The Chapel Hill 2020 process is flying by with discussions, workshops, presentations, report out sessions packed onto the calendar.  All focused on developing a plan for an even better Chapel Hill.
I’ve had the pleasure of co-facilitating one of the theme groups  with Gary Saleeby & Marlene Rifkin.  Through much discussion, the group has  established three primary goals, one of which is to foster the success of local business.

Why is it important to have successful business in Chapel Hill?  Reasons listed during various discussions include:

  1. To provide jobs for citizens.
  2. To provide job diversity and hopefully higher paying jobs.
  3. To provide basic needs for residents, so they shop here instead of elsewhere.
  4. If they shop elsewhere, Chapel Hill loses the tax revenue.
  5. If Chapel Hill gets the tax revenue, there is less reliance on residential property tax.
  6. So that we don’t have “ghost” centers.
  7. To bring energy/vibrancy to the community.
  8. To retain a creative youthful population.
  9. To protect and support UNC & UNC hospital (a major driver of the local economy).
  10. Successful business & business owners can contribute or give back more to the community

Now that the group has determined these goals, the next step is to develop strategies and action plans.

I’m writing today to say “Help!!!”

Google says there are over 11,000 businesses in Chapel Hill.    There are approximately 8000 businesses listed in the phone book.  The Town of Chapel Hill has issued licenses to 2,229 businesses.  The Chamber of Commerce has 1100 members.   I don’t know how many businesses have been represented in the 2020 Vision process so far, but I know it is nowhere near  even the smallest of those numbers.

So once again – HELP!  We need to hear from you! 

What can the Town do to foster the success of your business?

In case you feel like your input won’t matter – that your  voice is too small to make a difference – take a look at this quote.

anyone who feels too small to make a difference has never spent the night in a tent with a mosquito

Unlike a mosquito though, you don’t have to bite a lot to make a difference.

One quick and easy thing you can do right now is to COMPLETE THIS SURVEY about doing business in Chapel Hill.  The responses will come  to me by way of by Survey Monkey and then shared with the participants of the Community Prosperity and Engagement theme group.

In addition, it’s not too late to join the Economic Prosperity & Engagement group in determining the how’s of fostering business success.    Come for the Report Out session on February 7 at 7:00.  Or write to me at and we’ll get you on the announcement list.

One last thing…in case you aren’t sure about the value of the process…at our last group meeting, we asked participants about the benefits of the Chapel Hill 2020 process so far.  See responses at bottom of page.

There has been much value.  And there can be more.  For your business and for the town.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Meanwhile, here are a few links of interest:


Responses to the question:  What has been the benefit or value of the 2020 process so far?
(posed to Economic Prosperity & Engagement group on January 12, 2012)

  1. Eye opening process
  2. Appreciation of staff and what they do
  3. Voice of community
  4. Education: 1) hear from citizens and vice versa, 2) what it takes to sustain the Town*
  5. Awareness filter
  6. Learning and new perspectives
  7. Experts from many subjects to incorporate
  8. How Town functions and future constraints
  9. Equity in decision-making –
  10. Opportunity to see the game and how it’s played
  11. Eye-opening facts*
  12. Participation
  13. Cost and where money comes from – tax base*
  14. Connection of other groups
  15. Energy in engagement of painting a picture of future
  16. See how plan unfolds – implement through a different lens
  17. Being part of process
  18. Civic responsibility
  19. Fullfillment
  20. Levels of understanding
  21. Value being able to bring anything up

 *Item was repeated or endorsed by more than one person