- Associated Press - Friday, November 27, 2015

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - Officials in Williston are trying to draw more retail chains to the western North Dakota oil patch hub.

Williston Economic Development and the Williston Convention and Visitor Bureau recently hired the retail data analysis company Buxton to identify the best retail options for the city and begin attracting stores.

Based on survey results, the city is aiming for the likes of TJ Maxx, Gordman’s, Rue21, Hibbitt Sports, Friday’s, Chili’s and Sonic, The Bismarck Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1POF7U4 ).

“Williston has moved from a boom to a business model, and there are all types of companies that are needed to satisfy our growing population’s shopping habits,” said Shawn Wenko, executive director of Williston Economic Development.

The oil industry has been slumping of late, but Wenko said Williston can still be attractive to new stores. Its population has doubled since 2010, surpassing 30,000, and the U.S. Census Bureau considers it the nation’s fastest-growing micropolitan area, an entity with a population of 10,000 to 50,000 people.

“Regardless of where we are currently at with oil prices, these developers still see the opportunity of what can and will be for the city of Williston,” Wenko said.

The $50,000 contract with Buxton is for three years with an opt-out option each year.

“Recruitment of retail can take some time and a lot of variables come into play,” Wenko said.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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