Despite recent business closures at the Watertown Mall, City of Watertown officials are optimistic about the city’s retail future.

With the city having contracted with Alabama firm Retail Strategies last November, Watertown City Council members Beth Mantey and Randy Tupper received an update through a webinar recently with the firm assessing the retail health of Watertown.

Conducting an exhaustive inventory on current and possible developments and what types of retail niches are present within Watertown, Retail Strategies delivered a pleasantly surprising result to the council by estimating that 172,000 people reside within Watertown’s market area of northeast South Dakota and western Minnesota, including the similarly-sized Brookings and the smaller cities Huron and Marshall, Minn. While those towns may be quite a few miles from Watertown, Tupper said that Retail Strategies insists that far-reaching market size is consistent with their usual model for rural areas.

“That (market area) is amazing for a town our size,” Tupper said.

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