Bypass shifts Sheldon's business districts - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Bypass shifts Sheldon's business districts

SHELDON, Iowa (KTIV) -- The Highway 60 bypass has taken traffic around Sheldon, Iowa for more than three years now. That means fewer people are driving the old route, making established businesses adapt to a new traffic pattern.

"You don't have to look for it, it's very visual," Pizza Ranch assistant manager Joe Wenthe says about his restaurant.

Travelers can't help but notice the cluster of businesses, along Highway 60 on the east side of Sheldon.

"We've been just growing steadily since then, now that more people start to know that we're here and can just jump right off the bypass, and pull in and grab a bite to eat," Wenthe said.

The new Highway 60 opened near Sheldon in late 2006 and has brought in a handful of new businesses. Some of them though, like Pizza Ranch, were already in town, but chose to move closer to the traffic.

"There are businesses that have thrived with the shift in traffic and there's other businesses that have struggled," said Sheldon Chamber Development Corp. executive director Mark Gaul.

Among the struggling: the A&W, at the corner of old Highway 60 and Highway 18. Lack of business forced it to shut down earlier this winter. But some businesses along that older route are going strong.

"I just had my biggest year ever," said Dairy Dandy Drive-In owner Bob Sundstrom.

Sundstrom's owned the Dairy Dandy for thirty years. He says at first, the bypass took a big bite out of his bottom line, but more than three years later, the customers have come back.

"The local people really support us and then the bypass people found out how easy it is to get in and off the bypass," he said.

Mirroring the Dairy Dandy, Sheldon leaders say the town's retail health is better than ever. In fact, local sales tax receipts are up nearly 20% year to year. While where people are doing business in Sheldon may be changing, officials are glad they're still spending in town.

Mark Gaul says, "Overall as a community, we've seen growth."

The Sheldon Chamber says an unexpected effect of the bypass is a major jump in traffic on Highway 18. Leaders say more people are using it to get on to Highway 60, but most importantly, they're spending money along the way.

Online Reporter: Zach Tecklenburg

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