Maurice “Moe” Clare knows it won’t happen overnight, but thinks Warren has a great shot at turning around its reputation in the business world, which has seen better days.
“Warren’s really got a lot going for it,” said Mr. Clare, Warren’s new business development point man. “All the pieces are there.”
Mr. Clare, the retired former owner of Bristol County Dodge on Child Street, is Warren’s first ever administrative assistant for economic development. He was hired earlier this month by Warren Town Manager Tom Gordon at 10 hours a week.
Officially, Mr. Clare serves as a point man for prospective business owners, helping them navigate the town’s rules and processes as they seek to set up shop in town. Otherwise? He’ll do a bit of everything, from helping the town planner and building official to streamlining the many regulations that govern business development in Warren.
The town would certainly benefit from some simplicity, he said.
“You look at Providence,” said Mr. Clare, who helped bring the Providence Bruins to the capital city in the early 1990s.
“Someone wants to open up there, and their doors are open in a month and a half. Here? It takes too long. There’s too much to go through,” he said.
Indeed, Warren has been known for years as a town not necessarily friendly to incoming business owners. Warren’s Economic Development Board, of which Mr. Clare was a member until recently, knew that. That’s why members pushed for the hiring of a coordinator over the past year to help streamline the town’s processes and take some of the burden for development off the planner and building official.
Mr. Clare has only been on the job a few weeks, but has been busy.
He has secured the services of a team from the state Office of Regulatory Reform, which will come to town regularly to advise the town on clearing up the inefficiencies, unnecessary steps and redundancies in the town’s procedures.
He is also planning twice-a-month meetings amount Warren department heads, prospective owners and the public, so everyone can be kept abreast of what everyone else is up to.
Apart from that, he’s knocked on more than a few doors and wants to keep meeting the town’s merchants.
“We’re better together,” he said. “The quicker it happens, the more everyone knows about what’s going on, the more funds flow into the town.”