Numbers say Simpson students help pick up tab for local businesses


by Mandy Frohling

What kind of impact does Simpson College have on the communityof Indianola and it’s economic standing?

More than you’d think.

According to the Simpson Web site, a formula put together by theIowa Department of Economic Development gauged Simpson’s totaleconomic impact on Indianola at $65.9 million.

The formula used to calculate the total number includes severalfactors, such as total individual student spending, which isestimated at approximately $3,235 at local Indianolabusinesses.

The formula also takes into account payrolls for Soxeho, Inc.and Follet, Inc. which provide food services and the bookstore atSimpson.

Many of Indianola’s larger companies feel the impact of Simpsonstudents and faculty in even the smallest ways.

Susan Appler, Wal-Mart Supercenter assistant manager, said thatSimpson students have an effect on business by both spending money,as well as working at Wal-Mart.

According to Appler, products such as food tend to stay fairlysteady even without the students, but every day supplies such ashealth and beauty and office supplies see a huge jump during schoolseason.

“When the dorms open there is a boost and that stays steadythroughout the school year,” said Appler.

Hy-Vee Manager Bill Kittler is aware of the amount of income theSimpson community brings to his business.

Kittler says that home football games and homecoming weekend areboth big events for the store, but noted that students aren’talways the biggest spenders.

“The biggest impact is people that work at Simpson, as well asSimpson’s ability to facilitate the Des Moines Metro Opera,” saidKittler.

Even with these businesses pulling in the dough from SimpsonCollege, Indianola Mayor Jerry Kelley is skeptical that Simpsonprovides quite that much revenue.

Kelley acknowledged that Simpson does bring in money for thecity, but said he thinks the number is a little large.

“The local impact isn’t that great,” said Kelley. “That’s moreof a regional impact, but Indianola is part of the metro.”

Regardless, local business owners are thankful.

When asked if Simpson means anything to their business, allreplied with a vibrant “yes.”