Town Hall Outdoor Co. lands Rural Jump-Start incentives
Local business officials believe it could help other companies capitalize on program
Town Hall Outdoor Co., a Steamboat Springs-based children’s outdoor clothing company, has earned approval to participate in the Colorado Economic Development Commission’s Rural Jump-Start Zone program.
The program offers new businesses grants and tax credits to open in rural areas and hire new employees.
“I think it’s our purpose and values, and where we started and came from, and the genesis of the company — which was to keep jobs here, stay here and not move to the Front Range,” said Robin Hall, co-founder and CEO of Town Hall Outdoor Co., about receiving approval. “They saw that Routt County, and specifically Northwest Colorado, is just such a bright spot of innovation and entrepreneurship.”
Hall said the company didn’t really need an incentive to be in Routt County and views the approval as a reward.
To get started, Hall and the other founders developed a business plan and started taking steps to create an outdoor clothing company focused on making durable attire for ages 5-14. The clothing is made from sustainable materials and is designed to last long enough to be handed down.
“Our products are made to be durable to keep them out of the landfill, to keep them on kids that need it and to keep them in circulation as long as possible,” Hall said. “It’s resonating really well. If you go out to (Steamboat Resort) or Howelsen Hill on any given day, you are going to see some Town Hall stripes, and it’s pretty rewarding.”
Hall was thrilled the company, which just started offering its winter lineup this fall, has been invited to participate in the Rural Jump-Start Zone Program.
The economic development program is administered by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’ Office of Economic Development and International Trade. It incentivizes new startups, as well as businesses operating outside of Colorado, to locate their operations within one of 20 designated zones in the state.
“I’m just excited about this, because when we’re talking about the changing economy in Routt County, it is clear that we really need to be priming the pump,” said John Bristol, economic development director for the Steamboat Springs Chamber. “We need to get behind high-growth businesses that have a really significant trajectory, like Town Hall. These businesses will hire people and provide year-round quality jobs with good wages and benefits.”
To qualify for the program, Town Hall is required to locate operations within Routt County and create a minimum of five new jobs paying at or above the county’s average annual wage.
In exchange, Town Hall will receive up to $40,000 in grants, as well as relief from Colorado state income, sales and use taxes; county and municipal personal property taxes; and state income taxes for their employees for up to eight years.
“Retaining and growing small businesses across Routt County is key to economic diversification and our county’s long-term sustainability,” Bristol said. “I petitioned to have Routt County included in the Rural Jump-Start Zone program a few years back, and now I’m glad to report the program is supporting local startups and quality jobs.”
Town Hall is the second Routt County business to be included in the program and joins hearOclub, a hearing aid battery-subscription business, which was approved in 2020.
“We worked really hard to get the state to let us into the program, and it’s been slow getting companies to utilize it,” Bristol said. “But now we’ve got some companies that are in line to utilize it. … I think Town Hall is leading the way here, and it’ll be a good example for other companies that are getting started.”
If you are a business owner who has questions about the Rural Jump-Start Zone program, email John Bristol at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Or at the following links:
John F. Russell is the business reporter at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach him, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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