|NORTH SIOUX CITY, S.D. – At the very edge of the South Dakota border sits North Sioux City, a quiet town that is bearing witness to some impressive development.
“In North Sioux City’s early days people didn’t immediately think of it as the best place to set up shop or establish a home and family, but recently, over the past number of years, people are changing their minds,” said Andrew Nilges, executive director of the North Sioux City Economic Development Corporation.
Nilges, who just completed his first year as the economic development corporation’s executive director, grew up in the area. For him, his community has always been a place he proudly referred to as “home.”
“Living in a community that is within a few miles of a larger, more well-known city [Sioux City, Iowa], definitely has its challenges, but it also presents numerous opportunities which have resulted in significant investment in the community,” Nilges said.
Proof of that investment is shown in many ways. From a newly developed industrial park, to residential development and corporate reinvestment, North Sioux City is experiencing some major advancements.
“Our manufacturing industry in particular has seen some impressive growth in the last several years,” Nilges said. “A couple that comes to mind are Royal Canin and Reds All Natural. Both companies have proven to be valuable corporate citizens to the Siouxland area, and it’s encouraging to see both continue to thrive.”
Royal Canin, a global leader in pet food manufacturing, broke ground on its $100+ million new, state-of-the-art facility, and is set to open next summer. This is a great cause for celebration following the company’s 50-year anniversary as well.
For Daniel Klapuch, plant manager of Royal Canin in North Sioux City, the new facility is more than a reinvestment in the community—it’s a reinvestment in our family pets.
“Royal Canin’s sole commitment is to our family pets,” Klapuch said. “We take pet food seriously, because family pets hold a very special place in the hearts of their owners and so our commitment is to provide top-quality, science-based nutrition for our pets.
“Royal Canin engages in extensive research when deciding where to expand its manufacturing capabilities, and at the end of the day, South Dakota simply made the best sense,” Klapuch continued. “It was a collaborative effort between the state, the city, and the company. We’re proud to remain in South Dakota and continue to better serve our best customers.”
An investment in manufacturing doesn’t stop there, though. Nilges says the community is embracing what comes naturally to North Sioux City’s economy. In fact, earlier this year, the Flynn Business Park was approved for two infrastructure improvement grants, one from the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) and another from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). Additionally, Flynn Business Park was re-certified as a South Dakota Certified Ready Site for economic development projects.
“The grant funds will significantly improve future development in Flynn Business Park,” Nilges said. “Already, we have several companies interested in expanding in or relocating to the park. The fact that we have local, state, and federal leadership that understands the impact of securely built infrastructure is invaluable and we’re fortunate to have established such a dynamic partnership.”
From food to animal feed to farm equipment, manufacturing continues to thrive in North Sioux City. In fact, North Sioux City’s top employers are its manufacturers.
“I think it goes to show that just when people thought manufacturing was a dying industry, we’ve proven otherwise,” Nilges said. “South Dakota’s manufacturing industry certainly wasn’t immune to the economic downturn, but 10 years later, it’s easy to see we fared better than many other states and are bucking the trend. I think that’s something we need to continue to capitalize on.