Rainie and Earl Sonntag saved Palmantier’s, a landmark building, by buying it and operating a small scale hotel in it. That was in August of 2010. Business was lagging till oil companies moved in and started drilling for oil in the Utica shale that is 6,000 feet underground.
When the oil companies moved in, business moved up. It is predicted that this drilling could facilitate U.S. independence from foreign oil. Chesapeake Energy, the most prominent of the companies, has 150 employees working in Canton. Half of them are transplants from other states. In addition, temporary work crews move in and out.
Those work crews need someplace to live while they are in town. The local hotels and motels fill that need. The permanent workers may lead to home sales. They have already caused an increase in business. Palmantier’s is a prime example with requests for weekly rentals.
In addition to motel rooms being in demand, some of the new permanent residents are looking at homes to purchase. Those who will be working in town for a few years are looking for homes to rent. The companies are renting office space and warehouses. Local realtors are preparing for a twenty-year boom.
Eastern Ohio is the perfect place for shale oil drilling and all that accompanies it. Required infrastructures and natural gas lines are in place. It has sufficient highways and railroad lines for transportation. The influx of oil company employees is a welcome opportunity for business growth in the area.