Created: 04/07/2014 5:51 PM KAALtv.com
By: Dan Conradt
It’s a new use for a long-empty building.
And it could have a significant impact on the local economy.
"Any time you add a job it's a good thing for our community," said Sandy Forstner at the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce.
If one job is good, imagine adding them by the dozens.
"We've hired 50 people now," said Everett Hackensmith, manager of the new Runnings store in Austin, which opened its doors to the public on Monday morning.
"Runnings doesn't open a lot of brand new stores, so this is new in the whole company," said the store’s assistant manager, Charlotte Sitter.
“The economic benefits of that opening are manifold," said the Chamber’s Sandy Forstner.
“I've got people from across the board that are retail savvy and been working at hardware stores in the past and paint stores in the past," said Runnings Austin manager Everett Hackensmith. “I've got other people who are just specialists like our hunting and fishing people who haven't worked in retail stores but they know their stuff."
“I think jobs grow incrementally a few at a time. 50 certainly is a great number," the Chamber’s Sandy Forstner told us.
“We do have people from other stores coming in and helping us train. we do have a couple of people on staff who have come from other stores," manager Everett Hackensmith said.
Assistant manager Charlotte Sitter is one of the employees who has come from another store -- she just relocated to Austin from Aberdeen, South Dakota.
"I think we have a lot of people who know product, not necessarily that they worked in retail jobs before but they know how to help customers," she said.
They're not all brand new jobs in Austin – some of the Runnings employees left other jobs to work there. But they're providing wages that will turn-over in the community for things like rent and house payments, groceries and gasoline.
"There are certain multiples by different industries as to how many times those dollars roll over," the chamber’s Sandy Forstner said.
“Hopefully all those moneys will stay in town and help other businesses and just help Austin grow," Runnings manager Everett Hackensmith said.
The Runnings store in Austin plans a formal grand opening in its new location in the old K-Mart store in May.