Sturgis Receives “Excellence in Economic Development” Award from International Economic Development Council

STURGIS, SD (9.20.17) – The City of Sturgis won a Gold ‘Excellence in Economic Development’ Award for its Winter Storm Atlas Recovery & Catalyst of Growth Campaign, a project in the category of Multi Year Economic Development of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). The honor was presented at an awards ceremony on Tuesday, Sept. 19, during the IEDC Annual Conference, held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

“On behalf of the IEDC board of directors and Excellence in Economic Development Awards Advisory Committee, congratulations to the City of Sturgis. Not only did they work to provide a necessary service to their community; but also, their participation in the awards program sheds light on their stellar projects which other communities can now use as a benchmark.” – Michael Langley, IEDC Board Chair.

Throughout Oct. 3-5, 2013, Sturgis and the surrounding Black Hills region experienced Winter Storm Atlas. The storm began with a large heavy rainfall and developed into up to 4’ of heavy wet snow being dumped on the community. The immediate aftermath saw hundreds of thousands of cattle killed, dozens of buildings partially or completely collapsed and weeks of snow plowing and debris removal.  

During this recovery period, the City of Sturgis partnered with the not-for-profit Sturgis Economic Development Corp (SEDC) to ensure that every affected business was able to temporarily relocate and eventually rebuild. The reconstruction effort led to significant expansions and no fewer than six new retailers opening in the rural community. This significant expansion caught the attention of the local media, which in turn helped to catalyze more residential, commercial and industrial expansions. In the time following the Presidentially-declared disaster, the community has continued to see the largest economic expansion in its history with sustainable growth in all sectors.  

“The awards process is a thorough, non-biased and multi-layered process. These are extraordinary accomplishments for all winners, and an overall great effort by all participants. We look forward to next year’s awards competition,” Langley said.

Reprinted courtesy of the City of Sturgis

Wildflower Townhomes Coming to Sturgis

STURGIS, SD (8/1/2017) –Wildflower Townhomes, a 15-unit residential community, is coming to Sturgis. Located on two acres surrounding the former Francis Case elementary school, it is designed for people of any age who want carefree, ground level living.

Owners/developers Tim and Peggy Heuston will host an informal public “Meet and Greet” on Friday, August 18th, from 5:00 – 7:00 pm, at the Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce. They encourage potential tenants and anyone interested in looking at the plans, including those in the construction trades, to stop by to learn more about this exciting residential community. Construction plans will be finalized over the winter, with groundbreaking for the first townhomes in Spring 2018.

The 2-bedroom leased townhomes will have attached garages with off-street parking and include lawn care, snow removal and external building maintenance.

The Heuston’ state, “We are so excited for this opportunity to return to South Dakota and the beautiful Black Hills. Sturgis is a progressive, unique city in such a pretty setting. The City and SEDC have been very encouraging, and we really appreciate the warm welcome. One of the best experiences of our lives was building a similar development in Pierre. We are confident that Wildflower Townhomes will offer Sturgis another quality housing choice, and we look forward to putting names with faces at the “Meet and Greet”.

Sturgis City Manager Daniel Ainslie adds, “Council has considered several housing options for this site. We are pleased to welcome the Heuston’s and their experience with this type of residential housing. In addition to filling a niche in our growing community, its design and the Heuston’s professional management will complement the neighborhood aesthetics.”

SEDC President Pat Kurtenbach states, “Wildflower Townhomes is an exciting development for Sturgis residents. We are fortunate to have the Heuston’s bring us their proven housing concept. We thank them for their investment in the community, and welcome a spring groundbreaking.”

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Governor lauds Sturgis efforts to be a year-round destination

Sturgis, SD – 6.6.17  Gov. Daugaard says he enjoys the Capital for a Day program because it gets him out of his office to meet people where they live and hear about their challenges and celebrate their successes.

People around the nation talked about how Washington, D.C. can be like an island. Daugaard said Pierre can be like that also being isolated from the rest of the state.

“It’s good for me to get out of Pierre and get into places like Sturgis so I can see what’s going on,” he said. “I don’t want state government to be isolated from South Dakotans, or independent of the people.”

Daugaard said Sturgis has a lot going for it and has always been known to think big.

He was thoroughly impressed by the new Sturgis Main Street during a walk Tuesday morning with Sturgis Public Works Director Rick Bush.

“Wow! What a beautiful Main Street,” he said. “Between all the infrastructure you can’t see and the street, sidewalk, lighting and bumpouts with the plantings you can see, it’s just spectacular. Sturgis is on the cutting edge. The rallygoers will see a better street and a smoother and easier ride down Main this year. They’re gonna love it.”

Daugaard characterized Sturgis as a community responsible for making its own future.

“Many communities of this size would wait for business opportunities to come their way, but Sturgis is more proactive than most,” he said. “Economic development is something you must do intentionally. You have a vibrant economic development corporation here.”

Daugaard said communities can’t wait for businesses to need a location, communities need to provide that location so that when businesses are looking, proactive communities are in the running.

“Sturgis does that,” the governor said.

Daugaard also lauded the Meade School District for its commitment to career and technical education or CTE.

“Because the firearms industry is very active in Sturgis, the school system has a machinist program with up-to-date modern equipment. I know that because I gave a grant to help buy it,” he said.

The Sturgis motorcycle rally is what draws people to Sturgis and the entire state from all over the world. And Sturgis is learning to leverage their hospitality to other events year-round, the governor said.

Daugaard gave as an example the pavilion at The Knuckle Saloon which serves thousands of bikers during the annual motorcycle rally, but also uses the venue for a bull-riding event during the summer when rodeo fans are in town for the Southwest Regional High School rodeo.

“That just shows you take your assets and don’t just rely on them for the obvious – like the rally – but use them in other ways to create more interest in Sturgis,” he said.

Daugaard was excited to visit the Sturgis Watershed area during his visit Tuesday and said opening that area to visitation is just another example of Sturgis using its assets to the fullest.

“The city has been very active in making the decision to open up that area formally to the public. The welcome mat is being rolled out and this government-owned asset is being made available to the people,” he said.

Whether it remains a city-owned asset open to the public or becomes a state-owned asset is open for discussion, the governor said.

Sturgis Mayor Mark Carstensen said the city and state have collaborated on several projects in recent years and the city was proud to be able to showcase those efforts during Daugaard’s visit to the city Tuesday.

“As we tour businesses in the downtown corridor and in the industrial park, we are truly grateful for the support we have received from state agencies,” Carstensen said.

A noon luncheon Tuesday, dubbed a Community Leader Roundtable, was a time for discussing new ideas and to set new goals that will help not only the community of Sturgis, but also the state to continue to thrive and grow into the future, the mayor said.

Excerpts reprinted courtesy of Deb Holland, Meade County Times-Tribune

Sturgis To Be Capital For A Day

PIERRE, S.D. (5.16.17) – Gov. Dennis Daugaard announced today that Sturgis has been chosen to be South Dakota’s Capital for a Day on Tuesday, June 6. 

“I look forward to the Sturgis event, and thank community leaders for offering to host it,” Gov. Daugaard said. “It’s an opportunity for me to become better acquainted with current issues in the Sturgis area.” 

The Governor’s activities for the day will include a Main Street walk, business tours around town, and a community social and coffee hour. The Governor will also hold a roundtable for community leaders to meet and discuss the needs of the city. 

“The City of Sturgis is honored to be selected as South Dakota’s capital for a day. We are pleased to welcome special guests Gov. Daugaard, Mrs. Daugaard and state officials to the City of Riders. Over the past several years, Sturgis has worked with various state departments on many initiatives and projects. We will share with the Governor the positive results of our collaborative efforts,” said Mayor Mark Carstensen. “Sturgis is well known as a motorcycle mecca but we are also known as a vibrant and growing community, attracting numerous new families and retirees to enjoy our superb quality of life. Sturgis is recognized as a hub for firearms manufacturing, a regional center for healthcare and a community that works hard to provide a positive South Dakota experience to hundreds of thousands of visitors who enjoy visiting our city each year.”   

A complete agenda will be released at a later date.

SEDC Names 2017 Board and Officers

Sturgis, SD (4/21/17) – At the Annual Meeting of Members of the Sturgis Economic Development Corp (SEDC), it was announced that Scott Sabers (Sabers Insurance Agency) and Jeff Dragseth (CBH Cooperative) were re-elected to 3-year terms on the Board of Directors. New board member Ken Meirose (Black Hills Energy) was also elected to serve a 3-year term. Mutch Usera (Black Hills Energy) retired from the board after serving a 3-year term.

At SEDC’s April Board of Directors meeting, the 2017 slate of officers was chosen. They are: Paul Bisson, Chair; Scott Sabers, Vice-Chair; and Scott Reiman (First Interstate Bank), Treasurer.

The other 2017 SEDC voting board members are: Don Kirkegaard (Meade School District), Clint Brengle (The HomeSlice Group), Lonnie Isam (Competition Distributing), Ron Rosenboom (West River Foundation), Irving Stone III (Bar-Sto Precision Machine), Daniel Ainslie (City of Sturgis) and Galen Niederwerder (Meade County). Ex-officio non-voting members are: Dave Martinson (City of Sturgis), Kirk Chaffee (Meade County), Heidi Kruse (Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce), Pat Kurtenbach (SEDC) and Vickie Harter (BHSSC).

About SEDC: SEDC is a private non-profit economic development agency formed in 1973. Its mission is to actively pursue economic development by assisting new or expanding business and industry in Sturgis and the greater Meade County area.

SEDC March Newsletter


Buxton Update.

Representatives from the City of Sturgis, Sturgis Area Chamber of Commerce, and SEDC received initial training from Buxton on the numerous reports that can be customized for our retail businesses. They include sales leakage and surplus, consumer buying tendencies, and demographic information. While we become familiar with using and interpreting the information in the reports converted through, Buxton is completing the VISA data extraction that will give us further insight into the buying patterns of local shoppers and visitors. Once the information is complete, it will be presented to local businesses to assist in strengthening their marketing and advertising programs. In May, the City and SEDC will attend RECON, a retail trade industry show, to meet with national and regional retailers who could be a match for Sturgis.

 Sierra Vista Apartment Homes.

The owner of Sierra Vista Apartment Homes reports that Phase II of the planned 3-phase development should have units ready for lease by May 1.This 16-unit, pet-friendly building on Ball Park Road in Sturgis offers these configurations and rates:

  • Three 4 bed / 2 bath (1st floor
  • with finished basement)             $1,300
  • One 3 bed / 1 bath (1st floor)     $ 900
  • One 3 bed / 2 bath (2nd floor)     $1,000
  • Four 2 bed / 1 bath (1st floor)     $   800
  • Seven 2 bed / 2 bath (2nd floor)  $ 850Questions regarding rates and lease information may be directed to property/leasing manager Help-U-Rent at or 605-490-3974.

Industrial Park Spec Building.

Bids for a 9,600 sq. ft. speculative shell building to be built in the Sturgis Industrial Park were opened in February. Of the four bids received, Iverson Construction was the low bidder for a wood building, and the only bidder for a metal building. The $164,324 bid was awarded to Iverson. Construction should begin in two weeks, weather permitting. The building shell will be ready by July 1. Spec buildings are designed to shorten the start-up time for businesses seeking to expand or relocate. By having the building’s foundation and exterior in place, the remainder of the building is customized to meet the needs of the new owner or tenant, often cutting their start-up time in half.

Reverse Career Day.

Will be held March 21st. Now in its fifth year, this industry-education partnership finds local high school students applying to tour Sturgis Industrial Park businesses. Accompanied by faculty, 25 students will meet with business owners, managers, and employees to gain a firsthand perspective on modern manufacturing processes. These processes include software programming, CNC programming, and product development. Participants will also learn about the coursework required for entry-level success, aptitude and skill sets necessary for career success, regional salary expectations and career development opportunities. Local tours include: Bar-Sto Precision, Hi Qual Livestock Equipment, Horizon Machine, Landsport, and Rasmussen Mechanical.

 Industrial Park Tour.

On April 6th, educators from a 16-state region will have an opportunity to tour the Meade School District’s machine tool technology classroom located in the SEDC incubator, as well as, some of the Sturgis Industrial Park manufacturers who helped make this industry-education partnership possible. The Association for Career and Technical Education is the largest national education association dedicated to advancing education that prepares youth and adults for careers. The educators will be touring these manufacturers: Horizon Machine, Bar-Sto Precision, Legend Suspensions, and HiQual Livestock Equipment.

Sturgis Partners with Buxton to Strengthen Economic Development Decisions

FORT WORTH, TEXAS (February, 2017) — The City of Sturgis, SD recently partnered with Fort Worth-based Buxton to assist in growing its retail sector, supporting downtown development and better understanding the types of consumers visiting the city. Using advanced consumer analytics, Sturgis will have the insights needed to make informed economic development decisions.

“Our main goal is achieving the best quality of life for our residents,” said Daniel Ainslie, City Manager of the City of Sturgis. “Buxton’s years of retail knowledge and analytics expertise will help us reach that objective by outlining the retailers with the highest potential to succeed in our city and providing existing businesses with the consumer insights they need to remain successful.”

“We’re ready to assist Sturgis’ city leaders in making the best economic development decisions by providing both residential and visitor insights,” said Cody Gunstenson, director of sales in Buxton’s public sector division. “Buxton is excited to help Sturgis move towards its retail sector goals.”

While retail economic development programs have traditionally relied on basic demographic information, Sturgis’ retail attraction program is utilizing consumer insights that go beyond demographics, presenting a convincing case to retailers seeking growth opportunities. Buxton’s proprietary web-based real estate platform, SCOUT, gives city leaders the ability to analyze retail matches, support existing retailers and optimize development decisions.

About Buxton

Buxton is the industry leader in customer analytics. Our analytics reveal who your customers are, where more potential customers are located and the value of each customer. More than 3,500 clients in the retail, restaurant, healthcare, private equity and public sectors have relied on our insights to guide their growth strategies.

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