Mitchell rides wave of construction into new year
Mitchell's business community is headed into the new year with a burst of change and growth.
A local record of $31 million in projects received city building permits in 2012, and while a significant chunk of that may have been due to repairs from a May hailstorm, many new structures were built while some existing businesses expanded, remodeled or relocated.
County Fair Food Store remodeled, expanded by 10,000 square feet, and added Caribou Coffee and Lewis Drug outlets inside its location at 1305 W. Havens St.
Store manager Justin Luther said the produce section and deli were "vastly" expanded, more frozen foods, natural foods, organic, gluten-free items, and hundreds of new offerings were added. In addition, a cheese island was installed and more liquor was placed in the store.
The new offerings have boosted business, and County Fair has hired 50 more employees to keep up with demand, Luther said.
"We're very fortunate we have an owner and a landlord, John Clarke and Wayne Puetz, who encouraged us to expand," he said. "We're proud of it, and proud to be part of Mitchell."
The expansion at the renamed County Fair Plaza also sparked another change, as the Goodwill store re-opened in a new building at 1311 W. Havens St.
While Lewis Drug added a location inside County Fair, it also opened a new building on the north end of Mitchell. The new drugstore is now at 1507 N. Main St. It opened Dec. 5. "We have a bigger outfront, more retail available, more room," said pharmacist in charge Casey Zoss. "Now we have a driveup, and more parking." Having locations at both ends of the city offers convenience to people, Zoss said. "Our computers are linked," she said. "And the County Fair location has later hours." The North Main Street store is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. It's closed on Sunday. The County Fair location is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the week, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Another business in Mitchell also continues to offer dual locations, albeit with one in a new spot. BankWest is in a new building at 1200 E. Spruce St. Ryan Huber, the president of the bank, said the new facility replaced an existing branch inside the Highland Mall. The new bank opened in early November.
"We enhanced what we had already been providing for our customers and added a better drive-through facility, a better floor plan and better accessibility as well," Huber said. The new location is on the northeast corner of the Spruce/Burr intersection on the southern edge of Mitchell. A second branch at 1920 N. Sanborn Blvd. will remain open, Huber said.
"It's just a convenience thing for our customers to have both a north and south location," he said.
Leader Sporting Goods
Leader Sporting Goods is moving to a new, larger space, and has leased out its current building at 424 E. Havens St. Ken Blaalid, the company's owner, said his new store will be located at 515 E. Spruce St., near Menard's. "It's a bigger, better location," Blaalid said. He said the business will relocate early in the new year. The current building has been leased, and the new business, which he declined to identify, will move in within 45 to 60 days.
Iverson Chrysler Center
Iverson Chrysler Center bought city land at the southwest intersection of Burr and Ash had been declared surplus.
The land will be used, at least for now, as extra space to park vehicles.
The company, which sells Chrysler, Dodge, Ram truck and Jeep vehicles, is also having a new sales facility constructed on property near its main location at 600 S. Burr St.
John Iverson, president of Iverson Chrysler Center, said the business is growing and needs more room for its vehicles and its sales staff.
Boyd Reimnitz is having new storage units erected near the Sanborn Boulevard viaduct.
The 76 units, located at 408 W. Birch Ave., were completed in the past few weeks.
Bryan Hisel, executive director of the Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce and the Mitchell Area Development Corporation, said the data is good news for Mitchell and the surrounding area.
"2013, barring falling off a cliff -- we will have bucked a trend," Hisel said. "If we have some rainfall, the farm economy held us through a national recession, our manufacturing is up and running and adding employees ... we've had it pretty good compared to a lot of places across the nation."
He said the growth has been "not too fast -- if anything, a little too slow."
The area needs to add population, which will help fuel more economic growth.
"Mitchell needs to be an employment center, as well as retail and service and health care services, which we always have been for the region," Hisel said.
"We want a diverse economic base," he said. "Some more manufacturing would be desirable, as long as it's a different kind of manufacturing. We need to let existing firms grow."
Hisel said expansions in small businesses are "particularly rewarding" for the owners, employees and customers.
"There's so much pride in a remodel or a revamping of a business," he said.
"A lot of it is locally owned businesses. "It's smaller businesses, and locally owned that are having the ability to impact," Hisel said. "Small business is still our bread and butter. It drives our economy." The new and expanded businesses are adding employees, he said. In addition, CHR Solutions is expanding, Hisel said. But there has been some bad news. Verifications closed, costing the community 70 jobs.
"Many found new jobs," Hisel said. But since the company was shifting the jobs to workers in other nations, substantial re-education and retraining benefits were offered to employees who didn't land jobs, he said.
"We're going to take the dark moment and turn it into wonderful peanut butter for those folks, I hope," Hisel said. "That said, it's not perfect. I don't want to sound like Pollyanna. It was a bad decision by that company. We didn't see it coming." Avera Health will move into that location in January to house its in-house payment and billing center, which will replace companies that provided those services to Avera, he said. Over a period of a few years, that could mean 50 new jobs.
Hisel said he continues to be optimistic, and said 2013 promises to be "strong in housing" with continued commercial construction. As a report released this summer pointed out, there is a dire need for more housing. "We don't want to overbuild, but we were seriously underbuilt," Hisel said. ProBuild is adding single-family homes, but most of the growth is in apartments, he said. Mitchell Technical Institute's first student apartment building, Campus Tech Apartments, opened in August on the MTI south campus. The 45-unit property is managed by Mills Property Management, of Brookings. Muth Properties is constructing an apartment complex near Menards. "That's a go project," Hisel said. Mueller Lumber is also developing plans for some new apartments, Hisel said.