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Mobile coffee truck’s mission is to bring happiness

by Becky Tycz; originally appeared in the Tyndall Tribune & Register 8/31/21; reprinted with permission.

Mighty MoJo Coffee Company rolls into town (Tyndall) most generally two days a week for all the specialty drink enthusiasts to grab a wake-up morning drink or a pick-me-up afternoon drink. You can find the truck parked on the east side of Cahoy’s General Store on Main Street. The coffee truck servers offer high quality coffee, specialty drinks and other fun specials as well as features goods from other local businesses such as pastry items and goodies. September will be the fourth month of business. 

person holding a mighty mo coffee
The full-service truck’s menu includes unique specialty drinks. Courtesy Facebook.

The menu does not only attract coffee drinkers who enjoy the espresso options, but there are also Mo Than Coffee options such as energy drinks, teas, hot chocolate, etc. for those individuals who would like a drink without espresso.

Operated by Cahoy’s General Store, Mighty MoJo Coffee Co. is a full-service coffee shop on wheels. The truck travels to Bonesteel, Lake Andes and Tyndall in South Dakota and Spencer in Nebraska. As it says right on the truck, according to Trisha Cahoy, we have a Mighty Mission “bringing happiness” by changing the world one cup at a time! For each cup sold, 10 cents is donated locally.

Just a few weeks before opening Mighty MoJo Coffee Co., Trisha’s dad passed away. It was a sudden and horrific loss to the family. As she navigates life without him, Trisha is reminded of the legacy he lived. Work hard, but also make time for fun. One of her Dad’s favorite things to do was go fishing. All seasons! It didn’t matter if he was alone or if he had family or friends on the boat with him. He was definitely in his happy place on the Missouri River with a fishing rod in hand. Fishing brought him so much joy. Sure, catching the big ones were fun, but he truly enjoyed the peace and simplicity that fishing brings.

In honor of her Dad, Roger Witt, Trisha donated $400 to Bon Homme BASS to be used at the annual Bon Homme Youth Fishing Tournament. Trisha’s hope is that kids fishing in the youth tournament next year find their love and joy in holding a fishing pole and reeling in a big catch. The team of Mighty MoJo Coffee Co. looks forward to more donations to different groups in the future.

Specialty drinkers can watch the Mighty MoJo Coffee Co.’s Facebook page at the beginning of each week to see when the truck will be rolling into your town.  Check out the complete menu on their Facebook page.

Pesek retires after long career in civil service

Linda Pesek, longtime finance officer in Tyndall, SD, reflects on her rewarding career

Linda Pesek has enjoyed many years both living and working in Tyndall, SD. She is a familiar face to many, having served as the city’s finance officer for 14 years.

She has served in various public service roles throughout her career, all while living in the community of about 1,200.

Now, Pesek looks forward to a relaxing retirement. Looking back, she reflects on a meaningful career she says flew by.

“It went fast,” she said. “It sounds like a long time, but it didn’t feel that way. It was a good experience.”

A long career of public service

Pesek was born in Tyndall. While her family moved to nearby Yankton for a decade when she was young, she graduated from Tyndall High School and has remained in the community to this day.

She first started working at the age of 14 at the Tyndall Bakery. She continued working after high school, finding jobs at a local factory, hardware store and at the Tyndall newspaper.

In 1987 Pesek took her first job in local government. She was hired as Tyndall’s deputy finance officer and served in that position for seven years.

In 1994 she was appointed Bon Homme County Auditor. She held the position for thirteen years before returning to the municipality.

“Between the two jobs, the duties are very similar,” she said. “But I liked working for the city because it was more personal. I felt more connected to the community.”

Pesek was hired as Tyndall’s finance officer in 2007 and will mark 20 years of total service upon retirement. Her career in the public sector spans 33 years.

She says some residents are surprised by her tenure.

“I’ve had people come in and ask, ‘you’re retiring already?’” she laughs. “And I tell them, ‘Finally retiring.’ People don’t realize. They know you from one place or the other, and they know you’ve been around for a while, but they just don’t realize for how long.”

Variety makes job rewarding

Despite spending so many years in the same job, Pesek said her favorite aspect was the variety it offered.

“You field all the city’s phone calls and it’s always something different,” she said. “It could be someone expressing concerns, or a task that needs to be completed, or questions to be answered. Every day was unique.”

Early in her career she discovered a need to be flexible and think on her feet.

“I was constantly learning, often right along with the residents.”

With its varying responsibilities, Pesek said a finance officer is more like a city manager. Beyond bookkeeping, she also managed city employees and schedules, performed administrative and payroll duties, worked closely with the council, handled economic development inquiries and more.

At one point, she found herself overseeing the Tyndall cemetery.

“The city took over the operational responsibilities, so I became the sexton. I would sell grave sites and manage the burial schedule for cremations. I also had to keep records and track finances.”

Despite its unpredictable nature, Pesek says a career in government is rewarding.

“It’s frustrating at times because things don’t work as fast as you think they should and trying to steer people in the right direction isn’t always easy,” she said. “But it’s satisfying when things come together, and you can see the fruits of your labor.”

Relaxed retirement ahead

Although she’s stepped down from her public role, folks will still spot Pesek around Tyndall. She has no definitive plans for retirement other than to continue with everyday life.

She enjoys gardening and will tend to her many flower beds. She also mows the cemetery where her parents are buried and helps on her son’s farm outside Tyndall.

Jerry, her husband of 48 years, will also retire at the end of the year. She expects them to keep close to home, maintaining their nine acres in town or looking after their six grandchildren.

“I was always working while our kids were growing up. I look forward to spending time with their children, babysitting or taking them to their many activities,” she said.

After retirement she will have a brief getaway to North Dakota to visit family. Then she’ll return to the city to help train her replacement.

“I’m sure there will be questions or things that will come up. As finance officer, you don’t do just one thing. There is so much to learn and manage.”

Affordable housing program kicks off in Tyndall

Heartland grant helps city prepare for home

A recently launched program aimed at improving affordable housing in South Dakota has delivered its first home to Tyndall, SD.

The South Dakota Housing Development Authority created the DakotaPlex Program in response to the shortage of affordable housing in rural communities.

The DakotaPlex program features one, two- and three-bedroom units to be used as a duplex, triplex or quadriplex and must be placed in rural communities with populations of 5,000 or less.

The community must show a documented need for housing via market or housing needs study.

City earns grant towards DakotaPlex project

The project was announced in May 2019 and in June Tyndall was announced as the pilot community. In August, the SDHDA Board of Commissioners approved DakotaPlex as an ongoing program.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem touted the DakotaPlex program and its benefits on Twitter in late November.

Heartland awarded the city of Tyndall a $5,000 economic development grant to help with extension of utility services including electric, water and sewer to new housing lots where the DakotaPlex unit is being placed.

“Housing is essential to development, particularly in rural communities,” said Heartland Director of Economic Development and Governmental Affairs Casey Crabtree. “The DakotaPlex program is an innovative way to address this issue and Heartland is excited to see the program launch in Tyndall.”

Units offered as affordable rentals

The units feature quality construction including pre-engineered floor and roof trusses, advanced framing techniques and each unit is tested with a blower door for air leakage prior to delivery. The units are highly energy efficient, common walls are soundproof and fire resistant.

They are also designed to be low maintenance with prefinished vinyl siding with a lifetime warranty available in 2 different colors. The exterior also features prefinished aluminum soffits and fascia, pre-finished faux stone accents, vinyl casement windows a steel exterior door.

The units also include electrical mechanical equipment including a 50-gallon water heater and ducted heat pump.

A rendering of a duplex unit from the South Dakota Housing Authority’s DakotaPlex program.

DakotaPlex units cannot be owner-occupied, but rather offered as affordable rentals.

The DakotaPlex concept evolved from a desire to take the community benefits of the successful Governor’s House program and apply it to multi-family opportunities.

The Governor’s House program was created in 1996 as a way to provide reasonably sized, affordable homes to income-qualified individuals and families. More than 2,000 Governor’s Houses have been sold since program inception.

Energy efficiency grants facilitate savings

Heartland awarded several energy efficiency grants throughout 2018 to help customers optimize electric energy use at city facilities.

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Heartland provides grants to customers who make investments in energy efficiency. Eligible projects include those that reduce the city’s energy costs by optimizing electric energy use, such as installing energy efficient lighting or HVAC systems in public buildings.

Recipients will be asked to measure both the financial savings and energy savings achieved by the project. Submitting an application is not a guarantee of funding.

Grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have a specific energy efficiency project in mind, please complete the application. Verification of project costs must be included with the application.

If you have any questions, please contact Ann Hyland at 605-256-6536.

Local investors save Tyndall grocery store

Cahoy’s General Store opens with help from community

After a whirlwind year, Tyndall, SD has a neighborhood grocery store once again. Cahoy’s General Store opened on Main Street in March, offering a wide variety of groceries and deli services.

The venture began with a group of determined community members who later enlisted the help of an auspicious South Dakota grocer. Working together, the group brought back the local supermarket, and with it, restored a local economic driver, community builder, employer and meeting place.

Group forms, secures buyer

At its grand opening, Cahoy’s was the third grocery store to exist in its location in one year. The original store closed unexpectedly in March of 2017, along with stores in nearby Tripp and Scotland. They were purchased by a new owner and re-opened about a month later.

However, in December of that same year, the new owner announced he would close the stores in Tyndall and Tripp on January 31 due to insufficient profits.

Residents were disheartened by the news, knowing not only that they’d have to drive for their groceries, but also that a grocery store is a necessity in helping a small, rural community thrive.

That’s where Tyndall Market LLC stepped in.

A local group of investors saw the impact the closure would have on their community, so they pooled funds to purchase the store.

The Tyndall Tribune & Register announced the addition of Cahoy’s to the community and introduced members of Tyndall Market LLC on February 28.

“We knew we had to do something,” said Ron Wagner, president of Tyndall Market. “Small, rural communities need a grocery store to be successful so we decided to combine our resources and make it happen.”

Next, they approached Dan Cahoy, owner of grocery stores in Bonesteel and Lake Andes, for advice on running the Tyndall store. However, he offered them something much better – an offer to buy the business.

Cahoy’s parents opened Bonesteel’s grocery store in 1986, and he and his wife Trisha took it over in 2011. Because he grew up in the business and developed a model that works in other small towns, he was confident it would work in Tyndall as well.

Cahoy’s opens with new services and enhancements

Cahoy’s General Store focuses on friendly, hometown service including carryout and delivery services and call-in orders. They also installed a deli offering meats, cheeses and salads–something that was missing from the previous store.

Supply comes from highly successful distributor SpartanNash, which serves 2,100 independent grocery stores and owns 140 corporate grocery stores across the U.S.

Along with increased services, Cahoy’s also made several improvements to the facility, including LED lighting, new coolers, a new sign and painting. Shoppers are treated to a bright, welcoming environment equal to those of much larger food retailers.

The store has seen a steady stream of customers since opening. Wagner says the response from the community has been overwhelming, and gives much credit to Cahoy.

“The Cahoy family knows how to run an excellent grocery store,” he said. “They have put in a lot of hard work and hours to make our grocery store be so successful. Tyndall was very fortunate that Dan and his family answered the call.”

City, power supplier offer assistance

Beyond patronage, the city has taken extra steps to make the Cahoys feel welcome and help ease the burden of starting a new business.

Heartland Director of Economic Development Casey Crabtree, far right, presents an economic development grant to members of Tyndall Market LLC. From left to right: Jaques Soukup, Janet Wagner and Ron Wagner and their grandson, and Crabtree.

The city partnered with Heartland, Tyndall’s wholesale power provider, to offer Cahoy’s energy efficiency rebates and incentives on their new qualifying lighting and cooling equipment. In preparation for Cahoy’s arrival, the development corporation utilized a $5,000 economic development grant to help finance necessary upgrades to the building.

Heartland Director of Economic Development Casey Crabtree commends the community for being proactive in securing the business.

“Grocery stores play a crucial role in the survival of rural communities,” he said. “Residents forced to travel great distances for their groceries will likely buy their fuel, home goods and other items elsewhere as well. By restoring the local supermarket, they have restored the heart of the community, and a vital source of nutrition, jobs and tax revenue.”

Cahoy’s is the latest in a string of new retailers on Tyndall’s revitalized Main Street. Earlier this year, a 2,500 square-foot building housing five small businesses opened across the street from another relatively new building, bridal shop Sandra Rose.

Heartland played a role in those business ventures as well, offering low-interest financing for the construction of both facilities through its Heartland Economic development Loan Program (HELP) Fund.

Crabtree promises the public power company will continue to help in any way that it can.

“We are committed to stimulating growth in our customer communities,” he said.

The power of collaboration

Cahoy’s General Store illustrates what’s possible when a group of people filled with resolve to preserve their vibrant community band together. Through concentrated efforts and a twist of fate, Tyndall Market LLC and others actualized their vision to the benefit of their community.

While a neighborhood grocery store is something many people take for granted, after losing their grocery store twice in one year, residents in Tyndall will forever be grateful.

Tyndall welcomes five businesses to Main Street

Salon, insurance broker, massage clinic, photographer and design studio open under one roof

After years of driving nearly 60 miles round trip to work, Krystal Williams of Tyndall, SD needed a change. A cosmetologist, Williams was renting a chair in a Yankton beauty salon when she made the decision to start her own business in her hometown.

“My initial intention was to construct a small building in Tyndall to house my own salon,” Williams said. “But after visiting with others around town, the project evolved into something much larger.”

Situated on Main Street and home to five independent businesses, the building depicts opportunity, growth, and what’s possible when people forge partnerships and buy stock in themselves and their community.

Krystal Williams stands in her new salon in downtown Tyndall. Photo courtesy Becky Tycz, editor-publisher, Tyndall Tribune & Register.

New building, new services

The new 2,500 square-foot building consists of a salon and three office spaces. Williams said three businesses had expressed interest in renting space in the new building before she even broke ground. As such, she and her contractor met with the business owners during construction to make sure their needs would be met.

Some of the occupants are simply moving to a new location in the area, while for others, it’s their first presence in Tyndall.

  • Tyndall Massage Clinic is owned and operated by Karen Jelsma. Prior to moving into the new building, Jelsma worked out of her home as well as scheduled appointments at chiropractic clinics in Tyndall and Wagner. With the move, Jelsma can expand her services and techniques as well as sell a variety of soaps, lotions, essential oils and other products.
  • Freebird Photography LLC and Farmhouse Design Company share a studio and office space in the new building. It is the first retail location in Tyndall for both businesses, owned by sisters Dena Akridge and Shelby Kriz, respectively. Specializing in newborn, baby and family photography, Akridge also has a studio in Sioux Falls, SD. Graphic designer Kriz previously operated from her home for two years. The new location will allow both entrepreneurs to better accommodate their Tyndall-area clients for appointments and photography sessions.
  • Pickard Insurance Services has two employees and specializes in farm, auto and home insurance. Already an existing Tyndall business, the new location offers a bright, welcoming space for customers that is closer to the main business district.
  • Hair by Krystal is Williams’ first solo venture after years of renting space from other salon owners. Currently the sole cosmetologist, the space allows her flexibility to offer a variety of services in a warm and inviting atmosphere. She also has the opportunity to rent a chair to another cosmetologist in the future.
Main Street revitalization

Williams’ building is located on Main Street across from another relatively new building and local success story, Sandra Rose.

A full service bridal and retail shop, Sandra Rose first opened in Tyndall in 1996 in small two-story building. As the business grew, so did the inventory, and owners Sandra and Michael Slama upgraded to their current 5,400 square-foot facility in 2014.

Sandra Slama’s bridal shop Sandra Rose, situated across the street from Krystal Williams’ building, is another relatively new building on Tyndall’s main street.

At the time, Sandra hoped her expansion “would help other local businesses,” and even shared stories of being contacted by other potential business owners considering a move to Tyndall. Years later, she was one of the people encouraging Williams to open her own salon.

“We had several discussions early on,” Slama said. “I remember telling her, ‘we did it and we survived. You can do it too.'”

Today, Slama is happy for Williams and enthusiastic about the new shops.

“It’s always great to welcome new businesses to your community,” she said. “I’m also excited to see them across the street, because I think it will bring more action and foot traffic to our end of Main Street.”

Even more intriguing is the prospect of working together with some of the newcomers to attract a particular type of customer: brides.

“Between our two buildings, a bride can find a dress, hair stylist and design and photography services,” Slama said. “I’d love to work with them to see what we can do to make Tyndall more of a wedding planning destination.”

Partner in development

A common denominator in the Sandra Rose and Williams stories is Heartland Consumers Power District, the city’s wholesale power provider. Both Slama and Williams utilized low-interest financing through Heartland’s revolving loan fund to construct their facilities.

The Heartland Economic development Loan Program (HELP) Fund fosters growth and development within its customer communities. Financing is awarded to projects involving business ownership and expansion, job creation and retention, and entrepreneurial endeavors.

“We want to see our customers succeed, and one way we can contribute is by helping local businesses,” said Heartland Director of Economic Development Casey Crabtree. “Through the HELP Fund, we can offer favorable terms and partner with local lending institutions to spur development and create jobs. Plus, because the fund is revolving, every dollar earned in interest can be put back to work for future projects.”

The HELP Fund utilizes money from USDA Rural Development. With interest rates typically one to one and a half points lower than traditional rates and loan terms designed to make businesses successful, it is a valuable and affordable option for new and expanding businesses.

“With the HELP Fund in place, I can focus on growing my business and serving customers,” said Williams.

Inspired investment

Williams celebrated a grand opening for her building and salon in early February and has a bright outlook for the future.

“The response from the community has been great. I already had steady clientele, but have gained many more clients since opening,” she said. “Many people are impressed with the building and also are excited to have a new business in town.”

Crabtree believes that local support will continue because the project means more than a singular business venture.

“This project became a chance to create opportunity for not just one, but many,” he said. “It started because one person wanted to work closer to home, but it found success because several people decided to make an investment in their community.”

Crabtree said as long as entrepreneurs are willing to take that leap, Heartland will be ready to help.

Lighting upgrades to save cities $20K

Since the start of 2017, eight Heartland customers have received funding for upgrading lighting to more efficient LEDs. Collectively, they’ve been awarded over $31,000 for the upgrade of 322 street lights and 24 T12 fixtures. A ninth energy efficiency grant was awarded to help finance an automated meter project.

The cities of Aurora, Arlington, Volga, Plankinton, Groton and Tyndall, SD and Madelia Municipal Light and Power in Minnesota each earned energy efficiency grants for street lighting upgrades. Collective annual savings for their projects are projected at just over $20,000 and 225,000 kilowatt hours.

The city of Madison, SD earned an energy efficiency grant to replace inefficient lighting at the city’s depot building, which houses both the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation–a project that could earn them an annual savings of about $1,000 or 9,600 kilowatt hours.

The average payback period for all the lighting projects is about 4.5 years.

Colman, SD also received a $5,000 grant for upgrades to their automatic meter system. The city is purchasing a portable radio-based device to acquire data from utility meters. The new system will allow for more accurate and timely meter readings.


Grants available for Tyndall residents

Photo courtesy Tyndall Community Foundation Facebook page.

The Tyndall Community Foundation is now taking new grant applications. Grants are funded by the interest earned from the principal fund of the Tyndall Community Foundation, the community savings account.

Grants are open to non-profit community organizations, new or expanding businesses or community projects striving for the betterment of the Tyndall community, the surrounding Tyndall area and its residents.

Applications are available in Tyndall at Dr. James Torsney’s office, Art & Antique Gallery, Security State Bank information table, or email

Any questions or to inquire about rules and guidelines may contact 605-589-4050.

Applications must be received by April 15 to Tyndall Community Foundation Grants, PO Box 454, Tyndall, SD 57066.

Photo courtesy Tyndall Community Foundation Facebook page.

Tyndall upgrading street lights, receives grant

Tyndall is upgrading street lighting with help from Heartland. The utility was recently awarded an energy efficiency grant of $1,250 for upgrading the city’s lighting from high pressure sodium to LED.

The utility is replacing 12 light fixtures and is expected to realize annual energy savings of about 5,000 kWh, equating to about $400 per year. The project will pay for itself in savings in just over six years, or 26,600 operating hours. The LED fixtures are expected to last at least 100,000 hours. 

The city of Tyndall was awarded a similar grant from Heartland in 2014 for upgrading lighting at a city-owned building used by The Bargain Shoppe.  Tyndall plans to eventually replace all street lighting in town with LEDs.

“Several Heartland customers are making the switch to LED street lighting,” said Heartland Communications Manager Ann Hyland. “Not only do they provide significant energy savings over their counterparts, they last longer, cutting down on maintenance costs, and provide a whiter, brighter light.”

For more information on Heartland’s energy efficiency program, Power Forward, or to apply for a grant, contact Ann Hyland or visit our website, Heartland awards grants to customers for projects that improve energy efficiency within the city.

Pictured: Heartland Communications Manager Ann Hyland, second from right, presents an energy efficiency grant to (L to R) Tyndall Mayor David Vavruska, , Assistant Finance Officer Jill Putnam and Finance Officer Linda Pesek.