This study was undertaken at the request of the city of Underwood (a community of about 760 located in central North Dakota). The community is engaged in a planning process seeking to revitalize the local retail sector, and a survey was administered to obtain information about residents’ shopping patterns and preferences. A questionnaire was developed and distributed door-to-door to local residents, while a second questionnaire was distributed at the Underwood high school. The responses represented a majority of both target populations. Underwood residents most often reported purchasing groceries, convenience items, and personal services in Underwood. On the other hand, nongrocery personal items, major purchases (e.g., appliances), and nongrocery household items were most often purchased in Bismarck (a small metro about 60 miles away). Youth respondents most often reported purchasing gasoline and auto supplies in Underwood, while all other categories were most often purchased in Bismarck. The most frequent reasons for purchasing items other than in Underwood were that the item was not available in Underwood and other locations had a better selection of merchandise. The types of businesses that residents would most like to see in Underwood were a family restaurant, a hardware store, and a supper club. When asked if they would be willing to pay more to have a good or service available locally, more than 40 percent of households would pay more for eating out, convenience items, nongrocery retail shopping, and entertainment.


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