Great Bend focuses on keeping, attracting businesses


GREAT BEND, Kan. (KSNW) – With J.C. Penney and Payless ShoeSource closing their stores in Great Bend, shopping has become limited for those in the community.

Officials are now looking for new businesses by focusing on reaching out to real estate agents and other contacts they’ve made in the past.

“We go back to them,” said Jan Peters, president of the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce. “Keeping in mind what is it they need…what are they looking for possibly for their own clients.”

However, recruiting businesses comes with its challenges.

According to Peters, it comes down to numbers, such as the population, the market reach, even the type of facility.

For example, the current J.C. Penney building, which is 50,000 square feet, might be too small or too big for a prospective business.

Peters admitted that the numbers have resulted in businesses not coming to the city.

“We have had those people that just kind of looked at it and said ‘That just doesn’t fit into our business model,'” Peters explained.

Aside from attracting businesses, the city is working to keep the ones it already has.

“We try to always reach out to our local businesses, and see if they have certain needs or requirements that they are looking for,” said Peters.

She added that it’s also important for people to shop local, so that those businesses can stay in Great Bend.

According to Peters, there has been interest in the J.C. Penney building, but she could not say what type of business it is.

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