SEDC and Visit Spearfish Partner at Grillfest in St. Paul, MN

SEDC recently partnered with Visit Spearfish in St. Paul, MN to host a booth at Grillfest. The partnership was a continuation of ongoing efforts by both organizations to attract new workers, businesses and visitors to Spearfish.

SEDC Marketing Coordinator Cayley Schmitt and Visit Spearfish Marketing Assistant Jackie Robles interacted with hundreds of guests at the event, promoting Spearfish’s outstanding craft brewing and food scenes, outdoor recreation environment, favorable business climate, education and employment opportunities, and quality of life.

The upcoming 605 Black Hills Classic Beer Festival, to be held in Spearfish’s Lions Park on September 11, was also promoted during the event. The upcoming beer festival, hosted by 605 Magazine and sponsored by Visit Spearfish, SEDC and others, will feature unlimited beer tastings from breweries across South Dakota as well as live music and food trucks by local artists and entrepreneurs.

“We found the event [Grillfest] fit for collaboration with Spearfish Economic Development to further promote the outdoor adventure, beer and food culture that Spearfish is home to,” said Visit Spearfish Executive Director, Mistie Caldwell. “Everyone starts as a visitor and Visit Spearfish understands the importance of introducing visitors to the business side of our community, and Grillfest gave both organizations the opportunity to fulfill our missions and are excited to see the impact it will have on the economic development of Spearfish in the future!”

SEDC Names 2021 Women in Leadership Scholarship Recipient

Karley LaFountain, Director of Prairie Hills Child Care Center in Spearfish, has been selected as the Spearfish Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) 2021 Women in Leadership Scholarship recipient. The annual scholarship will provide LaFountain with the opportunity to attend the South Dakota Center for Enterprise Opportunity (SD CEO) 2021 Women in Leadership series to be held July 27-29 at The Barn at Aspen Acres near Spearfish.

The Women in Leadership series is in its eighth year, thus far graduating over 150 local business leaders with specialized training in communication, decision making, project management and other vital aspects to successful leadership in both professional and personal contexts. This year’s program is themed “Focusing on the Future” and will feature over a dozen guest speakers to engage and connect with LaFountain and the other program participants.

“I am very honored and excited to have earned this scholarship and to be able to spend two and a half days with incredible female leaders from our area,” said LaFountain. “Getting to grow and learn alongside them is going to be an amazing experience that I get to use right away with all my staff in hopes to empower them and help them grow.” LaFountain is specifically looking forward to gaining more knowledge in the areas of conflict management and mentorship.

“Supporting and investing in the professional development and personal growth of our local business leaders is very important to our organization,” noted SEDC Executive Director Kory Menken. “SEDC is pleased to partner with SD CEO in helping to build strong leaders for our  community and region.”

SEDC Awards 2021 Emerging Business Achievement Award to DirtBags BikeGear

Spearfish Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) awarded DirtBags BikeGear with the organization’s Emerging Business Achievement Award on May 14. Members of the SEDC Board of Directors, SEDC staff and other community leaders were on hand to present owners Emily and Heath Brown with the special recognition. The presentation was held in conjunction with National Economic Development Week, which was officially proclaimed in Spearfish as May 9-15, 2021, by Spearfish Mayor Dana Boke.

The Emerging Business Achievement Award was created by SEDC in 2020 to honor start-up businesses that demonstrate successful business practices, practice civic engagement, and partner with other businesses in the Spearfish community. “We are pleased to celebrate DirtBags’ many accomplishments and to recognize their dedication to innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit,” stated SEDC Executive Director Kory Menken. “It has been rewarding to work with them and to witness their continued growth.”

Located in a workshop behind their home at 524 N 7th Street in Spearfish, DirtBags has been operating part-time since 2015. DirtBags began when the husband-and-wife duo decided to sew themselves bags for a bikepacking trip through the Black Hills. Following the excursion, the couple decided to sell their high-quality handmade gear to support other outdoor bicycling enthusiasts. In December of 2020, Emily transitioned to DirtBags BikeGear full-time. The company has experienced enough growth to add four additional part-time positions and multiple machines to their fleet of equipment over the past year and is expecting a very busy summer in 2021.

“We love the bike community that is in the Black Hills of South Dakota,” said Emily Brown. “The trails are epic, the race events never disappoint, and the people are the absolute best. We want to keep this community thriving!”

To be eligible for the annual SEDC Emerging Business Achievement Award, businesses must be located in Spearfish and have been in operation full-time for no more than three years. The award joins the Award of Excellence and the Spirit of Enterprise Award (formerly known as the Rising Star Award) which are presented each year at the SEDC Annual Meeting.