Monday, November 4, 2019


More or less?
Recently Shiptons Big R, a Montana (Billings)
based retailer of farm and ranch related goods
announced plans to open a Lewistown store.
Post purchasing the empty Shopko building,
they're remodeling in preparation for opening
in the spring of 2020. Meanwhile a new Town
& Country Grocery Store is being erected on
the far west side of town. Whereas St Vincents
is building a new medical clinic facility on the
east end. Downtown a variety of shopfronts
have been or are about to be repurposed. To
be home to cafes, bakeries, gift, apparel, quilt
retailers, financial firms, and much more.
Much ado about nothing
Yet somehow many local naysayers are still not
happy. Rather than celebrate what is happening
for the good, they complain. Wondering why
mega retailers such as Walmart and the like have
yet to invade our territory. Suggesting that entree
efforts by big box firms have been rejected by
"city fathers." When in reality, nothing could be
further from the truth. You see, what's missing
from such conspiracy theories is the simple fact
that retail is a business enterprise. Thus the only
reason a company opts to enter a new market is
in order to supply a demand. Otherwise they're
NOT interested. Whether we want them or not.
Build it and they will come
In order for Lewistown to grow and succeed
we must attract NEW investors. And the only
way to do so is by proving that opportunities
for growth exist within Fergus County. All
who want such growth must put their money
where their mouths are. Proving that there is
sufficient demand for new categories of goods
and services. Hence the reason why so many
new firms - serving specific categories are
interested in Fergus County. They go where
they think the money is. Reason enough for
firms like Shiptons and Tractor Supply to
deem central Montana ripe for the picking.
Food for thought
While locals complain about high prices they
still must eat. Which is why Albertsons just
remodeled their Lewistown. facility. Such a
demand created a competitive opportunity for
Town & Country. Blessed to have CMMC
community hospital we still lack enough
practitioners to meet our community's needs.
Hence the expansion of the Big Horn Health
Center into the vacant Chokecherry Lane
building. Add the entry of a new St. Vincents
clinic to the mix. And once again, our local
demand is driving investment by suppliers.
No hidden agendas. Just demand and supply.
Best foot forward
Nobody can save us but ourselves. Therefore
we cannot rely on external forces to read our
minds. Nor figure out where or how we spend
our hard earned cash. Each and every one of
us must purposefully and aggressively invest
in our own community. Shopping on-line or
in Billings or Great Falls simply decreases
local demand. Leaving the false impression
that there is no demand for many traditional
categories of goods within Fergus County at
large. However, you can't buy shoes locally
if nobody sells them. So we all have to step
up. Both local retailers and those they serve.