Just off Highway 385 and 13 miles west of the Pine Ridge Reservation sits the town of Oelrichs. Population 126.
“The Office” Bar and Grill has been in Oelrichs for 20 years and is now owned by Jessica and Randy Hamer.
“I think that from the very beginning…this was created out of positiveness,” observes Jessica. “And you feel it when you come in here. It’s just a fun-free atmosphere that is positive for the community. You can bring your family in here or you can hang out with friends.”
Randy Hamer's tribal membership helped secure a loan through Lakota Funds to help the couple buy the business
Lakota Funds is a community development organization based in the village of Kyle…on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Jessica Hamar notes that the assistance she and Randy received from Lakota Funds was critical.
“They were amazing in really helping us solidify the business plan,” recalls Jessica. “And they came out and saw the place…saw what our vision was and were just as excited as we were.”
Tawney Brunsch is executive director of Lakota Funds. She notes that “The Office:” is the second Lakota-owned business to open in a reservation border town this year.
“And I think it works to motivate those who are maybe considering something in other border towns,” Brunsch comments. “But also on Pine Ridge. You know…it’s just the more success we have amongst our own tribal members…whether it’s on or off reservation…the better. Just so people know that it’s not impossible.”
Jessica and Randy Hamer agree that their shared vision for their new business is to make both Oelrichs and the Pine Ridge Reservation better communities.