Join Jamestown’s Business Community and Succeed
8 Aug 2019
“Up to a point a person’s life is shaped by environment, heredity, and changes in the world about them. Then there comes a time when it lies within their grasp to shape the clay of their life into the sort of thing they wish it to be. “
A statement well put by famous western fiction writer, Louis L’Amour, who was born in Jamestown, North Dakota, with an intuitive sense that one can go after what one wants and succeed. When looking back at Jamestown’s roots, it becomes apparent that L’Amour’s perspective was indeed gained through his environment and this perspective continues to serve the Jamestown area well today.
Jamestown, ND has long held to the mindset that shaping “the clay of their life into the sort of thing they wish it to be” is important in reaching your goals. This can be seen in the account of how Jamestown overcame the threat of being lost to progress in 1959. During the time when interstates were being built across North Dakota and rural changes were rapid, Jamestown determined it would not be left behind. Searle Swedlund, Executive Director of Jamestown Tourism shared, “the way the story goes is the first segment [of interstate] to be built was between Valley City and Jamestown. A group of local business men got together and said with this interstate we’re going to lose our traffic through our community and be disconnected. They reached out to AAA and asked the question ‘what was one of the most visited attractions in the midwest?’ It was Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox of Bemidji, MN. They decided to pay homage to the American Bison [as] this was one of the very last places where they would have freely roamed before they were no more. The group decided to build this concrete buffalo. The guy who built it was named Elmer Peterson, an art professor from Jamestown College. Before the buffalo, he had never built anything bigger than something you could set on your table at home.” The project was a success and to date, Jamestown’s concrete buffalo holds the title “World’s Largest Buffalo Monument.” Through creativity and true grit, the Jamestown group shaped the concrete which fulfilled their wish of staying connected and laid a foundation for generations to come.
Jamestown and the surrounding areas still possess the fortitude displayed in 1959 as shown in the accelerated growth of its business community. The Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corporation (JSDC) supports all new business as well as small to large business and industrial expansion by providing information on opportunity zones, industrial parks, and various business incentives and resources. Corry Shevlin, Business Development Manager for JSDC shared, “The services in the business community have grown in the last number of years. Individuals have seen opportunities to capitalize on and grow their own businesses and additional services as well.” One such resource found to be successful is the Flex PACE Interest Buydown Loan. Shelvin provided a recent account. “We approved a Flex PACE Loan for a gentleman who’s had an existing business in town. [He’s] going to expand his operation to include document shredding, which is not offered in the community currently. That is just a perfect example of how businesses and services are growing here.”
Jamestown also supports new and expanding business through its development of three impressive industrial parks, one being Spiritwood Energy Park. The Park, located 10 miles outside of Jamestown, covers 551 acres and is an attractive location for agricultural or industrial processing companies seeking strong energy and transportation infrastructure. “The Spiritwood Energy Park is designed for valued-added Ag, although we don’t discourage other companies from locating there. It is a partnership between Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corporation and Great River Energy,” said Connie Ova, JSDC’s Chief Executive Officer. “We’ve always (in the community) tried to focus on value-added opportunities,” Ova continued, “ beginning with the facility started in the early 90’s and then growing into Spiritwood Energy Park which is one of our focuses now. We added a corn ethanol production facility and we are in the process of adding a soybean crush facility. We’re doing well bringing business like that into the community.” View Jamestown’s Industrial Parks.
JSDC’s dedication to business growth and expansion has also benefited the community in staying connected. Ova went on to explain that Jamestown has seen a recent increase in those who had left for higher education now returning and enjoying their employment in Jamestown. “I think we’re getting better at communicating to the community what opportunities there are here. We’re hearing more from people that are excited about the businesses that we are bringing in saying their son or daughter [who] just graduated took a job at very good wages and are happy they were able to locate back in Jamestown. Another part of the growth we are looking for.” Ova offered a JSDC take away for anyone looking to further their career and shape the clay of their life for the better. “Come and live and work here. That's all!”