of the businesses in town. She had previously built her own databases to track what type of business, number of employees, addresses and main contacts, as well as information about prospective businesses—however, she needed something that could scale with the growth of her city. Bludot’s business directory helped her transfer the data she had into a public directory—where new residents can find and support local businesses.
A new solution for new partners
In addition to thousands of new residents, the city of Lathrop, CA also brought in an entirely new police force—a service that had previously been contracted out with the local Sheriff's Department. Shelley has been able to collaborate with the new police department (and other government departments) through Bludot's economic development software.
Because Bludot has the capability to provide both a public business directory and an internal CRM, Shelley can create different user profiles so partners can access relevant information—while keeping public information updated for residents to view. It has provided a quick way for Lathrop’s government to stay updated on data and communications to their local business environment—allowing for faster problem solving and opportunities.
“Just yesterday, I got a call from our Police Department that they're applying for a grant and they needed to know all the different businesses—commercial and industrial—and the addresses and the phone numbers. There you go. You do it in Bludot, you export it, and it was perfect.“
Boots on the ground, data in the cloud
As a city and government grows, creating a succession plan for governments becomes even more important. Shelley acknowledges the importance of maintaining an accurate database:
“Bludot allows you to keep in touch with your businesses. There's turnover, people leave, move on to different positions, and in Bludot, you're able to capture all that new information.”
But Shelley knows that isn’t a replacement to getting to know your businesses, residents and community leaders first-hand. With her city’s rapid pace of growth, it’s been hard to accurately paint the picture of Lathrop’s growth.
“The census doesn't keep it all that current and there's other programs out there that you can grab information from, but we are the ones experiencing it. I think it’s very impactful to know what boots are on the ground.”
She relies on data to tell the stories of her city’s successes, for businesses that are both long-standing pillars or new supporters. Sprouts, a supermarket chain, recently opened in their city:
“When Sprouts came and they opened their doors on a Friday, by Monday their shelves were absolutely empty and they exceeded their grand opening goals by 40%. Those are the stories I have to tell to make people understand how quickly we're growing.”
How can economic development software empower your team?
Utilizing economic development software like Bludot can track that data and make it easier to tell those stories that are impactful to your community.
They can help you to attract new business to your community and support your established businesses as well. It can make it easier for your partners and residents to learn about these businesses and find the services they need. And, it can establish a system that helps your city thrive for years to come.
To see Bludot’s economic development software in action, schedule a demo today.