Many of you have been asking what, if any, plans are being put together to replace Alco, which will be closed by January 31, 2015. Wagner Area Growth has been exploring a few different avenues but, as of yet, have no agreements with any corporations or individuals to fill the building. Wagner has the statistics in our favor, and I do not think there is any reason to fret about not being able to welcome a new corporation to our community.
According to the department of labor, the sort of retail Alco sells is labeled “General Merchandise.” In comparison with the other South Dakota communities who are home to an Alco store, Wagner spends more on “General Merchandise” per capita than any other community (see image attached).
Another great economic quality of our community is our positive pull factor. A pull factor is a numerical value that tells us how much retail business is leaving the community in comparison to the population of said community. A retail pull factor of 1 is neutral, meaning there are as many people coming into the community to shop as there are people leaving to shop in surrounding communities. A retail factor over 1 means that more people are coming to our community than going elsewhere. Wagner’s pull factor is at 1.48. While there are communities higher than us, including Winner (2.18), Platte (1.94), and Parkston (1.63), we do have a higher pull factor than Mobridge (1.37), Miller (1.18), and Sisseton (1.16).
I have been in contact with a few corporations, including ShopKo, but a firm decision has not been reached regarding whether or not they will open a location in our community.
An alternative to bringing in a large corporation would be to recruit from within—to find an individual capable of managing nearly $1 million in inventory and multiple employees. It is not out of the question to obtain local investors to assist in the startup of a “Wagner Variety Store” locally owned and run. The difficulty with this option is that of finding the individuals in our community who are capable and willing to take on this opportunity. With our Wagner Alco bringing in $2.5 million gross revenues in past years, it could be a nice income for someone who has been considering a career change. If you believe you are one of these individuals, give me a call. There is no risk in a conversation, and there are multiple niches in Wagner not currently being met—the opportunities are endless for those willing to better themselves.
As always, give me a call with questions or concerns regarding the economic development of our community.