For the city of Richmond, the economy "is in uptick" with several new businesses opening, according to Rob Minerich, the city's manager.

And in Berea, their goal, according to Mayor Bruce Fraley, is to continue to facilitate economic growth with a balanced approach with both large employers, commercial business and small business and entrepreneurs.

But between the two cities, they each have a common goal of attracting new businesses with open arms in the hopes to offer more jobs and give a boost to each community's economy.

Richmond

For Richmond, after the recent opening of several businesses, more are planning to open their doors to the community after construction is finished.

In an interview with The Register, Minerich said that a Planet Fitness is being built behind O'Charley's on Boggs Lane and scheduled to open in December. Just across the bypass, a Firestone Tire Center will open in front of Richmond Mall.

Some recently opened businesses are utilizing already existing structures, such as Tokyo Express Hibachi and Sushi, inhabiting the former Asian Cuisine restaurant located on Eastern Bypass.

Just several doors down a Cricket Wireless Authorized Retailer and CBD American Shaman retailer occupy what was a Lee's Famous Chicken.

Minerich stated there also is a possibility for an A&W Restaurant, which he thought would be received well in the city.

"(New business) adds jobs to the local economy and offers more of a variety to citizens," he said. "Growth is good. Richmond is growing, and is poised to be the fastest growing communities in the state."

And although it has been three years since home improvement chain Menards began and halted construction at the site on the corner of Big Hill Avenue and the Eastern Bypass, Minerich said he had hoped to see activity this summer, but hopes to see something take place soon at the site.

Menards spokesperson Jeff Abbott said in an email to The Register, "We plan to build a new store in Richmond, Ky., at some point in the near future but have not yet finalized when we might start construction."

Minerich also highlighted stores that opened recently in the city -- both large and small -- including Home Goods in Richmond Centre, Burgher Burger on East Main Street, Harbor Freight in the Carriage Gate Shopping Center and the third Asahi Forge plant, which will provide 80 new jobs.

According to Minerich, the estimated revenue from the plant is $53 million a year by 2023.

"This is a huge piece for local economy and they love Richmond and their goal is to be the biggest taxpayer in Richmond and we more than welcome that," he said.

He also mentioned the addition of multifamily housing on Duckhorn Drive on the new portion of the Robert Martin Bypass, and a single family home development off Four Mile Road.

"Things are really cooking up for us, and that is good," he said.

Berea

With the arrival of warmer weather, three new businesses opened in Berea throughout April to June.

The first was Leeds Jewelry, which arrived in April in Old Town Berea. Leeds is an artisan jewelry and repair shop owned by John Leeds, who also has his original location on Main Street in Richmond.

May brought the opening of J. Gumbo's, a Cajun and Creole joint located in College Square on Main Street that Fraley said has been doing "very, very well."

Most recently arriving around the end of May is Thrive Studios in Old Town Berea, a therapeutic message, wellness and yoga center.

Fraley mentioned the recently announced expansion of the Hyster-Yale plant size on property that was transferred to the company, adding a 30% increase to the size of their plant.

"(The expansion) is biggest thing to happen to Berea in the last decade," he said.

The mayor said that the city had some commercial businesses that have inquired about settling in Berea, and one employer inquiring about locating in the Industrial Park but that there was nothing coming up ready for announcement.

Berea Council member Jim Davis, chair of Berea's Economic Development Committee, shared statements similar to the mayor saying the city is "pushing for more smaller businesses, private businesses as well as manufacturing and have a couple of prospects online right now."

He said the city is pursuing a grocery store, "something the people of Berea want desperately."

"I want to see Berea grow and prosper, we all do, it is a good thing to grow," Davis said.

He noted that he personally would like to see some clothing stores in Berea, saying that the city didn't have any that he was aware of.

"I would like to see people not have to travel to Richmond or Lexington to buy quality clothes," he said. "Berea is a unique community a good place to live and raise a family and I think that it is a good place for any small business and as far as manufacturing it's good for that too."

Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter at @TaylorSixRR.

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