HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) — Recent closures and layoffs in Hutchinson have brought up questions about the local economy and the future of the town.

The director at StartUp Hutch says that local businesses are often overlooked in how they drive the local economy, and those businesses are providing jobs that are different than those at a corporation.

Jackson Swearer says the local businesses are typically run by people right there in the community, having an impact on more than just their customers.

“They’re really invested in our community,” Swearer said. “Those are the folk to contribute to the local basketball team and are in the local parades, so I think it’s really great to try to lift up those businesses.”

Kathy Reffner is the co-owner of Reffner’s and says what sets the local businesses apart is they are integrated into the community and want to see their home succeed.

“We are a part of this community,” Reffner said. “We live here, we shop here, our kids, grandkids go to school here, so we want it to thrive just as much as the residents here because we are a resident.​”

Over a dozen business owners recently finished a course with StartUp Hutch learning how to expand and improve their businesses.

“The fact that we have all of these local businesses who are doing well and looking to expand provides a resilience that helps protect our local economy in the face of, sort of, broader national economic trends,” Swearer said.

The owner of Express Employment Professionals, Levi Julian, says they have a role to play with everyone who walks through the door, no matter where they are from.

“I think it’s very important that those folks, when they’re visiting our local businesses, that they’re getting good service or getting good quality, either getting a unique product and experience that will entice them and drive them to keep coming back,” Julian said.

They say as they work on growing as individual businesses, it’s important for the entire community to work together, staying local and supporting one another.