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Schoeneman's Past And Future Progress

August 17, 2010, 10:05 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Schoeneman's Past And Future Progress
SIOUX FALLS, SD - A business that helped build Sioux Falls is moving out of the center of the city to the outskirts of town. Schoeneman's moved its lumber yard to Harrisburg after outgrowing its downtown location.

For nearly 100 years, Schoeneman's has been selling lumber from the location in downtown Sioux Falls.

"This was the center of the downtown area and homes grew all around this area and then the city grew from there," Al Schoeneman said.

Today, dilapidated buildings sit where a thriving business used to sell materials to build homes.

"Being centrally located in the downtown area was very, very good for us in the lumber business, being handy to make deliveries everywhere," Schoeneman said.

When Schoeneman's moved to the location in 1912, it sold more than just lumber; coal used to be sold out of the buildings that sat on the banks of the Big Sioux River. 

"At one time, we had over 40 different varieties of coal," Schoeneman said.

Those were also the days when customers could buy a 2x4 for seven cents a foot.

But as the years wore on, the city got bigger and the building business started growing, and downtown Sioux Falls started changing.

"The downtown area doesn't need a lumber business. It isn't real nice and colorful as far as buildings and all," Schoeneman said.

So Schoeneman's moved out of the spot last year to a brand new store in Harrisburg.

"A variety of products that we have to have are very bulky and it takes a lot of space to keep them properly until they can go out to the job site, so that is a critical reason why we needed a lot more space than what we had here," Schoeneman said.

And now that the old lumber yard is out, plans have been unveiled to redevelop the spot and build two new buildings, including a new office building for CNA Surety. 

"It's just going to be an added facility for the downtown area there," Schoeneman said.

And even though Schoeneman's has been selling building products in downtown for nearly 100 years, Schoeneman says he's not too sad to see it go.

"That's part of progress and you always have to be keeping progress in mind there for the long run of the community," Schoeneman said. 

And Schoeneman's knows what progress is because they helped create it in downtown Sioux Falls for decades.

"We were involved in a lot of construction and building areas for contractors for new homes all over the Sioux Falls area," Schoeneman said. 

Construction on the new CNA Surety building will start this fall and won't be finished until 2012.

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