Business is good at Northridge Village

November 30, 2018

Where many saw an empty lot, a group of investors saw an opportunity.

Located at Highway 77 and Sargent Street in north Beatrice, Northridge Village is a four-acre business park, largely completed in 2016.

The complex, owned by Southwick Enterprises, is home to several businesses from banks and investment services to medical offices, restaurants and more.

The project began around 10 years ago, and Mike Southwick, who developed the area and operates Southwick Chiropractic from the location, said it’s turned out better than he could have anticipated.

“I think it’s expanded way more than I even thought possible 10 years ago when we started,” he said. “It does take some time obviously, but it turned into a really nice addition to the north side of Beatrice.”

The development currently has 10 businesses with room for one more, an urgent care clinic operated by Beatrice Community Hospital and Health Center.

“We are super excited about the hospital and that is going to be a great resource for the community,” Southwick said. “Everyone I’ve talked to thinks this is a great thing, to have a clinic open on odd hours when people need it. It’s a really good partnership between this development and the hospital. They’re moving forward and have done great things.”

The center is expected to be operational by around January.

The complex features a 5,000-square-foot building that the clinic and Southwick Chiropractic occupies. Southwick previously occupied the anchor building that faces the highway, but moved to allow First State Bank to have better visibility from the highway.

“When this first came to me and the bank was looking for kind of a frontage location, I immediately asked if they would consider my office,” Southwick recalled. “That’s the way that happened so I was totally fine with my practice moving a couple doors down. That’s been wonderful for us and allowed us to innovate and serve our patients even better, also. I’m all for the good of the development and town and we will kind of allow our practice to do what it needs to do to facilitate other growth.”

That jump allowed the bank to relocate to the corner building from its previous location farther south on Sixth Street.

“It’s actually working great,” said branch manager Julie Feist. “We’re just enjoying the frontage view and have definitely seen a lot of growth numbers-wise, loan-wise. And I think from being more involved in the community and getting referrals, we’ve definitely grown more than we even anticipated.”

The location not only allowed the bank to become a full-service branch, but is also home to First State Insurance Agency.

Feist said it’s good to have the insurance side of the business in the same location. Around seven people work out of the location. First State is also expanding its online banking abilities in the coming months and will add more employees at the location.

“It’s a good place for us and we’ve been getting a lot of views with our site on the highway and have a lot of people coming in,” she said. “We have a lot of customers from the DeWitt, Filley and Pickrell areas that work in town and are glad we’re here. We’ve heard that several times from them.”

The corner location provides better visibility from the highway and also allowed for the installation of a drive-up ATM.

Adding an ATM was a major selling point for the location, and Feist said it provides a convenience for customers.

“Our customers use it as well as others traveling through town,” she said. “It stands out as you’re coming over the hill and gets a lot of views. People like it there. It’s easy to swing through and get money.”

Southwick added that one asset of the development is that the businesses are so different. As a result, they’re busy at different times of the day and help traffic flow.

“It really works because different businesses that we have out here are busy at such different times,” he said. “The busy time out here is from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., but in the different businesses. We have everything from a landscaping company out there to restaurants, banks and more. It’s a diverse list that works really well.”

While the development has been a success, many had their doubts. Southwick recalled that the project was launched at a poor economic time and came with several risks.

“If you remember the housing crash of 2008, we started this project probably six months before that happened,” he said. “At the time, it felt like a gamble, but at the same time we calculated benefits and risks. If you never take that risk, you may never be in a position to help a lot of other people. Anything you do is a risk, it’s just how well you plan for it.

“We’re just happy to be part of this community and seeing the development go further. We have great relationships with everyone, working together to make Beatrice something to be proud of. When people visit we want to show our best, and that’s what attracts people to the community.”

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