Andy Long

MEDC Update

An update on the McCook Economic Development Corporation, by Andy Long, executive director.

Retail opportunities in McCook

Thursday, March 28, 2019

A couple of weeks ago, Nicole Sedlacek, Economic Development Consultant with Nebraska Public Power District shared at our annual meeting of the members that McCook had a retail pull of 1.52. That means for communities our size in Nebraska we do 152% of the expected retail business. The only other similar sized community that has a higher pull is York. This statistic helps illustrate the concept of McCook being the hub of Southwest Nebraska.

It is important for us to build on this. At the last board meeting, the McCook Economic Development Corporation voted to sign a contract with Retail Strategies to help attract new retail business to McCook. Retail Strategies uses data that includes, traffic counts, number of households, average household income, and gap analysis on retail sales in different categories to determine retail businesses that would be a good fit in the community. Based on the retail businesses that they determine to be a good fit, we provide them local guidance and then they start recruiting the businesses.

Retail Strategies will travel to McCook in late May/early June to look at the retail landscape and identify properties that will be attractive for retail business. Based on our conversations with them and the research they have done, properties along Highway 6/34 and 83 are the most attractive to national retailers. If you want to be a part of the visit and talk to them about the property you have in this area, please let me know.

Along with our partnership with Retail Strategies, we are also working on developing programs to assist our current retail businesses and to help new independent retail businesses get off to a successful start.

There are also opportunities for individuals who want to own a business but arenít interested in starting a new business. Two weeks ago, I had a business owner visit with me and share that the owner would be ready to sell and retire if the right buyer was available. This is the fourth business Iíve added to a list of people in similar situations where they are running a successful small business and are looking to transition to a new owner.

If you are interested, or if you have relatives that are ready to move away from working for a business in a big city and be an owner, please reach out to me. It is important for the potential businesses for sale to remain confidential, but with a short conversation, I can pass your contact information to the business owner to start the conversation.

Finally, there will be a survey released next month on early childhood education in the McCook area. When you see this survey, please complete it. We have great childcare providers, but right now, when you have a baby and want to return to week, it is difficult to find openings. There is a team of child care providers, business representatives, church representatives, childcare educators, and others who have been meeting for the last three months to start coming up with strategies to improve access. The survey will provide us data to develop the best strategies to improve.

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