Business Retention and Expansion

DEFINE: Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) works within a community to create relationships with existing businesses. This effort is done in hopes that they will remain in the area and expand to offer more services and job opportunities. BRE efforts work to "increase the likelihood that [businesses] will remain and expand there instead of relocating or expanding elsewhere" (Phillips and Pittman, 2009, p.212). BRE programs must be tailored to each community so that they can properly address the specific economic and societal needs of the community members. APPLY: Community developers conduct interviews and surveys with businesses, begin initiatives to improve communication and relationships among businesses and the government, and hold forums or meetings for businesses to attend and discuss issues. All of these tasks are vital to BRE efforts and community organizers can use them to strengthen the business world of the community there are working with. BREs are a cost-effective way to boost the local economy and create more jobs---both important tasks in any community development initiative. ADAPT: BRE must be an effort by multiple stakeholders, not just community organizers. Therefore, this concept would be beneficial for local governments to take advantage of. If politicians are looking to boost their town's/city's economy and employment rates, they cannot just focus on seeking out new businesses. Government officials must be concerned with how existing businesses are functioning and where there is room/need for expansion. (Source: Phillips, R. and Pittman, R. (eds.) (2009). An Introduction to Community Development. New York: Routledge.)


  1. Apply: BRE can be applied in Downtown and Business Districts where business already exist but, due to economic difficulties, believe that they can save more money and be more profitable by operating in a different location outside the business district where they may be able to pay less taxes and wages. Close attention should also be focused on businesses that have the potential for expansion. It is important to develop strategies to retain these businesses in the same location which will create more jobs in the community.

    Adapt:It is important to recognize early warning signs including cut backs, reduction of advertisement and poor maintenance. BY noticing these early signs BRE plans can be developed to help business see the benefits of staying in their current location and identify and develop opportunities for growth and expansion.

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