Small, big businesses booming in Papillion

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Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 12:00 am

Mark Mitchell's roots are in Sarpy County.

Originally from Bellevue, Mitchell opened a Jimmy John's franchise in Midlands Place last week. It is his fourth franchise in Sarpy County.

In the last year, Papillion has seen significant commercial growth from businesses big and small.

“Broadly, there's opportunities commercially for everyone from the very small startup entrepreneur all the way up to a large business,” said city spokesman Darren Carlson.

A decade ago, only 20 to 40 commercial permits were issued each year. Now, anywhere from 60 to 80 commercial permits are being issued yearly. Those include big names like Fidelity Investments, but the city has focused on welcoming businesses of all sizes.

“It's a broad spectrum,” Carlson said. “All of it is critical.”

SAC Federal Credit Union is in the process of relocating to Papillion. The city has also seen openings of restaurants and retail stores. New downtown building guidelines are now in place to help business owners locate there.

The city also recently announced that Sam's Club will be opening in Settlers Creek, near Hobby Lobby on the corner of 72nd Street and Cornhusker Road. Developers also are nearly ready to break ground on a 110-room Fairfield Inn & Suites near 84th Street and Highway 370.

Development is pending in the Werner Park area, too. Houses are coming to the area, along with new elementary and middle schools, and businesses are expected to follow suit soon.

In early October, Drafthouse Cinema and Entertainment announced a proposed project of 52,000-square-foot movie theater, restaurant and arcade in Pennant Place. Although the project was announced, no official permits or agreements with the City of Papillion have been approved, Carlson said.

“There seems to be a nice mix of different businesses. I think one of the key things is a nice mix of different types of businesses,” said Scott Buchholz, who is serving as the 2013-14 board chair of the Sarpy County Chamber of Commerce.

Patrick Boyle, who attended the Jimmy John's ribbon cutting, said the city's growth is unparalleled. Boyle is a public affairs professional for Metropolitan Community College.

“These are the good, middle class paying jobs,” Boyle said. “Big businesses feed small businesses. They go hand in hand with one another.”

Daytime businesses and offices have also been a key to the city's commercial growth. Mitchell said he is excited to see new daytime businesses in the Midlands Place area.

“Our customers are typically daytime workers in the community during the day,” he said.

The City of Papillion passed a sales tax milestone in the 2012-13 fiscal year when sales tax totals passed $7 million.

The growth isn't just a one-time jump. Sales tax trends show that numbers are up each month.

“This is healthy, organic growth, not just a unique spike,” Carlson said.

Papillion retailers held on through the recession. 2008 to 2009 was a flat year. Following years saw gradual increases.

Between January and early October, 88 commercial permits were issued with a valuation of more than $160 million.

“We're just as excited when somebody starts a small business as we are with a large business,” Carlson said. “We've worked hard to identify that we have areas and opportunities for all business sizes and business types.”

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