MOHAVE COUNTY, AZ (May 29, 2020) –The COVID-19 pandemic has changed much in the way of doing business in America. For example, among the thoughts expressed by more and more is a rethinking of leaving the urban sprawl of larger cities in California and heading to the wide open spaces of rural life in more remote places in Arizona. It’s certainly not a widespread phenomenon yet, but, smaller companies especially are looking at benefits like lower median home costs, lower corporate income taxes and lower top individual income tax rates.
For the last four years, Chief Executive Magazine has ranked Arizona in the Top Ten Best States for Business. California has continuously rated last in its listing. As businesses continue to feel less certain about the future, there is a good chance many will leave crowded urban areas for places that offer more room to spread out. Realtors Land Institute says “the combination of better Internet technology throughout the country and an increase in remote work opportunities will make it even easier for ambitious people to move away from crowded cities.”
A November report from the U.S Census Bureau states that California has had 142,932 more residents exit to live in other states than people arriving from other states. Starting a business in Mohave County still affords the ability to connect with Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas relatively easily, along with a much lower cost of living and ease of doing business than operating in those cities themselves.
Two new small businesses are starting to make things work in Mohave County. Allan Dowd, is the owner of Blu Gluv Manufacturing. His vital product is certainly in demand and going to be a top product for years to come. He is bottling hand sanitizers for mostly governmental agencies. Dowd is proud to have a product that helps with the health and welfare of the community as it experiences Covid-19. The operation is just commencing for this established business owner, seven year Golden Valley resident and former 25 year citizen of Littleton, Colorado.
The Blu Gluv hand sanitizers, containing 62% alcohol, will be sold wholesale in bulk. The company will be operating out of a 3,000 square foot facility. Ten up to 50 employees (at full capacity) are expected to work in shifts leading to 24 hours a day. Customers will be private and government organizations. Dowd says “this is planned, first and foremost to help my state with hand sanitizers. I gave consideration to opening in California and Nevada, but, Golden Valley is my home.” He adds that it’s never an easy process, but, Mohave County “worked with me so we could get this going sooner than later. We are just literally opening our doors. I will be hiring more employees.”
Meanwhile, moving soon from Riverside, California to Fort Mohave is Corson Built, a company that manufactures safes for multiple businesses like Wendy’s, Petco, Cheesecake Factory, and Ross For Less. So far, Kelly Corson, the owner, says his company has been manufacturing up to 1,500 units yearly. Corson Built safes, with the exception of mechanical and electronic locks, are manufactured completely by the company. His Fort Mohave facility is on an acre of land and building expansion is currently taking place with an end result of about 10,700 square feet planned in a total of two buildings.
Kelly Corson says “all the permits are still not approved. We’re only halfway through right now. I’m hoping I’ll be able to soft start in about two weeks. It depends on how much we can do at the building and how much the county is going to allow us to do. I’ll be putting a small production facility in my current building and, then once expansion is done, we’ll move everything over.”
Corson says he has four employees now. “I’ll probably hire one or two additional employees from the get-go.” He says Mohave County Economic Director Tami Ursenbach has helped him navigate the county permitting process for Corson Built. He says “it’s a much better business climate than in Riverside” which has a high cost of living, high taxes, and way too many permits.” The nearby Colorado River and its recreation availability is another big reason for relocating to Fort Mohave.
Ursenbach says that the pandemic has accelerated current trends “to work smart with less and in many cases work remotely.” She points out “many companies will become more resilient after emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic. They will be looking to do business more cost effectively, and in a safer and healthier way for their employees and customers. Many companies are looking to leave larger urban cities and relocate to smaller communities with more open space, cheaper land and taxes, stronger community feeling and better quality of life. Mohave County is the perfect location for companies to ‘have it all.’”
With I-40 and Highway 93 (the future I-11), BNSF and 3 larger airports, Mohave County is becoming a transportation hub for California, Nevada, Utah and New Mexico. Compared to California, doing business in Mohave County is also certainly less expensive. Ursenbach concludes “we offer lower taxes and land prices, a willing workforce with lower minimum wages, and supportive government and community.” The two small manufacturing companies, Blu Gluv and Corson Built may well be pioneers for a newer, more productive rural Arizona.