Photo from Pierce County Business Examiner website
The Monday, June 11, 2007 Pierce County Business Examiner ran an in-depth section all about Yelm and the growth here.
Researched and well-written by Hilary Maynard, her stories examine the “up-side” to all of this growth.
Ms. Maynard called this writer for comments that were quoted below and asked if she could call again for follow-up about issues facing the city and area because of all of thie city-approved unbridled growth.
[Ed. Note: I do hope to see those issues covered in a not-too-distant Business Examiner to provide a balanced report.]
These full articles are available for $1.00 each online:
A. Growth has yet to slow in Yelm
“The Pride of the Prairie is fast becoming the pride of the state. Although Yelm is already among the fastest-growing cities in the state, Community Development Director Grant Beck said he doesnt see the citys residential boom slowing anytime soon. And he expects retail to follow, making the city a residential shopping destination and keeping retail tax dollars in the northeastern Thurston County city, as opposed to handing them to another fast-growing city: Lacey.”
B. Downtown growth reflects changes for Yelm
“And as the citys population continues to grow, theater owner Margaret Clapp said she expects that more businesses traditionally found in larger cities will locate in the rural Thurston County community.
She said that in the more than six years since the opening, business in Yelm has grown slowly, but steadily. As a result, downtown businesses have become more plentiful and more inventive. Although Clapp said she has mixed feelings about the Wal-Mart store currently under construction on the east side of town, she concedes that her theater loses many customers to Lacey mega-retailers.
‘Im sorry in some ways to lose some of the innocence of a small town. It takes that special edge off, but Im curious to see if that will happen,’ Clapp said.
Community advocate and avid blogger Steve Klein said that while many business owners have acknowledged the positive side of Wal-Marts Yelm location, a healthy opposition still exists, made up mostly of residents living outside the city limits.
Klein, who ran for mayor in Yelm two years ago, keeps city officials on their toes attending council meetings, requesting documents and blogging, in an effort, he said, to make Yelm the best community it can be. Although he acknowledged there are several governmental issues he is currently fighting, Klein said he cannot fault the generosity and pluck of the citys business community.
What is amazing here is the number of small businesses that participate in the Yelm Chamber of Commerce,’ Klein said. Members of the business community here are givers. Its very impressive that a small town like this gives so much to its student and adult community.’
Across the highway from Yelm Cinemas, Michelle Jones and Cozette Fyrst have spent several years cultivating a customer base for their company, The Blue Bottle Espresso. Armed with the knowledge that coffee stands are a dime a dozen, even in rural communities, the previous owners innovative approach led Jones and Fyrst to buy the cafe and make it their own
C. Yelm becomes haven for tech businesses
While the South Sounds major cities have proven to be a haven for high-tech businesses since the dot-com boom of the 1990s, a smattering of businesses specializing in Internet and other Web-based services have chosen Yelm and many other rural communities as home.