Department of Commerce Invests $1.1M for Infrastructure Improvements to Establish Calvin Park

WATERTOWN, S.D. – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced in a press release Tuesday that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.1 million grant to the City of Watertown, South Dakota, for construction, water, and roadway infrastructure improvements in Calvin Industrial Park.


This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts of the Watertown Development Company (WDC) and First District Association of Local Governments (FDALG). The infrastructure improvements to the park will support the WDC’s mission by creating new opportunities for businesses to establish and grow, increase the property tax base for the city, and build the community’s workforce.


“The WDC is excited to continue its development plans within Calvin Park,” said Michelle Kakacek, Executive Director of the WDC. “This investment in Watertown by the EDA will help us welcome new and expanding business into the park and increase economic opportunity throughout our region.”


The EDA investment will be matched with $1.1 million in funds from the WDC and is expected to create more than 70 jobs and generate over $4.5 million in private investment, according to estimates.


“President Biden is committed to ensuring that our communities are provided with the resources they need to diversify and grow their economies,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This EDA investment in infrastructure will support business development in Watertown, creating jobs and providing economic resilience.”



The Watertown Development Company (WDC) is a private, non-profit economic development company funded by private and public sector stakeholders. The WDC owns and operates buildings, land, and development areas for the economic benefit of the community. Since its establishment in 1947, its efforts have generated substantial impacts and benefits for many decades. The WDC has led strategies and been responsible for the creation of jobs and overall economic opportunity through programs designed to promote and increase the commercial, financial, and economic vitality of Watertown and its citizens.


The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.


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Watertown Development Company Launches Co.Starters Program for Enterpreneurs

WATERTOWN, SD, SEPTEMBER 6, 2022 — Watertown Development Company will soon offer CO.STARTERS Core, a national cohort-based accelerator program, aimed to equip aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners of all kinds with the insights, relationships, and tools needed to turn ideas into action.


This 10-session program is designed to help ideas gain momentum. The one requirement is that applicants have a concept or idea they are ready to test and are willing to study, shape, and fine-tune in a supportive, collaborative, and welcoming environment.


Registration fees will be waived for the first two cohorts thanks to a grant from the Small Business Administration and a partnership between Startup Sioux Falls and Dakota Resources.  Sessions will be facilitated by the Watertown Development Company staff members Michelle Kakacek, Executive Director, and Amanda Culhane, Marketing Specialist. Participants will hear from guest speakers including specialists and professionals from the Watertown area.


“We are thrilled at the opportunity to offer this resource to the area’s aspiring entrepreneurs and others who might be in business already but want to grow or innovate,” said Kakacek. “The curriculum looks at entrepreneurship in a fresh, accessible way and encourages mentorship and peer-to-peer learning.”


Individuals interested in the program can apply now. The application period will close on September 30, 2022. Participants will be notified the week of October 10 with the ten-session program beginning November 1. Sessions will take place every other Tuesday thereafter from 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm. For more information and to apply, visit


If you are part of the business or educational community and would be interested in getting involved as a mentor, guest speaker, facilitator, or volunteer, please reach out to Amanda Culhane at or 605-884-0340.


About Watertown Development Company

The Watertown Development Company (WDC) is a private, non-profit economic development company funded by private and public sector stakeholders. The WDC owns and operates buildings, land, and development areas for the economic benefit of the community. Since its establishment in 1947, its efforts have generated substantial impacts and benefits for many decades. The WDC has led strategies and been responsible for the creation of jobs and overall economic opportunity through programs designed to promote and increase the commercial, financial, and economic vitality of the Watertown and its citizens.

Northstar Systembuilt Announces Acquisition of a Second Modular Manufacturing Factory in Watertown, SD

7/1/22 – Northstar Systembuilt announces the acquisition of the BestGen Modular factory, based out of Watertown, SD, this plant was formerly known as Superior Homes. “We’re excited for this growth by adding the Watertown, SD factory to the Northstar Systembuilt name,” said Howard Scott, C.E.O. of Northstar Systembuilt.


“We are committed to delivering quality homes and modular projects and expanding our market by adding the Watertown, SD location,” said Howard Scott, CEO.


Founded in 1995, Northstar Systembuilt started production in Marshall, MN. After moving to Redwood Falls, MN in 2013, the company has further expanded its factory and capacity to the point where it has maximized production capacity at its current factory. By adding the additional production space of the Watertown location, it will enable us in time to more than double our current production.


Building will begin in Watertown early July, and all existing staff will remain. The Watertown, SD location currently employs around 30 staff. With this addition, Northstar now employs around 150 staff total and is looking to grow the Watertown location in the upcoming months.



Howard Scott, C.E.O., Northstar Systembuilt



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New Real Estate Office to Open Downtown

WATERTOWN, S.D. — Prevail Realty, LLC is excited to announce the opening of their Real Estate Brokerage and Partnership. Partners Jesse Kiihl, Mindy Craig and Julie Knutson announce that Prevail Realty, LLC is projected to open their new location in The Lofts later this Summer. Their current office is housed in The Goss with CP Business Management.


The partners are looking forward to offering Watertown a unique combination of business experience and expertise in areas such as construction, commercial and residential sales, leasing and investment properties. Multi-medium professional marketing of properties, and a multi-state client base.


Jesse, a Watertown native, has years in the real estate industry. With that comes a wealth of knowledge that he has put forth in the development company, Prevail, LLC and, now, Prevail Realty, LLC as the firm Broker. Jesse is currently the construction manager for Parkside Place, Generations on 1st (the 55 and older project), The Ruins, portions of The Lakes at Willow Creek and more to be announced.


The draw to Watertown is strong for Mindy as she began her Watertown journey with the first of its kind in Downtown at The Lofts and has since fell in love with the city and its citizens, as well as realizing the potential it holds for growth and development.  Mindy will continue to offer clients, and the public, the best possible experience and lifestyle.


Julie, also a Watertown native, most recently was with Watertown Convention & Visitors Bureau; prior to that she worked as the General Manager of the Watertown Mall. Julie has a deep knowledge of Watertown, leasing, property management and marketing. Julie brings with her a number of professional memberships and affiliations, she has served on boards and committees assisting in projects like the Downtown Park, intern engagement, Urban Renewal Grants, and ice arena just to name a few. Over recent years Julie has traveled the US representing Watertown and has accompanied the WDC and City of Watertown for purposes of seeking out new commercial real estate development for Watertown.

To obtain more information regarding commercial, retail, investment, or housing opportunities, please call Mindy at 605-237-8806 or email

Anonymous Supporter of New Ice Arena in Watertown Revealed

A $1 million gift from First PREMIER Bank and PREMIER Bankcard will help kickstart Watertown’s new ice arena building project.  City Councilman Ried Holien announced earlier this month that an anonymous donation had significantly moved the project forward. That donor was recently revealed as the PREMIER organization.


First PREMIER Bank CEO Dana Dykhouse said the gift is part of the organization’s commitment to supporting the people and communities it serves. He also commended the City of Watertown for its vision and challenged others to help support the project. “We all have a responsibility to give back to our communities,” Dykhouse said. “Things like parks and athletic facilities are important quality of life features. They make a community vibrant and help attract new people and businesses.”


PREMIER Bankcard CEO Miles Beacom echoed this sentiment.


“We are excited to be a part of this project and we hope others will step up and lend a hand,” Beacom said. “This facility will help provide added opportunities for our young people to participate in some fun winter activities. This is a great partnership between the City of Watertown and PREMIER.”


First PREMIER Bank and PREMIER Bankcard have a history of supporting philanthropic ventures in the community. In 2016, the organization provided a $500,000 gift to create the PREMIER Softball Complex in southeast Watertown. PREMIER also donated a building to the City of Watertown that currently houses the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce and other entities.


The proposed Watertown Ice Arena carries an estimated $15- to 17 million price tag. It will feature two sheets of ice and help alleviate early-morning and late-night practices. The Watertown Hockey Association is currently fundraising for the project and the Watertown Figure Skate Club has pledged an additional $750,000.


First PREMIER Bank VP and Market Leader Mark Dunn said the project is something people in his community have discussed for several years and PREMIER is proud to champion its progress. “This is a win-win situation for our community, our local economy and the many kids who enjoy hockey and figure skating,” he said.


About First PREMIER Bank and PREMIER Bankcard 
First PREMIER Bank and PREMIER Bankcard is one of Watertown’s largest employers with nearly 400 employees. The company supports nearly 700 organizations and its leadership team and employees have donated more than $1.5 billion to South Dakota entities since 1995. For more information visit


About the Watertown Development Company
The Watertown Development Company (WDC) is a non-profit organization established to own and operate buildings, lands, and development areas for the economic benefit of Watertown. For more information visit

Downtown Watertown to Become a Christmas Destination

Over the last couple of years, the Watertown Development Company (WDC), the organization known for marketing Watertown as a destination for businesses to relocate, has made it its mission to take an active role in the redevelopment of downtown, including participation in the development of The Lofts, Parkside Place, the redevelopment of many empty downtown buildings, and soon, the development of a new downtown park. Now the WDC is working to transform the city center into a beacon of holiday cheer over the holidays.


The seasonal celebration will be called “A Merry & Bright Christmas”.


The WDC is committed to creating more family-friendly events in Downtown Watertown to complement the events that are already put on by the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Watertown Committee.


“Through the assistance of some local sponsors, we are excited to announce that the WDC will contribute a significant amount of time, and effort towards providing a one-of-a-kind family-friendly shopping experience all month long,” said Chris Schilken, WDC Executive Director. “Christmas is a wonderful season that brings together family and friends who spread cheer and give thanks for the many blessings we have. Thanks to continued support for Downtown by our investors and sponsors, it is now possible for us to make Downtown Watertown a Christmas destination.”


Downtown will be converted into the “North Pole of Downtown,” with giant decorations, lighted boulevard trees, and a 20-foot-tall Christmas tree. Many of the shops and businesses of Downtown will convert their storefronts into a “Window Wonderland”, an event hosted by the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce, featuring installations curated by local artists, and a grove of live Christmas trees—decorated by families, business, and organizations from throughout Watertown—will fill The Lofts retail area.


Because of the Covid pandemic, trade shows and other marketing opportunities have been canceled,  limiting WDC staff for places to market Watertown as a place for businesses to locate. The only other option is to draw the attention of shoppers, and prospective businesses and retailers – to them.


WDC Director of Marketing Traci Stein said,  “The pandemic has really taken a toll on our businesses, and therefore Watertown’s retail sales numbers have suffered,  so the WDC is trying to create a buzz-worthy experience for our downtown businesses to try and get those numbers back up. The WDC is committed to making sure our businesses survive and conquer, and to show prospective retailers we are committed to the continued growth of Watertown.”


A Merry & Bright Downtown Christmas begins with three events on the weekend of November 27th. Things kick-off on Thursday, November 26th, with the Holiday Lighted Parade featured by the Downtown Watertown Committee,  and the lighting of the official Christmas tree of Watertown and Christmas Tree Extravaganza, hosted by the WDC, and an opportunity to meet Santa Clause.


The annual Holiday Lighted Parade rolls through Downtown on Thursday, November 26th. The parade is held annually by the Downtown Watertown Committee and marks the “official” arrival of Santa in Watertown. Santa will be on a float in the parade and children are encouraged to bring their letters for Santa to mail to the North Pole.


The Christmas Tree Extravaganza begins on Friday, November 27th. The Extravaganza is a friendly Christmas tree decorating competition open to all businesses, organizations, families, and creative individuals throughout Watertown. Participants will decorate trees to display throughout the holiday season in a grove at The Lofts. Visitors can vote on their favorite tree online and in person. Winners of the competition will be announced in a grand finale event on December 18th. Those interested in participating in the Extravaganza can find more information on the Extravaganza Kick-Off page.


A web page has been dedicated to the event. You can view the event schedule and registration page for the Extravaganza at


Sponsors of the Merry & Bright Christmas include the Watertown Area Community Foundation, The Watertown Lions Club, Dial – A – Move, Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce, Benchmark Foam, Mavericks, Target, and KXLG Radio.

Visionpoint Advisory Group Moving Downtown to Commercial Space at the Lofts

The growth of Downtown continues as a prominent financial planning and consultation business, VisionPoint Advisory Group, has made the decision to move into one of the commercial spaces available at The Lofts.


“We started looking for space about a year ago due to our growth locally, and vision of future growth.” Scott Munger, Partner and Senior Financial Consultant of VisionPoint said “We looked all over town but continued to be pulled to the Downtown area due to its tremendous growth, appeal, and future potential.”


The Lofts Developer, Jesse Craig, was thrilled to have VisionPoint be one of the first commercial tenants moving into the building. “They will be a great fit for the space we’ve built as well as the downtown area. We are excited to have such a well-known and respected business and proprietor as a tenant/partner.” said Craig.


The Lofts building was designed to have four commercial spaces on the first floor with 39 total apartments on the second and third floors.  VisionPoint, being the first official tenant, was able to have first pick of the available areas.


“The space chosen allows us to build out our VisionPoint Family Office to the level desired and continue to bring further resources to enhance our clients’ financial futures.” Munger said, “We look forward to passing this new experience onto our valued clients.”


Currently located on 10th Street SW, VisionPoint will make the move to their new location on Broadway in October. Details on their grand opening will be coming soon.


About VisionPoint Advisory Group

VisionPoint Advisory Group specializes in holistic financial planning and consultation for families through our Wealthbridge process, and corporate retirement plan consultation. An independent RIA with over $2 billion in assets under management.

New National Community Investment Tool Introduced in Watertown

A new national community investment tool that connects private capital with low-income communities across America to provide new investments, new business, and better paying jobs has made its way into Watertown by a fund set up by an area developer. JASK SD, LLC was created as part of the Opportunity Zones Incentive – a new community investment tool established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities nationwide. Opportunity Zones provide a tax incentive for investors to re-invest their unrealized capital gains into dedicated Opportunity Funds.


Opportunity Zones are areas of a community where low-income census tracts are nominated by governors and certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury into which investors can now put capital to work financing new projects and enterprises in exchange for certain federal capital gains tax advantages. The United States has over 8,700 Opportunity Zones in every state and territory.


Watertown has one area designated as an Opportunity Zone. The area spans from 3rd Avenue NW near Riverside Park, down 1st Avenue to 19th Street NE, South stopping at Highway 212, West to Kemp Avenue and ends North at 3rd Avenue NW.


Jesse Craig explained, “Many small communities have been passed over by economic growth and forgotten. This new formula for public and private sectors to work together to generate new investments, new businesses, and new good paying jobs in places that have fallen behind harnesses much-needed private capital to flow to communities and empower local leaders to build a more prosperous community.”


The Lofts, a project that already has its ownership structure in place and has started under the operation of Jesse Craig of Craig Companies, is an example of a mixed-use project currently under construction in a designated Opportunity Zone in Watertown. Upon completion, it will have thirty-nine residential units and 8,000 square feet of commercial space for lease.


The Opportunity Zones concept was originally introduced in a 2015 paper, “Unlocking Private Capital to Facilitate Economic Growth in Distressed Areas,” to help address the persistent poverty and uneven recovery that left too many American communities behind. The idea has since been supported by a wide-ranging coalition of investors, entrepreneurs, community developers, economists, and other stakeholders.


Two projects are in the works for Craig Companies under the JASK SD Opportunity Fund in the near future. Craig is planning a new apartment building which is currently in the design stage, and another apartment building with mixed-use that is currently in the development stage.


To become involved in the JASK SD, LLC Opportunity Fund, contact fund sponsor Jesse Craig at 605 868 8330 or visit their website at

New Industrial Park Named for Notable Watertown Businessman

The Watertown Development Company (WDC) has selected a name for their new industrial park that honors an individual who has made a lasting impression on the industrial culture of Watertown.


The park will be called Calvin Industrial Park, named for John Calvin, notable Watertown businessman, philanthropist and entrepreneur.


Chris Schilken, Executive Director of the WDC, said, “John is a very successful, well-respected businessman and entrepreneur who has brought a wealth of experience and opportunity to our community,” said Schilken. “His name evokes economic vitality and signifies the promise of a brilliant future for the park.”


Calvin is known for bringing his company, Angus Industries, to Watertown over 40 years ago, and for being the second Watertown businessman to oversee the state of South Dakota’s economic development efforts.


He first came to South Dakota to hunt pheasants, but after many more visits to the state, the late Gov. George S. Mickelson convinced him to expand his manufacturing business to Watertown. He put only part of the company in Watertown to start.


By 1992, Calvin moved all of the operations to Watertown, and many other employees from the plant in Minnesota. The company grew quickly; from $2.7 million to $20 million in annual sales, and in 1996, sold it to the employees and watched it continue to grow while he formed a new venture, J. Scott Industries of Watertown, investing in other new businesses.


Calvin said of his success and naming of the park, “Watertown was a good move. It has a remarkable workforce with good work ethic and attitude. I am deeply appreciative for the recognition.”


Acquisition of the industrial park land by the WDC was completed last fall.  Hoping to continue the legacy of successes such as recruiting Calvin’s business to Watertown, new development within the park will follow one of the long-held missions of the WDC: focusing on new business attraction and existing business retention and expansion.


The WDC is already working with a company looking to locate to the new park.


“We are working on recruiting a company from out of state who is ready to locate on the north end of the park and employ up to 50 people. Construction is expected to start this fall,” said Schilken.


A park dedication ceremony is planned for May 28th at 2:00 p.m. at the southwest corner of the park, with a reception to follow at 4:00 p.m. at Joy Ranch. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is expected to be in attendance at the dedication ceremony. The public is welcome to attend.

WDC Announces 50 New Jobs Coming to Watertown

A company from Detroit Lakes Minnesota will combine two of its locations and relocate them to Watertown.


Broadway Welding, Inc. plans to invest more than $5 million dollars to purchase building and equipment, creating approximately 50 new jobs over the next several years.


Broadway Welding, Inc. began operations in 2004 as a full-service manufacturing job shop. In 2012 they began manufacturing a full line of Skid Steer Attachments known as Legend Attachments and in 2015 GS Trailers first fish house frame was manufactured. The company now has over 3500 trailers on the road. In 2019 two additional product lines were added as they acquired Sprayflex Sprayers which builds field sprayers and Truflex Landrollers, manufacturing heavy duty land rollers. The company will first be moving GS Trailers manufacturing to Watertown with potential for other product lines to follow. The Watertown location will also have full job shop capabilities.


The Watertown Development Company worked with Broadway Welding to secure the expansion to Watertown.


“The decision to expand their manufacturing presence to Watertown is a strong testament to the region’s supportive environment for manufacturers,” Chris Schilken, Executive Director of the WDC said. “Companies from around the world continue to locate and expand in our area for its skilled workforce and top-tier institution of higher technical education, Lake Area Tech. The WDC is proud to have assisted with their relocation, and we look forward to their next phase of growth.”


To help in the relocation of the company, the WDC assisted with the purchase of the Terex main plant building located at 500 Oakwood Road. Although Terex has not moved from that location, Broadway Welding will lease the building to Terex until they are able to move to their new location in Mallard Pointe Business Park in Watertown.


“Innovative companies like Broadway Welding help to keep Watertown at the forefront of a rapidly evolving manufacturing industry,” Traci Stein, Director of  Marketing said. “The company has provided high-quality, well- paying jobs for hardworking people for nearly fifteen years. Their expansion into Watertown from Minnesota is a significant win, and we are grateful for their commitment to Watertown.”


Broadway Welding is expected to begin operations late this summer. For more information on the company, visit