The Best of Both Worlds
According to the recently completed community survey, Merrill is a community with somewhat of a split personality in term of what it wants vs. what it has. While a majority of the respondents heralded the positive attributes of small town living (low crime, low cost of living, lots of locally owned businesses, close relationships, proximity to family) and access to natural environments, just as many want more and better shopping opportunities and restaurant choices. While the two sets of attributes can exist in many communities, it is an extra challenge to achieve in a community with the size and geographic location of Merrill, WI. Community leaders and city representatives are working to improve amenities on all fronts.
Merrill has neither the population base nor draw from outside the community to support many big box retailers and chain restaurants. The proximity to the larger metropolitan area of Wausau also rules out Merrill as a location for many national retailers. Site search criteria for national restaurants and retail chains include requirements for minimum numbers of people living within a certain geographic area and Merrill’s market is not large enough to support most requirements. The population Merrill offers is included in Wausau’s draw, or market area, so those retailers are counting on shoppers from Merrill to shop in their stores and eat at their restaurants.
Work is being done to attract the retail and restaurants that Merrill can support. It’s also important to support the retail and restaurants that are in Merrill already. Shop locally, eat in Merrill and spread the news about all the wonderful attributes in the community. Wouldn’t it be great if every Merrill resident invited their friends and relatives from other neighboring communities to discover all the great things about Merrill we already know?
Phone a friend today and ask them to join you on a hike through Council Grounds or Harrison Hills and then dine at a local restaurant or take in a night at the Cosmo Theater. Invite them to town for a Merrill City Band Concert or Gazebo Nights as Normal Park, or for the Lincoln County Fair.
With close access to shopping and so many small town amenities, Merrill residents have a lot to be proud of. Let’s start sharing the pride we have in our community with others, and appreciate the positive attributes we possess.
For more information about the survey results, contact Dave Johnson, City Administrator at 715-536-5594, or firstname.lastname@example.org.