If you've driven down Phillips Avenue lately, the hub of downtown, you've probably noticed some empty store fronts.
But Downtown Sioux Falls, Inc. is launching a new incentive program to bring more retail stores to the center of the city.
While economic times in Sioux Falls by all accounts are booming, that's not the impression you get these days when you drive down Phillips Avenue in Sioux Falls. There are eight open storefronts along this stretch of street.
"Some have retired; some are moving out because their leases are up and they want to do something different," Brienne Maner of Downtown Sioux Falls said.
The Downtown Sioux Falls organization isn't just standing by and watching the businesses go, it's taking action by launching an incubator program that will offer a rent subsidy to new businesses that will come in, along with other support.
"They would need to agree to a three year lease and also agree to let us help them give them the tools they need as far as marketing, economic, anything they need to success as well as partner them with a business mentor to really make sure they are sustaining business and stay in downtown a long time.
The new incubator program isn't designed to increase restaurants or coffee shops in town--it's designed specifically to get more retail business here.
"Retail is what really makes the downtown thrive," Maner said.
Women's Boutique Lot 2029 from North Dakota will open on Phillips Avenue in a few weeks. Downtown Sioux Falls would like to attract more of this kind of regional business to town.
"It's just a growing community; especially downtown. We've just heard so many good things about it and very similar to Fargo, where we've been for a year now. And the success we've had there, we're thinking we can have the same success here," Manager Brynn Joki said.
And making that success a little more of a sure thing is what Downtown Sioux Falls hopes to offer.
"I feel like there are some businesses that are hesitating because it is a risk to open a business and so we want to ease that process and help them through it by giving them the tools they need to succeed," Maner said.
Downtown Sioux Falls will be putting the application for the incubator program online next week. Interested business owners will have to present their business plan and go before a review committee for approval.