Jason Camis

Jason Camis
Gardner Edgerton Chamber of Commerce
Another year is in the books, and what a year it was! A new hotel is coming to Gardner. Several new companies have announced or moved to Logistics Park KC in Edgerton. More jobs and more employers are setting up shop in New Century Airport. The entire region is booming. Every year seems to top the previous one, and from the looks of it, the cycle will continue in 2017. Let’s look back at some highlights from 2016.
The exciting growth and opportunity in Gardner came to a head just last month with the announcement that a new Hampton Inn and Suites would break ground later in the year. This 80+ room hotel, will feature all of the amenities you would expect from this Hilton property including a proposed 8,000 plus square foot convention space. This is huge for everyone in Gardner, because we all know that meeting space is at a premium. The financial impact of this type of hotel will be felt in a number of ways, but it will generate a lot of sales and transient guest tax which is used to draw in additional visitors to our community. Did you know that overnight visitors spend on average over $150/person per night when other expenses are taken into account? Restaurants, retail, gas stations and more all stand to gain. And the beauty of it is that it will only marginally compete with our Super 8 as they operate at different price points and with different traveler profiles. (And while I’m at it, congrats to the Super 8 who won a big award for performance at their annual Wyndham convention this past September!)
As for Edgerton, it’s hard to keep track of all the new companies that have moved in or even those that have expanded their presence. Amazon is operating with close to a thousand employees. Jet.com has grown to a similar size as well. Smart Warehousing has expanded by a building. The Triumph Group, a company that held a ribbon cutting this past fall with Governor Brownback in attendance, has begun moving their operations from Grandview, Mo. ColdPoint Logistics is up and running and representative of one of the biggest potential markets at LPKC – cold storage. All told, there are now over 3,000 jobs, and there’s no evidence that it will slow down in 2017.
New Century, the Naval air station turned-airport, is probably the most unsung hero of jobs and companies in the area. Did you know there are over 60 companies located out there, employing some 4,000 plus employees? Sometimes I think all we see is CenturyLink, New Century Fieldhouse and maybe the Tomahawks doing their training flights. But New Century is a powerhouse in the region and has the potential to be a huge driver of growth for years to come as they develop the North and East sides. Just wait until you hear about Project Butler.
Yes, it’s been a big year but there is so much more to come. And you might be asking, what about the chamber specifically? Let me tell you, it’s been good here too. We added over 35 new members, our first year with a new dues structure where you now pay by the service level you want, rather than your employee count. We added a second staff person, shared with the Southwest JoCo EDC, which is already helping us add new programs and beef up our services. Our events are growing too. We’ve doubled the size of our annual dinner and hosted over 450 people at the Chamber Family Night at KC Pumpkin Patch last September. We’ve see renewed energy in all we do, supported by both long-time members and brand-new business owners in our community. It’s safe to say, we’re excited about our prospects for 2017, too.