Brinkman Partners

Fort Collins Number 2 on Forbes list

Date: Mar. 27th, 2009
Contact: DAVID YOUNG

Fort Collins No. 2 on Forbes list

Report puts city among best places for businesses, careers

Forbes is reporting something that many local business owners have known for years - Fort Collins is a good place to run a business.

According to a report this week by Forbes.com, Fort Collins ranks No. 2, behind Raleigh, N.C., on the list of best places for businesses and careers.

The article says that, despite the millions of jobs lost in the current recession, a handful of cities have managed to remain attractive to businesses.

North Carolina and Colorado are the dominant states on the 11th annual list, taking 10 of the top 20 metro area spots. Fort Collins ranked No. 3 last year and moved up this year in large part because of its technology sectors.

Northern Colorado has made a name for itself in the renewable energy economy with Vestas opening a blade factory in Windsor.

Mike Freeman, Fort Collins chief financial officer, said he is happy to see the small gain on the list but notes the ranking won't directly help local businesses and that there is still a lot of work to do to revive the down economy.

"Great news; (I'm) really happy to see this make modest improvement since last year in a down economy," Freeman said.

Freeman said that the high education and good income growth jumped out at him as reasons for Fort Collins making the list. In light of news about Advanced Energy and Kodak making recent cuts, he said there is concern about primary employers.

At the same time, Forbes' list reinforces efforts by the city to draw a range of employers to the region.

"I think that it is consistent with my personal belief that we have worked hard to diversify employment," Freeman said.

Tom Stoner, chef and owner of Spoons Soups and Salads, said he moved to Fort Collins from Hawaii six years ago and has enjoyed the business atmosphere ever since.

"It doesn't surprise me a bit. I think we are a very economically sound community," Stoner said regarding the ranking. "(It's a) great business environment."

Stoner said he enjoys the educated, health-conscious community, which is a good fit with his locally produced products.

While the ranking might not have a direct impact on the local business economy, Freeman notes it is positive news.

Freeman said the city is positioned well for the future with organizations such as the Northern Colorado Economic Development Corporation helping build the entrepreneurial community.