REXBURG — Despite a challenging economy battling COVID-19, business continues to develop in Rexburg and especially so at the old Walmart building.
The latest entity planning to set up shop there will be C-A-L Ranch that’s currently located in the Valley River Center, says Rexburg Mayor Jerry Merrill.
“We’re glad to see all of our vacant buildings filling up,” he said. “We don’t have very many left anymore. When we get new businesses interested in coming to Rexburg, we don’t have very many places available for them.”
C-A-L Ranch will be joining the new Harbor Freight as well as Madison County’s Department of Motor Vehicles and Driver’s License Offices that set up shop last summer. Albertsons has been the only store there since Walmart moved into a new building and Payless ShoeSource closed.
When asked about the move into the Walmart building, Rexburg C-A-L Ranch workers directed the Standard Journal to the company’s Vice President of Marketing Jason Miller who declined comment at this time.
With C-A-L Ranch moving into the former Walmart building, the facility is essentially full of new businesses. It sat empty, except for Albertsons and the shoe store, for at least four years.
Merrill doesn’t know what’s caused the sudden interest in the Walmart building but says that lately companies have expressed a growing interest in the few empty buildings that Rexburg has.
The current C-A-L Ranch building may not remain empty for long, he said.
“We have some people showing some interest in that,” said Merrill who declined to specify the potential tenants considering the current C-A-L Ranch location.
“Businesses don’t like us saying anything until they have things nailed down. There has been some interest in it, which is good,” he said.
Merrill also reported that developers are looking at property west of U.S. Highway 20 and throughout the city.
“People are interested in Rexburg, what’s going on here and what a good place it is to live,” he said.
Earlier this month, D.L. Evans left its office space at the Valley River Center and moved into a new building in the old Walmart parking lot. Advance Auto Parts is opening up in the center not far from where the bank once set up.
Merrill says the ongoing development is a result of residents not allowing COVID-19 to change their plans and goals.
“I think folks are really trying to take their own destiny into their own hands and to not let COVID rule our lives,” Merrill said. “That’s our goal here at the city — to enable people to do what they need to do to keep their businesses open and to keep them thriving. That’s what we always try to keep our eye on — What can we do to encourage and to facilitate business growth? That’s what helps us as a city, too.”
Merrill said that most of Rexburg’s businesses have managed to do well during the pandemic.
“I’m sure there are some that have struggled a little bit more than others. I think people have tried to do business here as much as they can. Hopefully, most of our businesses are doing well,” he said.
Outside businesses have noticed that Rexburg is a desirable place to live, and that it’s a safe community, strong on family values.
“Businesses are starting to recognize that, and they want to be here too,” he said. “There is a bright future, I believe, for us.”