- Associated Press - Sunday, May 15, 2016

LEAD, S.D. (AP) - Main Street in Lead is slowly filling back up, and in the last six months, five businesses opened their doors. More are planning to follow suit soon.

Deadwood Lead Economic Development Corporation Director Lori Frederick told the Blacks Hills Pioneer (https://bit.ly/1VSd0Xg ) that she helped several of the business owners facilitate their plans, supporting them with finding store space, technical assistance, and overall business start-up plans.

“I’ve been in close contact with them,” Frederick said. “Obviously, I’m very excited about it. It’s a great opportunity for Lead to be moving forward. Now that the road construction is done, they have come forward. These are businesses that looked at the community and saw niches that needed to be filled, and they have taken the opportunity to fill that specific niche.”

Opening on Main Street within the last few months are: Northern Hills Fly Fisher, featuring fly-fishing gear, lessons, and pet supplies; Aspire Boutique, featuring women’s clothing and gifts; Café 808, a new restaurant featuring Asian fusion food plated Hawaiian-style; Southern Ammo, specializing in firearms and ammunition; and the new Ace Hardware Store opened in March to fill the vacancy created by the Alco store’s closure just over one year ago.

Slated to open soon are: the Handley Center’s new gym; High Mountain Outfitters, opening in June and featuring new high-end brand sporting goods, backpacking, outdoor gear, etc.; American Discount and Surplus, a scratch and dent grocery and goods store opening in mid-May. The opening of the new Lotus Up Espresso coffee shop/sandwich house building in late May brings with it the opening of Vilas Pharmacy and Drug Store in the Lotus Up building’s basement in August.

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Aspire Boutique is owned by Sarah Larson and features a variety of upcycled clothing, jewelry, incense, and tapestries.

“I do a lot of traveling, and I finally came back to the Lead area and decided to open the shop,” Larson said. “I have an appreciation for Lead. My vision is a world store. Eventually, I would like to be able to travel and bring back things to sell.”

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Café 808 is owned by Cyndi and Mike Gaffney and features Asian fusion food plated Hawaiian style, with the motto “Serving great food with Hawaiian spirit.”

“Hawaiian style is served with rice, a macaroni salad and meat served on a bed of grilled cabbage,” Cyndi Gaffney said. “We also feature Hawaiian style burgers, served on a King’s Hawaiian bun and don’t fry anything. We use a grill. There are no deep fryers. Everything is healthy.”

Right now, Café 808 is open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. for breakfast and lunch. Beginning in May, they will also be open for dinner.

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On June 1, the eagerly awaited opening of the new Lotus Up Espresso building with a view of the Open Cut will occur.

Owner Jamie Heupel said that although the building is roughly the same square footage of her current space, at roughly 6,000 square feet, it is designed differently to maximize efficiencies.

“And the view is phenomenal,” Heupel said. “It gave me the opportunity to expand my entrepreneurial base, as well as the 2,000 square feet of commercial space in the basement has already been leased out. And an office upstairs has been leased out as well.”

Heupel’s risk has already paid off even further.

“We’re already booking the place out like crazy,” she said. “July 9 the whole place was booked by the Lab for an event happening during Neutrino Days. “We’ve got a class reunion having an event here over the Fourth of July, and we’re also going to help raise money for the Boys and Girls Club by selling $100 VIP seats to watch the fireworks that night.”

Jamie’s husband, Dustin, designed the new building and is her partner in the business.

“We didn’t feel like the old building would be sufficient for growth,” she explained. “We wanted it as a business. Dustin and I are young, we’re in our 30s and we really wanted to invest in ourselves and we wanted to show people it could be done. We wanted to inspire others. Lead is not dead. We wanted to show others it could be done. But it’s scary, too.”

As construction costs continued to mount on the building, with no power on the property and the groundwork more than doubling, Jamie got a little nervous. That is, until the answer to her entrepreneurial prayers presented itself.

“A gentleman came in and wanted to rent the whole underneath,” Jamie said. “. He said he saw the building and knew it was the place to be.”

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The gentleman who rented the lower level of the new Lotus Up Espresso building is Jim Stephens of Pierre, owner of 13 Vilas drug stores, two SuperValue supermarkets, and a frequent visitor to Lead for 50 years (owner of a Terry Peak cabin for 20).

“This will be our 11th pharmacy,” Stephens said. “Vilas Pharmacies was the first drug store in Pierre and our business is 106 years old. I’ve been here (in Pierre) for 50 years and I still like what I do.”

“I think the pharmacy fits a huge need in Lead,” Stephens explained. “There’s 10,000 people within 10 miles of Lead. There’s the pharmacy in the clinic in Deadwood, but other than that, no other pharmacy. We pride ourselves on being very competitive. We can meet or beat any of our competitors’ price on any retail pharmacy items . We pride ourselves on customer service. We have a good relationship with all our patients.”

The new pharmacy will also feature Hallmark cards, Montana silver, reasonably priced jewelry, and the Health and Beauty aids a pharmacy generally features and over the counter medicines. a gift department with a rustic theme featuring items that are upscale but not pricey.

“We like to stay below $30 to $40,” Stephens said. “Kind of a basic community drug store.”

In addition to the pharmacy, Stephens is also instrumental in one other business setting up shop on Lead’s Main Street - High Mountain Outfitters - with the help of his son Justin Stephens who lives in Spearfish and manages the pharmacy in Sundance, Wyoming.

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High Mountain Outfitters will open in June, featuring outdoor clothing, mountain climbing gear, and a great line of competitively priced clothing for the whole family. The store will bring with it brands like Toad & Co., Mountain Hardware, Marmot and the Stephens are also working on getting a Patagonia franchise.

“In conjunction with this, I have a huge passion for fly fishing,” Stephens explained. “We will also take over Northern Hills Fly Fisher, opened by Marty Venburg recently, and Marty will be our head guide.”

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Stephens’ vision for Northern Hills Fly Fisher is that of a full-service shop offering all one needs to go fly fishing in the Black Hills area. He intends to model the shop after Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone, Montana.

“We’ll have an interactive web site, weekly newsletter, a complete stock of flies and accessories, outdoor clothing, and gifts for fly fishing,” Stephens said. “We’ll also offer a guide service, fly time classes, and fly fishing seminars. In the winter time, we’ll shift the shop over to cross country ski rentals and lessons, snow shoe rentals and telemarking ski equipment . we’ll offer fishing clients access to private water on some of the streams in Spearfish and the Belle Fourche area.”

Stephens said the introduction of the outdoor gear shops is consistent with Lead’s current outdoor recreation theme and branding efforts.

“The goal is to create after-skiing traffic and market Lead as an outdoor town,” Jim said. “That’s why we’re doing this. And for the pharmacy, there is a real need.”

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One other niche marketer, American Discount and Surplus, owned by John Frenden, is due to open on Lead’s Main Street around May 15, setting up shop next to Movie Madness.

Frenden said the business will be a discount outlet, featuring overstock, surplus, returned, and scratch and dent items at up to 50 percent off.

“There will be limited grocery items and general merchandise,” Frenden said. “Lead is pretty much underserved for businesses of this type . offering customers variety. With Alco closing, I’m trying to bring back a general store-type of business with quality service at a fair price.”

In addition to these businesses, Lead Area Chamber of Commerce Director Melissa Johnson said that in the last year, Chad Jacobs has added to his property, the Blackstone Lodge has undergone a full renovation, Lead has a new Main Street, a new visitor center, and the Dakota Shivers Brewery and the Wood Grotto recently celebrated their one-year anniversaries.

Johnson also added Bedrock Lanes and its new board of directors, management, and recently acquired new equipment to the mix.

“They’ve done some great things in there,” Johnson said. “There’s definitely a very positive momentum happening with Lead right now. People are investing in the community, and I feel that it’s a turning point for Lead. There was the mourning period for the mine closing, so for Lead to be what it’s become right now is kind of exciting. With the Main Street getting done . new people are investing in the community and with that, Lead is taking a huge step forward in developing a new identity for the town and it’s really exciting to be a part of it.

“I feel that the entire region is really starting to see growth and our economic development plan is working,” Frederick said. “We’re heading toward increased business, expansion of existing businesses and an overall positive attitude, mood and trend in the area for a number of businesses.”

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Information from: Black Hills Pioneer, https://www.bhpioneer.com


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