2012 Could Be Record Year for Grand Island Retail Sales

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Grand Island could see a record billion dollar year in retail sales for 2012.

It's a sign of a robust economy, experts say, compared to the rest of the country.

The numbers show solid growth in every category.

"Increasing in sales from previous years, increasing housing sales with less time on the market, and building valuation permits up from the year before," said G.I. Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Johnson.

In fact 2012 could be a billion dollar year in retail sales, which would be a record, according to Johnson.

"October numbers look good if November and December are good we could hit a billion. That is a significant number for Grand Island," said Johnson.

Johnson says the Ag industry is a factor driving business to main street.

"What it means is that our businesses here are doing well and of coarse a lot of our business is connected with the agricultural industry. When Ag is strong the business community is strong," said Johnson.

"It's also impacted our land sales too with the high commodity rates and the lower interest rates. Farmers are looking at buying more land which helps the economy as well," said G.I. Area Economic Development Corp President Marlan Ferguson.

Ferguson says another factor is job growth and a growing population, with Grand Island nearly the 50,000 mark.

"You have to have the jobs, the higher paying jobs to bring in the rest of the retail and once you hit that fifty thousand mark seems like you are on the radar for a lot of different restaurants and retail folks that may not be looking at you otherwise," said Ferguson.

Another area of growth in 2012 was auto sales. They were up 14-percent over the previous year.