Retail Stores Closing Branches Nationwide | VideoEvan Kruegel | 2/7/2013
Jeanne Jacobson agrees. "We need more clothing stores, and a Target would be nice."
Others would prefer more mom and pop retail options.
"I like big stores I like little stores. I like seeing the small person be able to get a good start here," said Larry Jacobson.
Dar Jung says she’d prefer not to see the big box stores. "I`ve always thought of Williston as a little town and I know it`s growing and I know there`s a lot of people, but I think we should take our time before we bring in some of those bigger chains"
Either way, the city is trying to accommodate.
"We`ve been working for a number of years on trying to develop more retail in Williston, we recognize we have a tremendous shortage. People want it, people need it, and it`s not like we haven`t tried,” said Mayor Ward Koeser.
The biggest challenge is finding workers, a common problem associated with running a business in Williston.
"The big boxes recognize the business is here, the money is here to be spent. And it is being spent. But it’s a lot more challenging. So I think a lot of them are looking at different ways of packaging their store, how can they run on 150 employees instead of 200 employees, things like that."
Nationally, large retail stores have been hit hard by the poor economy and the growth of e-commerce, or online shopping. According to analysis by 24/7 Wall Street, eight major stores could close more than 10 percent of their branches this year.
Best Buy is projected to close 24 percent of its stores, Radio Shack is projected to close 12 percent and Barnes and Noble could close more than 35 percent of its branches. While that may look like a bad sign, city officials say it could play in Williston`s favor.
"Actually it might help us because as they close stores, they may be looking to find areas that are going to be more profitable, and an area like Williston certainly would be that, if they could just find the workers,” said Koeser.
While slow to develop, Koeser says big box stores are in constant contact with local developers, and it`s only a matter of time before one of them decides to take the chance and open a branch in Williston.
"Although we haven`t been nearly as successful as we`d like to be, we really think this might be the year where that changes."