Sometimes we're forced to shop out of town By Karen Thompson In the 20 years I have lived in Vermillion, many downtown businesses have closed. I'm told it is because the people of Vermillion shop out of town instead of at home.
There are reasons why we do and not all are related to price and selection issues.
I have always done school shopping for my kids at Pamida. But I didn't this year. I had to go out of town for a needed service and, since I was in Yankton anyway, I shopped at Staples and Wal-Mart for school supplies.
Vermillion lost sales that day because Vermillion chiropractors refuse to sign up as providers for DakotaCare. This is their choice and I respect that. But by refusing to accept the insurance one of the larger employers in the county, the chiropractor effectively forced us to seek out of town service.
That in itself is bothersome, because I like the chiropractor here. He does a good job. But I can't afford the cash flow loss per visit nor the difference in co-pay.
And if I can't buy a service or product in Vermillion and have to go to Sioux City or Yankton or Sioux Falls, I will make good use of my gas and time. The other items on my list will be purchased out of town.
Some businesses cater too much to the students. Both Stage and Maurices clothing stores closed in Vermillion. Why, when their merchandise was perfect for the college and high school students who live here?
The answer is simple. Those of us with the money are over age 24. We don't fit the clothes that college and high school kids wear. I'm not talking about size, but style. Many of us fit into the size just fine. But we want clothing that looks professional, that is well-tailored. Faded denim isn't the fashion answer for everybody.
I had no trouble finding things for my children at Stage and Maurices, but rarely could I buy for me and nothing was available for my husband. So, off to Sadoffs, and while I'm there, I'll visit Shopko in the same mall.
It isn't that I don't like shopping Vermillion. I would love to shop here more than I do. It is far more convenient, I know the people and I like having my needs met close by. I hate that long drive to Sioux Falls or Sioux City. By the time I get there, my arthritic hip has stiffened to the point where it hurts to get out of the car.
Not too long ago a merchant said that the atmosphere for new business start-ups is very poor in Vermillion. Fear of competition, a lack of nurturing and encouragement from established businesses and outright refusals to allow building permits because valuable farm land will be used were cited as some of the reasons. Growth in business requires risk and a proactive abundance attitude. There are enough shoppers here to support business.
Some have said the Newcastle Bridge will bring in more shoppers. That new bridge isn't going to help any if there are no shoe stores, clothing stores and so forth from which to buy.
We tend to claim that Sioux Falls gets more than its fair share of business. A recent study proved that untrue while at the same time showing Vermillion is not getting its share. In fact, our town is lowest in sales volume. It's not surprising, with three larger cities close by where services and selection are available.
Vermillion businesses could readily have my money if the product and services were here. My husband needs a new white dress shirt. Anybody know where I can get one?
Oh, yeah. Out of town.