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Annual Report 2023

The Business Loop Community Improvement District is pleased to present our 2023 Annual Report. 

It’s been another busy year for us as we completed a key catalytic project for the Business Loop--the CoMo Cooks Shared Kitchen. With 30 new businesses now located in the kitchen, we’re 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.

Importantly, the CoMo Cooks Shared Kitchen fits nicely with the existing Loop businesses and the other shared spaces along the street. With the kitchen, the MACCLab Makerspace, and Vidwest Studios, the Loop is now Columbia’s undisputed Maker’s Row.

We also landscaped the Pop-Up Park and replanted our popular herb garden for additional beautification on The Loop. And as always, our Pop-Up Park is host to events such as our Sunday FunDays, our Maker Markets, and now our Fourth Friday Food Truck Rallies. 

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 truly changing how people view the Business Loop.

On behalf of the entire board we'd like to thank everyone for their support, their input, and their commitment to making The Loop a vital, welcoming, and successful corridor.

Loop CID Achievements

  • Landscaped the Pop-Up Park and the Bike Repair Station with flowers and herbs—with "help" from lots of small children. 
  • Hosted numerous events on the street including Sunday Fundays and Fourth Friday Food Truck Rallies at the Pop-Up Park, our biannual Maker Market, monthly educational workshops, and more. The park is also available for family events, concerts, and even movies. 
  • Recruited local artists to design new street banners.
  • Strengthened the partnership between the CID and the City with the ultimate goal of securing federal funds to improve infrastructure and attractiveness along the corridor.
  • Continued advertising and promotions to highlight the businesses on The Loop.
  • Awarded two new scholarships for the CoMo Cooks Kitchen as a way to assist those who have been historically impacted by racial, social, and economic inequality.
  • Was awarded a grant from the MO Department of Agriculture to create The Packing House, a space where regional farmers can come to process crops using our blast freezer, dehydrator, garlic peeler, salad spinner, bag sealers, and other equipment. 
  • Completed the construction of the CoMo Cooks Shared Kitchen and the street-facing office. Now we're more visible and more accessible to folks on the street.
Copy of annual report 2

Columbia’s Maker’s Row

Four years ago we gathered local makers, artisans, and chefs to learn how to expand our view of "retail" and support Columbia’s hidden economy of diverse creators. We knew that small-scale manufacturing and small-batch production could bring innovation, creativity, and economic vitality to a long-neglected area like the Business Loop—and in a way in keeping with the character of the street and the existing businesses.

Since 2019, we’ve worked to identify and support these up-and-coming makers with expert mentoring, educational workshops, and marketing assistance. We also spoke with hard-working local makers, small-batch producers, and artisans who couldn't expand their businesses because space and equipment were outside their budget.

Shared spaces are a proven way to help start-ups and increase inclusion by creating pathways for those left out of the traditional funding process—often women, minorities, and recent immigrants. These spaces reduce obstacles to starting or expanding a business by charging reasonable membership fees for shared equipment and joint spaces.

We now have three shared spaces on the Business Loop to help these local makers grow into small manufacturers—CoMo Cooks Shared Kitchen, MACCLab Makerspace, and Vidwest Studios. 

The Loop is now the undisputed Maker’s Row of Columbia—so gather your tools, your supplies, and your dreams and come join us.

CoMo Cooks Shared Kitchen

We completed construction on our permanent kitchen and we're now up and running with 30 small businesses ranging from caterers to food trucks. Businesses are participating in Loop events, hosting weekend pop-ups in the Loop storefront, and offering catering services to people all across Columbia.

The Packing House

Our crop production facility is also open, funded with grants from the City of Columbia and the MO Department of Agriculture. This space will help farmers from across the region transform their crops into value-added products, freezing and packaging fruits and vegetables for retail and wholesale distribution.

Minority Scholarships

As part of the City of Columbia’s grant, both the MACCLab Makerspace and CoMo Cooks are able to offer minority scholarships to those who have been historically impacted by racial, social, and economic inequality. We recently awarded two scholarships--one to a baker and another to a chef specializing in Kenyan food.

Business Support

We also offered regular support for local makers, kitchen clients, and Loop businesses in the form of Maker Markets, pop-up opportunities, Maker Workshops, how-to videos, website listings, social media promotions, and referrals. 

Shared Spaces

Small startups can’t always afford a stand alone location so we turned to shared spaces as a way to foster new businesses on the street. CoMo Cooks, the MACCLab Makerspace, and Vidwest Studios all provide affordable and inclusive space combined with expert mentoring. As businesses outgrow these shared spaces, we can help them find their own shop right here on The Loop.

Metrics + Benchmarking

  • The Loop CID generated over $1.23 million in sales tax revenue for the City of Columbia in 2022. 

  • Property assessments increased by 5%, fueled in part by new construction projects. We anticipate future valuations dropping if additional non-assessed organizations purchase properties on the corridor.

property values 23
  • Sales have dropped back down to pre-pandemic levels as people shift away from spending on the home to spending on travel and the like. We also saw a key retail location replaced by social services, further impacting sales on the street. Overall though, Loop businesses remain strong.
  • A good portion of our sales are tied to home improvement— new construction or remodeling—so we are watching the housing market carefully.
  • The Loop continues to be an attractive and affordable location for new businesses. As a result, our vacancy rate averages around 3%. This lack of available space highlights the need for shared spaces to accommodate new business start-ups.

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  • Our CoMo Cooks Shared Kitchen has brought 30 new businesses to The Loop, and both the MACCLab Makerspace and Vidwest Studios serve as incubators as well. Combined with seasonal Maker Markets, this will help us increase the number of  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 street’s existing retail culture to expand Columbia’s shopping options and the Loop’s place in the local economy. 

FY 2024 Budget

In FY2024 we'll be focusing on increasing our support of existing Loop businesses, hosting events at our Pop-Up Park, and continuing our efforts to beautify and improve the street. Now that the construction on our CoMo Cooks Shared Kitchen is complete, we'll also be replenishing our fund balance for the next big project.

For the full FY2024 Budget and supporting documents, visit our Minutes + Financials page

fy 2024 budget

Our entire 2023 Annual Report is available for download. We also have hard copies available so if you'd like some for your business or organization, email us at [email protected].

14 Business Loop 70 East
Columbia, MO 65203
573- 443-5667 (LOOP)
[email protected]

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