Editorial - Signs of economic recovery spring up in AlexandriaIf you want to see some promising signs of an improving economy, take a look around Alexandria. Things are looking up. Several businesses are building, expanding or moving to bigger locations. There’s a lot of activity up and down Broadway.
If you want to see some promising signs of an improving economy, take a look around Alexandria.
Things are looking up. Several businesses are building, expanding or moving to bigger locations. There’s a lot of activity up and down Broadway.
The Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission highlighted three local projects in its Economic Insights Newsletter:
• Construction of the new Eye Associates of Alexandria building – located at 1610 Broadway – is nearing completion.
• A redevelopment on North Nokomis on the Cowing Robards property is taking place to make way for a new showroom for Boomerang Marine and Sports.
• The Alexandria Technical and Community College continues to move ahead with its construction of Foundation Hall – a 59,405-square-foot student housing facility with 150 beds. It’s set to open for the fall semester this year.
Here are some other developments that were recently completed or are in the works:
• Papa Murphy’s Take’ N’ Bake Pizza moved to a new, larger location at 915 Broadway (the old Cenex station) across from Walgreens.
• Target completely remodeled its store, adding a full line of groceries and a Starbucks Coffee.
• Elden’s Food Fair’s multi-million dollar renovation and expansion on 3rd Avenue is in full swing.
• For the first time in several years, the retail space at the Viking Plaza Mall is completely filled. New businesses that will open there soon include Viking Antiques, Fashion Remix, Piggy Tails N Overalls (a children’s clothing store) and a hat store, Heads Up. In addition, negotiations are under way to bring a “small box” store on the mall grounds.
• The Center for Pain Management built a new clinic on 22nd Avenue, a $1.5 million project.
• Habitat for Humanity moved to a new home at 1211 North Nokomis that provides a larger work area.
• Bethany is expanding to improve short-term rehabilitation services and is adding memory care. It’s a $3 million expansion.
• The Douglas County Services Center is being remodeled at a cost of about $4 million.
• Lake Geneva Christian Center on Birch Avenue added a dining hall and conference center, a $3.34 million project.
• Lake Community Church added classrooms and completed remodeling, a $1.38 million undertaking.
• Douglas Machine is looking spiffier with a $1.27 million project that included a new mezzanine and remodeling.
• Arrowwood Resort is adding eight new cabin rentals, a $1.24 million project.
• Thanks to voter approval, a new $70 million high school is taking shape near 50th Avenue and Pioneer Road. It’s set to open in the fall of 2014.
Several other projects are happening as well: a new self-serve yogurt bar, CherryBerry, will open next to Jimmy John’s; Conlin’s Furniture is moving into the former SAVE store (old Viking Foods) on 34th Avenue; Toasties Subs is opening on Broadway; two businesses – an event/floral designer shop and a women’s clothing store will open in the Viking Office Supply building; Pilot Flying J recently acquired Pipeline Travel Plaza off Interstate 94 exit 100 and is remodeling it; Green Tree will be opening on 6th Avenue downtown; an exercise business focusing on Pilates plans to open downtown; a unique gift shop, The Golden Giraffe, is now open next to Diekman’s Jewelry on 6th Avenue West; and Downtown Floral is moving into Elden’s.
The hum of activity isn’t just limited to retail. According to the AAEDC, many local manufacturers and support industries are also doing well, reporting the following job increases between 2011 and 2012: Alexandria Pro-Fab Company – 125 employees, a 56 percent increase; Brenton Engineering – 200 employees, a 16 percent increase; Douglas Scientific – 65 employees, an 81 percent increase; Heritage Transport – 25 employees, a 67 percent increase; ITW Heartland – 120 employees, a 14 percent increase; and Powers Machining – 24 employees, a 60 percent increase.
All these developments point to a bright future ahead and underscore Alexandria’s reputation as a regional hub for retail and manufacturing.
If you’re interested in starting up or expanding a business in Alexandria, the AAEDC can help take you through the hoops. It offers free, confidential assistance for creating a business plan, selecting a site, leveraging financial incentives, getting demographic information and other customized advice. Call (320) 763-4545 or visit its website, www.alexmn.org.