OTTUMWA — It takes time for outside business interests to decide to build a new store, but economic development officials say the latest two additions have been worth the wait.
Megan Framke, initiative manager for Ottumwa Economic Development Corperation, said it can easily take a year and a half from the time Ottumwans sit down with the company until they can announce a decision.
She described MC Sports as a large sporting goods store, perhaps a little smaller than a Scheel's.
"The stores are clean, and they have very high standards," she said. "They've announced they are also building a new store at the Merle Hay Mall [in Des Moines]."
Papa John's is also coming to Ottumwa. According to the information provided on Papa John's web page, their chain aims to deliver an upper-end pizza right to a customer's door. Their newest Papa John's pizza shop will be on Richmond Avenue in the old Kentucky Fried Chicken location.
MC Sports at the Quincy Place Mall is already hiring employees.
"It's great news," said Tim Kurtz, executive director of the Ottumwa Area Chamber of Commerce.
It's especially exciting, Kurtz said, for consumers who value having a choice.
"All sorts of developments are good for the community," said David Barajas, executive director of OEDC.
Which is one reason he, Framke and Kurtz say they're glad groups in Ottumwa — Main Street, OEDC, Chamber, Ottumwa Economic Development and others — have strengthened their working relationship with each other.
Barajas agreed that consumer choice is an advantage for a town, adding that when potential visitors know a community has multiple options, they are more likely to plan their shopping trip there. For example, MC Sports would not be the first or only sporting goods store in Ottumwa. But having a choice makes Ottumwa more attractive to potential shoppers.