The Roundup -

Updated Addresses May Bring More Retailers to Watford City


Want more retailers in Watford City? One step towards that is simple, according to Daniel Stenberg, McKenzie County Economic Development Coordinator.

McKenzie County Economic Development recently reviewed the results of a customer analytics study done by the Buxton group. The group works with retailers to match them with cities where business may be promising. The study analyzed purchasing data, and found that 74% of spending done in McKenzie County is done by “visitors.” These ‘visitors,’ Stenberg believes, are actually McKenzie County residents who simply haven’t updated their addresses yet. This plays a significant role in whether a big retailer chooses to set up shop in McKenzie County.

“That’s an extraordinarily high number,” Stenberg explained. “Most likely it’s due to people who live here who don’t have their address updated with the credit card company. If they moved to McKenzie County and they didn’t update that address, the report is showing that it is a visitor spending the money. Retailers won’t come here if their sources aren’t showing a large enough residential population. So it’s hurting us.”

One simple action residents can take is to update their addresses with various sources. ”It can be a hassle, but it helps. If you have been living and working here, you have to update your driver’s license and registration. Even if you get your credit card statement online, we’d still really appreciate if folks would take that extra step. Out of that can help the retailers get a better feel for our economy and we could probably get more retail,” Stenberg explained. Updating addresses with leasing agents, banks, credits card distributors, and any other agencies that are tied to a person’s residence will help to establish the true population of McKenzie County.

According to the 2016 Census estimate, the population of Watford City is just 6390 residents. According to a population estimate from Applied Geographic Solutions, a supplier of demographic information, the population is 10165,” so that’s quite a big difference,” said Stenberg. 

The upcoming 2020 US Census will also be integral to documenting the true population of both Watford City and McKenzie County. Stenberg explained, “This year we have our folks working on making sure the addresses are properly accounted for. Next year we will make a bigger push to the public making sure they know how the 2020 Census works and how important it is that if they live here, they also get counted.”

Together, the new, more accurate data will help show restaurants and retailers that there is a population to sustain potential shops.


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