“Relationship building is so important. If we are not talking to businesses constantly, how are we going to know what is going on?” One of the ways Anne Falgout, Executive Director of Vermilion Economic Development Alliance, plans to do this is by increasing the number of face-to-face meetings in critical areas around the parish.

“We already conduct individual visitations,” Falgout said, “Where we sit down with a company’s decision maker and discuss their business. Some have issues with growth, utilities or finding and keeping employees.”
But, Falgout and the Alliance’s board have a new plan underway.

Partnering with local elected officials, the economic development office will begin conducting “business walks.” Business walks have proven highly effective in strengthening local economies by retaining businesses in a community and creating an environment where they can grow. Companies can range from large employers, to the local mom-and-pop establishments and everything in between.

After much consideration, the Alliance chose to begin in Erath along the historic Highway 14 corridor, an area met with difficulty after the opening of the by-pass and devastation of past hurricanes. Long-time elected official and business advocate, Mayor John Earl Leblanc has been involved in the planning, and will join Falgout on the walk.
Along with the Erath area, downtown Abbeville and Cushing Boulevard in Kaplan are expected to be part of the business walk effort.

The Historic Highway 14 Business Walk will take place in downtown Erath on May 10th.

Business leaders and “walkers” will pose questions and get feedback on economic conditions, what local owners enjoy about doing business in the area, and how business could be improved. Afterward, Falgout’s office will follow up with the businesses.

“We are going to open the lines of communication,” she said, “and pass along information to those who can help remedy any problems and explore any opportunities we may encounter.

To get involved in the upcoming Erath event, or to assist with future walks, please contact the Alliance office at info@developvermilion.org or by calling (337) 740-0433.