I attended the Cambridge Economic Development Board informational meeting held at the Cambridge Community Building about a replacement store for the Duckwall's that is closing. (BTW - Duckwall's/ALCO, go pound sand!) ED put on an interesting meeting letting folks know what they are doing to try and get a replacement variety store to replace Duckwall's, and to be sure, this seems like a huge undertaking for the ED board.
I've been critical of ED on this blog in the past, but this time, I'm on ED's side. The board has attempted to contact several "chain" type variety stores, but only Dollar General responded, and their response was related to the crowd as "maybe, but don't hold your breath".
ED wants to fast track this project for several reasons. There are 5 people about to lose their jobs, and the city is about to lose $26,000 a year in sales tax revenue. Not only that, but ED feels that it will adversely effect other downtown business as well.
It looks like ED is locked into the old Duckwall's location, and has gone so far as spend money on the store shelves and fixtures. We were informed that the city has charged Duckwall's around $1100 per month rent.
To me though, the meeting asked many more questions than were answered. First up, I think ED is putting the cart ahead of the horse on this. While it would be desirable to open a new store ASAP, there is no real business plan that I can tell other than a business "model" from the town of Clark, South Dakota.
There is no lawyer involved with the plan so far... how can you ask for investment if you don't have some kind of plan other than... "we want to keep the management and employees the same as is now". The problem with that is that the current management has limited control over the local Duckwall's, especially when it comes to investor relations.
The town wants investors... Get a management team to be responsible or everything ED does about investing and setting up the business could be not what the new management would want or can even use legally.