Code Surprises Impede Business Growth

"I wish I had something like that when I was first getting into it," Cardwell said. "I think that would be very helpful for people who are exploring the idea of starting their own business to really give them an idea of what has to be done and what they're getting themselves into."

Improving code process Santoyo-McNaught said having one individual to go to for information would have helped her during the economic development process, while Rachel Brown, co-owner of Uncle Billy's Bakery, said Boyd from the ISBDC gave her all the information she needed to be able to take over Uncle Billy's from its former owners.

City Building Inspector Matt Carlson said that while referring entrepreneurs to a single source might be a good idea in theory, the process is too complex to be covered by one individual.

"It's hard to say until you actually start digging in what are the plumbers going to charge, what are the electricians going to charge, what are the contractors going to charge," Carlson said. "We do our best to work with KCAPED to kind of keep them in the loop, (like) 'here's the contact people who are good for this information, be it the codes, who they need to talk to, if they need to get a hold of the health department.' There are a lot of moving pieces in there, and it's really difficult to make it just a one-stop shop."

Robbins suggested a more short-term solution: making the city's website format more intuitive. She gave an example of the site for the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana, which has a clearly marked "business" tab and links on the page such as "starting a business information and brochure" and "incentives, grants and loans."

"I felt like I could go (on the Fort Wayne site) and I know what I need to do, who I need to communicate with and how to move forward, and I think that we should have something -- at least online -- that represents the process in a tangible way," Robbins said.

Boyd emphasized that since each municipality and economic development organization is run differently, it's up to local communities to demand change if they would like to restructure their local systems in a way that they believe will encourage business owners and economic development.

"To me, that's a policy issue that has to be resolved at that local level on how those things are done," Boyd said.

"It's upon the citizens of that town to do their due diligence to change or modify or accept whatever it is that's going on."

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