Winterfest Rush Meet & Greet

16826087_930987517037138_2297439301467146691_o Rush Meet & Greet collage

The Rush came to town to meet & greet fans Saturday, Feb. 18. Drug Screening Services hosted the event for Rush fans as part of Winterfest! Kids and fans got to meet Rush mascot Nugget and defensman hockey player Nick Walters and have their Rush posters autographed. Nugget and the Rush members then made an appearance at the Belle Fourche indoor soccer tournament going on at the Belle Fourche Area Community Center.


From the Director: Getting Out of a Rut

Let’s think right about Belle Fourche!

There is a danger in being too familiar with things and getting into a rut, especially in our thinking. Because we are a town with a smaller population, we tend to put ourselves in the ‘just a small town’ box; that we can’t ‘compete’ with towns with bigger populations. We may not realize the amount of commerce that goes on in ‘this little town’.

I’d like to give us a push out of this possible rut.

At the Chamber we are members of the SD Retailer’s Association and receive their information. In a recent Legislative Bulletin I read two articles that caught my attention. If you want to look for them its Issue Number 1 January 24, 2017. The one where Scott and Susan Peterson are named 2017 Retailer of the Year! Congratulation again. After reading that article go to pages 20-22.

There is a great report on tourism numbers for South Dakota. Id like to send out a well doneto the Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center. Kristi Thielen and her staff posted an increase of 800 visitors to the Museum despite the numbers for the Sturgis Rally being down significantly. Due to their hard work they went above and beyond their previous years numbers. The reason, Kristi reported at the February 6 city council meeting, was in the monthly events attendance numbers. They are getting more local people into the complex. From someone that deals with events every day, it is a challenge to get people out. But Kristi and her staff have done it with interesting, informative First Saturday Brunches, childrens events, and quality exhibits.

Let’s get back to page 21, 22 of the SD Retailers legislative report and the second report. Check out the sales taxes returned to Belle Fourche for 2017. Can you guess the dollar amount? $2,837,560.65. This figure is up slightly from the year before. This, despite the drastic fall in livestock prices. Check other agriculturally related towns listed in that report and you will see that most were down – and some significantly so – in their sales tax revenues. Thi

s Chamber of Commerce sends a big shout out to our Belle Fourche business community for generating the amount of sales it did in a very difficult year for an ag based economy. Remember, the cities share is .02 or two cents on every dollar spent in Belle Fourche. That is nearly $142 million dollars in sales in 2016. Did you know Belle Fourche business was generating that kind of revenue?


But there is more of a thinking rut we may be in and need more information to get us out of it. On that same page, compare Belle Fourches sales tax with the sales tax generated in Deadwood. Remember we were 2.8 million. Deadwood 3.4 million. The difference is $597,419.07. Hmm, what does Deadwood have to generate sales tax? Hotels, restaurants, gaming etc. and still were not that far behind.

Next time you think about our city and the commerce that goes on here, make sure you are not in a rut with your thinking.

I’m very encouraged as the Chamber director with our business community and thank them for their great efforts in making Belle Fourche a regional place of commerce. When business prospers the city tax coffers fill and that means in turn that Belle Fourche residents benefit from lower taxes.

Let’s not take our business community for granted!

-Gary Wood

Executive Director


Winterfest Leg of Lamb ‘Dinner & Demo’


The taste of lamb is being rediscovered in Belle Fourche. Gwen Kitzan from Kitzan Family Farms was back Feb. 16th with the Belle Fourche Chamber for another lamb cooking demonstration, this time for Winterfest. Kitzan demonstrated how to prepare a delicious leg of lamb and complimentary side dishes. Eighteen people attended and were served a full dinner of leg of lamb, roasted potatoes, bacon-laced green beans, baking powder biscuits, and rhubarb cake for dessert. Most had not had lamb either before or in several years, and were interested in learning how to cook it at home for themselves. Kitzan is quick to reassure cautious cooks that lamb is not anymore difficult to prepare than pork of beef, and is one of the leaner choices of meat.

Try Gwen’s recipes for yourself: Roasting a Leg of Lamb  Special Rhubarb Cake


Leg of Lamb 16707562_930233387112551_2128135073683167454_o16700670_930233417112548_6125356112801522288_o


From the Director: Is It Revenue Producing; Is It Service Affecting

Is It Revenue Producing; Is It Service Affecting

The other day a former corporate executive was telling me the guidelines they used in evaluating business proposals and plans.  It’s the title of this article:  Is it revenue producing; is it service affecting?  When you examine that a bit you come down to two basic principals businesses need to consider.  Revenue and service.  I personally would turn those around and have service first and revenue second but that is just me and remember I don’t own a business!
Two other key elements in this statement that may need some defining are “producing”  and “affecting”.  Let’s look at producing first.
All businesses are in the business to produce revenue.  Business need to evaluate if how they are operating is producing revenue.  If revenue isn’t being produced it won’t be long and the doors will close.  To our non-business readers, our Belle Fourche businesses are here to make a profit.  If they don’t they can’t stay.  It’s the business’s job to see that their product is competitively priced so that you the consumer will shop local and purchase it.  Outside money is gravy.  So if the business can bring in outside money to our community that is all the better but they still need local support.  The well-worn statement, “Shop Local” may need some freshening up but it is still in everyone’s best interests to be a local business supporter.  I talked to one business owner who has NEVER been in the Spearfish Wal-Mart.  That is amazing commitment to our local business community, and I applaud them for it.
The second key element needing some defining is “Service affecting”.  I looked up ‘affecting’ in the dictionary, and it’s synonyms are:  have an effect on, influence, act on, work on, have an impact on, change, alter, modify, transform, form, shape, sway.  The proposal or plan must have a positive impact on the service the business provides and keep customers first.  Business proposals or plans that negatively affect service should be rejected.
The bottom line is this:  Business proposals and plans must produce revenue and/or have a positive impact on customer service. Another way to look at it would be: “Do the pros of this proposal or plan outweigh the cons?”  Is it revenue producing; is it service affecting?
One business owner I asked told me, “What more, more, more can I do for my customer. What else can I do that makes them come back? Service creates revenue.”
Business is a partnership between owners and customers. Let’s strengthen our partnerships here in Belle Fourche.


Chamber Executive Director Gary Wood


Winterfest Olympics

Patrol car

Kids get to examine the tools of the trade with the SD Highway Patrol

Saturday’s balmy weather made for perfect ice skating conditions at Wyler Park, and conditions were set for fun at the other Winterfest Olympic locations as well. The Belle Fourche Chamber’s Winterfest campaign designed to help businesses create fun winter activities and events hosted its first Winterfest Olympic games last week. Ski’s Pizzeria held a cribbage tournament, Grap’s Burgers & Brews had an intense battle of cornhole, while Patty’s Place put on a Jenga competition. Prizes were awarded the winners and runners up at each tournament.

Down at Wyler park, Drug Screening Services co-hosted a Family Ice Skating day with the SD Highway Patrol. Kids and families came to enjoy the ice and get an up-close look at a real patrol car. Drug Screening Services served hot cocoa and cookies, saying ‘Being drug free is sweet!’

The Winterfest Olympics were also sponsored by Wells Fargo and Black Hills Energy.


Winterfest Ladies Night Out


The Belle Fourche Chamber of Commerce is encouraging ladies to have a night out on the town this Friday, for the Winterfest Ladies Night Out. Several Chamber businesses will be open late and hosting specials, chocolate and wine tastings, giving away prizes, and more. Participating businesses also are helping women to make Valentine wishlists in their stores with Ladies’ Night Out Wishlist cards, to aid the men in their lives in picking out the perfect gift next month.

Along with the shopping, ladies can make a night of it, Starting with the Tri-State Museum’s new exhibit reception for ‘Keep It Clean’ at 5:30pm, an authentic Chinese New Year Dinner at American West Grill, served 4pm to close, and cap it all off with a Wine Tasting at The Wine Room on National 6:30-9pm.


Business of the Week: Ainsworth-Benning Construction, A Journey Group Company


Ainsworth-Benning Construction, A Journey Group Company

Jim Benning began working in the construction industry in 1962.  He starting out as a laborer and worked his way up to construction superintendent.

In January, 1974, he purchased Ainsworth Builders from Lyle Ainsworth after working for the company for nine years. The name of the company was then changed to Ainsworth-Benning Construction and was incorporated in 1976.

Jim had successfully built his firm into one of the most recognized construction firms in the northern Black Hills.  In May of 2016, Jim sold the company assets to Journey Group located in Sioux Falls, SD.  The company now does business as Ainsworth- Benning Construction, A Journey Group Company.

As Jim began his transition out of the business in 2016, the new President, William (Will) R. McElroy, stepped in to oversee the management of Ainsworth-Benning Construction.  Prior to taking on this new role, Will was the Director of Underground Access at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, SD since 2009. Ainsworth-Benning Construction, A Journey Group Company competes in the traditional general contracting and design/bid/build (hard bid) market as well as the negotiated market through the Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) delivery method.   CMAR is a delivery method where Ainsworth-Benning Construction takes part in a customer’s project very early in the design process to help manage project scope, budget and schedule.  Unlike the traditional hard bid delivery method, the CMAR method is heavily based upon building lasting relationships with owners, architects, engineers, sub-contractors and suppliers so that a “best value” project will be the result.

Ainsworth-Benning Construction leads in its ability to successfully execute CMAR in this region. The mission of Ainsworth-Benning Construction is to positively impact lives by building community.  That can mean different things to different people.  At the heart of our mission, we value our customers and our people.  We take very seriously the responsibility we have with being good fiscal stewards for our customer’s dollars.  We will grow our business based upon our integrity and relationships that we build throughout the area.


January Chamber Luncheon


The Belle Fourche Chamber of Commerce held their monthly luncheon Wednesday at Grap’s Burgers & Brews, and featured guest speaker Jamie Gilcrease-Heupel of Lead. Heupel is owner of Lotus Up Espresso and Deli in Lead, and an active member of the Lead community, sitting on several board of directors including the Lead Area Chamber of Commerce, Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center, Lead Kiwanis, and the Resource Development Committee for the Lead Area Boys and Girls Club.

  Heupel’s passion and vision for her business and her community is obvious, and her story of building Lotus Up and the support she received from the community she continues to give back to is one for City of Lead history books.

Business of the Week: Belle Estate Senior Living

Picture left to right: Certified Medication Aide, Megin Lang; Certified Medication Aide, Alissa Koski; Director of Nursing, Leann Hintz, Certified Medication Aide, Haley Tschetter, Administrator, Lindsey Sainsbury, Certified Medication Aide, Deanna Mickelson; and Cook, Lil Odell.

Picture left to right: Certified Medication Aide, Megin Lang; Certified Medication Aide, Alissa Koski; Director of Nursing, Leann Hintz, Certified Medication Aide, Haley Tschetter, Administrator, Lindsey Sainsbury, Certified Medication Aide, Deanna Mickelson; and Cook, Lil Odell.

Belle Estate Senior Living was started with the purpose to provide the best care possible to the seniors in Belle Fourche and the surrounding areas. Giving them a beautiful option for when additional care is needed.

“What sets Belle Estate apart is the personalized care we provide for our residents and the support we offer to their families.  Our smaller size and compassionate staff allow us to provide the one-on-one care that every elderly person deserves.  Our beautiful, bright building helps deliver a happy and inviting environment to all that occupy our cozy community.

“Our mission is to make each day beautiful – not just for our residents and their families, but for our staff as well. “