A new business is opening up close to yours. This can present opportunities or challenges for you. Either way, gather as much intel as you can to make the new neighborhood addition work for you or minimize its effect on your business. You can gather relevant information about a new business coming to your neighborhood with a few clicks on your computer keyboard and a couple of phone calls.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Real estate brokers, the Chamber of Commerce, local licensing authorities, property-sales records and your city or county representative can shed light on new businesses in your neighborhood.
Conduct a sales search. Records of recent property sales are typically filed with the property appraiser's office, as well as the Clerk of Courts in the county where the business is located. The property appraiser will have a list of all sales by address. The Clerk of Courts has recorded documents such as deeds and mortgages. Most counties now have these records available online. Search the address or do a general search for sales in recent months to locate the property owner and company name.
Check local licenses. Contact the local licensing authority, which is likely at your city hall or county building inspector's office. Ask for public records on licenses issued for the address where the construction is underway. You will find building permits, as well as business licenses, which should indicate the type of company being constructed. The zoning representative at these offices might also be able to answer questions about the new business.
Chamber of Commerce
Speak with the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce is the front door to the community. Many businesses seek out the Chamber when planning to relocate their company or start a new venture. Call or visit your local Chamber office and ask for any details they may have about the business.
Call your elected representative. A phone call to your city council representative or county commissioner may answer your questions about the type of business coming to your neighborhood. The elected official serving your district is typically in the know about commercial activity and should be able to provide some information or find answers for you.
Real Estate Brokers
Speak to a real estate broker. Call a local real estate broker near your neighborhood and ask what she knows about the new business. Real estate professionals tend to stay abreast of new developments; even if the real estate professional did not make the sale on this property, she likely knows who did. She may have some details about the buyer's plans.
Kelli Peacock Dunn has been a news editor and photographer since 1998, working at a weekly newspaper in Northwest Florida. Her articles have also appeared in "Panama City Living" magazine and "The Lookout."