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      Dumas getting a handle on retail

      Right now economic development in Dumas resembles something like a barbell.

      New development continues to expand on the southern limits where the new hotels and Walmart dominate the scene.

      The Dumas Economic Development Corporation is constructing its new offices on the north side of town near the new Amarillo College building.

      Connecting them is one of the busies thoroughfares in the Texas Panhandle.

      DEDC Executive Director Mike Running says, "We??ve grown nearly nine percent and in the last ten years our retail sales revenue has gone up 5 to 15% each year."

      The trick is to attract new retailers and provide them with space.

      They also want to keep more money in Dumas and not lose it to places like Amarillo.

      That means attracting retailers that can compete with a city of about 200,000.

      No easy task.

      So they??ve hired a retail coach that can help them gather statistics and show them where they ought to focus.

      "More business means more jobs and more housing needs," says Running "The local economy is either going to grow or die."