THREE QUARTERS of a CENTURY of PROGRESS
Sioux City's Remarkable Growth, as a Jobbing Center
From necessity, Sioux City became a jobbing center
and grew because of the progressiveness of her business men.
JOBBING is Sioux City's specialty, she thrives on it and has become one of the recognized big centers of the northwest. The early pioneer business men who blazed the trail across the barren plains from the east to Sioux City saw the possibilities of the point as a future jobbing center. They saw an almost inexhaustible field here for growth and expansion limited only by the initiative of the people and the capital that they could line up behind the endeavors. They saw that soon the vast plains must give away their wild life and become settling grounds for the myrads [myriads] of people who had only then begun to cross the Mississippi in any quantities. These people must be clothed and fed.
The jobbing business really began here in 1852, when Joseph Leonais brought a large quantity of merchandise overland up the banks of the Missouri river and opened two stores. Thus the first jobber had two outlets whereas the present jobber has thousands. Now over 300 jobbing houses of varying sizes supply a territory covering parts of seven great states, most of which were unknown at that time. The articles supplied by these houses include practically every piece of merchandise used in the home, office and on the farm. A complete list of the different things jobbed here would be compiled only after studying hundreds of large catalogs issued by these jobbers for their trade.
To all people in all classes and all localities, food is the most important thing in life. It is in food products that Sioux City excels in the jobbing line. In 1922 the total jobbing business out of Sioux City was $178,735,000, of which over $120,000,000 was of food products. It is only natural that located as she is at the very door of the great agricultural country Sioux City receives the raw products from the farm on her market and gives back finished foods. Four great grocery houses, large fruit concerns who buy by train loads and distribute in any quantities, great meat houses that distribute the products of the packing plants, produce houses distributing the finished dairy products-these and others feed millions of hungry mouths.
These wholesalers are useful and of vital importance to the thousands of retailers in small towns who must go
to the city for supplies. Sioux City is that city and is at the very door of a great number of these retailers. The buying power of the Sioux City institutions is enormous. They invade the markets in every corner of the globe buying in great quantities and affecting prices that are within reach of the country merchants. Many of the jobbers own their own factories, eliminating the middleman and selling direct to the retailers. Their vast storehouses are always filled with goods of unlimited sizes, colors and pricesalways ready for instant shipment at the command of the retailer.
But food stuffs are by no means the only lines handled here. Automobiles, trucks and tractors are second in volume. Nearly $20,000.00 worth of these were jobbed out of the city last year and more will be handled this year from the reports for the first half of the year. Building materials, cigars, clothing and notions in great varieties, furniture and fixtures, hardware and plumbing equipment, jewelry and optical goods, leather goods, paints, oils, serums and tonics, fursthese and dozens of other distinct lines are handled in varying volumes. Long ago the manufacturers of farm machinery, trucks, tractors and other machinery that is intended for the farming district, realized their products could better be handled in Sioux City than any other city.
The six trunk railroads with their numerous lines radiating out of the city in every direction are the present day controlling factor in the Sioux City jobbing market. The growth began with the first railroad and has increased with the building of the other roads. The early days in Sioux City saw jobbing interest reaching out to almost unheard of distances for the modes of travel in those days. Practically all of the early settling outfits that invaded the Black Hills were outfitted from Sioux City. Great army stores were maintained here. These things are related merely to show how, even at an early day before railroad, automobile or other means of quick communication, Sioux City was recognized as the logical distributing center by government and other officials.
Today no other city in the United States has so large and so rich a trade territory without a single rival in the way of a jobbing center. There are thousands of miles of railroads in seven states, every station of which is closer to Sioux City from a freight rate standpoint than any other market. This practically eliminates competition in many sections of the territory. With the coming of other wholesalers--and others are coming every yearthe city will control the business in this territory. Eastern manufacturers are gradually coming west with their branch plants and distributing houses and they are all looking to Sioux City because of the record of that city along these lines.
Along with the jobbing business here has grown up a system
of warehouses owned by Sioux City interests but handling merchandise
from numerous different manu-
facturers. The reputation of these storage companies is such that some concerns doing millions of dollars worth of business in this territory annually have never gone to the trouble of establishing even an office here, leaving the entire distributing to the warehouse company after the goods are sold. This also answers another great purposeit enables a concern to start a jobbing business on a small scale with small overhead, growing as business increases.
Of all the opportunities visible in Sioux City, perhaps none offer the possibilities as do jobbing. Year after year the number and the volume of business of jobbing houses increases. Ten years ago there was scarcely seventy million dollars worth of products handled. Last year there was two and one-half times this amount with assurance that this will be increased this year. During the trying years following the war, these jobbers kept on and many of them increased their business in the face of depression. Why? Because Sioux City is a permanent, established jobbing center that can and does serve the territory. Business based on service is substantial.
The whole idea of distributing in Sioux City is right. The city has the location, the railroad facilities, the territory and the proper attitude. There was really nothing startling in the fact that she grew to the importance she did as a jobbing center for nature arranged the background and the progressive spirit of the pioneers did the rest.
But there are still great possibilities in Sioux City for more jobbers. The field is not crowded for the potential sales territory grows as fast as Sioux City grows as a jobbing center. There are nearly two million people in this territory and the population is growing rapidly. From 1910 to 1920 the population gained almost fifty per cent through these seven states-parts of which are the legitimate territory of the Sioux City jobbers. There are approximately two hundred thousand farms which must be supplied with farm equipment and supplies from year to year. The value of the live stock on these farms is over a half billion dollars and more than that amount of farm products are sold annually from these farms.
The farmer, however, is not the only prospective customer
for there are hundreds of small towns, many of them with their own industries.
These towns are among the most progressive in any part of the United
States and offer a great ready market for the distributor. The sooner
a manufacturer gets his products on the Sioux City market the sooner
he will get distribution in the richest portion of America's agricultural
section. Great opportunities are offered for additional clothing, millinery,
agricultural, shoe and dry goods jobbers. These fields are covered by
jobbers here but more are needed to help supply the demand.
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