The Grand Forks economy continues to surge ahead at an amazing rate. It once again broke its own record, by collecting over 2-million dollars in sales tax during one-month… 12-million, so far this year.
There may be a simple answer as to what's driving this continued growth… more people.
The 2010 census reported Grand Forks population at almost 53-thousand with just under 100-thousand in the surrounding area.
City officials have long said those numbers are wrong, that the population is actually larger and growing faster than statistics show.
Kevin Dean, City of Grand Forks: "And it's not just in the western part of the State that we're seeing it. That's obviously where the biggest impact is. But we're seeing it in the Grand Forks area as well. People need places to live. We're building more apartments. They're getting filled up."
One of the biggest indicators of a population surge is the number of building permits, which are way ahead of this time last year. It includes 13-hundred new, apartment units.
Reporter: "Do you think there are more people in town that what the last census said?"
Skip Greenberg, Realtor: "Yes, I gotta believe that. With the apartments that are going up and the demand on single family homes and town homes… it's a strong market, very strong."
Shrewd marketers like Walmart have already taken notice. They're building a second superstore in Grand Forks on the west side of town, along the Highway 2, which leads to the oil patch.
Kevin Dean, City of Grand Forks: "There are more people buying at retail stores, there's more people going out for entertainment. The hotel occupancy rates are up, restaurants are full all the time around town. It's a very, very busy town."
And Dean says it may be even busier than they realize, since the latest record breaking sales tax collection numbers are from June. That's when most of UND's 15-thousand students were out of town.