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The Business Buzz: Fargo's Rae-Bon Sew and Quilt Shop chosen for national honor and more business news

The local quilt shop picks up national recognition, a new report details the region's economic outlook and data shows what laid-off workers have planned next.

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Troy Becker / The Forum
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FARGO — Rae-Bon Sew and Quilt Shop was selected as one of the nation’s top 10 quilt shops by Quilt Sampler magazine, a Better Homes & Gardens publication.

Over 3,000 shops from across the U.S. applied to make the list, from which a Quilt Sampler committee chose its top 10. Sandy Beneke, owner of Rae-Bon, said the process involved submitting a description of the store as well as a rundown of the store’s charitable deeds, classes and photos.

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Sandy Beneke and Jennifer McCall stand by the quilt designed by Jennifer on display at the Rae-Bon Sew and Quilt Shop in south Fargo. Rae-Bon was recently chosen by Quilt Sampler as one of the nation's top 10 quilt shops.
David Samson / The Forum

To prove its quilting prowess, Rae-Bon was also tasked with designing and submitting a quilt. For that, Beneke’s daughter Jennifer McCall stepped up to the challenge. McCall’s winning quilt is now on display at Rae-Bon, located at 3060 25th St. S.

Fittingly, Beneke was teaching a sewing class when she got the call that Rae-Bon had been chosen for the top 10. Assuming that Quilt Sampler was trying to sell more magazines, she stepped out of the class to take what she thought would be a quick call. "When I got on the phone and she told me that they picked us, that was just awesome,” Beneke recalled. “It’s hard to describe. It was just super, super exciting.”

Rae-Bon carries Baby Lock, Brother, Pfaff and Viking sewing machines. Additionally, the store stocks around 2,500 bolts of quilting fabric. “We’re all super knowledgeable about our products. It’s just a real fun atmosphere when you come in the store,” she said. “We get to know our customers and what they like.”

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Beneke added that she enjoys encouraging more people to get into sewing and quilting. “We love to inspire sewing and quilting,” she remarked. “We’ve got a lot of fun classes and a lot of fun things going on here.”

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Shoppers look for quilting material at Rae-Bon Sew and Quilt Shop in south Fargo.
David Samson / The Forum

Economic outlook good for Fargo, Grand Forks, Minneapolis; Bismarck numbers neutral

The economic outlook for the Fargo, Grand Forks and Minneapolis areas is looking good, while the outlook for Bismarck is now described as neutral, according to the most recent Economic Outlook Quarter Report from North Dakota State University.

Overall, North Dakota’s economy is still growing, with increases in wages and salaries, low unemployment and a growing workforce, according to the report released Wednesday, Aug. 17, by NDSU’s Center for the Study of Public Choice and Private Enterprise.

The outlook for North Dakota’s gross state product and tax collections also remains strong, despite recent declines, the report said. The state unemployment rate was just over 2.5% in the second quarter of 2022 and should remain steady.

“North Dakota’s economy is showing potential for growth,” Dr. Jeremy Jackson, the director of the center and an economics professor at NDSU, said via news release. “This is despite increasing signs that the national economy may be turning toward a recession.”

The outlook for the Minneapolis metro area is promising, with wages, the number of workers and housing prices forecast for continued growth.

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However, Minnesota’s economic outlook remains mixed, with some signs of declining growth, the report said. While unemployment is still falling, that trend is expected to reverse. The labor force is expected to see mild growth, but declines are forecast for wages and salaries, gross state product and tax collections in the coming quarters, the report said.

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The outlook for the national economy was characterized as “bleak” in the report, as inflation and recession fears loom. The gross domestic product shrank in the first two quarters of 2022, and this trend is forecast to continue through the end of the year and into the start of 2023. Nationally, consumption, net investment and corporate profits are expected to decline. Unemployment and prices are also expected to rise.

The Fargo-Moorhead metro area’s economy is growing, with wages and housing prices rising and the labor force expanding. The unemployment rate fell below 2% in the second quarter of 2022 and is expected to remain steady into 2023.

The outlook for commodities has changed, as wheat, corn, soybean and crude oil prices seem to have peaked in the second quarter of 2022. Wheat, corn and soybean prices are forecast to continue their downward trend. Crude prices are also expected to decline slightly.

While high commodity prices boost North Dakota’s income and gross state product, they have also contributed to the record inflation seen nationally, the report said.

Nearly half of all laid-off workers moving into new fields, study finds

New research from digital.com indicates that nearly half of workers laid off in 2022 plan to find work in a new career field.

While 49% of the 1,250 workers surveyed plan to continue working in their current field, a slight majority plan to pursue different avenues. The survey found 29% intend to move to a new field, while 10% said they would start their own business, and 6% of those surveyed plan to pursue more education.

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Further signaling that workers are looking to change paths, roughly two-thirds of those planning to start a business said it would be in a different industry, the report said.

While these potential entrepreneurs are embarking on a new path, inflation weighs heavily on the decision to do so — 79% of respondents planning to start a business said they were somewhat or very concerned about inflation.

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More than 1 in 5 workers who had been laid off had jobs in the retail industry. Twelve percent lost jobs in service and hospitality, 10% were laid off in the health care field and 9% reported losing their job in manufacturing.

Angie Wieck is the business editor for The Forum. Email her at awieck@forumcomm.com
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