Tea: One Of The Fastest-Growing Cities In SD

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You’ve probably heard about how Sioux Falls has grown dramatically over the past decade, but the towns nearby are also picking up more people. 

From Brandon to Harrisburg to Tea, which town do you think has grown the most over the past couple of years? It’s Tea. 

KELOLAND News explains how it has gone from a tiny town with gravel streets to around 4,000 people.

You’ve likely heard about the boom in boutiques in downtown Sioux Falls, but that’s not where Laurie Karlson decided to locate her store. 

“People ask the question, ‘Are you going to stay in Tea or venture to Sioux Falls?'” Laurie Belle’s Boutique Owner Laurie Karlson said.

Karlson started her boutique in her basement in Tea in 2013.  She has since moved to a storefront in Tea and now a larger building still in the same town. 

“We have amazing local supporters who we knew would still come and see us if we stayed in Tea,” Karlson said.

The number of locals is getting larger. Tea has gained almost 600 people in two years. 

“The smaller school district is a plus. People move out here for that,” Planning & Zoning Administrator Kevin Nissen said.

Nissen says people also move there because you can generally get more of a home for less money than in Sioux Falls. 

“We’re probably looking at around 17,000 people by the year 2040. That’s a number that’s hard to imagine. When I moved here in 1994, we were around the 1,700 range,” Nissen said.

While there is a growing number of businesses in Tea, city leaders hope to have even more options within the next ten years. 

“I think we’re prime for that next step,” Nissen said.

A next step that Karlson is betting on. Not only has she purchased the building where her boutique is located, but she also owns a 15,000 square foot warehouse and the lot next door to her store. 

“Whether we do something with it or not, we wanted to secure that land next door because things are moving and shaking out here. We’re excited about what’s happening and the businesses that are coming to Tea. We want to capitalize on it,” Karlson said.

From 2015 to 2017, Tea added 597 people, Harrisburg got 478 more residents, and 206 more people called Brandon home.

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