The City of Beach has received a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The funds will be used for a business expansion and retention survey, Beach Auditor Kimberly Nunberg said.

The survey will help guide the community in its business development planning, budgeting, and service efforts to better meet local business needs.

"We're looking to reach out to our businesses in the downtown district and find out what we, as a city, can do to help them," Nunberg said, "whether it's being able to expand into a larger area, or what's needed for them to continue to stay in business."

Viability is a key concern with small town businesses.

"You see businesses open and close frequently," Nunberg said, "so we're trying to be proactive and reach out to them and find out what are our other services that we can use to assist them so they can stay in business."

Beach has a variety of locally-owned, unique businesses, Nunberg said, including Prairie Fire Pottery; B Inspired, which repurposes furniture and household items; floral and thrift shops; and hardware and lumber stores, among others.

"Overall, we are an ag county," she said. "As far as business sector, we have a good variety and some really unique businesses to our area."

Both a benefit and drawback for the town is its location on Interstate-94.

"The interstate goes two ways," Nunberg said. "It's easy for people to hop on the interstate and go to Dickinson, as well."

The USDA grant funds will be implemented as soon as possible, Nunberg said.

"We're just waiting to finalize a couple of things here yet," she said. "We'll be working with a firm that will conduct the survey for us and have some community meetings to get as much valuable data compiled that will help us to benefit our businesses and help them to expand."

No input from Beach's business community has  been received yet.

Nunberg described receiving the USDA grant as an exciting prospect.

"We're thrilled about it," she said. "It's one more opportunity for us as a rural community to provide and meet needs of the businesses and residents within our community and provide them with services that hopefully will keep them shopping locally."