SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — When Miranda Koltze first opened her storefront on Main Street she struggled to fill the space. Now, over a year and one pandemic later, Sweetgrass Soapery is teeming with not only her own handmade bath and body products, but the artistry and work of several local vendors.

“We’re kind of a hub for the hard-to-find things, you know, an actual Native American trading post that has been missing and Sioux Falls for quite a long time,” Koltze said.

The store, which is located in the heart of downtown Sioux Falls, sells everything from natural-made bath and body products, crystals, sage, herbs blankets and clothing. All of the products are locally made and sourced and tie back to Koltze’s, and the regions, Indigenous roots.

“One of my favorite parts of the store is our herbal apothecary, you got going on back there,” Koltze said. “I specialize in rare and hard to find, and things that are culturally significant to our regions. So, we’ve got a lot of really cool Native varieties of herbs and medicines that were collected from right around the area.”

The business is finding success in its storefront, which Koltze attributes to the comradery of the downtown business scene and a curiosity from the community in the kinds of products she sells.

“We’re seeing a real renaissance of sorts of people coming back to the earth. So, whether that’s crystals and rocks, natural dreamcatchers made of twigs and sitz herbs, candles made from beeswax are as natural as we can possibly make everything. It’s been really cool to see that develop,” Koltze said.

While there are more Native-owned businesses West river, Koltze is encouraged by the growing number of people in Sioux Falls looking for Native-owned and other minority-owned businesses. She said she hopes her store’s success can inspire other Native Americans to open up their own businesses to add to Sioux Falls growing diversity.

Koltze is excited for the Native American Day Parade on October 10 and will have a float featuring her family and employees of Sweetgrass.

“It’s a fun introduction to folks here in Sioux Falls that may not get exposed to powwow culture, or dancing and the drumbeats that that really move so many of us,” Koltze said. “So, it’s just fun. It’s going to be a party; it’s going to be a celebration.”

Also in attendance at the parade will be Watecha Bowl owner, Lawrence West.

The Sioux Falls businessman opened his Lakota food truck in 2020 and quickly expanded to a brick-and-mortar restaurant not long after. Now, West has several food trucks all over South Dakota and plans to continue expanding in a bar and casino next year.

“One of the benefits is that our largest market is here. Out of our 20,000 followers, 15,000 of them are from Sioux Falls,” West said. “So we get the opportunity of not only communicating with our market base and representing the Native American business, in a fashion that it’s never been seen before.”

The restaurant features popular Native American dishes such as Indian tacos, buffalo burgers, fry bread and a South Dakota favorite: Chislic.

“But then around like holidays, and other times, then we add like, like, we have the buffalo stew, the buffalo steak, taco, buffalo steak and Swiss buffalo pot roast,” West said.

As a Native business owner, West is happy to see a growth in Native-owned businesses and said he’s looking forward to even more growth in 2023.

“For so long that culture hasn’t been integrated here, you know what I mean? Like Native American people were essentially ostracized in in our own area,” West said. “So, it’s like the united front that we’re building by bringing these businesses and these community activities together and placing that culture where it previously had been obsolete. It’s the focus.”

West hopes the Sioux Falls community comes out to support the Native American Day parade and uses the time to educate each other about Native history.

“You can’t speak about history in South Dakota without going through the Native Americans. So although like it’s underrated, this is a great weekend to take your kids out and experience and pass on that continuing education of what us as Native Americans have to offer here in South Dakota because it’s a very vibrant, very beautiful culture.”

Native American-owned businesses in Sioux Falls:

  • Chizlickers
  • Native Guy Construction
  • Post Pilgrim Gallery
  • Sweetgrass Soapery & All Walks Trading Co.
  • Prime Roof Repair
  • The Printing Center
  • Watecha Bowl

To add businesses to this list, just email jjackson@keloland.com.