Bowman County Development Corporation continues and takes on new projects or programs every year. Explore some of our top projects over the last 10 years.
In 2018, we started sharing the story of our organization, Bowman County, and our area businesses through video. Bringing our year to life through video has proven to be a successful tool to highlight Bowman County and some of our key projects from the year. One of the biggest impacts of these videos is hearing directly from businesses who have opened in the past year.
July was host to one of the biggest events we’ve seen on Main Street, the Bakken Rocks CookFest. CookFest was comprised of seven, oil and gas industry cooking teams, all competing to make the best barbecue. Businesses also handed out swag, and Gateway to Science provided activities for children. It was entirely free to attend, eat, and play. We worked with the North Dakota Petroleum Council to ensure they had everything they needed while here. In appreciation for the help they received from Bowman County, they made a donation to a local charity.
The Business Challenge was originally launched in 2020 to spark new ideas, encourage entrepreneurs, and inspire current business expansions. The challenge is open to all residents of Bowman County or anyone willing to relocate to Bowman County to open their own brick and mortar location. The application process is simple and helps make sure any new project has what it will take to get started.
Each year, a panel of judges will be established to review and narrow down applications of the Business Challenge to five finalists. Each finalist will prepare a 10-15 minute presentation with a 10-minute question and answer to follow. The top three business pitches are eligible for awards.
In it’s pilot year, first place walked away with over $10,000 in prizes including monies towards their project, professional services and more.
Dianne Miller takes 2nd in the Bowman County Business Challenge for Barnyard Buddies.
Melissa and Tyler Senn take 1st in the Bowman County Business Challenge for Buried Treasures Garden Center.
Sisters Preslie Ercink and Aurora Wallman take 3rd in the Bowman County Business Challenge for Two Sisters Nutrition.
The Community Challenge was created as a platform to empower our county to bring their dreams to life by providing up to $10,000 in funding. By enabling our fellow community members to create an event or project to better Bowman County we are able to enhance our quality of life and give our residents a way to showcase what they want in their community.
The Community Challenge is hosted by Bowman County Development Corporation and Bowman Tax and Tourism Committee. Community Development is a key part of what we do. It serves to better quality of life which is part of our organization’s mission. While we host and develop new ideas out of our office each year, we feel that encouraging individuals within the community to do the same could create greater impact and further develop experiences in our community.
In 2020, Brosz Engineering, Inc. won with their Splash Pad at Rotary Park. In 2021, Bowman Parks and Recreation won with a shooting range.
Brosz Engineering wins 2020 Community Challenge with their Splash Pad at Rotary Park in Bowman, North Dakota.
Map of the location of Southwest Shooting Complex in Bowman, North Dakota. 2021 Community Challenge winner.
Rendering of proposed design for the Splash Pad at Rotary Park in Bowman, North Dakota by Brosz Engineering.
Rendering of proposed design for the Splash Pad at Rotary Park in Bowman, North Dakota by Brosz Engineering.
Rendering of proposed design for the Splash Pad at Rotary Park in Bowman, North Dakota by Brosz Engineering.
Burgers in the Park started the summer of 2014 as a direct outcome of the RLND Short Course. Community Engagement was a strategic focus area identified and Burgers in the Park brings the community together on the beautiful summer evenings in Bowman. Empowering Leaders now leads the effort and in 2021 began collaborating with a variety of other community organizations to assist them in their fundraising and public relations. Join the fun every third Thursday May through September.
Business Broadcast was created in April of 2020 as an informational channel both local and regional businesses could access for information regarding COVID-19 related programs, planning for your business’s future, local and regional programs, and more.
Total Broadcasts: 9
Total Presenters: 13
Call Topics: PPP Forgiveness, Family First Coronavirus Response Act, Unemployment, Employee Retention Credit, Census, and more.
Bowman County’s economy is driven by a wide variety of businesses and services. Owners, managers and employees of the county’s businesses have invested money, time, and energy to serve their customers and it is important to understand how these businesses are sustaining and changing. A healthy local economy depends on the well-being of its existing investors and Bowman County Development Corporation (BCDC) wants to understand if there are opportunities to assist.
To build relationships and develop a clearer picture of the industry and business in Bowman County, the BCDC implemented a Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) program in the fall of 2020. These efforts will allow greater understanding of the economy and its drivers and how to effectively reach and best serve the businesses here.
Staff at BCDC diligently collected contact information to develop a comprehensive list of businesses in the county. Businesses received a survey to begin creating a benchmark. The questions were specifically crafted to understand the needs of the businesses in the local area.
This survey was just the starting point for the program. As surveys are completed and returned, in-person, on-site business visits will be scheduled in order to further the dialogue, create an open relationship, and encourage collaboration. BCDC is available to assist businesses in a variety of situations through a good understanding of available programs and resources in the region. This will help create connections that will help Bowman County businesses thrive.
“The goal of implementing a program like BR&E is to ensure that we can assist businesses in continuing to pivot, grow, and flourish and provide access to the appropriate resources to do just that. We are grateful for the jobs and services in our community and we want them to know that BCDC can be their ally and resource for continuing to be a viable, successful business in our region,” says BCDC Executive Director, Teran Doerr.
Short-term goals of the program are to understand:
The information gathered from businesses will also be key in helping educate stakeholders, developing a strategic plan, and identify growth opportunities. Doerr concluded, “The most productive, realistic and cost-effective approach to economic development is to help our existing business base.”
Through a contract held by the Bowman County Development Corporation, the North Dakota Small Business Development Centers has served the Bowman area with an advisor on site since 2010. Over the past 10 years more than 240 clients have received services from the SBDC. Clients have a wide range of services requested from idea feasibility, business planning, marketing, financing, personnel, and everything in between. The program has served start-ups and long-standing Bowman Region businesses.
Change is a constant in the business world, here are some of the over 65 starts that have worked with the SBDC:
Bowman County Development Corporation (BCDC) took on the responsibility for marketing Census 2020. The results of the Census directly impact the future of our communities, as census data informs how billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed for health clinics, school lunch programs, disaster recovery initiatives, and other critical programs and services for the next 10 years. The goal was to get as many Bowman County resident to self respond to the Census as possible.
Below is the marketing plan the BCDC developed.
A first impression of an experience, place, or person, is a key element in forming a lasting memory. Location, services available, demeanor of those encountered and much more contribute to your first and often lasting impression. Bowman grabbed the opportunity to be a part of the pilot program created by LinkND, to particpate in a communicty exchange with Carrington, ND to learn more about what a visitor experiences when they come to Bowman and to offer the same thoughts to a sister community.
The program was meant to help communities learn about their strengths and weaknesses as seen through the eyes of a first-time visitor. Knowing about these strengths and weaknesses helps those who want to be proactive about the growth of their home communities and who wants to make them more vibrant places to live and work.
A group of seven individuals, from Carrington, ND, was tasked with doing just that; profiling a Community Impression of Bowman. Bowman area residents had an opportunity to hear their perspective and findings presentation provided by the Carrington team at a membership meeting hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. A team from Bowman traveled to the city of Carrington and presented their findings as well.
In 2015, the site location of the previous Bowman Regional Airport was proposed for consideration by Bowman County Development Corporation to be developed into a business park. Bowman County Commission engaged the assistance of a planning firm to conduct a feasibilty study and based on the firm’s recomendation, the three entities decided to move forward on the project. In 2016, the property was annexed into the city limits and a grant was obtained to develop a “design standards handbook” to make sure the property was developed properly. Leadership also acquired an additional 46 acres to add rail access to the property. In 2017, the land was released by the FAA and the land was deeded to BCDC. In 2018, the property was renamed to Crossroads Business Park and underwent Phase 1 construction including the installation of water, sewer, and streets. The Design Standards Handbook was finalized.
The park is now a valued asset in Bowman County that offers ameinities including natural gas, three-phase power, fiber, city water and sewer, rail potential, and US HWY 85 and 12 access. There are 73 developable lots, 2,700 feet of rail frontage, and 156 developable acres.
Started in 2018, Deck the Streets serves as a way to spread Christmas cheer in the business community and enhance the consumers experience. Businesses are encouraged to decorate the outside of their businesses with lights, garland, wreaths, or bows. In the first two years, Deck the Streets provided a $100 reimbursement towards Christmas Decorations. In 2020, the program allowed for the community to vote on their favorite holiday display with the winner receiving a $250 Bonus Bucks prize.
Downtown beautification is a key element of what BCDC focuses on. It is key to vibrancy, which in turn brings benefit back to our businesses. Although we have been working on downtwon beautification for many years, the importance of this was reiterated in our 2021 Bowman County Strategic Growth Plan as “communities with vibrant Main Streets” was a top residential survey result. On Bowman’s Main Street, beautification is seen through benches, christmas lights, flowers, flags, window wraps, and murals.
The Downtown Revitalization program was a pilot program geared towards improving the creation and expansion of commercial and retail sectors in downtown districts of Bowman County. The purpose was to:
· Enhance and promote commercial growth in downtown Bowman, Rhame, and Scranton
· Encourage redevelopment and reinvestment in the community
· Improve the physical appearance, visibility, and ‘curb appeal’ of storefronts including signage and awnings as well as the overall look of a property.
In its first year and a half, 100% of the funds were committed to 9 projects in Bowman’s downtown district including Bowman Sales & Service, Hande Financial, Silver Dollar Bar, NW Tire, Smokehouse 85, Windy’s Bar & Grill, Morland Financial, Brosz Engineering, and Wild & Weiss.
The program was a direct impact to our business community and resulted in immediate improvement in the community.
Total Awarded: $108,784
Total Estimated Project Costs: $302,647.60
Eggs & Issues was a quarterly roundtable that allowed local leadership to gather and discuss specific aspects of the economy. Topics included legisaltive updates, the ag economy, the oil industry, education, and more.
The program created successful communication between leaders and those in key industries in Bowman County. It gave insight into helping with future decisions, community planning, and built stronger relationships.
At the count of 3-2-1 Bowman City Park lights with cheer every year since 2018 with hundreds of people. Over 500 wonderfully crafted luminaries lined the path as people enjoyed caramel corn and hot chocolate and listened to live music by Saxxy Brass and carolers.
Over 30 businesses, organizations, and churches participate in decorating a tree, singing, donating their time, and more. In 2020, ice skating was brought into the festivities of Festival of Lights. Festival of Lights kicks of with a lighting ceremony and continues to light every night throughout the new year.
“We never could have imagined what this event would become when we started planning the first Festival of Lights in 2018. It brings so many people, organizations, and businesses together for an evening. Each year they amaze us with their beautiful and creative decorations. Building community is what it is all about!” -Brooklyn Engelhart, Bowman County Development Corporation
“There is absolutely nothing like community gathering, Christmas spirit, snow falling, and magic all in one place!” -Chrissy Blankenbaker
“What a great night at Festival of Lights! Wonderful way to get in the holiday spirit. Santa was pretty awesome too!” -Joy Kinsey
“The Hallmark moment happened in Bowman tonight.” -Dana Eagon
Founded in 2017, this event was named for its mission to bring professional, personal, and community all together in one expereince. Since its inception this event has helped in sparking energy and enthusiasm in a tri-state region. Bringing in nationally known speakers, valued panelists, and energy in networking, this conference has gained momentum each year. Going beyond the conference, Fusion has reached into the schools impacting the youth in the region as well. Fusion has featured speakers like Kevin Brown, Kenyon Salo, companies like Bobcat, Scheels, National Day Calendar, Co-Schedule and partnered with organizations like the North Dakota Small Business Development Center, Bush Foundation, Bank of North Dakota, and the ND Department of Commerce.
Bowman County Development Corporation hosted a “Home Town Focus” event in Rhame. The purpose of the event was to generate conversation and group discussion around certain topics related to the community of Rhame. Points of discussion included strengths of the community, opportunities, community leadership, and community happenings. Results were published and distributed around the community and to the local leadership.
Due to no availaibty of liquor licenses within the City of Bowman, BCDC formed a committee of stakeholders who met on several occasions, reviewed the existing ordinance, and proposed a revised ordinance to the City Commission . The new ordinance was adopted in May 2015.
The idea for the Main Street Garden came about from the victory garden movement that began in World War I and continued during World War II. This called for Americans to grow food, wherever they could. At that time, individuals were growing nearly 40% of the country’s fresh vegetables. Although the demand for produce was not upon us, the community that these gardens created was something we wanted to replicate.
With the help of numerous sponsors and volunteers the garden was placed on an empty lot in 2020. After the lot transferred ownership in 2020, the garden found a new home on a nearby vacant lot.
In 2021, BCDC recieved a $10,000 AARP Community Challenge grant. They were one of only 244 grantees selected from across the USA. The grant, along with additional volunteers and sponsors, made way for major improvements to the lot including ground work, seating, shade, and more.
Main Street Garden exists as a community gathering space and a place where everyone can harvest fresh produce. BCDC plants and maintains the garden, but everyone is able to gather the produce from it.
Bowman County Development Corporation participated in the “Main Street Success Project.” This was a mulitple-approach study of 7 comparable Western North Dakota communities. The project involved 3 interviews, 1 focus group, 155 surveys, and 2 community presentations. Recommendatikon based on the findings for the City of Bowman included:
Inspired to bring a modern workspace and education opportunities to our region, Mainspace was created in 2019 to bring more resources to area businesses. With a mission to create an impact and to ignite growth, this space is used to generate new ideas, bring knowledge, and invite creativity.
Mainspace exists as a place for businesses, entrepreneurs, and doers alike to utilize. Whether you need a quiet space to work alone or a place to host a meeting, Mainspace has everything you need.
A wide variety of classes are held throughout the year in Mainspace. From accounting and bookkeeping to personal development classes, the wide variety will hopefully provide something you are looking for.
To book Mainspace, become a Corporate Supporter, or find out more information on classes being offered visit, gomainspace.com.
On July 13, 2020 50 people brought life and vision back into seven of Bowman’s available buildings. The vacant building tour included the former Shopko Hometown, Sears, Hibachi House, Dale’s Clothing, Hawk’s Landing, Schmit’s building, and Super Valu. The evening gave a platform for community members to share the dreams they have for Bowman County. As individuals milled around the buildings you could see ideas being sparked and shared.
The final location was a party at the former Super Valu. A burger meal was served along with drinks and a s’mores bar. Individuals were able to play yard games and wander through the Main Street Garden.
A few ideas from the evening:
Promoting Bowman County and the surrounding areas is something BCDC actively does to not only help recruit residents, but to attract visitors and to provide resources to our locals. Over the years we have had many different types of promotional materials. Here are a few highlights:
In 2019, we finalized marketing videos for Bowman County that included recruitment videos along with tourism spotlights.
In September of 2017, the BCDC took a more direct approach to our lack of availability of dining options in Bowman County by establishing a task force to examine the dining options available and identify gaps and ways we could assist in filling them. As inidcated by a number of community surveys and strategic plans, this was the number one thing citizens in Bowman County felt we lacked. The gap of a steakhouse was identified as a key in filling that need and the committee set out to define if the possibility was there to assist in bringing in a dining establishment to fill this need.
In 2020, the BCDC took and even more aggressive approach. Advertisements were done on job search sites promoting the variety of opportunities available to an aspiring restaurant manager/owner. Over 50 applications were received, reviewed, and vetted to identify candidates that were an option for creating a dining experience in Bowman County. A series of interviews over the phone and in person were conducted and eventually one applicant and their ideas rose to the top.
Darrell Mathews came to Bowman with a heart for community, new ideas, and experience. After operating his food truck, Darrell’s Brew N Que, he decided to take a multi-faceted approach to a smokehouse in Bowman.
Smokehouse 85 officially opened in September of 2020 and featured freshly smoked items, grab-&-go as well as retail and catering services. Darrell renovated a building on Main Street and retro-fitted a one-of-a-kind open pit.
Bowman County Development Corporation in parternership with Rural Leadership North Dakota hosted the Bowman County Short Course, a condensend version of the Rural Leadership ND Program. This was a well received professional development opportunity in Bowman. Participants indicated that they received valuable information and appreciated the fact that it was held locally. These participants represented many different industries, businesses, and ages. Success was achieved by spurring community involvement and action from participants to continue to grow the leadership “bench” in our community. A matrix of organizations/groups was created and participants indicated where or how they may be interested in continuing their civic engagement. A few examples: city commission candidate, Civic Organization Spotlight, GED Program, REC Center, Burgers in the Park, and educational outreach.
Daycare is an economic driver with availability directly impacting workforce. The Scranton City Commission was interested in learning more about the current needs of families; and Bowman County Development Corporation developed a survey that was distributed throughout the community. The survey saw 30 responses and uncovered the three main services that were desired by families: a daycare center, in-home daycare, and an after-school program. The survey reported that there were 75 children currently accessing daycare of some kind in the community of Scranton, and that 86% felt there was not adequate daycare available.
Since the time of the assessment an additional in-home daycare was opened with support from the City of Scranton. It quickly filled to capacity.
The store front grant was established in 2001. Since 2011, $25,752.40 has been expended to 41 businesses within Bowman County.
The program was initiated to encourage the occupancy and renovation of vacant and dilapidated buildings within Bowman County, improve the image and appearance of Main Streets and high traffic areas through out Bowman County, and to stimulate the growth of businesses located here.
Eligible projects were to be within Bowman County and directly related to a business or future business.
This program was launched to not only remove dilapidated properoties in the County, but to encourage housing development with existing infrastructure. With an original budget of $75,000, the goal of the Housing Authority’s implementation of this program was to continue to beautify the communities within the county as well as offer a viable option for building new homes. This program benefited the community, county, property owners and prospective builders with cost savings on demolition and infrastructure. The Bowman County Development Corporation was happy to assist in developing the program and recognized the need for housing. The program saw limited applications due to the requirement of building a single family home in a certain period of time. It also had difficulty due to the size of the lots that many of the dilapidated homes were located on.