27Nov/17

Shop Small – Holiday Craft Bazaar & Parade of Lights

Belle Fourche was the place to be to get in the holiday spirit November 24 and 25 with the Holiday Craft Bazaar, Shop Small Belle Fourche, and Light Up the Night all taking place Friday and Saturday.

The festivities kicked off Friday morning with the Shop Small Pancake Breakfast hosted by the Belle Fourche Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber served up stacks of blueberry pancakes to early shoppers out to take advantage of the sales and Holiday Craft Bazaar vendors downtown. All proceeds and collected canned goods from the breakfast went on to benefit the Compassion Cupboard.

Shoppers then browsed stores downtown, taking advantage of the Shop Small Belle Fourche sales many stores had, and the local vendors set up in several shops for a new spin on the Holiday Craft Bazaar. Shoppers were given ‘passports’ at the pancake breakfast that could be stamped at each participating shop and vendor. Once filled, passports could be returned for a prize from the Chamber.

The annual Light Up the Night festivities began late afternoon with the popular hay rides, and new this year, inflatable slides at Rail Park. The Belle Fourche Cowboy band hosted a chili feed at the Community Hall and entertained diners with renditions of classic holiday favorites.

Belle Fourche’s Parade of Lights brought in an estimated 800 people to see the bedecked and brightly lit floats travel down State street, followed by the lighting of the Town Christmas Tree by Revitalize Belle Fourche. The Tri-State Museum & Visitor Center opened its doors to guests for their annual Holiday Open House, complete with cookies and cupcakes while the Black Hills Roundup Committee served hot apple cider.  The night was then lit up by a fantastic show of fireworks at the Center of the Nation Monument, put on by Fritz Carlson, the Center of the Nation Business Association, and the City of Belle Fourche.

The next day, the Holiday Craft Bazaar and Shop Small Belle Fourche continued, and stagecoach rides were given on State street.

Overall the weekend was deemed a success by the Chamber. “There’s a new excitement in Belle Fourche,” commented Chamber director Gary Wood. “Not just for the holiday festivities which were very well received, but in the town as a whole. We are already hoping to top this year’s events in 2018, and keep this positive momentum going into the future.”

01Nov/17

Fall Flavors 2017 Wraps Up

Fall Flavors 2017 is in the books! And what a tremendous season it has been: September and October in Belle Fourche saw over 40 events under the umbrella of Fall Flavors!
From the Fall Flavors Festival that kicked it all off, to the Halloween Parade down State Street and Trick-or-Treating at the Hillside School, and all the craft classes, tastings, and pie socials in between.

Thank you to all the businesses, sponsors, vendors, and enthusiastic volunteers who worked tirelessly to make it all happen, and YOU the community who made Fall Flavors 2017 a success!

16Oct/17

Fall Flavors In the Field

October 13 was our first Fall Flavors in the Field event, and we consider it a success. 70 guests were treated to incredible views of the Redwater valley at sunset, and a mouthwatering dinner of Mesquite smoked brisket, applewood pork tenderloin, dutch oven potatoes and more from Old West Dutch Oven Catering Company.

A silent auction of homemade goods went on during the evening, with caramel corn, from scratch dill pickles, and pumpkin-swirl cheesecake stealing the show.

The chamber hopes to make this an annual event as part of Fall Flavors!

12Oct/17

Be Encouraged

Ribbon cutting at Dakota Home & Ranch Real Estate LLC

Encouraged…That is the word I would use to describe my feelings following our second annual Manufactures Week Oct 3, 4 & 5 here in Belle Fourche.  The Manufacturers’ event was co-sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and Belle Fourche Development Corp.

This year we added two more days to our schedule and brought in Deb Brown from Save Your Town.

I’m encouraged because we saw many new people turn out for the events.  Our Tuesday morning Early Bird Coffee at the Chamber office was standing room only to meet Deb, ask questions and network with likeminded people in the community.  Another “coffee clutch” took place on Wednesday morning at Patty’s Place.  Again, great discussion took place.  We followed the coffee meet & greets with what I’ve termed the “Gems tour” as we toured buildings downtown either for sale, rent, or currently undergoing renovation.  When we completed those tours I was encouraged because of the potential others and I discovered.  Many of those building are very large and would serve a future business well.  I was encouraged by the business leader’s luncheon at Grap’s Burgers & Brews Tuesday noon.  The luncheon was well attended and gave people a chance to network with each other, visit about what they had seen on the empty building tour and brainstorm opportunities business in Belle Fourche offers.

I was encouraged because Tuesday afternoon four individual business owners took advantage of Deb’s presence to visit with her privately about their business, the challenges they face and get an experts advice on ways to advance their own business.  The same took place on Wednesday afternoon with another four businesses.  How often do you get to consult with a national leader about your business – and for free?

Thursday was a full day of encouraging events.  Deb Brown gave two presentations giving advice and practical steps businesses can take to grow and thrive, as well as testimonials of other small towns that have taken action and brought their towns back to life.

South Dakota Secretary of Labor & Regulation Marsha Hultman also spoke and informed us about workforce trends in the state. You can see both those presentations by going to the Chamber’s YouTube profile (Search ‘Belle Fourche Chamber’ in your YouTube search bar and click the top result).  We had a very encouraging roundtable working lunch in which 20 or more community individuals discussed how we can work together to implement what Deb presented to us and more.  Later, while tours of Pipeline Plastics and the new industrial arts building at the High School took place, three individual groups in our community met to confer with Deb on their roles to advance Belle Fourche.

Thursday evening we met as a community to celebrate business at the Belle Plaza.  A ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the new real estate agency, Dakota Home & Ranch.  The Belle Plaza merchants all held open houses with music and food.  What a great culmination to our three day events of celebrating manufacturing and business in our town.

To finish the week off, a job and career fair was held at the Community Hall from 6 -8 p.m.  The hall was lined with businesses seeking employees and several availed themselves of the opportunity to see what was available for careers.

I’m encouraged because our city and its opportunities were premiered.  I’m encouraged because what we have to offer was showcased and people are motivated to move ahead in collaboration.  I’m encouraged because goals were set and there is a commitment to keep the good momentum going for Belle Fourche.  I’m encouraged because work is already going on.  Be watching – Some of what you will be seeing is a result of what took place last week.

BE ENCOURAGED!

Gary Wood

Exec. Director

01Oct/17

Manufacturers Week: Oct. 3-5

Chamber executive director Gary Wood and Deb Brown of Save Your Town

Belle Fourche’s 2nd annual Manufacturers Week unfolded October 3-5, with a variety of seminars and events, and noted speaker Deb Brown of Save Your Town.
Tours of empty commercial buildings took place on Tuesday and Wednesday, buildings that included many of the dominating and historic structures in downtown Belle Fourche. Building owners and real estate agents were on hand to answer questions about the buildings, as most on the tour are sale or rent. The Chamber took videos of these tours that can be viewed through the link below.
After the tours, Deb Brown met individually with business owners for some one-on-one consulting on ways to improve and grow their businesses.
Thursday October 5th officially South Dakota Manufacturers Day. Events were held at the Belle Fourche Community Center, and began with a coffee hour at 7:30am. 8th Avenue Bakery provided coffee and fresh donuts. Deb Brown gave two seminars, giving practical advice and simple steps for businesses to implement for a brighter future.
South Dakota secretary of the Department of Labor & Regulation Marsha Hultman then gave a presentation on South Dakota’s workforce, manufacturing, and employment.
Small Business Development Center’s regional director Dona Leavens and Tim Crawford spoke on the assistance and benefits available to small businesses through the SBDC.
These seminars and presentations are available to view through the link below.
After a working luncheon catered by Subway, a group left from the community hall to tour Pipeline Plastics and the Belle Fourche Industrial Arts Center.
Deb Brown met individually with several community groups to discuss ways they can do their parts to improve Belle Fourche while working in harmony.
The day ended with a Job Fair & Career Day where fifteen area businesses hosted booths advertising their services and employment opportunities.
The Chamber is pleased with the amount of growth Belle Fourche Manufacturers Day/Week has seen in just one year, and we are very encouraged by the turnout and enthusiasm we saw this week towards making Belle Fourche an even better place to live, work, and play.

Link to Building Tour and Seminar Videos

28Sep/17

Lets Make Belle the ‘Hub’

The Chamber has been keeping busy with Fall Flavors activities and getting ready for our Second Annual Manufacturers Week that starts on October 3.  Please see the schedule and information in this newsletter or on the website for this important annual event.  Along with Belle Fourche Development Corp we have planned this year’s event with “workforce development” in mind.  Many businesses and agencies will be present and available to answer your questions.  Be sure to spread the word about this three day event, plan to participate at some level, and avail yourself of state and national experts.  New this year is the Job Fair & Career Day on the evening of Oct 5.  You can still register to have your business represented to make known what you do and your work force needs.  Please consider this opportunity to get your business before individuals looking for jobs.

On a more philosophical note, I sense in the city and area a real positive forward movement.  I’ve heard it from several of you and we at the Chamber are excited to see the next chapter of Belle Fourche as a regional hub.  I was in a business the other day and met people from WY, OK, and eastern SD.  Just in a matter of 10 minutes.  One was especially complimentary about our city.  Be sure and read the “ON TARGET” in this newsletter that echoes this theme.

We have much to offer as the regional hub of our Quad-state region.  Lets capitalize on the forward movement, our progress so far, and reach out to expand what we do as a business community.  As I was in the middle of writing this, I went to a Quad-State Emergency Management meeting at the Branding Iron with 17 people from our Quad-state region.  Among other business, they are looking for a site to host their spring conference.  Let’s be the place they choose by being a community that will step up to the plate and be willing to hit the ball out of the park to attract these kinds of regional events.  The Chamber is willing to work toward that.  Will you be part of the solution here in Belle Fourche?

Beside this article you’ll see all kinds of events and opportunities for you as a business and for our community.

 

10Aug/17

Let’s Keep Summer Sizzling!

As the motor cycles rumble through our area, we at the Chamber are pleased to see them shopping Belle Fourche.  Meanwhile, we are working on our Fall Flavors schedule of events for September and October.  We’ve added some new events so be watching for the full calendar to be coming out as soon as we have things confirmed.This is our second year for Fall Flavors to encourage events that build business and community spirit during the fall months.  I find the energy at Hometown Thursdays good for me and I’m presuming others feel the same or they would not keep coming out week after week.  It’s always good to see our community get together for events.

As we finish summer and prepare for fall and winter, let’s make our businesses places customers want to visit.  Plan something new, change up something you’ve always done.  Greet your customers with something that will make them say, “That was nice” or “Wow, that was new and I appreciated it”.  Someone suggested that we make Thursdays ‘Customer Appreciation Day’ since it is also sale day at the livestock market and many of our agriculture people are in town.

Here are some suggestions for Thursday Customer Appreciation Day:

  • Set a pot of coffee out with doughnuts from one of our local providers for the a.m.
  • Offer free snacks
  • Hand out coupons
  • Closer to noon put out a cooler or tank with iced water or soda for the taking.

A cool drink or a nice snack would go a long way to making customers feel welcome and shows it that you appreciate their coming in.Do you have some tried and true ways to welcomed customers?  Let the Chamber share them with your neighborhood businesses!  Or better yet, do something that will inspire your fellow businesses to “up their game” as we seek to keep and attract customers.

One example is the $5.00 lunches being offered across our city.  I don’t know who started it but it caught on and is popular.  Several people from Spearfish have commented that you can’t find anything close to such a deal over there across the Redwater. One Spearfishian that works in Belle said to me, “I wish Spearfish would do this!”  He enjoys eating his lunches out here in Belle Fourche as they are delicious and a great value.

Let’s close out summer with some sizzling customer service and be inventive in what we are planning for the fall!


Gary Wood

Executive Director
Belle Fourche Chamber of Commerce

28Jul/17

YETI Cooler Winner

Congratulations to Jean M., winner of the Chamber’s summer raffle! The Chamber sold raffle tickets for a limited edition YETI Tundra cooler June-July, and held the drawing July 27 at Hometown Thursdays’ last night.

17Jun/17

The Farmers Market Returns!

The Farmers Market is back for its second season, bringing locally grown produce, fresh pies, breads, cupcakes, and handmade goods to Belle Fourche. It’s still a little early to expect bundles of fresh veg, but the farmers tell us that cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and peppers will soon be ready. In the meantime enjoy crispy lettuces, kale, peas, and other early crops!