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Economic Development Leaders Court Manufacturers At Sturgis Rally

Kenzie Wagner

Regional economic developers at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally want more companies to call the Black Hills their home. They view the rally as a chance to network with businesses while promoting the region.

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is full of vendors selling everything from leather handlebar tassels, fur seat covers to custom fitted helmets. But most of the retailers at the rally own businesses that aren’t headquartered in the Black Hills, something Ben Snow with the Rapid City department of Rushmore Region Economic Development, hopes to change.
“So the beauty of an event like the motorcycle rally is that we already do have a seed bed of companies that are already here who can become poster children for us and so as we leverage those networks or those people we already have plus get new people that come in here, give them some exposure to us as a business location then we kind of look at it as a seed planting exercise more than anything else,” says Snow.  
Other area economic directors think that the Black Hills almost sells itself when it comes to business development. Cheyenne McGriff is with the Wall department of Rushmore Region Economic Development.
“As a region we think it’s really important to share with our businesses and potential businesses that we have low taxes in our area, low regulation, it’s a great place to do business but also it’s a great place to live you have the opportunity to ride like you do during the summer year round, you can participate in many outdoor activities, and have a great quality of life with your family and it’s just a great place to be,” says McGriff.

Officials add that some companies have already realized the perks of doing business in the Black Hills. Lori Frederick is with the Lead/Deadwood Rushmore Region Economic Development.
 “For instance in Deadwood we have Jerry Greer’s Engineering, he actually has a manufacturing plant in Watertown but he manufactures parts for Indian Motorcycles and he has a retail shop out of Deadwood so he ships those parts and those types of things out of Deadwood,” says Frederick.

Other companies doing business in the hills include Jerry Greer’s Engineering,J&P Cycles, Legend Air Suspension and Baggster