Cost to lose Do it Best HQ? Study says nearly $100 million a year

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Nearly $100 million lost every year. That’s the price if Do It Best headquarters were to leave Allen County, according to a new study.

Do it Best, a home improvement retailer, signed a contract to move its headquarters from New Haven to the former General Electric site in Fort Wayne. However, the future of the move seems tied to the stalled Electric Works project.

Rachel Blakeman, Community Research Institute Director at Purdue Fort Wayne, ran a study to see what the cost would be if Do it Best were to leave Allen County. This study came at request from local businessman Tom Kelley.

Blakeman’s study determined that the direct and indirect costs if the company were to move would total $96.7 million a year. If the Do it Best expansion were to continue, it would bring in $117.8 million a year.

Beyond the dollar figure, to lose a corporate headquarters would do even more damage.

“These are corporate decision makers,” says Blakeman. “They are going to have a vested interest in investing in Allen County, Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana. When we think about Chuck and Lisa Surack at Sweetwater, clearly they are philanthropic individuals, but they’re not just investing in the [Fort Wayne Children’s] zoo because they think it’s the right thing. They know that investing in the zoo creates a better quality of life for Sweetwater employees.”

While Do it Best has not publicly said it would move if the project fails, the stalled Electric Works project is causing concern for the move.

Mayor Henry is talking to area business leaders to evaluate the next step for the project after the city terminated $63 million in public money earmarked for developer RTM Ventures.

Mayor Henry has not reviewed the study, according to his spokesman.

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