City to smooth business process - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City to smooth business process

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Anyone planning to open up shop will have one number to call to set up an appointment with all the people they'll need to touch base with to get off the ground.

Having a centralized location for people to get help and information about all the steps necessary to open their business has been discussed for years.

Now, that talk is being put into action, through a new Business-first approach.

Clark Crawford is new to being in business for himself as a partner at Austin's BBQ and Oyster Bar.

Lots of permits and approvals had to happen before they could serve up meals here. "It definitely would be helpful," he said. "It would be nice to get everybody at one table and kind of know what's expected for each group."

A one-stop shop to open shop, rather than checking the steps after the fact.

"To have them tell you what you need to get your doors open and then you can make your plans from there as opposed to having to kind of find your way around and figure out, just to have that up front would really be nice," Crawford said.

"I know it's confusing,"  said Asst. City Manager James Taylor. "It's like cacophony of sounds and issues that challenge people, not just doing business in Albany, Georgia, doing business anywhere."

And that's why the Planning Department will be a clearinghouse for new businesses in the future. If you have a question about what to do and how to do it, you can call one number and get all the help you need.

"They don't have to run all over town to get it, they can sit down with a group of people at one table, one place and they're the center of conversation. They ask all the questions, we do the responding. We tell them things that maybe they didn't consider and then we help them through the process," Taylor said.

Maybe even in the process, bringing more business to Albany.

"I do think it will push people and give them, maybe the folks that will be scared to start something new or to open their own business, that this would take out and eliminate some of those fears and concerns. Then they might be more willing to go ahead and jump in there and open their business and get going and they feel like the city is on their side and they know they're working with them," Crawford said.

So if you are in the process of opening up a business, or considering it, call the Planning Department to set up a meeting at 438-3901.

The meetings will be held weekly if there is enough interest.

A project manager will be assigned to follow up with each business to make sure they have all the information necessary and are able to get the doors open as easily as possible.

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