New business growth on Duff good sign for Ames

Nicole Mcintosh

Duff Avenue was one of the original 12 blocks that formed the entire town of Ames in 1864. Almost 150 years later, it remains a vital business section for the city. Business on Duff is growing and changing every day.

“South Duff area is going to change a lot in the next 12–24 months,” said Dan Culhane, President of the Ames Chamber of Commerce. “This is a good sign for the economy and shows that it is a legitimate market for a variety of businesses.”

One of the newest additions to Ames is the expansion of the Gary Thompson Oil Co. buildings, both for their offices and new tenants at 400 Duff Ave.

With the closing of Home Furniture Store right next to their existing offices, Gary Thompson Oil Co. decided to grab the opportunity to create new offices and lease out a few more.

“We think it will be a good addition to have,” said Rick Thompson, vice president of the company.

The Thompsons are creating two buildings out of the area where the furniture store was and remodeling their offices. US Cellular is in their current building, and they will move to the newer building at the end of February.

Buffalo Wild Wings Grill and Bar will fill the spot in the Thompson’s new building. They are projected to open March 21.

The restaurant, which has 14 other locations across Iowa, has made it a priority to get a spot in the Ames area.

“The Ames market is one that we have been after for a while,” said Christopher Stafford, representative for both parties with Ruhl and Ruhl Commercial Real Estate Company. “It has all the right pieces for a Buffalo Wild Wings. The student population, the family population and the sports draw.”

The restaurant will have 5,320 square feet along with an outdoor patio seating area. The restaurant is a sports bar that serves New York-style buffalo chicken wings as its specialty along with other all-American food.

US Cellular will occupy the other 300 square feet of the building. There will be more spaces available in their building next door. Gary Thompson Oil Co. will be occupying one of the offices.

Other national companies who have been looking to getting into the Ames market have noticed this project. Stafford says he believes the demand will be strong for property along South Duff Avenue.

The recently demolished Twentieth Century Bowling Alley building leaves room for the Bundy family, also represented by Stafford, to make more opportunities available for growth.

Old George’s Pizza, Happy Joe’s and Puerto Vallarta are a few other closed businesses that may see a turnover in the months to come as well.

How does all of this growth hold up for a neighborhood that has been heavily affected by flooding in the past?

When the new buildings are built, they raise the ground elevation up to meet the newly-established flood codes. This ensures the buildings will survive any future floods that may come.

“The water that was there would not have been a concern for the building anyway,” Stafford said.