A recent nationwide survey shows that small town economies in the Midwest are doing quite well when compared to other areas of the nation. That includes here in KELOLAND where some communities aren't just holding on to what they have, they're expanding.
Brandon isn't the town it once was. The community just east of Sioux Falls survived the nationwide economic downturn and now appears to have more businesses than ever.
"We're a little bit isolated here in the Midwest from some of the downturns on the east and west coasts. We're certainly slower than we were five, six, seven, eight years ago. But we've maintained a pretty good pace," City Administrator Bryan Read said.
Read says in the case of Brandon, that's not by chance. The city laid the groundwork for expansions even in the middle of the recession. That has paid off with new businesses in the industrial park to the north of Interstate 90. Existing businesses have also been expanding.
The strength of the economy in Brandon isn't just measured by the number of businesses now in town but also measured by the revenue they're generating.
"Sales tax revenues are up significantly over last year. New housing starts have been pretty consistent; about 35 houses a year," Read said.
Those are all good indicators for Brandon and the town's economy. While what is ahead is always uncertain, Read likes where this community is going and thinks even brighter days are ahead.
"I think it improves; I think it will start improving dramatically in the next year or two," Read says.
That's a hopeful outlook for communities across KELOLAND that may have slowed but never stopped expanding while the entire nation battled a recession.
Building permits in Brandon peaked in 2007 with 451 total permits. After dipping by nearly 100 the following year, permits rebounded to 413 issued last year.