Construction will help boost La Crosse economy - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Construction will help boost La Crosse economy

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - A Federal Reserve Board official predicted Monday that the U.S. economy should grow 2.5 percent this year.

In 2014, that rate should rise to 3.5 percent.

For the past couple of years, La Crosse's economy has been pretty steady, said Dick Granchalek, the La Crosse Area Chamber of Commerce president.

It's because the city doesn't have giant employment companies setting up in town, he said.

But the recent surge in construction work has Granchalek hopeful it builds up the La Crosse economy.

"That drives everything beyond that from carpeting to flooring from appliances to lighting," Granchalek said.

Bruce Swanwick, sales manager of Wettstein's, said he's seen a change in purchase trends at the furniture, appliance and electronics store since the 2008 recession.

"What we've been through and what we see, we've been in a replacement market," Swanwick said. "People can't live without a refrigerator, they can't live without that microwave. It's been a replacement market as opposed to when you're having a new construction, where they'll come in and buy all new appliances."

Building new homes means more business for Wettstein's.

"We see a lot of improvement coming. A lot of people are coming in and doing remodeling, building new homes, and I think that with be the key to really kicking this into the next level where we were back in 2008," Swanwick said.

Home construction will not be the only economy booster in La Crosse.

Granchalek said construction on the college campuses and at Gundersen Lutheran attracts a lot of business.

It's not just for employment; the more revenue people make, Granchalek said, the more willing they are to make purchases in the local economy.

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