Drilling is down and hotel vacancies are up, but participants at a conference Wednesday said there are still reasons to be optimistic about Williston's economy. Peter Elzi, a consultant whose firm has done more than 70 market studies on Williston, said low oil prices will make 2015 and 2016 challenging years for the city. But the area has a lot of other economic activity, he said, such as a new airport in the works and construction of new schools and government buildings, along with pipeline and gas plant expansions. "There's still people coming here and there's still activity," said Elzi, a principal with THK Associates in Denver. "People forget the most valuable oil that an oil company owns is still in the ground. It's a bank for them. It's there when prices recover."Planning economic development:
The city of Williston is ramping up efforts to bring more retail to town. Williston Economic Development and the Williston Convention and Visitor Bureau are partnering with a retail recruitment firm to identify shops and restaurants that best match local customers' needs. Buxton, a Texas-based firm, has helped more than 700 communities open over 35 million square feet of new retail space since 2002. The key to Buxton's success is its information gathering system.Finally:
The new Menards Mega Store will open for business on Wednesday in Williston. Trevor Fisk, Williston Menards General Manager says, "The big day is finally here! We appreciate all the support and patience from everyone in town and can't wait to open the doors on Wednesday. Menards in Jamestown is also opening at the same time.Moose Sightings:
Moose sightings in Watford City are soon to spike with plans to open a Smiling Moose Rocky Mountain Deli in October 2015 located at 1005 Main St. South. This will be the second Smiling Moose Deli in western North Dakota and the fourth for the state. A group of close, mountain loving friends opened the first Smiling Moose in Edwards, Colorado in 2003, and over the years the fast casual restaurant concept has steadily grown to 18 locations in seven states.Up-Scale Luxury Apartment Complex Has Broken Ground:
Williston Apartments, LLC has broken ground on a new upscale apartment community, The Retreat, which will offer residents upscale amenities and a convenient location. They are pre-leasing now with move in dates set for early winter! This is in a convenient location across from the new Menards.