STANLEY, N.D. (KXNET) — North Dakota’s economy has been growing a lot over the last few years.

State Tax commissioner Bryan Kroshus reports taxable sales and purchases from June to September of last year were up more than 27% statewide.

And smaller cities are leading the pack with five cities reporting more than a 60% increase.

KX News traveled to one of those rural communities to show how they are thriving.

Stanley, North Dakota, home to 2,392, the famous Whirla-Whip, and local businesses as far as the eye can see.

That Pride of Dakota feel is what keeps this economy alive.

“When you come into a local business it’s really easy to get used to everything and just kind of go out and buy everything. Because I mean it could be your friend that you’re talking to,” said Kaydence Vachal, a Stanley High School student.

The agriculture and energy sector are the main purpose of this increase.

“A community like Stanley, for example, is an oil-based economy, also agriculture. Pricing was really good and a community like Stanley was really in the sweet spot getting the best of both worlds from a commodity standpoint,” said Brian Kroshus, the state tax commissioner.

Stanley is heavily connected to the nearby oil-rich Bakken Formation, bringing more people to the area to spend more money.

“Last year seemed to be a bit busier than before. It seemed like maybe the oil field work was picking up a little bit. We’re kind of in the center of the oil area too. So, there’s a lot of opportunity, different opportunities for families,” said Jamie Rice, the owner of Joyce’s Cafe in Stanley.

Area leaders and residents stress how important it is to buy local.

Some of the highest retail trade growth has been in rural cities, like Stanley.

The retail sector growth has been in miscellaneous retail, which includes drug stores, jewelry stores, gift shops, and liquor stores.

“We did see a big increase with people staying in the community, shopping local and other communities that don’t have as much coming in and shopping,” said Jenell Peters, the owner of Super Bloom Floral in Stanley.

But what goes up, must come down. Kroshus said he expects to see a dip in taxable sales as commodity prices are still rising.

He said, “At some point in time things will slow down. We will be cycling on larger numbers from the prior year. So, whether or not it’s sustainable is a question that I guess remains to be answered.”

Still, he says these numbers demonstrate continued economic recovery and a gradual return to pre-pandemic levels.

From 2021 to 2022, Minot saw an increase of 21% increase, Bismarck saw an 11.7% increase, Williams County saw a 23% increase, and Stark County saw a 19.8% increase.