Changing to a new time zone is the wrong thing to do. The question I have for those who want to change to the Central time zone is “how many east river or Bismarck shoppers do you see crowding the stores, hospitals, clinics, malls and manufacturing centers of Dickinson, Hettinger, and Bowman?” The answer is, “not many.”
When I was the comptroller for the Liberty National Bank in the 1980s I did a study for the Federal Reserve of how money moves in, around, and out of Dickinson and southwest North Dakota. I’m sure the results are just as relevant now as they were then. Money circulates several times in local communities and then moves through Dickinson from west to east, as in a funnel. We also found that Montana and South Dakota shoppers spent a lot of money at our Dickinson businesses.
The question was and still is, why does money move like it does and then stop at Dickinson? It is because Dickinson has made itself a friendly, convenient, go-to hub for retail shopping, banking, manufacturing, wholesaling, higher education, medical services, food, beverage, recreation, and, finally, job creation. We are the area leader for the consumer from southeast and central Montana, to northwest South Dakota and southwest North Dakota.
Why should we change a formula for success? What don’t we like about folks spending money at our businesses and having jobs being created because of it? If we make ourselves more like Bismarck, then why should shoppers spend their money in our local towns? Why not just go east?
Let’s not kid ourselves; once folks are given one more reason to move money faster to the east, that’s where it will go.
I like our current prosperity; let’s not screw it up by overthinking a problem that doesn’t exist. Oh yes, what about the sporting events I go to and my semi-annual journey for a check up with a medical specialist in Bismarck? Well so far, I haven’t missed anything or been inconvenienced whatsoever.
In closing, I read a quote in a letter to The Dickinson Press editor, “if you don’t change your direction you will end up exactly where you are.” My point exactly. I like where our current communities are. The growth, prosperity, progress, opportunities, quality of life and place that we enjoy works well for me.
Let’s not fix a problem that doesn’t exist.
Ken Nelson, Dickinson