Data shows Carroll’s strong recovery from COVID

Data shows Carroll’s strong recovery from COVID Main Photo

3 Sep 2021

Retail Coach recently released their COVID-19 Recovery Data for Carroll County showing an impressive come back for the rural community. Specifically, this data runs from June of 2019 to June of 2021 to be able to compare numbers from pre-COVID to post-COVID. For Carroll County, those numbers show to be 98% recovered in the retail industry and 105% recovered in tourism.

During the heart of COVID in Carroll County, retail saw approximately a 40% decline in visits. A much smaller decline than many other communities had to face. Today, that decline has recovered to 98% of where it was before COVID. Austin Farmer, Project Director with Retail Coach explained, “Similar to the state as a whole, Carroll saw a quicker retail recovery from COVID-19 than most cities throughout the country. Since May of 2020, retail foot traffic has been at 80% or higher than the pre-COVID numbers seen in 2019.” Specifically within the retail category, apparel is 71% recovered, dining is 89%, fitness is 119%, groceries are 99%, home improvement is 109%, hotel is 185%, leisure is 95%, medical and health is 111%, shop and service is 117%, spa and beauty is 96% and superstores are 100% recovered. “These numbers confirm what the feeling has been for a couple of months now, that ‘normalcy,’ if you will, seems to be returning. This is positive for our retailers, workforce, development, and just the overall well-being of Carroll County,” explained Matt Meiners, Economic Vitality Director with the CADC.

The tourism data is based off variables such as foot-traffic, hotel visits, and more. Hotel traffic seems to be one of the larger and more easily measured variables to track tourism in rural Iowa. It is important to note that the 105% recovery in tourism does not include the visiting fan bases for state baseball that where in Carroll in late July. This data collection was concluded in June. “It’s exciting to see visitors coming back to Carroll County and that we will continue, and strive to be the ‘hub’ of west central Iowa,” stated Meiners. Out of the 16 months from March of 2020 to June 2021, local tourism was greater than national tourism 56% of the time. “Considering JCPenney’s closing impacted those numbers, specifically in downtown, that means COVID did not have near the impact in Carroll as it did in many communities throughout the state and across the country,” explained Farmer.

Using Placer, Retail Coach’s data analytics company, they were able to find hard data to show the resurgence of the local Carroll retail economy. Much of that data is tracked by looking at foot-traffic while geo-fencing businesses around Carroll. “When looking categorically at the foot traffic data, most major retail categories are currently at or above pre-COVID numbers with the exception of apparel, which is heavily impacted by JCPenney’s closing. While that’s not a great sign, it is not as alarming considering most clothing and apparel companies were able to bring sales through e-commerce, in-store pickup, and local delivery,” stated Farmer.

“Carroll should be proud of themselves. They showed resiliency, strong work ethic, and hope to get through such a difficult time. We can continue to look towards the future and ways to consistently improve and make Carroll County better,” stated Meiners.

The chart below shows each retail category and their recovery rate post-COVID:

recovery chart

For more information contact:

Matt Meiners, Economic Vitality Director
Carroll Area Development Corporation