New construction does help a city grow, but it's not the only thing that matters when it comes to economic development. Manufacturing also plays a role.
“We've got a lot of industries and that's important because just like you don't want to have all your eggs in one basket, you don't want to have all your jobs, or all of your investments or economic development activities in one industry,” said Tanya Emery, Bangor economic development director. “The more diverse we can be, the better our economy is when we weather those changes in the business cycle.”
New manufacturers such as Cerahelix Incorporated and Pineland Farms, and new service providers, including C&L Aviation have helped to grow the city. The expansion of existing companies such as Convenient MD also contribute.
“That's the kind of economic activity that really builds wealth and builds value and creates new jobs and that is the kind of stuff we get excited about,” Emery said.
Bangor is experiencing the ripple effects of a country-wide change in how people shop, eat and do business.
“Retail continues to be an incredibly strong industry for Bangor,” Emery said. “We are selling just as much stuff as we ever have, we're just selling it differently.”
“We've seen a tremendous resurgence in downtown Bangor in the last five years,” she added later. “We are thrilled to see that many of the spaces that were empty for a very long time are now filled up.”
At the same time...
“Around the mall has just continued to expand and we've seen tons of new construction in that area over the last few years, including some this year, and we actually have storage facilities,” Emery said. “Some of the things on the outer ends of Stillwater [Avenue] that are filling in some of those empty places.”
Having a wide variety of businesses and manufacturing facilities is the goal.