Mayor: If national economy rebounds, city's fiscal outlook is positive

By Greg Miller

   The current business climate in Elizabethton "is not good, as could be said in most of the country," said Elizabethton Mayor Sam LaPorte.
   "We've had a couple of plants shut down for different reasons, and the national economy is affecting our economy just like everywhere else. I did not like to hear that Alcoa was closing, and I hated to see that Frank Shaffer sold and was going to close out their business, too."
   If the national economy recovers, LaPorte believes Elizabethton's fiscal outlook is positive. "If the national economy turns around, as they are expecting it to do, then I think the economy locally will turn around also," he said. "If it's going full guns, then there will be people looking for a place like Elizabethton. It's centrally located, and has good rail and road infrastructure. It has an excellent community to live in with wonderful schooling for people's children, along with lots of activities to do and a nice climate. I think if the national economy turns around, as is expected, so will ours.
   "We would like to see the Frank Shaffer building go to another distributor of some kind. We're currently working on that. I think this is a good community to live in. With a little good luck, we'll be able to get industries in to take their places."
   Although there is available space on which new industries can build, LaPorte says he knows of no other large buildings ready to occupy. "Quite a few local industries have opened up in the buildings downtown that seem to be doing well," he remarked. "I think there are locations for the antique shops, coffee shops, the old-look industries so to speak, but I'm not aware of any large buildings available."
   LaPorte offers a few tips to individuals who are thinking of starting their own business. "First of all," he said, "you always take care of your clients. The Golden Rule still applies. If you give a good product at a reasonable price, the people will come to you no matter what business you're in."