Red Barn Liquor is the newest liquor store in town. They have a mission to provide the best spirit buying experience in North Dakota. They are located on the east side of Watford City at 420 Hunters Run Street, and are open 7 days a week.

Hundreds of youth livestock enthusiasts are expected to descend on McKenzie County on the weekend of March 6-7 for the North Dakota State 4-H Livestock Judging competition & Livestock Quiz Bowl. The events will be located at the McKenzie County Fairgrounds and the Rough Rider Center. Many in our community are excited to support this event and welcome folks from throughout the state.

First International Bank & Trust, headquartered in Watford City, has announced its plans for acquisition of Sodak Home Loans. This will be the first location in South Dakota for First International Bank & Trust which has locations in North Dakota, Minnesota and Arizona. See more in this Sioux Falls Argus Leader news article.


QEP recently donated $25,000 towards equipment for Project Lead the Way and other STEM activities for grades kindergarten through eighth at McKenzie County School District #1.

The North Dakota Department of Commerce has announced the Tourism Main Street Expansion Grant Program. The grant’s purpose is to support new or expanding businesses that provide an improved visitor experience, with an emphasis on attracting visitors to the core of a city or town. The grants are a 2:1 matching grant with a maximum award amount of $15,000. The deadline to submit an application is January 22, 2021.

A new grant has been announced for small businesses and enterprises affected by Covid-19 in rural communities. The LISC Rural Relief Small Business grants seeks to serve those especially those in underserved communities, including entrepreneurs of color, women- and veteran-owned businesses that often lack access to flexible, affordable capital.

Over a dozen leaders from throughout McKenzie County toured the Bismarck Career Academy earlier this month. Leaders in McKenzie County have been looking for ways to increase the amount of career-specific training that can be provided in our community and wanted to better understand the multi-decades of success of the Bismarck Career Academy.

The December Economy at a Glance is now available.
Some data of note:
  • The total true and full value of property in McKenzie County has increased from about $2.69 billion in 2019 to $3.21 billion in 2020.
  • The McKenzie County labor force has decreased from 10,432 in October 2019 to 8,007 in October 2020.


Save the date! The 2021 North Dakota Petroleum Council‘s annual meeting has been set for September 22-24. We are excited that they have decided to host this meeting at our Rough Rider Center again. Over 400 attendees participated at the 2019 ND Petroleum Council’s annual meeting in Watford City.

The North Dakota Department of Commerce today announced the second round of the Economic Resiliency Grant (ERG) also known as the Hospitality ERG.

Due to the continuing need of assistance, the second round of the ERG will focus on reimbursing hospitality businesses that were directly impacted by Executive Order 2020-06. This includes all restaurants, bars, breweries, cafes and similar on-site dining establishments.

Additionally, the Hospitality ERG will also focus on businesses affected by the closures such as theaters, music and entertainment venues, and professional production companies that support major venue meetings and events.

“The hospitality industry has been one of our hardest-hit economic sectors from a national to local level,” Gov. Doug Burgum said. “We’re grateful to the Emergency Commission and the Legislature’s Budget Section for approving this much-needed relief for these businesses – which are vital for employment, tourism and the quality of life for our residents – as they do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Commerce was approved by the Emergency Commission to use the remaining ERG funds estimated to be approximately $25 million and an additional $29 million for the Hospitality ERG to support more than 3,000 food service, drinking establishment, entertainment venues and professional production companies operating in North Dakota.

“Many hospitality and supporting businesses continue to experience dramatic declines in revenue,” Interim Commerce Commissioner Shawn Kessel said. “We hope that the second round of ERG will help businesses survive and stay-open in the midst of the pandemic.”

Hospitality ERG funds will be used to reimburse eligible entities for costs in operations, such as payroll, rent, utilities, personal protective equipment (PPE), technology; and other expenses that comply with federal guidelines.

Applicants may receive up to $25,000 and eligible entities with multiple locations may receive up to $75,000. A max of $25,000 will be allowed per location. Grant recipients are required to comply with ND Smart Restart protocols.

Applications are expected to open the week of Nov. 16 and will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis. Funding will be approved if the application meets all criteria and funding is available. Additional information will soon be available at

Click here for information on the special business briefing webinar with the ND Department of Commerce