Longmonters love their city and are happy to say so. Those are the findings from a small survey recently completed by the Longmont Economic Development Partnership.
The workforce perception survey, which aimed “to get a pulse on how Longmont-based workers viewed living and working in Longmont,” received 62 responses from members of the Longmont EDP Aspire Leadership Council and other employers who are investors in the local economic development organization.
The survey took a “deep dive” into questions seeking opinions in several categories including safety, hospitality, access to entertainment and restaurants, access to outdoor recreation activities for kids and adults, the quality of the schools, workplace advancement opportunities, and the innovation of local companies, according to a news release from the Longmont EDP.
Highlights of the survey, which were announced last week, included:
87% of survey respondents would strongly recommend Longmont to a friend or colleague.
80% felt that Longmont was a safe place to live.
9 out of 10 said that the city had “a strong community vibe.”
85% felt that Longmont supported a strong work/life balance.
“What Longmont has to offer is more than just the great quality of life, the affordability, the fast internet, and the gorgeous mountains that are only 20 minutes away,” Jessica Erickson, president and CEO of Longmont EDP, stated in the release. “What the survey showed was that Longmont is a community that is supportive and energizing for families, individuals, entrepreneurs, innovators and businesses. Despite some of the challenges we are all facing on a global scale, this is still a wonderfully vibrant and exciting time in Longmont.”
The survey was modeled after a similar one conducted on the region by the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., Erickson said via email on Friday.
“Our goal in conducting our own survey was getting a more localized response to how people who work in Longmont perceive Longmont, and what their priorities are in choosing a place to live and work,” she said.
But that localized response isn’t staying local. The survey has already informed the Longmont EDP’s “Colorado’s Best Kept Secret” national marketing campaign efforts, Erickson said, “either by reinforcing existing messaging or helping us to adjust messaging to better align with people’s priorities in choosing a place to live and work, especially in those factors in which Longmont excels — work/life balance, safety, sense of community.”
That marketing campaign is one of many efforts included in Advance Longmont 2.0, the reboot of the city’s economic development strategy approved by city council in November. The overarching goals of the plan focus on growth, prosperity and inclusion.
The areas in which Longmont “still has some work to do — housing affordability, access to transit, access to training — also will help inform the strategies of Advance Longmont 2.0 around talent, placemaking and connectivity in particular,” Erickson said in her email.
The news release also touted past Longmont EDP efforts to attract businesses to Longmont including J.M. Smucker Co., AveXis, Acertara and Sticker Giant.
Smucker opened its Longmont plant last year and in May broke ground on a 240,000-square-foot addition that is expected to be operational by fall 2022. At least 200 new jobs will be added to the existing 250-person workforce during the expansion, according to the company.
The Longmont plant makes Uncrustables, premade frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which also come in other flavors, that are fueling unprecedented sales at Smucker. The sandwich delivered double-digit growth each quarter in fiscal year 2020, building off a legacy of growth, Smucker spokesman Frank Cirillo said in June. Full-year sales for Uncrustables increased 26% and accelerated to a 50% increase in the fourth quarter.
AveXis opened its nearly 700,000-square-foot facility in Longmont in January, where it plans to manufacture its gene therapy Zolgensma. Sales of the drug grew by $200 million in the second quarter, according to BizWest.
Acertara, a medical ultrasound acoustic measurement, testing, and calibration laboratory, last year moved into a new Longmont facility that also now serves as its headquarters.
And Sticker Giant, as the name implies, is a sticker manufacturer that moved from Hygiene to Longmont in 2016. It was named the 2020 Colorado Manufacturer of the Year in Advanced Manufacturing & Machining, according to a post at labelandnarroweb.com.
“The award recognizes outstanding operations resulting from continuous improvements in operations, infrastructure, and people. StickerGiant was largely recognized for its production process that allows the company to turn around most sticker and label products within 24 hours, outpacing what the company says is the industry standard of (four to five) business days,” according to the post, which also cited the company’s growing its workforce by one-third this year.
In a second quarter update sent via email Monday afternoon, Longmont EDP stated it has seen 29 active employer prospects this year, with the potential jobs at those prospects totaling 7,658.
Q2 2020 Impact Report | Longmont EDP - https://t.co/bKIbghUl84— Advance Longmont (@advancelongmont) August 10, 2020
“With all the uncertainty today, we continue to see growth and expansion in Longmont. Businesses are choosing to move here, and businesses are being creative in how they are responding to and adapting to the pandemic,” Erickson stated in the survey news release. “Our city council, school district, and other civic organizations are coming together to help each other. People see and are encouraged by the opportunity they find here.”
Longmont EDP plans to continue the survey to see where progress is being made while keeping track of those things people love most about the city.
“Our intention is to conduct this survey on an annual basis to see how we are moving the needle in some of these areas while also maintaining or improving on the factors that are most important to people in choosing a place to live or work whether it’s a decision to stay in Longmont or relocate to Longmont,” Erickson said in her Friday email.