By Shari Fenn, Content Contributor
As Canada’s baby boomer population retires, more and more cities and towns are competing to attract new business growth.
The town of Okotoks is finding success in attracting this business growth from the new workforce generation: the millennials.
According to Luke Woolridge, a millennial and Co-founder of Six Corners Brew Works, “This millennial generation is looking for all the comforts of a big city with the convenience of short commutes to work, and close, easy access to local amenities. Okotoks has all of this.”
“We decided on Okotoks for two essential reasons, we felt it was a great place to raise our family, and we believe there are great opportunities for business growth here,” explains Luke. “Okotoks has a small town feel and is a close-knit community with lots of young families and extracurricular options for the kids with all the amenities right here.”
“From a business perspective, we’re minutes from the big city and Okotoks is a gateway for most of the region south of Calgary,” says Luke.
“Okotoks has what it takes to make people stop and take notice,” adds Luke.
Okotoks is popular for both work and play
Another local business owner, Del Paquette, Founder and Creative Director, Solve Studio, moved to Okotoks after 20 years in Toronto.
“Moving to Okotoks was a better option for my family. It has a thriving business community with a small town feel. Okotoks has everything you need to work and play.”
Del loves the fact that he is never caught in rush hour traffic. “I don’t have long commutes. I literally am at work in 20 seconds,” says Del. “I work from my home office. There are lots of others who do this in Okotoks every day. It a quality of life choice I have made.”
Collaborative work environment with the town and private sector
“The business community in the town of Okotoks is very collaborate and works together to make Okotoks a special place to work and live,” explains Del.
“The Okotoks Economic Development was amazing to work with when I set-up my business. There is no red tape and the support I have received from the town has been incredible,” says Del.
While there are no precise dates when the millennials generation starts and ends; most researchers and commentators use the years ranging from the early 1980s to early 2000s.
Here are 17 reasons why Okotoks is attracting the millennial generation to Okotoks:
1. Available commercial and industrial land
2. Excellent location
Okotoks provides the perfect location to do business by being only 15 minutes to the city limits of Calgary and just under 40 minutes to the international airport.
3. Young population
With a population of just over 28,000 people, Okotoks is the one of the youngest communities in Alberta; the average age of the population is 34 years old.
4. Strong growth
Okotoks is going through an annexation process and expected to grow to approximately 80,000 people over the next several decades.
5. Regional hub of commercial activity
The regional trade area for industrial, tourism, selected retail and professional services caters to approximately 250,000 people, reaching
the southeast including:
- High River
- Black Diamond
- Turner Valley
- Municipal District of Foothills
- Communities south of Calgary as far as the southeast region of B.C.
6. Favourable tax advantage
Alberta’s favourable tax environment allows Okotoks to be a competitive option for business and head office relocations, branch offices and new facilities.
7. No tax for businesses
The Town of Okotoks doesn’t charge a business tax for the majority of businesses, allowing them to operate in an affordable environment while being located in a sustainable community.
8. Highly educated workforce
Okotoks also has one of the highest educated and skilled population in the Calgary Region.
9. Varied employment base
Okotoks offers a varied employment base including:
- transportation and logistics
- professional services
- retail and
- home-based business
10. Business growth plan
Okotoks has a growth plan for the following sectors:
- Technology and innovation
- Professional and technical services
- Industrial businesses (e.g. warehouses, manufacturing)
- Tourism marketing and product development
- Green building products and environmental services
- Value-added agricultural businesses
- Food processing and alternative energy
- Light and non-polluting industrial development
11. Thriving cultural community
12. Healthy living with pathway system
Okotoks offers over 50 km of pathway system for walking, running, biking and an off-leash dog park. The paths run along the picturesque Sheep River Valley.
13. Excellent education system
14. Amazing recreation opportunities
The town has:
- three golf courses
- recreation centre with pool
- curling rink
- arenas (Murray Arena, home of the Okotoks Bisons)
- an indoor hockey arena (Parson Centennial Arena, home of the Okotoks Oilers), and
- an outdoor baseball park (Seaman Stadium & Duvernay Fieldhouse, home of the Okotoks Dawgs)
15. Weekend tourist destination
The town offers boutique style shopping and a variety of restaurants that cater to every taste and budget.
There are also four hotels, including one full-service hotel and three B&B’s.
16. Popular special events
17. Magnificent rocky mountain views
Okotoks is surrounded by magnificent Rocky Mountain views and bountiful rolling hills.
How about you? Do you live in Okotoks? Planning to move there? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
Shari Fenn is a Canadian storyteller, inbound content writer and owner of Cross Communications Inc.