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Downtown revival in Devils Lake

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DEVILS LAKE, ND (WDAZ)—Retail giants may be moving out of small towns across the country, but in one small town, business owners are giving their downtown new life.

It’s a place where you will find clothing and a wine bar, all focused on customer experience.

The historic core of a small town.

“I truly believe it’s the heart of the community,” said boutique owner, Cyndy Sitar.

But that heart is changing.

“I think the younger generation, especially, is looking for change, and something exciting in their hometown that the big cities have,” said Sitar.

That’s why less than a year ago, Cyndy Sitar opened Rue 54—a wine bar and boutique. 

But that heart is changing.

"I see such growth and the love of the historic building—especially the younger people that live here locally,” said Sitar.

In her first week in Downtown, she’s already doing more business than on Highway 2.

"I'm actually kind of low on stock right now,” said Sitar. 

Sitar moved in after this building was renovated, and soon she could have neighbors next door.

"It's not your main street from years past anymore, because there aren’t your big box stores down on main street anymore,” said Paula Vistad, of the Chamber of Commerce.

A change at small towns across the state, due in part to a push by Governor Doug Burgum.

"Rugby is doing it, Carrington will soon be doing it too and Harvey still has a location even after I left there—and yeah, I think it is the younger generation wanting to have something unique to do,” said Sitar.

This renaissance period started about six months ago in Devils Lake, and the momentum is building.

Sitar hopes her store—and others like it—will keep millennials in town. 

"I think they want to have their town survive and they have the ideas that can make it happen,” said Sitar.

Hope in a dark time for some businesses.