Baltic taking off with new restaurant, more homes

March 22, 2018

This piece is presented by the Minnehaha County Economic Development Association.

The owners of Baltic’s new – and only – full-service restaurant had gotten used to telling their neighbors when they would finish renovating the space.

“Someday” was the standard response.

And “Someday” in every sense of word is almost here.

Mike and Kim Frerichs will open Someday Cafe sometime in May in downtown Baltic.

They bought the property, which includes a house, in 2008, intending to use it for rental income, but the restaurant space got them thinking. They decided they wanted to have a small-town cafe, so in 2010, they moved into the house themselves, gutted the restaurant space and slowly started to rebuild.

“It was eight years of blood, sweat and tears,” said Frerichs, who is quitting his job as one of the lead chefs at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center.

“People would come walking by while I was working outside and ask about the progress. Our response was ‘someday.’ ”

It’s an important symbol for the growing community north of Sioux Falls that it now can support a full-service restaurant. The gas station in town sells pizza and other food, and residents can drive a mile out to the highway to eat at the Baltic Corner Bar & Grill.

At Someday Cafe, Frerichs plans to start with a simple lunch and dinner menu, and build from there. He’ll cook daily specials and the typical small-town cafe fare such as burgers and chicken strip and shrimp baskets.

“Breakfast will come later,” he said, depending on what the town wants and is willing to support.

It’s the latest addition for a community that keeps building momentum.

Last year brought 13 new single-family homes to Baltic, along with the new Classic Corner gas station and Baltic American Legion Bar.

“The housing market continues to be very strong, and existing home sales continue to move quickly,” Mayor Mike Wendland said. “Our expectation is that building will continue in 2018.”

The community’s Valley View addition has a few lots left for new homes, and the Baltic Heights addition is finalizing plans to complete its northeast area, he said.

“We are hopeful that discussions amongst developers and land owners will materialize and allow Baltic to add more lots for new homes,” he said, adding the community could use more lots to meet demand and its infrastructure is prepared to handle the growth.

“I feel there are four reasons that are attracting people to Baltic: Low cost of living and property taxes, proximity to Sioux Falls, outstanding schools and a strong sense of community spirit.”

The Bargain Basement has experienced that sense of community since opening in mid-2016.

It’s a nonprofit thrift shop operated by volunteers, with proceeds going to a program connected to River Community Church in Dell Rapids that trains young men to be ministers or missionaries.

Sallie Franchuk manages the shop, which is in the former grocery store downtown. It started in the building’s basement and has since moved to the main level.

It offers typical thrift store merchandise such as clothing, shoes, household goods, home decor and toys. Franchuk and her husband, Ryan, who is a minister, moved to Baltic in 2008 to start a church. A couple of years ago, a nonprofit thrift shop in Alcester reached out to them because it wanted to provide seed money for a similar operation in another small town.

Franchuk said the couple saw a need for a thrift store in Baltic, including for those residents who work in Sioux Falls but can’t afford to live there.

“We offer everything at a reasonable price or free for those that need it,” she said, adding The Bargain Basement has been able to provide for people who have lost their possessions in house fires and for those escaping abusive relationships.

“The community support is really great,” Franchuk said. “We have some people coming in to shop once or twice a week.” Youth groups and teens working on community service hours have helped at the store.

If the store isn’t open, people can drop off items in donation bins outside.

“Every time we go in there, they are full.”

Hours are 2:30 to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

Other new business activity also could be coming to town, Wendland said.

“We have gotten inquiries on some other business and expect that to continue, but for now we are still in the discussion stages.”

Baltic taking off with new restaurant, more homes

Baltic keeps getting bigger. Latest news: A new restaurant, retail and more homes.

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