How’s Business? We’re #3!

Chain stores are fleeing Main Street. “Retail Space Available” signs fill the Post Road. “06880” commenters warn that high taxes, crumbling infrastructure and many other factors put our town in peril.

But a business environment is more than merchants. And a new study from the Yankee Institute ranks Westport as Connecticut’s 3rd most business-friendly town.

The public policy institute collected and measured data from the state’s 50 largest municipalities. Criteria included economic vitality (median income and job growth), tax burden, transportation, and “community allure” (education, crime rates, cost of living).

The Yankee Institute report says Westport is

heavily reliant on financial service companies, with over 7,000 financial-sector employees. Major companies include Bridgewater Associates and Canaan Partners from the financial services area. But Westport is also home to Terex, a Fortune 500 industrial equipment manufacturing company.

Westport is home base for Bridgewater, the world’s largest hedge fund.

The Yankee Institute adds: “Westport’s score was lowered by its high tax burden. But high community allure, economic vitality and transportation infrastructure kept it high on our list.”

I’m not sure what “transportation infrastructure” means — something about ports of entry, interstate highways and rail lines — but we’ll take it.

Westport followed Fairfield and Greenwich. Ridgefield was 4th, Simsbury 5th — meaning the state’s 4 most business-friendly towns are in Fairfield County.

The least business-friendly places were cities like Waterbury, New Haven and Hartford. All face severe fiscal challenges. Stamford was the only major city to score in the top 25.

To celebrate our town’s ranking, “06880” invites you to treat yourself to something nice — a gift perhaps, or a meal.

Anywhere in town that’s open.

(Click here for the full report. Hat tip: Avi Kaner)

12 responses to “How’s Business? We’re #3!

  1. What the hell is so wonderful about being the state’s third most “business friendly town.” If we were # 1, we could look like Stamford…maybe Bridgeport….now there’s a goal to shoot for.

  2. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    “High tax burden”? Compared to Cincinnati, Westport is tax-free. High taxes are the least of its problems.

    • I agree Westport has one of lower tax rates in the state. We are the envy of surrounding towns.

  3. Missed the point. A retailer needs a product that people buy and the economics to keep the door open.

  4. Joan Tricarico

    Perhaps a promotional web site like this one for New Haven
    It’s a one stop, colorful resource for events, restaurants, shopping, etc.

  5. After the sprawling orgy of spending that has been authorized in Westport recently, we must be #1 in some state-wide category.

    • Michael Calise

      Are you referring to the Parks and Recreation boondoggle of an over one million Dollar project for a sidewalk and bathroom at south beach. It is so bad that they had to hire a former town employee to sell it to the Boards, Commissions and the RTM. .It may be time for a elected Recreation Commission

      • Arline Gertzoff

        There were 8 of us on RTM who had the courage to vote NO .I suspect Catherine Calise is a relative who eloquently explained it all.I wonder if a surveillance system is included or will that be a cost overrun? Thanks for your insights

      • Yes, Michael, the recent Pentagon-type spending on three toilets – at over a quarter of a million dollars a piece – certainly caught my attention. But then there’s snickering gaggle of extravagant “studies”; the frivolous burying of utilities (which we’re informed with a straight face will increase “vitality” in the downtown area) and so on.

        Since you raise the matter of the recently retired town employee whom we have, for some reason, retained as a paid “consultant”, and who has also, somehow, insinuated himself into a general contractor(ish) position for the above referenced bathroom project, I do have one question: possible conflict of interest concerns notwithstanding, did anyone ever succeed in working out what we’re paying this person to g.c the new bathrooms?

  6. Carmine Picarello

    Seems like the Yankee Institute’s rating is mostly reflecting Westport’s “bones”, the geographic locale & features that have always made Westport popular. With Main St. empty and the popularity of Amazon, we’ve become more of a NYC bedroom community than ever before.

  7. Interesting that the “good for businesses” study appears not to be about store-front, retail, mom-and-pop meaningfulness.

  8. Westport has lost its attraction as a restaurant and shopping destination. A hedge fund is not a substitute for stores, nightlife, and a vital community. As for comparisons with large cities, Westport, wth its high living costs, effectively excludes people who need help, making for low taxes and attraction for high-end industries.