- Real Estate
- Food & Drink
This piece is presented by the Lincoln County Economic Development Association.
LENNOX — Nathan and Elizabeth Hopf are small-business owners making a big bet on their hometown.
They have lived in Lennox for 12 years and became entrepreneurs there in September.
“We decided we wanted to open up a store,” Elizabeth Hopf said.
They had been selling used items bought from storage units but decided to try a different market.
Their business, Upscale Overstock, carries new merchandise from large national retailers bought at discount prices.
“We are up to 50 percent off retail value,” Hopf said. “A lot of people in Lennox seem to like that we are here.”
Their store offers a place to buy merchandise such as small appliances, furniture, bedding, shoes, toys, jewelry, clothing and pet items.
And it’s out of space.
So this month, Upscale Overstock will gain about four times the room when it moves to a different Main Street storefront.
“Hopefully, we can encourage more businesses to come in and do other types of things,” Hopf said. “It seems like from the smaller towns customers have been coming in and sometimes from Sioux Falls.”
Commercial growth in Lennox, which is less than 20 miles southwest of Sioux Falls, has been impressive.
The valuation for building permits for nonresidential projects in 2016 totaled $3.8 million, up from $757,458 in 2015.
The space Upscale Overstock is moving into was vacated last year when Sunshine Foods moved to a new, larger space on Highway 17. The 16,000-square-foot store is significantly larger than the old one and includes Lewis Family Drug.
“Business has been much better,” said Todd Shuman, manager and co-owner. “The space is bigger, and we have so much more variety, so people are buying more.”
Sunshine owns the new retail center, which also includes Ace Hardware and has 4,600 square feet left for more tenants.
Dollar General also opened on the other side of town last year.
“It’s growing,” said Nick Fosheim, executive director of the Lincoln County Economic Development Association. “With a few retailers leaving Main Street, there was concern about what would happen. But it’s amazing what can end up backfilling those spaces. That’s what we’re seeing in Lennox.”
Main Street Lennox is enjoying its own surge of activity. Beamer’s Pub is building a new site and planning to open this summer. The Only One Bar and Grill, which is still the only restaurant on Main Street, remodeled to add seating and upgrade its kitchen.
“How many towns have a Main Street with a new building going up? It doesn’t happen,” Fosheim said.
Housing demand grows
More than 2,000 people live in Lennox, and demand is growing, city administrator Amanda Anglin said.
“It’s a younger community. A lot of people work in Sioux Falls and live here so their kids can be in a smaller school,” she said. “It’s 10 minutes from the south side of Sioux Falls and 20 minutes to the 41st Street area.”
In the past two years, there were 17 houses built in Lennox. This year, Anglin expects fewer than five, but that’s because the town is running out of lots.
“We have two potential areas for future growth,” she said. “If we could get something going in those areas, we would see a boom. But we don’t have many empty lots in town right now.”
One preliminary plan calls for 130 acres of new housing on the north side near the new Sunshine retail center.
“So we’re hoping somebody wants to get that going,” Anglin said.
Shuman at Sunshine agreed.
“We’re in need of housing here,” he said. “We’ve had several new houses built and have some twin home lots, but otherwise everything is sold. We have really good schools here, and I think people want to get away a little bit farther.”
An additional 160 acres annexed last year on the south side of town presents more opportunity for growth, Fosheim said.
“It will be a mix of industrial, maybe some apartments and some single-family housing. It’s in the concept stage,” he said. “In some communities, you have the old town and the new town, and you see a clash of ideas. That’s not what we’re seeing in Lennox. There’s exciting potential here.”
Lennox is seeing a lot of commercial growth, both on Main Street and on the edges of town, and there’s hope that more housing will be built.