The tradition of an “all retail stores in downtown” has changed as numerous medical providers and realtors have chosen to locate in this area. Most stores are open from 9am to 5:30pm with retail stores staying open till 8pm on Wednesday evenings. Restaurants in the downtown area rely on strong lunch hour and dinner business.
All businesses are ground level storefronts. In this fluctuating economic climate, Le Mars retailers are holding their own, with many owners saying they are seeing increases in sales.
From 1995 to Dec. 31, 2008 Le Mars can boast a net gain in business starts, relocations, and expansions of 51. 54 buildings have had rehabilitative and had renovation work done. The private dollars invested in rehabilitations equaled $2,369,575. With 83 buildings sold during that time, private dollars invested in downtown property totaled $4,643,916. 21,150 hours were volunteered toward Main Street.
With the growth of Le Mars, and the increase in outlying strip malls and the presence of Walmart, the retailers say they have felt an impact—especially in regards to Walmart. Local retailers can’t compete with the buying power that Walmart has with all its stores. We still see that many people look for and want customer service, quality products and a sincere appreciation for their business. That may be one of the main reasons our downtown has stayed so viable.
Based on the first phase of the marketing study, all three groups came up with the same three businesses that downtown Le Mars needs but each group ranked them in a different order of importance. The three businesses were— 1) a downtown pharmacy; 2) a women’s clothing store and 3)a restaurant where you can get great food.
The downtown movie theater is in need of major renovations but the current owners do not have the financial capability to make those improvements. The theater is currently on the market for sale. We hope that someone will step in and restore the theater to it’s original state.