Breaking ground at Mercury

New facility a welcome addition to community

Mercury Payment Systems has been a growing presence in Durango since its founding in 2001, growing from the vision of brothers Marc and Jeffrey Katz to be a worldwide presence in the credit card processing market. That growth has made the company a leading local employer, with approximately 375 employees in Durango who collectively have the business bursting at the seams at its current facility in the Durango Tech Center.

For many reasons, that is a good problem to have, and it is one that sent Mercury looking for larger space to accommodate its burgeoning workforce – one for which the company projects continued growth. The company targeted vacant land south of the Durango Mall as the perfect site for its new campus and began planning for construction of a multi-use facility that could house the company as well as retail and other office space. Now, after a somewhat perplexing series of delays that threatened to kill the project, it is under way.

The benefits it is likely to bring the company and the community go far beyond comfortable work space for Mercury employees. As a leading regional employer, Mercury has been one of few bright spots on the local economic landscape in recent years, growing where many companies have atrophied during the recession that began in late 2007. That the growth is built on an innovative offering that increases other businesses’ productivity makes Mercury a business that typifies the direction industries of all sorts must go in order to remain competitive in a global economy. To have such a leader in this remote region of the state – and the country – bodes well for the community’s potential to attract or cultivate similar endeavors.

More obviously, there is the matter of jobs. With 375 local employees now, and plans to add another 100 over the next year, Mercury is a significant provider of skilled jobs to a region known for its limited supply of the positions. By constructing a facility that can accommodate more employees, Mercury is signaling its commitment to continued presence in the area, providing jobs for residents in the offing.

The company and its principals’ dedication to the community extends beyond Mercury’s walls – or its bottom line. At Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony, CEO Matt Taylor shared his vision of employees floating to the river-side campus via the Animas River. That concept can only come from a culture of commitment to quality of life and appreciation of the Durango region – and to supporting the communities here. The Katzes have been generous supporters of numerous community efforts, most notably to education of all sorts. That investment will likely pay big dividends in the future: students will have access to more resources that can, in turn, spur higher-level learning. The possibilities such investment creates are nothing but positive.

As Sen. Michael Bennet said Wednesday, Mercury is exemplary of the companies that are leading the United States into the future, out of periods of high unemployment and low median income. “The only way we’re going to turn that around is through innovation. The only way we’re going to do that is with local companies that start with three employees and grow to 600 employees,” Bennet said. How fortunate that Durango is home to one such company, and looks to be for the foreseeable future.

Congratulations to Mercury Payment Systems for breaking ground on its new facility. The results – intrinsic and extrinsic – can only be positive for the company and its community.