Memorial Day marked the 35th anniversary of Jan and Jay Pattee of Perry’s opening of Ben’s Five and Dime, the downtown variety store formerly known as Ben Franklin. They have seen ups and downs in Perry’s downtown retail district during three decades of business, but they still believe good times are coming for Perry.
In an effort to promote their faith in Perry’s prosperity, Ben’s has supplied local merchants with banners reading, “Shop Local Perry.” According to studies by the Iowa State University economics department, about 75 percent of Perry’s working population leaves Perry every day and commutes to jobs outside the town, with many traveling to the Des Moines metro and its suburban environs.
Big-box retail outlets in the metro area seem like convenient places for homeward-bound commuters to stop and shop, but Jan Pattee wants to encourage Perry residents to come home and shop local.
“Perry might not have everything,” Pattee said, “but if you look around, there’s not much we don’t have when it comes to people’s shopping needs. The more we shop in Perry, the more we’ll be able to shop in Perry because successful retailers will attract new retailers, and so we’ll grow our downtown again.”
Ben’s Five and Dime at 1221 Second St. in Perry is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.