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Williston experiencing record boom in new and expanding businesses in 2021

Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 6:41 PM CDT
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WILLISTON, N.D. - The first half of 2021 has treated the city of Williston well in terms of business development. The Williston Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development leaders say they are well on their way to a record year.

Williston has seen a number of new businesses popping up and expanding, bringing more variety to the growing city.

Abele Apparel was able to move its boutique into a bigger location thanks to the Williston Economic Development’s STAR Fund mini-match grant, which can be used for new business and childcare startups or improvements.

“It really helped us to move into our location and I’m super thankful for it, because it’s harder for when you’re a small business trying to become more established,” said owner Angel Hanser.

So far, the mini-match program has benefited 12 new businesses, six expansions and two improvements. Executive director of Economic Development Shawn Wenko said a variety of businesses have applied, from boutiques to oilfield supply companies.

Wenko added that supporting these businesses is what helps improve the quality of life in the city.

“When you look at starting a small business, it’s a challenge. Money is tight and there’s a lot of upfront costs, so whenever there is an opportunity to shop local and support small business, I encourage residents to do so,” said Wenko.

The Williston Area Chamber of Commerce gauges business development by the number of ribbon cuttings performed each year. So far, there have been 19, which is on pace to shatter the average 25-30 cuttings in a year.

“It’s really encouraging to see that here in Williston we took a not-so-great situation and people have turned it into growth for our business community and our economy,” said Chamber President Rachel Richter Lordemann.

Organizations like the Chamber and Economic Development say the pandemic gave entrepreneurs a chance to think about expansion opportunities and to reflect on their passions to make decisions to move forward.

Wenko says their yearly allocation for the mini-match program has already been used up, so they plan on going to the STAR Fund Board of Directors and city commission for additional funding.

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