Let’s think right about Belle Fourche!

There is a danger in being too familiar with things and getting into a rut, especially in our thinking. Because we are a town with a smaller population, we tend to put ourselves in the ‘just a small town’ box; that we can’t ‘compete’ with towns with bigger populations. We may not realize the amount of commerce that goes on in ‘this little town’.

I’d like to give us a push out of this possible rut.

At the Chamber we are members of the SD Retailer’s Association and receive their information. In a recent Legislative Bulletin I read two articles that caught my attention. If you want to look for them its Issue Number 1 January 24, 2017. The one where Scott and Susan Peterson are named 2017 Retailer of the Year! Congratulation again. After reading that article go to pages 20-22.

There is a great report on tourism numbers for South Dakota. Id like to send out a well doneto the Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center. Kristi Thielen and her staff posted an increase of 800 visitors to the Museum despite the numbers for the Sturgis Rally being down significantly. Due to their hard work they went above and beyond their previous years numbers. The reason, Kristi reported at the February 6 city council meeting, was in the monthly events attendance numbers. They are getting more local people into the complex. From someone that deals with events every day, it is a challenge to get people out. But Kristi and her staff have done it with interesting, informative First Saturday Brunches, childrens events, and quality exhibits.

Let’s get back to page 21, 22 of the SD Retailers legislative report and the second report. Check out the sales taxes returned to Belle Fourche for 2017. Can you guess the dollar amount? $2,837,560.65. This figure is up slightly from the year before. This, despite the drastic fall in livestock prices. Check other agriculturally related towns listed in that report and you will see that most were down – and some significantly so – in their sales tax revenues. Thi

s Chamber of Commerce sends a big shout out to our Belle Fourche business community for generating the amount of sales it did in a very difficult year for an ag based economy. Remember, the cities share is .02 or two cents on every dollar spent in Belle Fourche. That is nearly $142 million dollars in sales in 2016. Did you know Belle Fourche business was generating that kind of revenue?


But there is more of a thinking rut we may be in and need more information to get us out of it. On that same page, compare Belle Fourches sales tax with the sales tax generated in Deadwood. Remember we were 2.8 million. Deadwood 3.4 million. The difference is $597,419.07. Hmm, what does Deadwood have to generate sales tax? Hotels, restaurants, gaming etc. and still were not that far behind.

Next time you think about our city and the commerce that goes on here, make sure you are not in a rut with your thinking.

I’m very encouraged as the Chamber director with our business community and thank them for their great efforts in making Belle Fourche a regional place of commerce. When business prospers the city tax coffers fill and that means in turn that Belle Fourche residents benefit from lower taxes.

Let’s not take our business community for granted!

-Gary Wood

Executive Director