Wells’ business scene expands
By Whitney Wright | Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly
Commerce in Wells County is not expected to be “business as usual” before the year’s end because it will likely be better than usual.
Eight new businesses opened this year in Wells. A total of eight businesses opened in 2015 but community leaders believe more businesses are likely to open before 2016 ends, making this year one of the better years for business Wells has had in recent history. While new businesses are surely good news, it is not the most surprising part of the business climate in Wells.
“What is interesting is, in 2016, we have had four businesses that have new ownership, two have moved to a different location in Wells County – due to building a new building, or moving into a different location in the county – and four others have remodeled and updated their businesses,” said Erin Prible, executive director of the Wells County Chamber of Commerce.
One of the most exciting parts of new businesses joining or moving within Wells County is its part in the overall revival of the area. Family Farm & Home Store, one of the area’s new businesses, chose to move into a building that was vacant for 15 years.
Additionally, Bluffton NOW!, a downtown revitalization group, assists in the renaissance of downtown Bluffton and multiple new businesses opened there this year, including FC Tucker/Malcolm & Schlueter Realtors and Kaylah’s Cupcakes and Confections.
Bluffton Rentco, another new business in Wells County this year, is owned by a couple who already had its stakes in Wells. Eventt and Kristy Norris are also owners of Ossian Hardware and Rental but felt Bluffton could benefit from a similar service. Following their instincts, the Norris’ contacted professional rental company consultants. The consultants then looked at the demographics of Bluffton and the potential marketplace and ultimately validated their intuition.
“We saw a need for a well-run rental location in Bluffton and to go into a standalone rental seemed like a natural fit,” said Eventt.
“Our gut feeling was then given to us on paper and in reports.”
In addition to the multiple new businesses in Wells County, Bluffton also has a new, 100,000-square -foot spec building – completed earlier this year – and the Inter-Urban Trail well underway. The trail is part of a larger project called the Poka-Bache trail and will connect Bluffton to Angola.
These measures, alongside the growing business climate in Wells County, is a major encouragement to those hoping to see the county succeed.
“It’s very exciting to witness businesses that are updating and remodeling,” said Prible. “This shows pride in our community and a vested interest in staying in Wells County for the long run.”