‘South Dakota Means Business’ campaign invites companies to move to the state during the pandemic

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Earlier this month the governor’s office of economic development launched a new ad campaign in Minnesota, encouraging more businesses to relocate to South Dakota, especially during this pandemic. 

“Hi, I’m South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, when it comes to supporting companies and eliminating heavy-handed government interference, South Dakota means business,” Governor Noem said in one of the commercials. 

This ‘South Dakota Means Business’ campaign is heavily focused on the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Here in South Dakota we trust our people, we respect their rights, we will not shut them down,” Governor Noem said in the campaign.

“We created it to spark interest in businesses, especially in the state of Minnesota, but it’s actually happening all over the country,” Steve Westra, the Commissioner of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development said. 

Westra says businesses all over the country are taking notice of how Governor Noem handled the pandemic.

“The fact that Governor Noem didn’t shut businesses down here in the state of South Dakota,” Westra said. 

Westra says his office has been fielding a lot of phone calls from businesses all over the U.S. looking at the possibility of moving. 

“Just looking for more information on the state and just trying to understand the business climate in South Dakota,” Westra said. 

“In our state you won’t find the restrictions that hold companies back in other places. South Dakota offers freedom from corporate and personal income tax, freedom from red tape and regulation,” Governor Noem said in the ad campaign.

Right now these commercials are targeting companies in Minnesota. 

“About 20 percent of our prospects here in the state of South Dakota come from the state of Minnesota,” Westra said.

“One of the very first calls right after the initial pandemic was a call center, a 50 person call center from the Minneapolis area came through and started looking at property with the intent of moving to South Dakota,” Nick Gustafson with Bender Commercial Real Estate said. 

Gustafson is already working on a big uptick in new prospective clients.

“We’ve seen interest pick up since April, we’re just now starting to see that activity turn into properties and land under contract and I think you’re going to see some big headlines on some new companies announced in early fall,” Gustafson said. 

“I can’t reveal who the companies are at this point, but I will tell you we are in negotiations with several companies right now that have operations abroad that are wanting to bring them back here into the state of South Dakota,” Westra said.

Since the pandemic and the trade war with China, both Westra and Gustafson have started to see a trend of more companies looking to bring back manufacturing. 

“Suddenly supply chains were under a lot of pressure so we have a lot of businesses looking to re-shore the operations they may have had in China or Thailand or wherever they might have been and really wanting to bring them back to the United States,” Gustafson said.

Westra says his office is working to show these companies how South Dakota could be the right place to settle. 

“Really allows them to sit down, look at their overall operations and see the overall benefits of coming to the state of South Dakota,” Westra said. “It’s not just a great place to have a company but more importantly, its a great place to live, work and raise a family.”

While many people are looking forward to the big manufacturing and distribution new business announcements expected this fall, there are also many smaller to mid-size companies already in the process of relocating to South Dakota as well. 

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