Located in the northern Black Hills, Spearfish represents one of the most broad-based economies in western South Dakota. With roots in education, health care, tourism, natural resources, and light industry, our local economy has grown and diversified substantially over the past several decades. The past five years has seen the average yearly new construction valuation nearly double that of the previous five years.
Recognizing the attraction of Spearfish’s strong economic advantages -as well our area’s outdoor recreation and active lifestyle appeal- Spearfish Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) has launched a strategic initiative to recruit additional outdoor product companies to our growing community.
According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation is an economic powerhouse in the United States, each year generating $887 billion in consumer spending and supporting 7.6 million jobs. Every year, American consumers spend more on outdoor recreation than they do on pharmaceuticals and fuel, combined. In fact, the impact of outdoor recreation on America’s economy is almost as big as that of hospital care.
Spearfish is fortunate to already be home to a handful of outdoor product companies including SRAM/Quarq, Polaris and DirtBags Bikepacking. SEDC is working hard to attract, foster and encourage more companies of this nature, as they create the type of clean industry and quality employment opportunities our community desires.
As part of this endeavor, SEDC attended last year’s Outdoor Retailer Summer Market tradeshow in Denver. The Summer Market is North America’s premier tradeshow in the outdoor industry drawing attendees from throughout the world, including over 600 exhibitors from a variety of industries including backpacking, camping, hiking, climbing, mountain biking and fly-fishing. Our inaugural participation in the show afforded SEDC the unique opportunity to connect directly with key decision-makers and influencers from the outdoor product market and resulted in continued communication with over three dozen prospective companies.
In addition to attending the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market again in 2019, SEDC will also be participating in the International Fly Tackle Dealer Tradeshow in October of this year. The largest international gathering of fly-fishing manufacturers, retailers, sales reps, media, and fly-fishing organizations in the world, this event will allow us to further share the Spearfish story with hundreds of industry professionals.
Our participation in the tradeshows has been complemented by placing strategic advertisements in regional and national lifestyle and trade publications, and by boosting our social media and digital marketing presence. In today’s competitive business recruitment environment, it is not enough to just sit back and hope someone takes notice.
Spearfish is not alone in our efforts to capture a share of the outdoor product economy. In Colorado, where the outdoor industry has grown by approximately 200,000 workers in the past five years, outdoor-industry business parks have sprung up in Grand Junction, Golden, and Montrose. Outdoor businesses tend to cluster and have played a major role in the growth of communities like Ogden, Utah, Bend, Oregon and Bozeman, Montana.
Home to Black Hills State University, world-class trout fishing, miles of recreational trails, a robust arts scene, a thriving business community and a variety of top-notch dining and microbrew establishments, Spearfish possesses the amenities required by the outdoor industry.
Combine that with a pro-business tax climate, a talented workforce, and outdoor-centric commercial developments like Elkhorn Ridge, the Village at Creekside and Spearfish Canyon Village, and Spearfish has all the ingredients to become a major player in the growing outdoor recreation economy.