• Brookings Education Appreciation Week

    Winners Revealed for Local Small Business Awards

    Recognition of Committed Entrepreneurs and Local Champions

    Brookings, S.D. – May 3, 2021. The Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce and Brookings Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) are excited to announce the recipients of five awards to celebrate small businesses in Brookings. The program was launched in April and online nominations were received from members of the community.

    “The opportunity to recognize and celebrate our local small business is so rewarding. We have some of the best entrepreneurs right here in Brookings and based on the nominations we received, our community thinks so too!” said Ashley Biggar of the Chamber and Director of Downtown Brookings.

    The 2021 Small Business Awards recipients are: Community Champion of the Year – The Carrot Seed/Honeycomb Gifts; Innovative Business of the Year – The Pheasant Restaurant and Lounge; New Business of the Year – Little Rascals; Veteran-Owned Business of the Year – Bowes Construction; and Woman-Owned Business of the Year – Prairie Soul Studio.

    “I am excited to see this program in year two and hope it will continue as an annual recognition.” Said Jennifer Quail, BEDC’s Director of Entrepreneur Support. “Our small businesses play a key role in our local economy and the viability of the community. It is encouraging to see the continued support and appreciation for our small business heroes!”

    Brookings’s residents are encouraged to reach out, stop by or simply write a review to congratulate this year’s winners.

    Both the Chamber and BEDC support small businesses through a variety of programs and initiatives, and through all business stages from launch to retirement. For more information on services, resources, or programs, please contact Quail at jennifer@brookingsedc.com or Biggar at ashley@brookingschamber.org.

  • Love Letters to Local 

    A Small Business Week Appreciation Celebration


    Brookings, S.D. — April 8, 2021 National Small Business Week kicks off on May 2, 2021. Created in 1963, the week is a means to recognize and celebrate entrepreneurs and small business owners. With approximately 250 small businesses in the Downtown Brookings Business District, the Downtown Committee of the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce is facilitating a means of celebrating what makes small businesses so special and appreciated by the community and visitors alike, particularly ones in the district.

    “We really wanted to show our appreciation for all our small businesses in a public way that anyone could contribute,” said Sarah Dorn, Chair of the Downtown Committee and Owner of Mama Peacock. “Our committee thought a collection of hearts and letters of appreciation would be the perfect way to do just that.”

    Most industries of businesses are represented in the Downtown Brookings Business District. The district encompasses around 30 blocks downtown surrounding the Main Avenue. The committee is looking forward to seeing hearts, stories, and letters for all the different businesses in the area and all of Brookings.

    “Our small businesses are the ones that bring one hundred plus percent passion for their businesses and the people they serve into their everyday lives,” said Ashley Biggar, Director of Downtown Brookings. “With the outpour of their hearts and souls in all they do, plus all the ways they give back to the community, we are all beyond grateful. This action of writing a letter will make a big impact to show that appreciation.”

    The community and visitors of Brookings are challenged to fill the windows of the Ben Franklin Event Hall with hearts and letters to show appreciation for small businesses, especially those in Downtown Brookings. Here is how to participate:

    • Pick up a pre-cut paper heart or letter from the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce, The Carrot Seed Kitchen Co., or the Brookings Arts Council, OR make your own creations, OR email ashley@brookingschamber.org your submission to have created.
    • Write a message expressing your gratitude for all small businesses or a specific one, especially those in the Downtown District. Did they help you find exactly what you were looking for? Were they especially kind? Did they donate an item for your fundraiser? These are just a few examples. Feel free to be as general or detailed as you like.
    • Return to one of the pick-up/drop-off locations at Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce, The Carrot Seed Kitchen Co., or the Brookings Arts Council by April 26, 2021.
    • Visit all the beautiful love letters displayed at the Ben Franklin Event Hall during National Small Business Week, May 2 – 8, 2021.

    For more information, please contact Ashley Biggar at the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce at 605-692-8922 or email ashley@brookingschamber.org.


  • Small Business, Big Impact 

    Awards to Celebrate Brookings Area Small Businesses

    Brookings, S.D. — April 1, 2021 National Small Business Week is May 2-8, 2021, and the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce and Brookings Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) want to celebrate our local small businesses. To do so we have decided to partner again and sponsor five small business awards during National Small Business Week: Community Champion of the Year; Innovative Business of the Year; New Business of the Year; Veteran-Owned Business of the Year and Women-Owned Business of the Year.

    Brookings is very fortunate to have depth, variety, and longevity within its small business sector. It is fair to say our small businesses are nothing short of awesome! 2020 can’t keep our businesses down. They not only continue to shine but exceed our expectations as they show innovation, ingenuity, and grit. 

    Both the Chamber and BEDC support small businesses with a variety of programs and initiatives through all stages from launching to retirement. Each organization knows the dedicated people behind these businesses, the countless hours they put in and the passion they have not only for their business, but the community as well.

    “This is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the vital role small businesses have in growing our economy. Every industry sector in Brookings is represented by small business – retail, manufacturing, service, hospitality, and more,” said Jennifer Quail, Director of Entrepreneur Support with BEDC.

    The federal government classifies businesses with 500 or fewer employees as a “small business”. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the US each year.

    “Our small businesses here in Brookings are truly amazing. Their hard work, dedication, passion, resiliency, and giving back deserve to be not only recognized but celebrated,” said Ashley Biggar, Director of the Chamber’s Downtown Brookings program.  “We invite residents to help us appreciate these businesses by nominating them to receive these awards.”

    Nomination applications can be found on the Chamber website, https://www.brookingschamber.org/brookings-small-business-week-awards, and individuals may submit several different nominations. The deadline for submitting is Thursday, April 15, 2021. The awards will be announced one per day May 3 – 7, 2021 of National Small Business Week.

    For more information, please contact Ashley Biggar at ashley@brookingschamber.org or call the Chamber at 605-692-8922.

  • Relaunch of Downtown Economic Development Incentive Fund

    Brookings, S.D. — 01/29/21 The Downtown Brookings Business District Committee, a committee of the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce, relaunched the Downtown Economic Development Incentive Fund (DEDIF) today. The purpose of the DEDIF Loan Program is to stimulate private investment in downtown Brookings by lending funds to downtown property owners for the purpose of exterior streetside real estate improvements, repairs, and historical preservation.

    The fund, created by driving financial support of Lowes several years ago with additional support from NorthWestern Energy as well as First Bank & Trust, was previously managed by the Downtown Brookings Inc. (DBI). That downtown organization dissolved a couple of years ago, becoming a committee of the Chamber. Recently this committee put together a subcommittee to manage the fund along with the Program Manager and Downtown Director, Ashley Biggar.

    “We are ecstatic to revive this program to revitalize the streetscape of our historic downtown,” said Ashley Biggar, Director of Downtown Brookings. “The DEDIF subcommittee has worked diligently to put together a new look and easier application process to encourage more projects in downtown Brookings.”

    The mission of DEDIF is to support the continued economic growth and enhancement of downtown Brookings. Operating as a revolving loan fund, the program will enable the continual reutilization of a single pool of money. As monthly loan payments are made, DEDIF funds will be recycled and reloaned to new loan applicants. Eligibility for DEDIF assistance is based on location within the Downtown Brookings Business District, the financial strength and repayment ability of the applicant, the feasibility and economic viability of the project, and project conformity.

    Additional information on the terms and conditions may be found on the Chamber’s website at brookingschamber.org.

    For more information, please contact the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce at 605-692-8922 or email ashley@brookingschamber.org.



  • 3rd Annual Let It Glow Holiday Light Competition Winners Announced

    Brookings, S.D. — 01/08/2020 The Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce helped the community of Brookings get into the holiday spirit this season with the third annual Let It Glow, a holiday light competition. 34 houses illuminated Brookings in the contest, an increase from the 32 participants last year. 612 votes were submitted via text from those that drove and carefully selected their favorite house to be crowned the winner, up from 549 received last year. 

    Residents decked their homes with lights, lawn ornaments, wreaths, and more to help bring holiday cheer to residents in Brookings. Participants had the chance to win one of the three $100 cash prizes for three different categories: Best in Show, Clark Griswold, and People’s Choice.

    The 2020 winners are:

    • Best in Show
      • WINNER: Kristopher & Sarah Shrewsberry home (#10)
    • Clark Griswold (most lights)
      • WINNER: Corey & Heather Ridgway home (#32)
    • People’s Choice (public vote)
      • WINNER: Jeremiah Ackermann home (#19)


    This event would not be possible without the support of our generous sponsors! Thank you to our title sponsor Mediacom Residential, as well as our event sponsors Emilie Portz of Century 21, Outdoor Design & Landscape, The Brookings Register, Brookings Dental Clinic, Embrace Dentistry, Mills Property Management, and Sanford Clinic.

    Thank you to all who participated in this fun holiday competition and helped select our winners! We are already looking forward to next year!

    For more information, please contact the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce at 605-692-8922 or email info@brookingschamber.org.