Natchez Now stakeholders hear update, tour Loss Prevention properties

Published 12:44 pm Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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NATCHEZ — Natchez Now’s quarterly meeting gave its stakeholders a first-hand look at the progress and job creation success at Loss Prevention Services, as well as an update on the work of Natchez Inc., its economic development arm.

Natchez Now, in conjunction with the City of Natchez and Adams County, funds the workings of Natchez Inc., which works to recruit new, primary businesses to the area.

Russ said Loss Prevention’s growth and success have led to parking near its operation at the corner of North Pearl and Franklin streets becoming a major issue.

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“Loss Prevention is picking up new customers at a rapid pace,” Russ said. “They are increasing their volume of work and are currently the third largest asset recovery company in the country and are right on the heels of being number two and plan on accomplishing that quickly.

“We are working with Loss Prevention on what we are calling LPS II, which includes expansion now and some of their projected future growth needs as well. You can imagine trying to figure out the parking situation is paramount to meeting those growth needs. Hopefully, we can figure out some dollars for that. We are exploring all options.”

Loss Prevention purchased the former Prentiss Club from the Historic Natchez Foundation and is at the beginning work of renovating it to house offices as well as lodging for visitors.

While at the Prentiss Club, Russ discussed the focus of Natchez Inc. and pointed out some successes of the organization, as well as where it is headed.

He said there are two types of businesses: primary and consumptive. Primary businesses generate the revenue in a community that is passed along to consumptive businesses.

“A local economy will grow or decline in direct proportion to the amount of money being generated in an area by the primary businesses. At Natchez Inc., we have three areas of focus: Supporting existing primary businesses, attracting new business, and helping start-ups,” Russ said.

“Companies do not exist to provide jobs, or for the community to pay taxes or to add money to the wealth bucket. Businesses are on this planet to make money. If they don’t, they close,” he said. “Existing companies need to be encouraged, not berated. New companies need to be welcomed, not protested. It is a characteristic of the strongest economies to have the full support of the people and local governments to cause and drive it to happen.”

Natchez Inc. celebrates its 14th year this year, Russ said. He pointed out several successes of the organization, including:

• Nearly $1 billion of new projects, and almost 65 percent of that has been realized, meaning the project has been completed or ended construction.

• In the 13 years, more than $70 million has been added in payroll dollars.

• 1,100 jobs have been promised and nearly 900 of those have been created so far.

• More than $20 million in annual property taxes collected. “That means in our 13 years, we will have generated nearly $26 million in additional property taxes for local governments, not including school taxes,” Russ said.