Joplin sees improvements in spending trends for 2021

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JOPLIN, Mo. — Spending trends are up in Joplin – a double digit boost for the first quarter of the 2021 fiscal year.

Erik Bartlett, The Runaround, said, “Utility boots, house shoes, sandals, dress shoes.”

Footwear The Runaround doesn’t carry yet. But Erik Bartlett says that’s changing.

“We just purchased a new store a block away from Runaround, be starting remodel process in the next couple of weeks and then we’re hoping to be opening Bartletts Shoes late spring.”

Strong sales in the last few months are helping to boost his plans. And The Runaround isn’t alone. A new report from the City of Joplin shows nearly every category up in the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2021.

Leslie Haase, Joplin Finance Director, said, “Got the beginning part of Christmas sales, shopping um so I would expect retail, discount stores and retail to be up.”

And there are even stronger numbers from the construction industry as well as auto sales and service. But the news isn’t all good. Mall stores are down 12% and entertainment saw an even bigger drop.

“The movie theater is shut down so yeah, it’s not unexpected when we’re asking people to still social distance.”

Ken Surbrugg with the Small Business Development Center says much of the recent growth is likely connected to flexibility in the business model.

Ken Surbrugg, Small Business Development Center, said, “A major retail chain doing home delivery and and I just thought to myself, you didn’t see that two years ago we weren’t even on that thought process two years ago.”

Changes he predicts we’ll continue to see.

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