Business Loop Project

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COLUMBIA – The Business Loop Improvement District launched a project aimed to improve Business Loop 70 by filling vacant buildings with local businesses.

The Business Loop Improvement District started the COMOMAKES project in September, after it received a Smart Growth America grant.

The executive director of the group said the project intends to, “Identify and support small scale manufacturing and locate them here on the business loop."

The project got its name, COMOMAKES, because its goal is to bring Columbia manufacturers to Business Loop 70.

Gartner said it is a nine-month project. After the group identifies small businesses, a group of consultants from Washington D.C. will work with the businesses to build an action plan.

One of these prospective businesses is Camacho Coffee. Jesse Walters, the owner, said he is excited to be part of the project. 

"I love economic development and entrepreneurship and seeing the loop and COMOMAKES would be awesome for Columbia." 

Gartner said compared to other areas of the city, like downtown, Business Loop 70 needs some attention.

“The business loop has been neglected for decades, there hasn't been a lot of infrastructure improvements.”

She said the neglect has affected things like property value. Gartner said filling the vacancies, building new sidewalks, and adding landscaping could help drive up property values in the area. 

She also said adding these small businesses could add new jobs to the area.