Category: News

The Scoop: Fit Body Boot Camp Company to Open in Edwardsville


Travis Akin, CSCS, TSAC-F, FMS1, received his BS in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois and is excited to open a Fit Body Boot Camp franchise at 112 North Main Street in Edwardsville.  Travis is an Illinois native.

As an experienced personal trainer, Travis recognized that the ‘traditional’ way of operating a personal training business was flawed and not capable of servicing the growing fitness needs of every person.  Travis bought into the idea that the fitness industry was migrating to a new training model: boot camp style training.  The fitness boot camp business model provides clients with additional exercise programming, more flexibility in scheduling, and fewer monetary barriers than expensive private training.

Fit Body Boot Camp is one of the fastest growing global brands in the fitness industry.  The company’s goal is to expose and engage 20% of the world’s population to a healthy and fit lifestyle by the year 2020.

Travis says the Fit Body Boot Camp model provides a superior workout experience with its main focus on client experience and its training programs customized for fat loss, body toning, and improved overall fitness levels.

2016 Economic Development Review


Now more than ever the City of Edwardsville is on the move! This was evidenced by the major construction projects that took place in 2016. From infrastructure improvements, to demolition of vacant underutilized structures, to the construction of new state-of-the-art buildings, the Economic Development Division is redefining business in Edwardsville.o

Among the more notable projects, we witnessed the completions of the two speculative buildings Gateway 717 (717,000 SF) and Lakeview Commerce Center IV (769,500 SF) and subsequent lease by Amazon.  Two companies relocated their headquarters to Edwardsville, First to the Finish, and Prairie Farms.  Both companies constructed new facilities.  The city also saw the completion of the Park Street Plaza project in downtown Edwardsville.  These projects allowed the City to add 1400 new jobs, retain 44 jobs and attract $130,000,000 in new investment.

The City of Edwardsville completed the Leon Corlew Park (Spray & Play Park), the fire sub- station on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and started reconstructing Buchanan Street.  These projects will pave the way for tremendous additional investment in our city.

In addition to these announced projects, the Economic Development staff assisted 26 companies expand in Edwardsville.  Of these 26 companies, 19 of these were existing businesses while 6 new companies were attracted from outside the region.   These 26 companies accounted for a total investment of over $ 1,214,558.   These new investments created 41 new jobs in Edwardsville.

Downtown Edwardsville continues to reflect our community’s image, pride, and prosperity.  New investments exceeded expectations!   In 2016, 67 building permits were issued in Downtown Edwardsville.  The value of these permits was $3.8M.

The Edwardsville Community/Economic Development Division’s mission is to develop strategies which help make Edwardsville the No. 1 location in Southwestern Illinois for high quality jobs. The department seeks to attract new corporate investment in Edwardsville and work with existing Edwardsville companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth.

How well did your business perform in 2016?

Last year proved to be another challenging year for business owners nationwide. Before we officially bring 2016 to a close, The Edwardsville Community/Economic Development Division is requesting your participation in our Small Business Quarterly Economic Survey. Your feedback will provide valuable insight to help us keep our finger on the pulse of the small business community and better advocate for you on the local, state, and federal levels.
The survey will qualify you for a drawing to win a $25.00 gift card. The survey will take approximately ten minutes to complete. Please click here to take the survey and share with us the impact the economy has had on your business during the fourth quarter of 2016. Results will be shared at the Business Forecast Breakfast.
On an ongoing basis, the Economic Development Director will be reporting future survey results to the media and the community in general. This will help drive the programs, products, and resources the Economic Development Director provides businesses operating within the City as well as raise the visibility of the obstacles facing small businesses and the impact they make on our local economy.


Walter D. Williams

Economic/Community Development Director

City of Edwardsville

‘Hot’ Gateway Commerce area remains bustling after Amazon opening its doors


by Dan Brannan, Content Director

EDWARDSVILLE – Something Madison County Chairman Kurt Prenzler is excited about is inheriting a bustling Gateway Commerce Center Corridor.

Prenzler is optimistic about the bright future for the Gateway Commerce area and this region’s business future.

“Businesses in the Gateway Commerce Center are providing many jobs,” Prenzler said. “There’s been a lot of success there, and I expect there will be more success.”

City of Edwardsville Economic and Community Development Director Walt Williams is beaming about the success of the Gateway area and Edwardsville’s overall business success in the downtown area.

“Amazon has added close to 1,200 jobs that we know of in the peak season now,” Williams said. “The jobs have good benefits and good pay.”

A large spec building for a national distribution center is underway. Williams said they know who the major player in the building will be, but it can’t be released yet. He said another part of the building will be leased by an additional company. The spec building is coming along quickly as the roof is being attached over some of the building and the rest being erected. The inside portions of the new structure will follow over the winter after the roof is completed.

With the large amount of success over the past few years, Williams said there is plenty of acreage available near Amazon for other distribution centers and businesses/industries to build and locate.

“There is no shortage of land out in the Gateway area,” he said. “There is more than 200 acres of land available.”

Williams said it had been previously projected that jobs in the Gateway area would double in five years but because of Amazon’s addition it is happening in about three years.

“This area is hot,” Williams said. “We definitely thought it would take longer to develop all these jobs.”

Hot industrial market propels metro area to top 10

 Gateway Commerce Center in Edwardsville drives a large part of the St. Louis market statistics.

Gateway Commerce Center in Edwardsville drives a large part of the St. Louis market statistics.

Gateway Commerce Center in Edwardsville drives a large part of the St. Louis market statistics.    Metro St. Louis is a hot spot for industrial real estate, according to a new report by Cushman & Wakefield, a global real estate services firm.

The St. Louis metropolitan area tied for sixth in the nation in terms of industrial space leased in the third quarter. With 3.3 million square feet absorbed during that period, it ran ahead of Seattle, Boston and Phoenix.

“It’s a good time to be in the industrial real estate business in St. Louis,” said John Sheahan Jr., a principal with NAI Desco, a full-service commercial real estate brokerage firm serving Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois.

It’s a good time to be in the industrial real estate business in general, according to the C&W report. Nearly 75 million square feet of space was leased across the nation during the third quarter. That figure was a 29 percent increase over the same period last year with year to date numbers being 18 percent higher than 2015. This marks 26 consecutive quarters of net occupancy gains, according to the report.

Kevin Thorpe, Cushman & Wakefield’s chief economist, says that despite a series of shocks to the U.S. economy this year and uncertainties surrounding the U.S. presidential election during the quarter, economic fundamentals remain mostly solid.

“For the most part, the industrial demand drivers remain firmly intact,” Thorpe said. “The indicators that we monitor, such as containerized traffic flows, transportation indices and consumer confidence, are still trending in a positive direction, which should continue to translate into robust industrial leasing activity.

“Clearly there are risks and headwinds that confront the sector,” Thorpe said. “Exporters continue to face a stronger U.S. dollar, global economic weakness persists, and businesses continue to deal with elevated inventories.  But these aren’t new challenges, and we still see the positives outweighing the negatives in the industrial market.”

A large part of the St. Louis statistic was driven by Gateway Commerce Center and Lakeview Commerce Center, both in Edwardsville. Amazon leased more than 1,400,000 square feet spread over two buildings between the two industrial parks. Both buildings were built speculatively without tenants waiting in the wings. “Spec buildings” as they are referred to, however, are limited to the very large sizes, generally, a half million square feet and up. There’s a strong demand in the St. Louis area for industrial buildings in the 30,000-square-foot to 50,000-square-foot range, Sheahan said, but owners shy away from building that size without a tenant already on the lease.

“I’ve got a client with a site in Earth City,” Sheahan said. “He’s not going to build a spec building. If someone came along who would lease 35,000 to 50,000 square feet, he would build it. But, they are not the big developers. They don’t feel good about spec right now. If they had a lead tenant, they would build it.”

Strong demand for space is pushing rents higher, according to the C&W report. Rents increased in 66 of 79 markets that are tracked by Cushman & Wakefield during the third quarter. And, they say, rents are now at historic highs on the national level.

John Morris, Cushman’s executive managing director and lead for Logistics & Industrial Services for the Americas, expects the industrial sector to continue to outperform the real estate market and the overall economy.

“For almost 20 years, from 1993 through 2011, U.S. industrial net absorption tracked GDP very closely,” Morris said. “The two metrics have had a tight correlation, with absorption essentially mirroring GDP growth, lagging by perhaps a quarter. Since late 2011, however, this connection has been broken, as net absorption outperformed the economy. Ecommerce; urbanization; last-mile; same day delivery; and similar phenomena affecting our business, all of which are new, are busting older market paradigms, all to the benefit of the industrial real estate market.”

On the development front, 159 million square feet of industrial space has been built in 2016, with nearly 60 million square feet of it coming online in the third quarter.

“Demand for modern, functional distribution space remains red hot and developers are hustling to provide it,” said Jason Tolliver, Cushman’s head of Industrial Research for the Americas

And more is on the way in metro St. Louis. On the Missouri side, Sheahan said that two, half-million-square-foot spec buildings are going up near St. Louis Lambert Field. And another large spec building is planned as part of a 294-acre development on the site of the former Chrysler auto plant in Fenton, Mo.

In Illinois, two other buildings are going up alongside Amazon in Gateway Commerce Center. A 520,000-square-foot building has just been completed to the east with 40 percent of it leased to DB Schenker. DB Schenker, which provides logistics services worldwide, runs the Procter & Gamble operations in Gateway. The new building is not connected to P&G. The user has not yet been identified.

Another is going up just to the north and will have 624,000 square feet. No tenants have committed yet. It is scheduled for completion in December. Both are expandable up to 1 million square feet.

Sheahan says signing tenants like Amazon can really propel an industrial park.    “Amazon has done a lot of deals across the country,” Sheahan said. “When you get Proctor & Gamble, Hershey, Amazon and other names people recognize, it adds credibility to the park. Worldwide Technology is in that neck of the woods, too. Without a doubt, the more Fortune 500 companies that come in there, the more credibility it has as a distribution center.”

Midwest Railcar Edwardsville Building status



Midwest Railcar Corporation traces its roots back to 1998, when it was formed by Richard Murphy as a company specializing in leasing and selling quality commercial freight railcars to shippers and railroads as well as managing railcars for railcar fleet owners and users.  Since that time, Midwest Railcar Corporation has grown to become an established railcar leasing and management company with a current railcar fleet of approximately 10,000 railcars consisting of various types of covered hoppers, gondolas, boxcars, open top hoppers and flatcars.

Midwest Railcar will be located next to Goddard School on Arbor Vitae.

E-Commerce Boom Brings Region New Freight Opportunities

Mary C. Lamie Executive Director, St. Louis Regional Freightway

Mary C. Lamie
Executive Director, St. Louis Regional Freightway


This article was published in the St. Louis Business Journal on August 26, 2016

The e-commerce business is growing at an incredible pace, and at St. Louis Regional Freightway, we are seeing this rapid growth produce a surge of expansion opportunities in the bi-state region for manufacturing and logistics industries. The U.S. Commerce Department reports e-commerce sales have more than doubled from nearly $169 billion in 2010 to $341 billion in 2015. From all indications, the future looks even brighter for e-commerce sales, thanks to increased mobile device usage and Internet connectivity.

This seismic consumer purchasing trend is creating a record demand for industrial real estate nationwide, and our region is a prime location for distribution centers. Locally, nearly 7 million square feet of new industrial real estate will come on line this year, according Jones Lang LaSalle. In June, Amazon announced it will build two fulfillment centers in Edwardsville, Illinois that will have a combined square footage of 1.5 million square feet. This new e-commerce model of placing smaller warehouses closer to population centers to reduce shipping times and costs is a win-win for our region.

At St. Louis Regional Freightway, we have streamlined the site selection process for big shippers and have become the go-to source for companies looking to expand their manufacturing and logistics operations. In fact, we have identified the top 11 large scale industrial sites for manufacturing and logistic expansion and growth.

Check out the list at and join us in making our freight district even more competitive.

Does Edwardsville Region have sufficient employees to satisfy existing Demand and future Demand?


Dr. Timothy Sullivan

Department of Economics & Finance Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

The recent announcement that Amazon will locate two new facilities in Madison County and hire 1,000 workers is good news for the region. But could these new jobs also create hiring issues in Madison County? Are there enough workers available in the region? Could the good news of Amazon’s arrival be offset by disruption in the local labor market as existing businesses find themselves unable to hire workers?

One extreme theoretical possibility is that the only qualified workers Amazon can hire are already fully employed. Under this unlikely scenario (what economists call “perfectly inelastic labor supply”), Amazon would lure workers away from existing businesses. These local employers, perhaps unable to match Amazon’s pay, would reduce employment by 1,000 jobs. Once the dust settled, there wouldn’t be any new jobs in the region – the only change would be that 1,000 workers would commute to Amazon instead of their current place of employment.

The opposite extreme theoretical possibility is that there are at least 1,000 qualified workers in the region who are currently unemployed or underemployed. Under this second scenario (what economists call “perfectly elastic labor supply,”) 1,000 unemployed workers would find work. Some would take new jobs at Amazon, while others would take over the jobs of currently employed workers who move to Amazon.

Of course it’s very unlikely that either of these extreme theoretical possibilities exactly describes the region’s labor market. The truth is somewhere in between. But where? The answer involves knowing the value of the elasticity of labor supply. In particular, we would need to know the elasticity of labor supply in our region among workers with the qualifications to be hired by Amazon. An elasticity close to zero would be consistent with the first scenario, where Amazon wouldn’t create any net jobs.  A large elasticity is consistent with the second scenario, where most of the 1,000 jobs will be new.

Unfortunately, while economists have studied labor supply elasticity for over 50 years, its numeric value is remarkably difficult to pin down. Economists find that labor supply elasticities can vary depending upon the occupation, the geographic location, the current state of the economy and whether we examine hours worked or the number of jobs. As a practical matter, calculating the 2016 labor supply elasticity for warehouse workers in Madison County is impossible.

Instead of trying to identify the precise number, economists often ask the following questions to gauge labor supply elasticities: (1) How does the number of new jobs compare with the number of people in the region who currently have the training and ability to perform the work? (2)  Of the people in the region who have the training or ability, how many are unemployed or underemployed? (3) How easy would it be for a new worker to obtain the necessary training to enter the occupation? Answering these three questions will give us some idea of the likely effects of Amazon’s arrival.

First, while 1,000 jobs is a welcomed addition to the local economy, it represents a fairly small portion of the local labor force. The latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics report over 135,000 members of the Madison County labor force. Adding in the bordering counties (including St. Louis and St. Louis County) puts the total labor force well over a million. Even within the specific occupations likely to be impacted, the 1,000 jobs are relatively small. The most recent government estimates list over 22,000 people in the St. Louis Metropolitan area working as “Laborers and Freight, Stock and Material Movers, Hand.” Another 5,000 have the classification “Packers and Packagers, Hand.” Adding in smaller occupations, such as “Transportation, Storage and Distribution Managers” would bump the value to well over 30,000 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, May 2015 data). In short, even if we use a fairly narrow definition of “affected labor force,” Amazon’s 1,000 jobs will represent, at most, about 3% of the workforce.

Regarding the second question, while unemployment rates have fallen since the height of the recession, unemployment in “Transportation and Material Moving Occupations” has remained stubbornly high. While occupation-level data aren’t available at the regional level, the most recent national-level data shows an unemployment rate of 7.5%. This is considerably higher than the overall national rate (5.1%), and it is one of the few occupational categories with a national unemployment rate that is higher today than it was a year ago. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Situation, Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey, Table A-30, July 2016 data). With regards to local conditions, a recent analysis by CEB TalentNeuron, a consulting firm that analyzes local labor markets, rated the St. Louis Metropolitan area as number 10 in the nation for the availability of workers in the “Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers” occupation. CEB rated the hiring of workers in this occupation as “easy,” indicating a relatively large number of available workers in this occupation in the region.

Finally, most occupations in this category require comparatively little training, making them relatively easy to enter. According to the most recent national-level data, only 11% of workers in the “Laborers and Freight, Stock and Material Movers, Hand” occupation have a college degree, while about two-thirds have a high school diploma or less. The numbers are similar for “Packers and Packagers, Hand” (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections, Educational Attainment for Workers 25 Years and Older by Detailed Occupation, Table 1.11, 2012-2013 data). The Bureau of Labor Statistics describes both occupation as requiring “no formal educational credential,” “no work experience in a related occupation” and “short term on-the-job training” (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections, Education and Training Assignments by Detailed Occupation, Table 1.12, 2014 data). Thus it should be fairly easy for workers to move into the occupations being hired by Amazon.

Combined, these answers suggest that Amazon’s entry into the region will have a small-to-modest impact on local labor markets. First the 1,000 jobs will represent a relatively small portion of the local labor market. Second, unemployment in the affected occupations remains high, and analysis suggests that a fair amount of slack remains in the local labor market for those occupations. Finally, the most-affected occupations require little formal education, experience or training, making it fairly easy for workers in other occupations to change careers and apply for these jobs. In summary, the evidence suggests that Amazon will have little difficulty filling these 1,000 new positions. And, while the 1,000 jobs are exciting news for the region, they are unlikely to create much disruption.

Edwardsville Leakage data


For 2016 the City of Edwardsville Community Economic Development department has access to Nielsen’s Retail Market Power data.  This data is derived from two major sources of information. The demand data is derived from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE Survey, or CEX), which is fielded by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The supply data is derived from the Census of Retail Trade (CRT), which is made available by the U.S. Census. Additional data sources are incorporated to create both supply and demand estimates.

The difference between demand and supply represents the opportunity gap or surplus available for each merchandise line/retail store type in the specified reporting geography. When this difference is positive (demand is greater than the supply), there is an opportunity gap for that merchandise line/retail store type; when the difference is negative (supply is greater than demand), there is a surplus.

What does this mean for small business owners in Edwardsville?  It means that we have data that measures market capacity for a specific product or service.  More importantly, if you are a small business owner interested in opening up a store in Edwardsville your first conversation should be with the Community/Economic Development Department and your second conversation should be with the Small Business Development Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

This is a sample of the information provided:

Edwardsville Retail Market Power

Retail Store 2016 Demand (Consumer Expenditures) 2016 Supply

(Retail Sales)



Clothing & Clothing Accessories Stores $22,175,417 $13,715,725 $8,459,692



The Scoop: Water Sweet Soap Company to Open in Edwardsville

The Scoop: Water Sweet Soap Company to Open in Edwardsville

The Edwardsville born Water Sweet Soap Company will open its first location in the newly renovated space at 112 North Main Street.  Gregg Sutterfield and his wife Lisa are excited about opening their first store.  Lisa has always wanted to open a shop to express her creative side.

The Sutterfield’s believe that they are not only opening a store, but also developing a new brand of artisan, handcrafted soap, bath, and body care products.  They are both manufacturer and retailer for the products.

Water Sweet Soap Company will carry handcrafted, small batch products that utilize natural ingredients to allow customers to “Bathe Clean” with no preservatives in any of the products.

The shop will carry over 40 different types of soap, including their regular line, men’s line, shampoo bars, shave bars, salt bars, bare bars (100 percent natural), and a line of coffee soaps that they are co-branding with Goshen Coffee.

There will also be other items like bath bombs, bubble scoops, sugar scrubs, lip balms, hair towels, soap dishes, etc.

Edwardsville ranks among safest college towns

Posted: Monday, September 12, 2016 11:43 am

Edwardsville ranked number 25 on a list of the top 30 safest college towns in America by

After taking into consideration the recent additions to public safety in Edwardsville, such as the new SIUE Fire Station and the in-progress new public safety facility building, it can be said that safety is a top priority for both the city and SIUE.

The article states, “As the third oldest city in the Prairie State and home to five state governors, Edwardsville has a long history of civic duty and community spirit. That enthusiasm extends to public safety, both for the city and its large Southern Illinois University campus. Each quadrant of the city has a dedicated beat officer that gets to know the residents and their needs in order to provide long-term solutions and improve quality of life for Edwardsville citizens. Likewise, the SIUE police work with students to prevent crime on campus and ensure a safe, supportive learning environment.”

The beat system consists of four beats, each with four officers. The program was designed to provide more community service and enhance the safety within each location. Edwardsville Police Chief Jay Keeven said the beat system has proven effective and the officers in the EPD are very approachable and always willing to serve in any situation.

“I would say that the beat officer program itself I think is good – that individuals get to know the people that work that particular area of the city. We typically assign those beats for periods of time, whether that be two months or maybe someone will be assigned the same beats for a year,” Keeven said.

“Realistically, the fact that we are responsive to the citizens that we serve, so no matter if you know your beat officer or you just happen to see an officer in your neighborhood that’s not normally assigned to that beat, we are going to respond to your call of service,” Keeven said.

Aside from the beat system, Keeven said another factor that separates the EPD from others is their dedication to community outreach.

“I think we have a done good deal, over the years, of public outreach. That starts in the schools and when young people get to know our officers and the resource officers in the D.A.R.E. program that District 7 supports wholeheartedly, those young people grow up to be young adults and then middle-aged adults and then retirees that know police officers in their community and have a working relationship with them. I don’t know that just the police department stands out, but the community stands out. Our community refuses to compromise with crime, and if they see something that doesn’t look appropriate, they call us,” Keeven said.

In addition, the EPD also uses a recently-acquired records management program called New World, which helps the EPD keep track of crime activity and what areas to attend to next, according to Keeven.

“We’ve used that a little over a year now and we are able to capture statistical data from our computer-assisted dispatch so we can know how many neighborhood checks we have done, we can know how many businesses we have done, we can know how many community presentations we have done. So I believe that what we measure is what matters,” he said.

Going forward, Keeven said the city of Edwardsville and public safety will continue to grow and expand, as will the working relationships between the departments.

“The working relationship we have with our fire department is fantastic; they work very well with our police officers. I will also tell you that the working relationship we have with the SIU Police Department — they are the biggest part of what makes the SIU campus safe. If they need assistance, they can call us and we’d be happy to assist them. If we need assistance, we can call them, the Madison County police department, the state police, Maryville, Troy. We have a good working relationship and there aren’t any egos involved as far as ‘this is our area’ and ‘this is your area.’ We work very well together with police and fire personnel throughout this entire region,” he said.

The SIUE Police Department has also played a significant role in maintaining a safe college town and campus. SIUE Police Chief Kevin Schmoll said safety is a high priority for the university and they are always working to keep it that way.

“We work very closely with student affairs, the dean of students, housing, and counseling services. We meet once a week, we go over all of the police reports that we have with representatives from those other departments, and decide who needs to step in. By doing that, we are able to keep the campus safe. That’s just one of the many things. The administration here at the university is dedicated to keeping the university police department fully staffed, which is very important,” Schmoll said.

A year ago, the SIUE PD also started utilizing the app Rave Guardian, a personal safety app that allows students, faculty, and staff to stay connected to the Police Department in the case of a situation. Schmoll said more incoming students are signing up for the app and the SIUE PD hopes to inform others on campus.

“It’s an app that’s free to students, faculty, and staff. They download the app on their smartphone or tablet and they are able to communicate with our dispatcher. They can text our dispatcher with anything going on, if they need assistance; they can turn their cellphone into an emergency phone. If they can’t talk, they’ll give us GPS coordinates and a map of their location and our officers can drive to them, get to them for assistance. Or, they can link up with Guardians as late as they want,” Schmoll said.

Despite working alongside the EPD and the Edwardsville Fire Department, Schmoll said the SIUE PD hopes to expand its media presence and build on its relations with the SIUE and the Edwardsville community in the future.

“We definitely want to always build on our community relations and with the university, student population, faculty and staff; any training that we can do. We want to get more of the hostile-intruder training, do presentations on safety, alcohol and drug abuse. One thing I want to improve on is getting into the social media aspect. The police department has a Facebook page, but maybe work on a Twitter account, because that seems to be the trend. People don’t look at emails anymore; we send out emails about safety stuff, but I think we need to go more the social media route,” Schmoll said.

To learn more about the city of Edwardsville and public safety,