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Our View: Enthusiasm should be local selling point

Published: Friday, July 12, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

There was palpable excitement surrounding this week’s announcement that the Texas Roadhouse steakhouse chain plans to open a new location on DeKalb Avenue in Sycamore.

It was pleasing to see another steakhouse planning to fill the void left when the previous tenant, Johnny’s Charhouse, closed in May.

It also was good to hear that the deal apparently has been done without the promise of public incentives from the city. They shouldn’t be needed in this situation: The location is highly visible, the space has already housed a restaurant in the past, and the new business is replacing a restaurant that offered similar, generally popular fare.

What’s more, Sycamore city officials likely are as eager to see a new business – and the sales tax revenue it will generate – in the space as anyone else. They’ve already shown that they can speed things along, as they did when SK Hand Tool relocated its operation to the city. An efficient and orderly government approval process is an incentive in itself for some businesses.

It’s also possible that the way in which this week’s news was received could bolster economic development efforts around the area.

The story about Texas Roadhouse on Daily-Chronicle.com was viewed by thousands of local people, who also shared and commented on the story on Facebook, and retweeted about it on Twitter.

The commentary was generally enthusiastic and positive, and the restaurant got itself a Texas-sized dose of free publicity in a soon-to-be new market.

It’s clear that even though local diners have their favorite local restaurants, the market is hardly so saturated that people don’t get excited when someone new comes to town.

In fact, there are several locations around DeKalb and Sycamore where new restaurateurs could be potential tenants. Included in the pitch to potential new establishments could be the fact that when someone new is coming to town, people in DeKalb County get excited. They will talk about your business and eagerly await your grand opening.

It’s guaranteed a new chain restaurant won’t make that kind of splash in Naperville, or Schaumburg, or other suburban Chicago markets where the market already is saturated with dining options.

The enthusiasm isn’t limited only to restaurants, either. We suspect that if a major manufacturing or other employer decided to make use of our area’s fiber optic infrastructure and easy access to the Interstate highway system, there would be considerable excitement and enthusiasm to welcome them, as well.

Of course, community enthusiasm is hardly the only consideration when a company decides whether it will open a new location here.

But with the economy showing signs of turning around, it’s one more positive that can be used in the quest to attract more businesses to our community.

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