As I consider various plans to rejuvenate Madison's downtown, various bits of downtown news roll across my desk:
Sioux Falls Event Center: On a 5&ndash4 vote, the Sioux Falls City Council voted last night to build the fabled Events Center at the Arena site rather than downtown. Let's see how that affects Mayor Huether's 69% approval rating.
Mini-Wal-Marts: In what ought to be an oxymoron, Wal-Mart is trying out a new store model: small stores. These Wal-Mart Expresses will be 15,000 square feet, a tenth the size of a Super Wal-Mart. They are meant to tackle dollar store competitors in areas where Wal-Mart isn't already making lots of money. The stores will also serve as delivery hubs for Wal-Mart's online shoppers.
My friend Mr. Allen and others have talked about bringing a Wal-Mart to Madison as a way to save downtown by bringing more shoppers here. Madison may be too small for a big Wal-Mart; would a dinky Wal-Mart bring any more business to Madison's downtown, or would it be just one more dollar store?
The Smell of Bread on Main Street: But in our seal to rebuild retail on Main Street, let's not forget the Mom-and-Pop options... or in Dell Rapids, the Mom-and-Daughter option. Kristi Corcoran and her mom Jane Millman opened Ella's bakery in downtown Dell Rapids during Cootie Days. Their speciality: cookies.
Their other specialty: playing a vital role in community development?
Jeff Eckhoff, executive director of the Minnehaha and Lincoln County Economic Development Association, said any businesses that help fill main street storefronts are important to a community.
"Retail businesses really help give a town an identity," he said [Luke Tatge, "Dell Rapids Bakery Opens," that Sioux Falls paper, 2011.06.10].
That's what I said! (And why doesn't Madison have Cootie Days?)