Back to Outstate: Moberly

Missouri Business Alert surveyed people in the Moberly community to gauge the strength of the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem — that is, the web of individuals, organizations and institutions affecting the success of entrepreneurial ventures in town.

We looked at six components of the ecosystem: educational institutions, entrepreneurs, established companies, government, investors and support organizations.

Below is a sampling of insights shared by different stakeholders about the components of Moberly’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:


“(University of Missouri) Extension is a wealth of information. They’re kind of a hidden secret.” – Diane Richardson, Main Street Moberly executive director

“They also have a tech center, which is a huge thing because not every kid can make it to college.” – Charles Holland, University of Missouri Extension county engagement specialist

“(Moberly Area Community College) is very good about helping people with business plans or helping someone learn how to get established. … They’re doing a lot to help this community.” – Julie Sharp, Encore owner

“Moberly has all of the educational facilities necessary for a community.” – Bob Orscheln, Orscheln Products CEO


“There is a strong entrepreneurial stance. We still have young people here that are starting new businesses. … The vigor of our economic effort is something I would say is unique to the size of our community.” – J.W. Ballinger, Randolph County Historical Society president

“The potential is there. Most entrepreneurs are middle aged, in their 30s.” – Mark Chambers, Moberly Area Community College adviser

“A good business is going to be run by someone who has the drive, need and want to make a business successful. I think right now our downtown is geared that way. A lot of people that have businesses here are hometown people.” – Julie Sharp


“We like to see continued reinvestment by our own employers because it gives us a comfort level that the employers are going to stay in the area, and fortunately for us, we’ve continued to see that pretty strongly over the last several years here.” – Michael Bugalski, Moberly Area Economic Development Corp. president

“They are constantly giving anonymous donations and offering assistance. They are mentors to our community.” – Megan Schmitt, Moberly Area Chamber of Commerce executive director

“A lot of those people that work (at Orscheln) are local people. Walmart distribution is a huge business as well. … Some of our best customers are hospital people. The hospital supports downtown and local businesses.” – Julie Sharp


“Most businesses are self-funded or family-funded, and then they reach out to banks. There’s plenty of access, but a lot of times people will work and then self-fund, which is more common in small towns.” – Jerry Jeffrey, Moberly mayor

“Something we’ve worked on a little bit is trying to find new investors. I think one of the things is, there’s a lot of people out there who would be interested in investing in business opportunities, but maybe they don’t see themselves as an angel investor. … There’s people with significant capacity who maybe have never been involved in business in that way, and it’s kind of new and requires education.” – Michael Bugalski

“I think it comes down to the perception of entrepreneurship that banks have. Most banks think that entrepreneurship is risky and close or go out of business.” – Charles Holland

“We do have some great local financial establishments that are very interested in supporting local growth. They’re all very willing to talk to businesses that are interested in opening.” – Diane Richardson

“In order to get funding, you have to have a strong business proposal. Lenders are willing to listen.” – Mark Chambers


“There are a lot of different tax abatements for businesses or people reinvesting in businesses. There was a CID that was passed in downtown Moberly last year, property taxes are abated and invested in downtown. Grants are pretty regular around Moberly.” – Megan Schmitt

“They are pretty restrictive on some of their laws in regards to retail. Taxation is a little higher than it needs to be, in my opinion.” – Charles Holland

“We passed a Community Improvement District tax, which is for downtown businesses, and we have a property tax abatement for properties downtown. (The tax) has been a tough one to kind of sell to people — it will take a little bit of time for people to start seeing things happen. But in the long run, we will see benefit from it.” -Diane Richardson


“I think we could easily say that we have the most talent and capability in our (economic development corporation) with certified economic developers.” – Jerry Jeffrey

“Their economic development is vibrant. They support business of all sizes but larger businesses more.” – Charles Holland

“The resources are there. It’s just a matter of people taking advantage of them.” – Mark Chambers

Back to Outstate: Moberly

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