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Downtown Bismarck Businesses are Booming
Bismarck is doing much better economically than the state expected.
North Dakota's total taxable sales and purchases were millions below the estimated amount for the first half of this year. They were expected to make $17 million more than what was actually made for Jan-July of 2016.
In many cases, the larger cities reflect the state's statistics. In the lagging North Dakota economy, the city of Bismarck is thriving.
"I feel very good about where the Bismarck-Mandan economy is heading in the end of 2016 and into 2017. All you have to do is drive around town and look at all the commercial construction that is taking place," said Brian Ritter, President and CEO of Bismarck-Mandan Development Association.
When asked where he saw the economy in the next few years, Ritter replied, "we've talked to several companies that say this pace of business, this pace of growth is very good for the community long term. It's sustainable and profitable for the businesses here."
Business owners in the downtown area reiterated what Ritter said about the Bismarck economy.
"It just seems like the downtown area is growing more and more. Small businesses are thriving right now," said Madonna Wald, owner of Lot 2029.
Jack Glasser recently moved his photography business downtown and has seen an increase in business with the location change. He considers downtown the place to be with its upbeat energy.
"We've really had a great reception downtown. We've always wanted to be downtown," said Glasser.
"I think that its continuing to grow downtown and people are beginning to come down here more frequently, so I think there's something to be said about that," said Kenny Howard, owner of FireFlour Pizza.
The downtown area has a handful of projects underway including the opening of The Starving Rooster Restaurant, Metro Plains housing development, Capitol Gallery opening, and a few others.
While the state of North Dakota isn't meeting their own expectations, it seems like the city of Bismarck is unaffected by the state's decrease in sales tax received.