A long awaited big-box retail store is opening soon in the Marquette area.
The store brings 100 jobs with it and some other benefits.
But is this a sign the economy is improving in general, or is it an isolated case?
Construction at the Best Buy store in Marquette Township is almost done.
Crews are paving the parking lot this week and then preparing the interior so that it can open either at the end of this month or in early November.
The company is also hiring workers for the 30,000-square-foot store through an office suite on Washington Street in Marquette.
Best Buy originally wanted to open the store nearly two years ago.
But the liquidation of the Circuit City chain last year caused the company to reevaluate what it was doing.
Marquette Township Manager Randy Girard says through his conversations with company officials, they told him top managers were deciding how Best Buy should expand…by building new stores from scratch or by taking over former Circuit City locations.
Eventually, they decided to go forward with new stores, including the Marquette Township store.
Bob Eslinger of Michigan Works! says it’s a positive sign for the region that a major retailer sees enough potential in the area to place a new store here before the cloud of recession is gone.
He also thinks it’s encouraging that the region’s unemployment dropped in September, though he’s not sure if that’s mainly because of jobs returning or because students have been leaving the workforce to return to the classroom.
The store should bring benefits to Marquette Township beyond the immediate ones of retail jobs and more tax revenue.
Girard says as a customer base develops, that development encourages still more businesses to come to the area.