SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Last March, Minneapolis-based True North Equity Partners, purchased the Sioux Falls Canaries. Now the firm’s founder and managing partner Brian Slipka is working to grow his business footprint in South Dakota. 

“I’m committed to the Sioux Falls marketplace,” Slipka said. “I’d like to grow my business presence.”

Brian Slipka’s Twin Cities company is focused on business acquisition and management, but he was born in Sioux Falls and has family throughout South Dakota. He says the state’s business climate is big draw.

“You have a pro-business community that attracts pro-business community people and businesses like ours,” Slipka said. “Very few cities are having people like me intentionally move in; it’s because there’s such opportunities.”

His local investments began with the Canaries, but now he’s connecting his company’s other major industry to Sioux Falls.

“We’ve begun to aggregate across the upper Midwest, transportation companies that are family owned,” Slipka said. 

Companies like Dakotaland Transportation located right on I-29 on the north side of Sioux Falls. 

“They handle a lot of freight for a lot of local, well-known companies in the community,” Slipka said. 

“We do Showplace Cabinetry and we also have a wind energy division and haul wind blades up and down the road,” Dakotaland employee Heidi Schumacher said.

The specialized trucking company lost its long-time owners in crash along I-29 two years ago.

“Their wives wanted to transition the business to somebody that they knew would be good stewards of Bruce and Gerry’s legacy; that’s where we really fit in,” Slipka said. 

Slipka says True North is all about investing in local companies and connecting them with resources in their network of seven transportation companies.

“They’ve got a new recruiter and I’m looking forward to that and the possibility of hiring more drivers,” Dakotaland Transportation Operations Manager Jon Otto said. 

Otto has been with the company for more than two decades, something many of Dakotaland’s sixty employees have in common.

“I’ve been here for 18 years,” Schumacher said. “We are a family.”

“We know all the drivers personally; we’ve watched their families grow up,” Otto said. 

It’s a family feel Slipka says will continue under his new ownership.

“Really the opportunity for them moving forward is they’re going to be a part of the larger infrastructure which will provide more and more support as time goes on,” Slipka said. 

“I think it’s going to be a benefit for all of us involved,” Otto said. 

“Its going to help us grow and help us better ourselves in this industry,” Schumacher said. 

True North now has an office on Phillips avenue that includes the addition of Slipka’s other business, Honour Capital for business financing and Sunbelt Business Advisors, a firm that will help broker future sales of other South Dakota-owned businesses.

“There are a lot of good business owners that are looking to transition their life’s work and that’s what Sunbelt does, we help come alongside the selling process for business owners,” Slipka said. 

Slipka expects to add a half dozen advisors to the South Dakota Sunbelt team over the next few years, along with continuing to grow operations at Dakotaland Transportation.