- Real Estate
- Food & Drink
By Jodi Schwan
The success of 8th & Railroad Center can almost as easily be told through the names of those businesses that don’t operate here.
General manager Steve Tinklenberg has an entire file of them – retailers, office users and artists – who have said that when space opens up, they’re interested.
Vacancies are rare, though, at this three-story building on the east bank of the Big Sioux River. Finding more space requires the same creative approach that has attracted so many businesses here.
“It’s like dominoes,” Tinklenberg said of recent moves. “The first one goes, so a whole series of sequences could happen.”
This spring will bring a new series of openings for 8th & Railroad, from a brewery to an expanded boutique and a startup that will build tiny houses.
“Our goal has always been to generate traffic for more retail along the boardwalk,” co-owner Erika Billion said. “It’s just a nice combination of people on second and third floor who can patronize those businesses during the day, and the lofts nearby can patronize in the evening.”
The owners of Remedy Brewing Co. are about to fulfill a dream many years in the making. After looking at 8th & Railroad space for several years, the business will open a taproom and brewery along the boardwalk this summer.
“This area is going to explode,” co-owner Mathew Hastad said. “Everybody knows it, and everybody feels it.”
Remedy will use six storefronts along the south end of the boardwalk.
“We have a space for everybody,” Hastad said “We have booths, lounge seating, an event room in the back to rent out, and we have a covered patio and an uncovered patio.”
The brewery will be about 3,500 square feet, using the former All Sports Central and Luca’s Boutique spaces.
It also will include a small stage. Neighboring business K restaurant is working with Remedy to provide a limited menu.
Hastad estimates Remedy can produce 900 barrels annually to start.
“Right now, we have 72 recipes we’re comfortable with and feel we can open and do, but they won’t be all on tap at once,” he said. “Phase one is to get the taphouse open and produce enough beer to sell comfortably and do festivals and small events in town.”
He’s working with a fellow 8th & Railroad tenant, Laith Herrboldt, on the project. Herrboldt is a designer and the owner of Constructed Strategies, which has its office in the building.
“We have original brick everywhere, so it will be industrial with wood, metal and brick,” Herrboldt said. “We want it to be educational, so we have seating areas on leather couches and lounge chairs where the brewers will come talk to your group about the beers.”
Remedy will bring needed foot traffic to the south end of the boardwalk and give an additional option for beer-lovers.
“People are calling it Brewers’ Row,” Tinklenberg said. “You’ve got Fernson, Gandy Dancer, Prairie Berry and now Remedy.”
Herrboldt, who moved his office to the building last fall, said the sense of community on the east bank is clear.
“I love the environment,” he said. “Everybody is pulling for each other, and it’s so cohesive and friendly.”
Luca Papini is about to mark one year in business as Luca’s Boutique. Specializing in handcrafted Italian leather bags, the shop opened in a small space on the second floor at 8th & Railroad before securing a space on the first floor.
Shifts in tenants have allowed him to gain a new space with more visibility and a friendlier layout. Consignment store Aviena moved to a space in the back of 8th & Railroad to accommodate its growing e-commerce business.
“This expansion gives us flexibility to add lots of product lines now and in the future,” Papini said. “We found a better and much nicer place for our leather jackets and cashmere, and we also added some very simple but chic jewelry made in the USA.”
He has added local artwork and is working with an artisan in Italy to import handcrafted perfume. His frequently changing line of handbags is produced by artisans who have worked for Gucci, he added.
“We’ve had a lot of excitement as people come in and find us,” Papini said. “What we are doing is a concept people are not used to in the fashion industry. It is amazing to be able to talk and introduce our customers to real craftsmanship and beauty.”
He plans to open a kiosk at The Empire mall in April, but said it’s mostly to generate awareness of his store at 8th & Railroad. He has been surprised at how many visitors already find their way there, though.
“Some of our best customers are from out of town – New York, Savannah (Georgia), Dallas, San Francisco, Omaha. These customers are more exposed to luxury items in their markets, and when they see our quality and design at affordable prices, the fuse is short. That said, we are striving to make ourselves more known to the local public.”
Papini calls 8th & Railroad the Times Square of Sioux Falls.
“There is so much ‘fermentation,’ beauty, engagement, diversity, opportunities going on. It’s a place with a special vibration, thanks also to all the entrepreneurs who own stores here. It is a very special place.”
Premier Bookkeeping & Business Services has moved multiple times within 8th & Railroad Center since leasing its first office in 2015 – a sign of success.
The business founded by Andrea Eden and Sarah Young has grown to four full-time employees. It delivers a range of bookkeeping services for mostly small and medium-size businesses.
In addition to handling accounts payable and receivable, payroll taxes and sales tax returns, Premier offers services such as finding operational efficiencies, basic marketing and electronic storage. The owners also have found a market for helping with household budgeting and have taught classes at 8th & Railroad on the topic.
“We like it here and like downtown as a central location,” Young said. “It’s grown pretty fast, mostly through referrals. We haven’t done any marketing or advertising since the first six months, but we networked a lot.”
On the same floor at 8th & Railroad, the owners of Manage My Back Office, or MMBO, are in the middle of their own success story.
Jonna Ditro and Stacy Johnson started the business three years ago and have become “ridiculously busy,” Ditro said.
“We are a numbers company. We try to fill in where people are weak. Where we excel is taking things apart and putting them back together to find the break-even point.”
They have found a niche working with the roofing industry, which they pursued following the 2014 hailstorm in Sioux Falls. After overhauling the operation of one roofer, “before the end of the year, we were paying down millions against their accounts receivable,” Johnson said.
They now work with a different roofer to manage the operation from top to bottom, including using a drone to assess damage.
“We’ve got a lot of work sitting in front of us,” Johnson said.
Their success though, has inspired them to also take on a passion project. They have leased an empty warehouse next to 8th & Railroad and plan to use what they have learned through much research and their roofing experience to design and construct a line of tiny houses.
“You should always do something in life you really want to do, something you enjoy,” Johnson said. “We found they are in high demand, and the builders we have spoken to don’t make many a year and, as soon as they’re done, they’re sold.”
They want to design the homes using only Sioux Falls-area vendors and hope to start working on them soon. While they think their central location will help with shipping to customers out of state, they’re hoping to find a market in this area, too.
“Sioux Falls is really hurting on housing,” Ditro said. “Our thought is maybe we can provide temporary housing for students or people early in their careers. We’ve even talked about developing land for tiny-home communities.”
It’s big thinking, but that’s nothing new at 8th & Railroad.
This spring will bring a new series of openings for 8th & Railroad, from a brewery to an expanded boutique and a startup building tiny houses.