Six long-time Flagstaff businesses have been thanked by the City of Flagstaff for choosing Flagstaff as their place of doing business and recognized for their contributions in employment, education, philanthropy and prosperity.
In a standing-room only Flagstaff City Council meeting last month, a proclamation from the Mayor Coral Evans’s office was presented by Vice Mayor Jamie Whelan declaring May 8-12 as Economic Development Week, acknowledging Babbitt Ranches, Lowell Observatory, Northern Arizona University, JCPenney, W. L. Gore & Associates and Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona for strengthening Flagstaff’s economic health.
“Homegrown businesses are part of what makes Flagstaff unique and a wonderful place to live,” said Mayor Evans. “These enterprises are foundations in our community that merge the perspectives of history and the opportunity of the future,” added City of Flagstaff Business Retention and Expansion Manager John Saltonstall.
Babbitt Ranches has been practicing sustainable stewardship in Flagstaff for 131 years. “It is impossible to imagine a Flagstaff without the Babbitts,” said Evans. “It is just as difficult to put into words what they have meant to our community. Their businesses and public service helped to shape and mold our wonderful close-knit mountain town. Babbitts is a true community pillar in every sense.”
“The Babbitt Ranches offices are still housed in our downtown,” said Saltonstall. One of the neatest things about this fact is that the Babbitt Family has been here since the earliest days of this community. And roots are critical to life. Strong deep roots allow for growth to great and broad heights that support futures and that sustain in times of trouble. Their stewardship has allowed the region to enjoy some of the greatest open spaces this state has to offer. Although ranching is less prominent than it once was, the CO Bar and all its enterprises bring a distinct quality that comes with longevity and perspective.”
“It is wonderful to participate in this honor with such resilient organizations that have provided solid support for our community and helped Flagstaff grow and thrive,” said Babbitt Brothers Foundation Board Member Jim Babbitt.
Lowell Observatory has been exploring the heavens from Flagstaff for 123 years and has been the site of many important discoveries including the realization the universe is expanding and the discovery of Pluto. “We are very pleased to be recognized during Economic Development Week. We love being part of Flagstaff, and we look forward to many more years of positive involvement in our community,” said Lowell Observatory Director Jeff Hall.
Today, Lowell astronomers use telescopes around the world and in space to conduct research in diverse areas of astronomy and planetary science.
Northern Arizona University has been teaching in Flagstaff for 118 years. “Economic Development Week is certainly a great time to honor Flagstaff’s past and future and NAU is proud to be a part of both,” said President Rita Cheng. “The success we achieve together is what makes this a great community.”
JCPenney has been keeping Flagstaff clothed for 100 years. Third generation Flagstaff native and General Manager Hillary Goitia says she can’t remember a time when her family didn’t shop at JCPenney for all their needs. “The legacy inspired by James Cash Penney has lead all of us to want be better managers, leaders, associates and partners. I can’t express enough what a wonderful company JCPenney is. There is an absolute sense of family, integrity, honesty, morals and values that are practiced daily.”
- L. Gore & Associates has been advancing health care through innovations in Flagstaff for 50 years. “We are honored to be the home of W. L. Gore, a company for which I worked,” said the mayor. “Gore’s invaluable contributions to the entire world make Flagstaff proud.”
“It’s indeed an honor to be included among such stellar organizations,” said David Abeyta, a Medical Products Divisional leader. “It is the talent, creativity and commitment of the associates that have propelled us to our world-class standing. Deeply felt foundational values permeate the Gore culture and make it a joy for associates to come to work each day. We feel that together, we are improving lives.”
Meantime, Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona is now the largest Goodwill in the world.
During Economic Development Week, May 8-12, a series of public discussions about successes and challenges were conducted each morning at coffee shops such as Pay ‘N Take, Late for the Train, Firecreek Coffee and Kickstand Kafe’ led by the City of Flagstaff Economic Development staff with participation from representatives of the Coconino County Career Center. “While it was the first Economic Development Week in Flagstaff, the week was a great success. People who took time out of their days to join a community discussion were engaged, and the facilitators were appreciative and grateful,” said Saltonstall.
Economic Development Week was created in 2016 by the industry group called the International Economic Development Council, also known as the IEDC.
“Often working behind the scenes, local, state and national economic developers work directly with business ventures of all varieties and sizes, from the individual with an idea to the large collections of individuals engaged in international trade,” said Saltonstall. “Economic developers may be found walking the floors of manufacturing plants with plant managers and CEOs to learn firsthand the challenges of industry or sitting at a desk next to a single parent who has an idea to start his or her own business but needs business counseling.” FBN
By Bonnie Stevens