“I feel like for the most part the general thought was we were going to be a dying community without the what happened with the oil boom,” says Daniel Stenberg, McKenzie County economic development coordinator.
Watford City is a small town doing big business. From state of the art recreational centers to its own craft brewery.
“All of these people from throughout the United States and world have come to Watford City,” says Stenberg.
People like Mason Suenaga, who moved to Watford City from California four years ago. He started a food truck business initially but has since moved into a brick and mortar location.
“It’s been really great. A lot of people liking what we do, how we’re doing it, and the way we’re doing it. And that’s a good feeling to have people like what you do,” says Suenaga, co-owner of Don Bosco’s Cafe & Girll.
And Watford City is getting statewide recognition. Its Rough Rider Event Center was recognized with a governor’s tourism and travel award last month. And the owners of Razor Consulting, a business with corporate headquarters in Watford City, recently won the state’s SBA Small Business Persons of the Year award. The company has plans to expand.
“Right now, in the area, the people who are here are the people who are looking for something longer term. Whereas before you had a lot of people moving into and out of the area. So it was kind of hard to find people with the experience and with the dedication,” says Carla Schwartzenberger, managing partner of Razor Consulting Solutions, Inc.
Suenaga plans to expand his business as well. And he welcomes the competition.
“Make it like a food city or something. That’s what I really want. Have more competition and see who gets better. We always have to chase somebody to be better. That’s what makes our food even better. That’s what brings more people to eat here. And that’s what we want,” says Suenaga.
Small-town Watford is becoming a front-runner of the business world.