Making local shopping a desired destination

BELLE FOURCHE, S.D. (KEVN) - In a town of fewer than 6,000 people shopping locally can be difficult; but Belle Fourche is trying to change that.

"These past three weeks, people have been coming up to me telling me Belle Fourche is going to take off,” said Gary Wood, Belle Fourche’s chamber director.

They are hoping to pump traffic into their downtown, both local and out-of-towners.

Deb Brown, Save Your Dot Town co-founder, believes that shopping locally can benefit a community.

“Times have changed and people will start local and continue to shop local from our small towns. We have to give them a destination kind of feeling. So, we want to bring tourists in absolutely, but we also want to make it feel like it’s worth to our locals to come downtown. So, creating a destination mindset is a good way to start,” said Brown.

Debra McCart, co-owner of the Olive Branch, has been in business in the community for 10 years. She wants to see the local businesses thrive.

“I’ve seen enthusiasm. Particularly the last couple of years; a tremendous amount of enthusiasm among good people here,” said McCart.

Enthusiasm is not the only thing that has been growing in this community. Their industrial park has, as well.

Hollie Stalder, Belle Fourche’s economic developer, hopes businesses continue to come to the community.

“So, over the past couple years we have had over 24 businesses, either do an expansion or their existing business, here in Belle, or locate here in Belle Fourche it’s huge for our employment side and it’s huge for our community, as a whole,” said Stalder.

“We are ready to grow and that’s what Manufacturers' Week is all about and that is why this week we are enforcing work force development,” said Wood.

Stalder hopes the industrial growth will transfer to downtown.

Manufacturers' Week will continue Wednesday with a meet-and-greet and realtor commercial building open houses.