Market maker? The Fantus Company and the making of a market for location in the United States

Nicholas A. Phelps, Andrew M. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Large firms are faced with an ever-widening array of consultancy services and providers. From management consulting to accounting to logistics to human relations, the professional services industry has seen extraordinary growth in the number of firms and range of services they provide. In this paper, we examine the history of one consultancy firm, albeit a small and particular one. The Fantus Factory Locating Service was established in 1919 and pioneered what we know today as the site selection or location consulting industry. Brokering between firms and communities seeking to attract investment, Fantus was able to structure and powerfully shape the landscape of economic activity in the United States. Drawing on a variety of secondary sources and a primary source of archived company files the paper examines the growth of the firm, the nature and scale of its work and its extraordinary and lasting influence on the changing US economic landscape.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1029-1047
Number of pages19
JournalBusiness History
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Fantus
  • Location consulting
  • location market

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • History


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