Downtown areas in west central Minnesota see changes in recent years
In the last decade, big box stores have come to dominate the local shopping scene, and the ease and convenience of online shopping has meant that people no longer need to leave their homes to purchase even the essentials.
These days, two-thirds of all Americans have purchased a product online, according to the Pew Research Center, and 78 percent agree that it’s a more convenient way of shopping.
While this trend toward online shopping has affected all local businesses in a community, it’s especially hit rural downtowns — a place that once boasted a thriving small business scene, where it mattered if people knew your name because it meant they would buy from you.
In west central Minnesota, several towns — ranging from a small town of 1,250 to larger county seats — have been expanding efforts to revitalize their downtown business areas and once again make them the heart of their communities.