Seymour, Mo sees surge in small businesses opening up

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 8:28 PM CDT
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SEYMOUR, Mo. (KY3) - Seymour is seeing a business boom in its small town.

Boutiques, an ice cream shop, and other stores have opened up on the square.

Andrew and Diana Peters celebrated the one-year anniversary since opening Old Depot Coffee Co. on October 1. Andrew grew up in Seymour and he knew the town had more to offer people. He says he wanted to be at the forefront of that growth.

”Everyone always said it was a dying town and everyone was leaving,” Andrew Peters says. “Well, it’s not that way anymore. It seems like everybody’s starting to come back to the type of rural-type setting.”

The goal when opening Old Depot was to appeal to the younger generations in Seymour. Peters says it filled a gap the community needed.

“All of the smaller towns around us were coming in and giving us so much encouragement of we’re so glad you’re here we’ve needed something like this for years,” Peters says.

Seymour’s acting Mayor and owner of the Webster County Citizen, Dan Wehmer, says business has been booming. Local shops are opening up on the square and across town.

“For many years the square, in particular, had started dying, had started languishing, and then above that there was really no new business on the highway,” Wehmer says.

Wehmer says some of Springfield’s suburban growth has now reached Seymour. Wehmer hopes this encourages more people to open up shop in town.

“It’s sort of a return to the small retailer,” Wehmer says. “The big-box stores are closing. Your malls are failing and people are preferring to shop at smaller businesses and locally owned businesses.”

Peters thought in a small town of 2,000, his business would have to rely on online sales.

“But it was the exact reverse,” Peters says. “We have way more people. That’s what’s fueling us is just the local community. They’re the ones that are fueling the whole business.”

However, it’s not just happening in retail.

“It’s also happening industrially,” Wehmer says

Baker Creek Seed is opening a manufacturing facility in town, which Wehmer says will bring 100 jobs into the community.

“It’s one of the largest, if not the largest, provider of heirloom seeds in the United States,” Wehmer says. “They are building a second 50,000 square foot manufacturing facility where they’re packing seeds.”

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