Millennium Print Group setting up shop in Howard

Company expanding from North Carolina

A vacant Howard building will soon be bustling with activity and creating jobs in the rural community.

Millennium Print Group is expanding their unique and distinctive printing company to South Dakota. Based in North Carolina, MPG is known for being one of the largest producers of collectible and trading cards and related packaging in the United States.

They also serve clients in the education, pharmaceutical, retail and entertainment industries. They are set to employ 40 people in Howard.

MPG’s facility in North Carolina

MPG will occupy vacant building

Terry Pegram bought Millennium Print Group in 2014. At the time the company had 17 employees operating in a 17,000 square foot facility. MPG has experienced tremendous growth under his leadership and today employs over 460 people and operates in 380,000 square feet of space in North Carolina. 

MPG’s Howard division will occupy a building that was built in 2006 and sits on 6.41 acres in the Howard Industrial Park. It is over 25,000 square feet.

Heartland provides wholesale power to the city of Howard and provides economic development incentives to customer communities to encourage business growth and expansion. They also provide business financing through the Heartland Economic development Loan Program, or HELP Fund, a revolving loan fund utilizing money from USDA’s Intermediary Relending Program.

“We are thrilled to see a new business fill this space and bring jobs to Howard,” said Heartland Director of Economic Development Casey Crabtree. “MPG is a thriving company with experienced leadership familiar with the Howard community. We look forward to seeing them prosper.”

Long-standing reputation

Pegram founded PBM Graphics in 1983 and grew it to one of the region’s strongest privately held printing companies. He sold the company in 2008 to Consolidated Graphics. His passion for the printing industry and people associated with it led him to purchase MPG.

Pegram was familiar with the Howard community and available workforce. PBM’s packaging and finishing division is still located in Howard.

“MPG is a great fit for Howard and South Dakota,” said Joe Fiala, Director of Development for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “South Dakota is open for business, and the fact that Howard had a prominent building available, ready for MPG to invest in the local workforce, means an improved economy. And a thriving economy is good for the community, the region and the entire state.”

MPG is leasing the building from the state and Heartland.

Heartland receives USDA Friend of Rural Development Award

For over a decade, Heartland Consumers Power District has been providing low-interest loans to new and expanding businesses throughout their customer base, utilizing funds provided by USDA Rural Development (RD).

For their efforts in promoting rural development, Heartland was recently presented the “USDA Friend of Rural Development Award.”  USDA RD State Director Julie Gross and USDA RD Business & Cooperative Programs Director Dana Kleinsasser presented Heartland with the award at the company’s annual Summer Conference, where USDA was invited to speak about programs and services available to Heartland customers.

Gross illustrated Heartland’s partnership with USDA RD over the years, describing Heartland as an advocate of rural development and working tirelessly to help their customer communities grow.

Heartland’s HELP Fund makes use of USDA’s Intermediary Relending Program (IRP), which provides low-interest loans to local intermediaries, such as Heartland, that re-lend to businesses to improve economic conditions and create jobs in rural communities.

In Fiscal Year 2019, Heartland received an IRP loan of $1,000,000 to help finance loans to small and emerging businesses and community facility projects in a 14-county area.  It is anticipated that as many as 10 small businesses will be assisted and more than 121 jobs will be created or saved through this funding.

Heartland also participates in the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program, which provides zero interest loans to local utilities to re-lend to local businesses.

Heartland received a Rural Economic Development loan of $400,000 and a grant of $300,000 in 2019 to provide assistance to the City of Volga to make major infrastructure upgrades to help accommodate a new business expansion.  Prairie Aquatech’s 300,000 square foot, $60 million facility will create 35 jobs in the city. 

Heartland’s partnership with USDA has resulted in over $15 million in investments in South Dakota’s rural communities served by the company and the creation of over 125 jobs.

Gross recognized the entire Heartland staff with the award.

“Economic development is a team effort and the entire staff at Heartland is dedicated to helping their customer communities grow and thrive,” Gross said. “It was fitting to present the award at their Summer Conference where they provide resources to communities to further economic development, including promoting USDA’s programs.”

Heartland CEO Russell Olson said the award epitomized Heartland’s relationship with USDA.

“We always say that one of the most important tools for successful economic development is partnerships,” Olson said. “We strive to be a strong partner to our customer communities and utilize our partnership with USDA RD to help them flourish. To be considered a friend of their program is an honor and we are humbled to accept the award.”

The certificate presented to Heartland reads “Heartland Consumers Power Districts is commended for providing assistance and incentives that encourage new businesses, expand existing businesses and create jobs in an effort to grow communities.  As a valued partner, we appreciate the promotion and understanding of our programs.  When rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

Heartland is a non-profit, public power utility providing wholesale power and energy to municipal systems, state institutions and other organizations in the region, including the city of Madison.

2019 Summer Conference packed with information, activities

Heartland’s annual Summer Conference continues to be a customer favorite. This year’s event featured a legislative panel as well as discussions on capital improvement planning, federal community development programs and local success stories.

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New Madison hotel nears completion

Local investors and community partners look forward to opening of city’s newest amenity

Scan the skyline of Madison’s Lakeview Industrial Park and your eyes are bound to land on a bright red roof.

The pronounced canopy tops the city’s newest feature, a three-story Best Western Plus hotel taking shape along Highway 34.

The project was instituted by a group of community members who recognized the need for additional hotel rooms, namely local businessmen Terry Schultz and Ron Howe.

With help from a group of investors, gap financing obtained from local and federal organizations, and the city affirming its support through the creation of a tax-increment finance district towards property development, the 70-room hotel is set to open later this summer.

“This project has been a true community effort,” said Schultz. “When we started reaching out to gauge interest, we found support from all over town. People were ready for this.”

Local businessmen Ron Howe, left, and Terry Schultz are responsible for initiating the Madison Hospitality Group and hotel project.

Partner found in Heartland

One major proponent throughout has been the hotel’s future next-door neighbor, Heartland Consumers Power District. Madison’s wholesale electric power provider, Heartland has a played an active role in seeing the development take shape.

“Economic development takes partnerships,” said Casey Crabtree, Heartland’s director of economic development and governmental affairs. “The success of any project takes people working together toward a common goal, and that is certainly the case in Madison. Heartland is proud to partner with the Madison Hospitality Group to see the hotel through from inception to completion.”

Early on Crabtree connected the investors with Toby Morris of Dougherty & Company, an investment bank and brokerage firm.

Morris helped prepare a tax-increment financing (TIF) district to help finance $1.2 million of infrastructure improvements to the land where the hotel will stand. The Madison City Commission approved the creation of the TIF district in July of 2018, effectively moving the project forward to the next phase.

Heartland also served as a major backer of the project, awarding Madison Hospitality Group (MHG) $1 million in financing as part of USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) Program. As a public power provider, Heartland is one of only two entities in the state of South Dakota that may apply for REDLG funds.

“REDLG provides zero-percent interest loans to not-for-profit utilities such as Heartland,” said Crabtree. “We pass funds through to local businesses for projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas and spur community development.”

Furthermore, once the hotel is complete, it will be eligible for growth and hiring incentives through Heartland, which includes rebates on their electric bills for the first three years and cash incentives for jobs created.

“Projects like this have a ripple effect on the surrounding area,” Crabtree said. “This hotel will create jobs, increase the local tax base, and spur sales at other local businesses. Heartland’s programs are designed to help businesses get up and running for the benefit of the community.”

Schultz inspects the progress in one of the 70 hotel rooms of the new Best Western Plus. This room will be a suite and feature a kitchenette.

Fulfilling a community need

Schultz had been tossing around the idea of building a hotel for years. Backed by a study showing the need for an additional hotel in the city, he partnered with Howe to develop a plan. They were able to recruit other investors and MHG was born.

With help from the Lake Area Improvement Corporation, MHG drew up plans for a new 70-room hotel to be built on seven acres within the Lakeview Industrial Park.

“This is an exciting time for Madison,” said Eric Fosheim, executive director of the LAIC. “A hotel along with any future development around the site will spur even more growth. As we look to host events and recruit businesses, additional lodging options affords us more opportunities to make things happen.”

The developers formally announced their plans to the public in November of 2017. Since the beginning, it has been hailed as a true community effort, garnering support from area residents and business leaders as well as from within the school district and Dakota State University.

“Dakota State University is experiencing unprecedented growth,” said DSU President José-Marie Griffiths, Ph.D., “growth in academics and enrollment, in research opportunities, in new partnerships, and in our athletics programs. This new hotel will provide much-needed infrastructure to support these programs and the many campus events we host each year.”

Excitement grows for opening

Completion of the hotel is anticipated for August, just over a year after breaking ground. Schultz said people have already requested room reservations.

For now, the public watches construction progress and eagerly awaits the chance to check out Madison’s latest success.

“We can’t wait for everybody to see it,” said Schultz. “This has been a long time coming and we’re proud of this investment in the community and more importantly, the benefit it will provide to the people who live here.”

The bright red roof of the Best Western Plus stands out in Madison’s Lakeview Industrial Park.

CEO’s Report: An essential service

Service is at the core of our operations.

One essential service Heartland provides is assisting customers with preparing and submitting Integrated Resource Plans.

As mandated by the Energy Policy Act of 1992, customers with a power and energy allocation from WAPA are required to periodically submit Integrated Resource Plans.

The IRP must evaluate the full range of alternatives to provide adequate and reliable service to electric consumers at the lowest system cost. The IRP is an action plan describing how a utility intends to serve its load in the future. It identifies and evaluates past, present and future resources, energy planning and management programs, and load forecasts, considering regulations, projections, assumptions and other factors

IRPs must be submitted every five years, along with annual updates and reports. WAPA created a small customer plan (SCP) alternative for utilities with under 25 GWh of annual sales or use.

Because the reporting can be quite cumbersome, Heartland created a coordinated effort to facilitate the submittal of IRPs, SCPs and annual reports to WAPA. We have been doing this on behalf of our customers since 1997 to ensure our customers retain their valuable federal hydropower allocations.

We are currently working on a five-year extension of the original plans submitted in 1999, 2002, 2009 and 2014, with updates. You can view the IRP previously submitted in 2014 here.  

Heartland Director of Power Supply Adam Graff recently sent a letter to all customers with a WAPA allocation requesting assistance to ensure completion and approval of the final plan by the June 15, 2019 deadline.

While Heartland performs a majority of the tasks required, customer participation is necessary. In fact, an essential part of the IRP process is public input.

Heartland will help with this by soliciting written public comments through each city’s local newspaper. Once the plan is complete, each customer’s governing body must take action to approve the plan.

The IRP process is one of the most important of the many services Heartland offers to assist customers. Graff spends a considerable amount of time preparing the reports, as a significant amount of data must be collected and reported.

Without his efforts, most customers would otherwise have to hire outside consultants to complete the plans at an expense of a few thousand dollars each. Beyond cost savings, Graff’s assistance also ensures customers fulfill federal obligations. Penalties do exist if customers fail to submit an acceptable plan.

Working together, we are confident we will successfully complete the WAPA requirements. It’s a service we are happy to provide to help ease the burden for our customers.

Another important service I’d like to revisit is advocacy.

Last month I discussed the USDA’s letter of credit (LOC) requirement in relation to the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) Program, and Heartland’s efforts to remove this unnecessary fee.

Several Heartland board members traveled to Washington, D.C. in late February to share our viewpoint with key legislators and federal officials during the APPA Legislative Rally. Unfortunately the winter weather prevented staff from joining on this trip, and although the group in attendance had meaningful visits, the critical nature of the issue led us to schedule an additional trip to D.C.

In late March, Heartland Director of Economic Development and Governmental Affairs Casey Crabtree and I met with several U.S. Senators, Representatives and USDA representatives to discuss the importance of the REDLG program and its role in rural development.

We reinforced our message that the LOC requirement needlessly passes on a fee to the recipient that essentially nullifies the 0% interest advantage the program offers. Ultimately, it may stop valuable projects from moving forward to the detriment of our customer communities.

During our visit we met with Joel Baxly, assistant to the secretary for Rural Development as well as other Rural Development staff; Doug Stout, energy policy adviser for the office of Congressman Adrian Smith of Nebraska; Congressman Jim Hagedorn of Minnesota; Laura Lee Burkett, energy policy adviser for the office of Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska; and Peter Wyckpff, energy and environment policy adviser for the office of Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota.

We also met with all of South Dakota’s Congressional delegation including Senator Mike Rounds, Senator John Thune and Representative Dusty Johnson.

We feel our message was well received and we look forward to continued progress on this important issue.

CEO’s Report: Protecting rural development through advocacy

Heartland focused on the USDA REDLG program during 2019 APPA Legislative Rally

We’ve been talking a lot lately about state legislation that could potentially have a negative impact on municipal electric systems in South Dakota. That doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten about the importance of advocacy at the federal level.

The APPA Legislative Rally was held the last week of February in Washington, D.C. While this crazy winter weather prevented some of us from attending, several Heartland board members were able to make it and had quality visits with legislators and representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding economic development.

Heartland board members hosted a dinner with South Dakota officials during the Legislative Rally. From left to right, Barb Fritz, Heartland board member Roger Fritz, U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD), U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson (R-SD), State Director of USDA Rural Development in South Dakota Julie Gross, Heartland board member Dave Hahler, Nancy Lewellen, and Heartland board members Bill Lewellen and Jeff Heinemeyer.

Our main focus on this trip was our economic development programs, particularly our use of REDLG funds and a requirement of the program that may hinder development in our communities.

USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program (REDLG) provides 0% interest loans to utilities, such as Heartland, which we pass through to customers, their economic development corporations or local businesses to spur rural economic development. The ultimate recipients repay the lending utility (Heartland) and the utility is responsible for repayment to USDA.

Because Heartland is not an RUS borrower through USDA, we are required to provide a Letter of Credit, and generally assessed a fee, anywhere from 1% to 6%, by a local bank, which is passed on to the recipient. The fee schedule is set by the bank and we are responsible for that amount.

This fee can add up quickly over the course of the loan, and essentially, we are no longer offering a 0% loan.

Heartland has provided several REDLG loans over the years for projects such as infrastructure improvements, industrial park development and business development.

One of the best example is in White, SD, population 485, where a developer purchased a former care center which had been closed for several years, to create a mixed-use facility known as The Farmstead, with a healthcare clinic, daycare, fitness center, office space and apartments and the creation of over 15 jobs.

Project officials behind The Farmstead celebrated kick-off of the renovation with a ceremonial “wall-breaking” December 1, 2017.

Heartland was awarded a REDLG loan to pass on to The Farmstead. But, the entire project was almost derailed due to the letter of credit requirement. Today, the project is providing much needed services to the community of White as well as jobs and other economic benefits.

This unnecessary requirement will stop projects in rural communities from moving forward. Also, the only entities that stand to gain for this requirement are the banks.

“As with any economic development project in rural areas, the margins on our project in White were very thin. If not for other incentives provided, the community would have lost these businesses, jobs, tax revenue and the building would have been torn down. The Farmstead is a true rural economic development success story, but was almost derailed due to the LOC requirement in the USDA regulations. This unnecessary requirement will certainly stop other projects in rural communities from moving forward.”

– Randy Hanson, project developer, The Farmstead

We had a very productive meeting with USDA officials and look forward to continuing the conversation. We want to keep utilizing this valuable tool to promote development in our rural customer communities.

While in Washington, we also had the pleasure of meeting with Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD), Representative Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Representative Ron Estes (R-KS), Representative Roger Marshall (R-KS), Representative Steve Watkins (R-KS), as well as the energy policy advisors for Representative Jim Hagedorn (R-MN) and Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA).

Representative Steve Watkins, left, is serving his first term for Kansas’ Second Congressional District. From left to right, Heartland board members Dave Hahler, Roger Fritz, Bill Lewellen and Jeff Heinemeyer met with Watkins to discuss public power during the Legislative Rally.

Advocacy at every level is important for public power. From advocating to our own customers, at the state or federal level, we must continue telling the public power story and promoting all the benefits it has to offer.

I hope you all continue to stay safe and warm as we ride out the rest of this long winter.

Colman sees business expansion, job growth

Two businesses open in larger locations with assistance from HELP Fund

The stories of two business expansions in Colman, SD are somewhat intertwined. They both recently re-located to larger facilities within the city, moves that couldn’t have happened without each other.

Colman Building Center (CBC) owners Dean and Peg Gulbranson recently built a new showroom and warehouse in the city’s industrial park along Highway 34.

“We already had one extra warehouse in the industrial park because we ran out of room in our downtown location,” said Dean Gulbranson. “As we kept growing, we ran out of room again and needed additional space.”

At the same time the Gulbransons were contemplating another warehouse, they were approached by another business, Chester Mechanical, looking to purchase their existing space.

“We didn’t have any room to expand at our downtown location, so the timing was perfect. We decided to build a new showroom along with the additional warehouse in the industrial park. Now everything is in one location and we don’t have to drive back and forth to get supplies.”

After ten years in the downtown location, CBC opened their new location January 2, nearly doubling the size of their existing showroom. They now have about 20,000 square feet of retail and warehouse space, with land available for additional future growth.

Colman Building Center’s new location along Highway 34

Full-Service and Specialty Store

CBC is a full-service lumber and hardware store, helping make projects a reality from conception to completion. Draftsmen are available to design houses and other buildings, they complete the bidding process and supply all materials. They work with a variety of contractors in the region, including those from Madison, Sioux Falls and Mitchell.

The new showroom has a large selection of hardware and home supply items and because there isn’t another retail store in Colman, Gulbranson says they are like an old-time general store where people can pick up about anything.

CBC is associated with Do It Best, which is a hardware, lumber and building materials cooperative. While CBC has increased inventory with the additional space, the receive weekly deliveries so if there is something they don’t have, they can get it in a week.

CBC also offers specialty services such as building custom feed bunks and cattle sheds for re-sale.

Expanded service, continued growth

The Gulbransons were also able to add more staff and equipment with the new location, including a semi with a Moffett truck mounted forklift, which allows drivers to unload cargo without waiting for assistance. This allows for delivery of more items, allowing CBC to better serve customers as they continue to grow.

CBC currently employs 9 people and are looking to hire three more as soon as possible.

While they have been open for two months in their new location, they are still putting the finishing touches on the warehouse and are planning a grand opening in April.

Move brings additional business to Colman

CBC’s former location on Main Street isn’t sitting empty. The building has been sold to Chester Mechanical, which brings an additional six new employees to the city.

Chris and Danielle Shoenrock purchased Chester Plumbing in nearby Chester, SD in August of 2013. The business had been family-owned and operated for 85 years as a hardware store and plumbing service. The Shoenrocks purchased the plumbing portion of the business and re-named it Chester Mechanical, while the hardware store was liquidated.

Chester Mechanical is a full-service plumbing, heating and air conditioning contractor focusing on new construction, small commercial projects, winterizing lake cabins and complete 24-hour service calls.

Chris has over 17 years of experience in the plumbing industry. He worked for ten years as a plumber with a company in Sioux Falls, SD before working at a plumbing wholesale company as a salesman. He holds his master plumbing license, which is the highest certification available.

The Shoenrocks continued providing service out of the back of the hardware store in Chester after the purchase, but as the company grew over the past five years, they began looking for alternative, larger locations.

HELP Fund helps both businesses transition

“When Chester Mechanical approached us about purchasing our building in Colman, I told them to reach out to Casey at Heartland about financing,” said Gulbranson.

Heartland assisted both businesses transition to their new locations with financing from the HELP Fund.

Heartland offers low-interest loans to businesses in customer communities through USDA’s intermediary re-lending program, through the establishment of a revolving loan fund. HELP Fund applications are evaluated for their economic development impact and job creation potential.

“These two businesses are prime examples of the importance of small, family-owned businesses in rural communities,” said Heartland Director of Economic Development and Governmental Affairs Casey Crabtree. “Both businesses are filling a need not only in their community but in the surrounding area and are growing like crazy in the process.”

While the success stories of these two businesses are certainly intertwined, they are also in the business of supporting each other. Chester Mechanical performed work on the CBC’s new facility, including installing the in-floor heating system.

New hotel to fill local need

Madison Hospitality Group hosts groundbreaking ceremony


Construction is officially underway on a new hotel in Madison’s Lakeview Industrial Park, marked by a groundbreaking ceremony held July 31st.

Terry Schultz partnered with another local business owner, Ron Howe, to form Madison Hospitality Group, LLC, the group behind the hotel project.

After years of struggling to find hotel rooms in town for customers, vendors and other guests, one local businessman decided to do something about it.

“Madison has so many great amenities to offer, but it’s hard to show them off when you have to send people to another town to spend the night,” said Terry Schultz.

Backed by a study showing the need for an additional hotel in the city, Schultz approached another local businessman, Ron Howe and the two started working on a plan. They then reached out to other potential investors, eventually forming Madison Hospitality Group, LLC (MHG).

After laying out plans for the new hotel, the group purchased a lot from the Lake Area Improvement Corporation along Highway 34.

“As Madison has grown, we have seen more amenities added such a bike trails, a new hospital, a new outdoor pool and more. The community is hosting more and more events and Prairie Village is seeing record attendance. It was time to keep up with the growth and build another hotel,” Schultz added.

At Tuesday’s ceremony, Howe described the new hotel as a three-story Best Western Plus featuring 70 guest rooms situated on over seven acres. Rooms will include standard king, double queen and a variety of accessible rooms. It will include a breakfast area, fitness center and indoor pool.

“Future development is planned for the area,” said Howe. “The hotel is phase one.”

Schultz recognized the growth of Dakota State University as another contributing factor to the need for this facility.

“Over 30 years ago, the focus of DSU switched to computer science, aided by the vision of Governor Bill Janklow,” Schultz said. “The school has since grown exponentially. Their continued expansion plans is another great story for Madison, and another reason we as a community need this hotel and development site.”

The Madison City Commission recently supported the creation of a new tax-increment finance district that will help finance $1.2 million of infrastructure improvements to land where the hotel will stand.

Madison Mayor Roy Lindsay expressed his support of the hotel, affirming the benefit to Madison of having additional hotel rooms for visitors.

“This will double the number of guest rooms available in Madison,” Lindsay said. “It will help make Madison a day, weekend or week-long destination for visitors near and far. It will allow Madison to host multiple activities that will bring people to town to enjoy the local businesses as well as nearby recreation and tourist activities.”

Madison Hospitality Group obtained funding through the USDA Rural Economic Development Loan program to finance part of the project. The program provides funding for rural projects through local utilities. Madison based Heartland Consumers Power District applied for funding on behalf of MHG.

State Director of USDA Rural Development in South Dakota Julie Gross noted the importance of partnerships during the ceremony.

“USDA is happy to partner with Heartland to provide financing for this project,” said Gross. “We are committed to the future of rural development and this hotel is the perfect example of what happens when people work together for the betterment of their community.”

Other speakers at the groundbreaking included Lake Area Improvement Corporation President Paul Schultz, Madison Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Eric Hortness and Heartland Director of Economic Development Casey Crabtree.

Lexstar Construction, a leading hotel construction company based in Fargo, N.D. is serving as the general contractor on the project.

Construction is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2019.

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Interstate Batteries hosts grand opening

Arlington business is newest resident of local industrial park

Just eleven months after officially breaking ground, Interstate Batteries owners Tyler and Jackie Henriksen celebrated the grand opening of their new facility in Arlington, SD. Visitors enjoyed tours, refreshments and door prizes followed by a ribbon cutting with the mayor, project officials and staff on July 27.

New and improved work space

Jackie and Tyler Henriksen own two Interstate Batteries distribution centers in South Dakota.

Interstate Batteries is the number one replacement brand battery wholesaler in North America with three distribution centers in South Dakota.

The Arlington branch has been a staple in the small community for decades. First opened in 1976 by Tyler’s parents, Lonnie and Kristi Henriksen, Tyler and Jackie took over in 2006.

In 2014, they determined they would soon outgrow their current space. Opting to expand in their hometown, they broke ground in August of 2017.

Compared to the old facility, the new building provides ample space for inventory and has better curb appeal.

“We’ve definitely been seeing more retail traffic with the move,” said Tyler. “This building is much more welcoming.”

The facility consists of office space for up to 17 employees. A 12,000 square-foot warehouse stores about 15,000 batteries ranging from motorcycle and automotive to industrial and marine. Staff can charge up to 300 batteries a day in the on-site charging station.

Staff has been operating within the new location since mid-May.

“Between construction and the move, we only had to close our office for one day,” he said.


Collaboration key to project success

The 19,000 square-foot building is located in Arlington’s industrial park–an expansion that hinged on a partnership with the Arlington Community Development Corporation (ACDC) and other collaborators.

The new 19,000 square-foot facility is located in Arlington’s industrial park along US Highway 81.

Prior to Interstate Batteries moving in, the industrial park was home to furrier TopLot Industries and pipeline supply depot TransCanada Regional Storehouses. To prepare for new development, in 2017 the ACDC expanded water, sewer, electric, roads, curb and gutter to four additional lots, totaling roughly 20 acres.

The Henriksens’ decision to relocate to the park was contingent on the development of that infrastructure as well as financing through the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Heartland, the city’s wholesale power supplier, secured nearly half a million dollars of USDA rural development funds to guarantee the GOED funding and partnered with local banks to see it through.

“The Henriksens decision to invest in the community of Arlington shows their commitment to their hometown and to rural development,” said Heartland CEO Russell Olson. “We are proud to be part of this project and look forward to seeing further development in Arlington’s industrial park.”

Future is bright

Arlington’s distribution center is one of two owned by the Henriksens, with the other located in Sioux Falls. Collectively they serve customers in eastern South Dakota, northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota and employ almost 30 people.

With the project complete, the Arlington crew is happy to be back to normal day-to-day operations.

“There was definitely a lot of public interest leading up to the open house, so we were excited to welcome everyone and show off the new facility,” Tyler said. “It’s nice to have everything put away and everyone settled so that we can get back to focusing on doing what we do best–selling high quality batteries.”

Although the Henriksens have no specific plans for future growth at this time, Tyler said anything is possible.

“We’re proud to be a long-time member of this community and I hope we can continue to grow and find success.”

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Heartland Technology Center to house DSU research projects

DSU Foundation purchases building from LAIC

Research projects at Dakota State University are ambitious, to say the least. In fact, some are moving forward so fast that researchers can’t wait for next fall’s completion of the university’s new research and development center, the Madison Cyber Labs (MadLabs).

“Rather than sit back and wait for the MadLabs building to be completed, many research groups have started work,” said DSU President José-Marie Griffiths. “They are developing extensive partnerships with federal and state governments, in-state and out-of-state corporations, and as a result we need space now to house some of our R&D personnel and contracts.”

The space at the Heartland Technology Center (HTC) just north of the DSU campus was ideal for this use, so the DSU Foundation has purchased the HTC from the Lake Area Improvement Corporation (LAIC). The foundation will lease the 10,000 sq. foot building to the university.

“As Dakota State pursues its ambitious research agenda, there is a concurrent need to expand the spaces where new knowledge is discovered,” said Bob Preloger, interim vice president of Institutional Advancement. “The DSU Foundation’s acquisition of the Heartland facility addresses this immediate need and will supplement the new spaces that MadLabs will provide when it opens in the fall of 2019.”

The DSU Foundation requested a $660,000 REDL (Rural Economic Development Loan) from Heartland to complete this purchase, which was finalized on July 31, 2018.

The Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program provides funding for rural projects through local utility organizations. As a utility provider, Heartland may apply for REDL loans and pass them through for customer use. The Madison-based power company is one of only two entities in the state of South Dakota that can do so, and has a longstanding relationship and excellent track record with USDA.

USDA provides these zero-interest loans to local utilities which they, in turn, pass through to local businesses (referred to as the ultimate recipients) for projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas. These ultimate recipients repay the lending utility directly; the utility is responsible for repayment to the federal agency.

“USDA has certain criteria they look for when approving loans,” said Casey Crabtree, director of economic development at Heartland.

“This project checks all the boxes for what makes a great economic development project and therefore received high scoring from USDA,” Crabtree said. “A business incubator focusing on DSU’s strengths will have a long-lasting impact on the university, the community and the students who are able to utilize it. Heartland is proud to be a partner in seeing it to fruition.”

Research groups should be moving into the facility in September, Griffiths said. With almost five acres of land, there will also be space available for additional buildings if needed, she added.

“The sale of the Heartland Tech Building was crucial to the future growth of DSU and the future economic development of Lake County,” said Rory Maynard, executive director of the LAIC.

“The LAIC and DSU have a great relationship and I am excited to be there for every step of their growth,” he added.

LAIC built the HTC in 2006 as an incubator for businesses focused on technology and has since housed many start-up businesses.