Eye on KELOLAND: A surge of local support

Eye on KELOLAND

Gregg and Nikki Peters opened Ace Hardware at a new location in Madison back in August.

They previously operated the store in the city’s downtown.

“Honestly, business has been really good,” Madison Ace Hardware President Gregg Peters said.

The husband and wife purchased the former Shopko building back in March.

Studevant’s Auto Parts and State of South Dakota offices are also located in the facility.

“Right after we bought it obviously the whole COVID thing really came to a head to we were really a little nervous about the timing, but fortunately we were able to get through and work with the timing and everything worked out great,” Peters said.

In fact, Peters says business in 2020 was up compared to 2019 at all of his Ace Hardware stores in South Dakota, but especially at the Madison location.

“Some of that has to do–we more than doubled the size of our store. We have a much cleaner, bigger, brighter facility than what we had downtown, but in general, the hardware business, in general, is up a significant amount,” Peters said.

The Peters aren’t the only ones who noticed an uptick in local support over the past year.

Eric Hortness is the Executive Director of the Greater Madison Area Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber more than doubled the amount of Mad Money it usually sells. Those are gift cards that can only be spent at Madison chamber businesses.

“Typically in a year we do about $80,000 worth of those gift cards and in 2020 we did over $200,000 of those gift cards,” Greater Madison Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Eric Hortness said.

The chamber also ran some new promotions to help drive business.

While December numbers aren’t in yet, Hortness says sales tax revenue in 2020 was up compared to 2019.

“Nobody knew where we were going to end up when we started this whole thing in March and everything got shut down. Nobody knew the process. Nobody knew where the end time was going to be and we’re still looking for that end time, but when you look at everything as a whole I think Madison and the surrounding area made it through just fine,” Hortness said.

He expects increased local support to continue into the new year.

“Not that we didn’t do a good job of that before COVID. We certainly did. We tend to support locally a lot, but I think even during COVID we saw that increase. I think we’ll continue to do that,” Hortness said.

“We anticipate it’s going to be another good year. I do think that people’s habits have changed. We were on a flight a few weeks ago and we started talking about the fact that we don’t think we’ll ever be in an airport again where you’re not seeing people in masks. What the overall trend is going to be we don’t know. We’re anticipating to have a good year,” Peters said.

Development in the city is on the rise, too.

The Executive Director of the Lake Area Improvement Corporation says millions of dollars have been invested in the industrial park over the past 12 to 18 months.

Other additions include new retail and a housing development that’s under construction.

“I would say this is excitement in Madison that we have not seen for some time, especially in the retail sector with Runnings growing, Ace growing, a number of boutiques popping up downtown,” Lake Area Improvement Corporation Executive Director Eric Fosheim said.

Fosheim says one of the things driving development in Madison is the growth at Dakota State University.

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