The University of Minnesota Extension Service’s Liz Templin and Bruce Schwartau presented the most recent Retail Trade Analysis for Northfield. An enthusiastic group that included business owners and community leaders found the data to be quite interesting.
It noted that:
– Northfield’s retail trends have been positive since the end of The Great Recession. Northfield’s taxable retail and service sales increased over 12% between 2009 and 2012.
– The largest increase in dollar sales was in the business category of eating and drinking establishments. Eating and drinking establishments are the largest contributors of taxable sales in Northfield’s economy, followed by miscellaneous store retailers. These two categories provide over twice the taxable sales as the next highest category, food and beverage stores.
– The importance of Northfield’s restaurants and retailers should be fully appreciated. These businesses provide the greatest financial support to State budgets for schools, roads, and seniors. These businesses also “pull” visitors to Northfield.
– Two business categories realized a very large percentage growth. Vehicles and part stores reported a 63% increase in taxable sales and furniture stores reported an over 73% increase in sales between 2009 and 2012.
– As a community located near major metro shopping markets, Northfield has some challenges. Residents leave the community to spend a portion of their shopping dollars in Burnsville, Bloomington, Roseville, West St. Paul, and other retail hubs. On the other hand, Northfield is fortunate to have a few amenities that attract visitors, including the historic downtown, the wild and scenic river, and the two colleges.
Bruce Schwartau emphasized the importance of the colleges to the local economy. He noted that their presence in the community draws thousands of visitors every year. In fact, he said that his greatest piece of advice to the community was to get more leverage from the colleges’ performing arts. Using this powerful amenity, we can work to capture more dollars from residents…and capture more dollars from visitors.
Read the full report here: 2012 Retail Trade Analysis, Northfield & Rice County