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Annual Report 2021

The Business Loop Community Improvement District is pleased to present our 2021 Annual Report. 

It’s been a busy year for us as we continue to move forward on our Loop Corridor Plan. We started the engineering process for street upgrades, mapped out right-of-way and setback lines along the street as the first step to making redevelopment easier, added upgrades to our Pop-Up Park, painted colorful designs to highlight our crosswalks, and introduced our Street Art Project—-an outdoor gallery of works by local artists and graphic designers. 

On the economic development side, we continued with our Maker City program and launched the CRE[8] brand for local makers, created a new website with an online Maker Directory, and successfully changed the zoning code to allow for more artisan industries and shared spaces along the Business Loop. 

Most importantly, we opened CoMo Cooks Shared Kitchen in Mizzou North in partnership with REDI. It’s providing space and support for local food-based businesses, creating opportunities for those without easy access to a commercial kitchen, reducing barriers for women and minority chefs, and enhancing the economic vitality of the Business Loop.

We could not have accomplished these projects without help from business owners, property owners, residents, and fans who like what we’re doing here on the Business Loop. We’re coming out of 2020 stronger than ever and it’s because of your efforts.

Achievements

  • Our Street Art Project selected 10 local artists and graphic designers, gave them a 4' x 8' canvas, and told them to let their imaginations run wild. We placed them in locations you can see from a car but also where you can pull up, see the artistry up close, and even take a selfie.
  • We don’t have many crosswalks along the corridor so we wanted to make sure pedestrians could locate them easily. Volunteers used stencils to paint graphics on the sidewalks approaching all our crosswalks as part our larger effort to bring some color and interest to the corridor 
  • Volunteers also helped us with upgrades to our Pop-Up Park including new sun shades, fun graphics, and newly planted flowers and veggies.
  • We mapped out setback and right-of-way lines for the length of the CID—no small task for a street that began as a state highway. This is the first step to determining a new setback line that will create a more active and interesting street front and allow for redevelopment on smaller lots. 
  • We’ve slowly and safely begun hosting events again, including a grand opening of the CoMo Cooks Shared Kitchen. Events at the Pop-Up Park have included group painting activities, food truck lunches, and the ever popular STEAM Bus Brunch for families with children.

The Maker City

The Loop has always been a place for creative industries, fix-it shops, and those who believe that if you're not wearing coveralls, you're not really working. Now, we're turning this same attention to the individual makers and creatives who love what they do and take pride in a job well done. 

We're not just reaching out to Columbia's hidden economy of makers, we're creating pathways for those left out of the traditional funding and start up process, often women and minorities, so we can expand the Loop economy while remaining true to the character of the street.

CoMo Cooks Shared Kitchen

Our new shared kitchen at Mizzou North, in partnership with REDI, is up and running with a collection of food trucks, caterers, bakers, and even chocolatiers. It’s providing space and support for local food-based businesses, creating opportunities for those without easy access to a commercial kitchen, reducing barriers for women and minority chefs, and enhancing the economic vitality of the Business Loop.

CRE[8] Brand

We know small makers don't have big ad budgets and that's where we can help with joint branding and a shared marketing campaign. We've created a brand and logo that all our local makers and creatives can use--on packaging, labels, social media and more. The CRE[8] brand will help position The Loop—and Columbia in general—as a place that supports local makers and manufactures.

Website

We took advantage of quarantine to create a Maker City website to highlight our economic development efforts, further our brand, and promote small-scale manufacturers. CRE8CoMo.com includes a Makers Directory, business support resources, and listing of space available on the Business Loop. A companion site, CoMoCooks.com, serves as a way to recruit kitchen clients. 

Makers Directory

A key project this year was our online Makers Directory to help promote our makers and give customers an easy way to shop local. Because this was grant-funded, the directory is open to small manufacturers and producers across Columbia and Boone County as well as our kitchen clients and Loop-based makers. Combined with our regular Maker Markets at the Pop-Up Park, it’s a great way to help micro-businesses grow.

Shared Spaces

Small startups can’t always afford a stand alone location so we’re turning to shared spaces as a way to foster new businesses. Our CoMo Cooks Shared Kitchen provides accessible, inclusive, and affordable kitchen space for starting and expanding local food-based businesses. And our friends along the street are launching similar projects. The MACCLab at Parkade Plaza is a community makerspace with 3D printing, woodworking, industrial sewing machines, a long-arm quilter, and more. And Vidwest Studios is a community digital media studio focusing on photography, video, and podcasting. As businesses outgrow these shared spaces, we can help them find their own shop right here on The Loop.

Metrics + Benchmarking

  • Property assessments ticked up 2.35% this year and our assessment rate remained at .4478 per $100 of assessed valuations. While lease rates remain affordable, we are seeing an uptick in the real estate market for this area and higher sales prices may lead to higher rents in the future.
  • Our successful—but continuing—work to modify the zoning rules to better fit the street will allow for redevelopment projects previously prohibited on the Business Loop and thus create new space for additional businesses.
  • Sales increased slightly despite the pandemic largely due to efforts by business owners to adapt, with restaurants focusing on drive-thrus and parking lot seating and retailers leaning into stay-at-home activities like home and garden improvements. Increased marketing and advertising from the Loop CID also helped. 
  • Our work to support small makers—by providing shared spaces and seasonal Maker Markets—will help us increase the variety and the amount of small businesses on the street even without a large inventory of available brick and mortar buildings. Our goal is to integrate these non-traditional options into the existing retail culture along the street to expand all shopping activities. 
  • The Loop generated nearly $1.27 million in city sales tax, demonstrating that The Loop is a key economic generator for Columbia.

FY 2022 Budget

For the full FY2022 Budget and supporting documents, visit our Minutes + Financials page

Our entire 2021 Annual Report is available for download. We also have hard copies available in our office at 601 Business Loop 70 West, #128 and if you'd like some for your business, just let us know.

The Loop
601 Business Loop 70 W#128
Columbia, MO 65203
(573) 443-LOOP
[email protected]

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