With a population of just over 1,700, Harvey is a rural town — and with the addition of 18 news businesses, Gov. Doug Burgum deemed this an opportunity zone.
“People are stopping, they’re shopping, they’re filling up fuel, buying food,” said Paul Gunderson, Harvey economic developer.
“They’re into the hardware store, the variety store, etc., they’re looking at the clothing available at the shopping center, so that’s been encouraging.”
The 18 new businesses range from medical to restaurants, insurance agencies and agriculture. And, they’ve brought in more than 45 new jobs.
One of them is a Mexican restaurant that opened its doors six months ago –and is the only one in town.
“I always learn something new,” said David Serrato, owner, Rancho Grande Mexican Restaurant.
“People are really nice around here.”
The growing population also increases the need for people who might need a little therapy. Hippocampus Holdings will be located in the former Harvey Electric PowerHouse.
It will be a mental health facility — offering recovery resources and therapy. The owner said renovating it is going to take a lot of work, but he’s hoping to be finished in two years.
“I just think it represents a lot of the way rural North Dakota feels right now,” said Jonathan Franklin, owner, Hippocampus Holdings.
“And also a way the people in need of mental health feel. And so I feel like it’ll be a good manifestation of what we’re trying to do — take something that’s been abandoned, and discarded and thought of as less-than and make it something beautiful, and whole and new again.”
Agriculture is a multimillion-dollar business in the state. With the changes in weather during this past season, Intellifarms has opened to provide more resources for farmers
“Monitors grains in bins, from temperature, moisture,” said Henk Joubert, sales manager.
“We turn the fans on and off automatically depending on what you want to do. if you want to dry your grain or hydrate your grain or if you just want to keep your grain in condition.”
He thinks the town is making a comeback after the loss of the railroad two years ago.
“We lost a lot of people in the community, but it seems like we’re starting to come out of that phase and it’s not going to matter anymore,” said Joubert.
The economic director said the town seems to think so too.
“People are feeling pretty good about it,” Gunderson said.
Gunderson said he’s working with five more businesses. He also said he’s expecting significant growth in medical care and medical services.