SHELDON, Iowa — About 15 years ago, Sheldon leaders purchased vast tracts of land on the city’s eastern edge near where the Iowa Department of Transportation was planning to build the Highway 60 bypass.
The investment has seemed to pay off as development on both sides of Highway 60 has ramped up in Sheldon, especially on the eastern side of the thoroughfare where the 65-acre Crossroads Industrial Park recently welcomed several new businesses.
“The development park is taking off,” said Curt Strouth, community development director for the Sheldon Chamber and Development Corporation.
The park’s newest tenant is Bomgaars, which built a new 37,000-square-foot store that opened in early March. The Sioux City-based home goods and farm supply retailer has had a presence in Sheldon for about 20 years, but space became limited in its former location on the old Highway 60 near downtown.
“They more than doubled the square footage of the facility they had in town,” Strouth said. “There’s been a lot of positives coming out just because they are expanding their inventory and the selection of goods they have to sell to our community. They have some hunting stuff in there, some sporting goods — some of those niches we maybe didn’t have here previously Bomgaars has been able to pick those up for us and offer that selection to our community.”
Another new addition to Crossroads Industrial Park is Fred’s Plumbing & Heating, based in nearby Hospers. The company purchased 2.3 acres in the development and built a new 10,000-square-foot second location.
“It provides an additional service here for our community and, obviously, they see a demand hear because of the development and stuff that’s going,” Strouth said.
Also calling the area home is White Wolf Web, a state-of-art regional printing facility that was built to replace a previous location that caught fire in 2013. The new White Wolf Web plant is 27,500-square-feet and Strouth noted the Wagner family of Sheldon, owners of the facility, bought additional land behind the plant for potential future expansion.
Ziegler Cat, a heavy equipment and truck dealership, was Crossroads’ first tenant when it opened a 26,000-square-foot full-service facility there in 2013. Strouth said the dealer also purchased more ground for potential growth.
Strouth said due to the amount of development the park has seen, there are only about 2.35 shovel-ready acres left in the park; however, there are an additional 35 acres of ground to the south of where Crossroads Drive ends that’s city-owned and can be developed.
“We have plans of extending infrastructure to make sure that we are ahead of the ball for companies ready to locate to Sheldon or existing companies that are here,” he said. “Like I always say, ‘80 percent of growth in your community happens internally,’ so if we get a company here in Sheldon that says, ‘Hey, we’re looking to expand, we’re landlocked,’ we want to make sure we have that ground available to them.”
As an economic developer, Strouth is amazed, but not surprised at how well Crossroads Industrial Park is doing. He noted the mixture of city involvement, old and news business investing in the area and a great location have all been factors in the park’s success.
“I mean the crossroads of Highways 18 and 60 has great accessibility for truck traffic, obviously, there’s high vehicle counts because of the cross-section and Sheldon is a great place to do business,” he said.