“How Can Huron Attract National Retail and Restaurant Chains?”

You no doubt have heard, or even asked, questions like this: “Why can’t we have an Applebee’s, Perkins, Arby’s, Taco Bell, Old Navy, Macy’s, JCPenney, Menards, or, you fill in the blank?”

Attracting popular retail stores and chain restaurants to a community is a subject that isn’t as simple as one would think. However, the key to attracting businesses to Huron and increasing economic growth begins with community support of our existing businesses.

GHCD President Jim Borszich“As the community and sales tax revenue continue to grow, it tells me that people are supporting the community. Population is up and revenue from sales tax has already increased by 8% this year,” said Jim Borszich, President/CEO of Greater Huron Development Corporation. “That clearly is what you must have to convince investors and other franchisees to take a good look at Huron as a community that can provide them a great return on their investment, and ultimately, a good reason to be here.”

According to Borszich, there are many factors that retail stores and restaurants use when choosing a community in which to locate. From population in the area served, referred to as trade area, location, sales tax dollars and general economic health of the community. Some business’ criteria are very specific. For example, Menard’s will not even consider a community with less than 50,000 people in the trade area, whereas, others want the community to be in close proximity to an interstate.

As individual citizens, we may not be able to do much about our population and location, however, each of us can have an impact on our sales tax revenues and vitality of our existing business community.

Borszich says it is also important to be realistic about what our community can support. “It would be difficult for us to support a Menards or Home Depot because we already have a Menards so close in Mitchell,” Borszich explained. “We have to be realistic about what is going to work in Huron because we are not a big enough community to support duplicate types of businesses. I do know, that if we don’t support our local businesses we are going to lose them.”

Every time we shop out of town or online, it gives an economic boost to another community; which then puts that community in a position to gain more retailers and restaurants that Huron residents desire.

In addition to shopping locally, Borszich states that it is also important to talk about the good things about Huron.

“Without community support, we’re spinning our wheels. We need to have everybody out there who supports Huron promoting it and telling our story,” said Borszich. “It’s a wonderful place to live. We have outstanding educational opportunities and excellent healthcare. We have a lot of respectable retailers that have worked diligently to support our community and boost the economy. We need to continue to support them while looking for additional opportunities as well.”

Between now and August 7, Huron shoppers have an extra incentive to shop locally. The Be a Lucky Duck-Shop Huron & Win campaign of the Huron Chamber & Visitors Bureau gives shoppers a chance to win up to $25,000 by submitting receipts for goods and services purchased in Huron. The Huron Chamber & Visitors Bureau recognizes that there may be some things that cannot be found in Huron, however, there are many things that can certainly be purchased here.

Next week Borszich will share other ways Huron residents can impact the potential of major retailers or restaurants coming to Huron; including assistance with developing a quality workforce and reaching out to friends and family across the nation to tell Huron’s story.

For more information about Be a Lucky Duck, Shop Huron & Win, visit www.huronsd.com/shopandwin or call the Huron Chamber and Visitor’s Bureau at 352-0000.

7 thoughts on ““How Can Huron Attract National Retail and Restaurant Chains?”

  1. If we are to support local businesses, why do I see so many construction companies etc from other areas working on things in our town ? For example, the schools, the sidewalks etc. Why are we not hiring local construction companies for things like this? Is it cost, or availability, or what? It just seems like Huron should be supporting our local business when undertaking these large projects!!

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  2. Aaron,
    I am assuming the trade area (which includes surrounding communities) for Jamestown meets their requirements. The are many other factors to consider as well.

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    • You’re correct Erica. Jamestown is also located at the crossroads of both US Hwy 281/US Hwy 52 and Interstate 94 which is just a mile or so to the South. I’m sure that played a major role. Their trade area encompasses roughly a 50 mile radius which includes Valley City, ND (another university town) and runs west almost to Bismarck, which is another major population center in ND. These would all be factors considering a location for a store like Menards.

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  3. Edited:

    The issue with Huron’s economy is not the lack of interstate highways or the inability for big chain stores to be successful. The problem with Huron is the dwindling population of the city and the surrounding small towns that used to help support it.

    In the book ‘Hollowing Out the Middle: The Rural Brain Drain and What It Means for America’ the authors discuss how the brain-drain of our intellectual capital is one of the greatest impacts on small-town America. When we groom our best and brightest children to leave to find better opportunities elsewhere our less gifted and talented remain.

    The problem with Huron is the same problem with every small town in America that does not confront the annual and semi-annual brain-drain. When kids leave Huron to attend College elsewhere how many return? When the young men and women of our communities graduate from in-state or out-of-state colleges and universities how many of those people return? And of the ones who do return, how many can afford to live in Huron when they have student loans to repay?

    The problem is not if Huron can support a major shopping chain, the problem is the lack of middle-class residents who can afford to live there. Had Huron kept up with the pace of larger cities the population should be 400% larger then it was in the 1970’s rather than less than what it was in the 1970’s. And if former residents have large debts from student loans they cannot afford to return to Huron to work for poverty wages.

    I will cite an example; there is an organization I worked for in Huron that requires employees to have a college degree. Many of the employees are paid below the $36,000 poverty line and had not received pay increases for several years. How can an educated person making poverty wages afford to live in a city where the cost of living is higher than similar sized South Dakota communities? The answer is they cannot. At least not sustainably.

    The problem is the populations of Huron and the surrounding communities have shrank since the 1970’s and the buying power of the dollar is less than it was in the 1970’s. The current economy of Huron, as is, is not sustainable.

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