• 2nd Annual Let it Glow Holiday Light Competition Winners Announced
    (BROOKINGS, SD) – The Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce helped the community of Brookings get into the holiday spirit this season with the 2nd Annual Let it Glow Holiday Light Competition. There were over 30 houses in the competition this year, a significant increase from the 25 participants last year. There was a total of 638 individual voters this year, which was also an increase to the 549 votes received last year.
    Residents decked their homes with lights, lawn ornaments, wreaths, and more to help bring holiday cheer to residents in Brookings. Each participant 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 2019 winners are:
    • Best in Show ||Voted on by Mayor Corbett, Chamber President & CEO Kelsey Doom, and our event sponsors
      • WINNER: Linda & Allen Whitaker home (#22)
    • Clark Griswold (most lights) || Voted on by sponsors
      • WINNER: Ryan and Anna Beasley home (#23)
    • People’s Choice || Voted on by the public via text
      • WINNER: Breann Julius home (#3)
    This event wouldn’t be possible without the support of our generous sponsors! Thank you to our title sponsor Emilie Portz of Century 21, as well as our event sponsors Outdoor Design & Landscape, The Brookings Register, and Starbucks Café®.
    Thank you to all who participated in this fun holiday competition! We are already looking forward to next year!


  • Elkton Gets a New Mayor - Christina Wiemer

    Release Date: December 10, 2019 

    Tell us about yourself: My husband, Justin, and I have two kids Elijah, 6 years, and Phoenix, 3 years. I'm passionate about community service and am involved in many local groups including Elkton Hero Days, The Elkton Community Child Care and Education Center, and our local Community Club. In my spare time, I enjoy attending my kids' sporting events, cooking, and baking. 
    What excites you about Elkton? Elkton is such an amazing community. When we were deciding where to start our family we looked for a community that really gave back to the kids and took care of each other. I've now been a part of the community for ten years. The growth in those ten years has really been mind-blowing. When residents see a challenge or problem, they make it a chance for growth. We recently had a resident who saw the need for a food pantry. We now have a functional food pantry stocked by donations from community members. I get so excited by the leaders and volunteers in our community. If we can tap into and develop all the leaders in our community we will keep Elkton improving and growing. The potential is unlimited!
    What are your favorite things about Elkton? One of my favorite things about Elkton is it's old school values. The value placed on community, family, faith, and our youth is endless. Another favorite thing I commend the community for is its ability to change. We have to continue to change and improve as a city, Elkton has been doing this without hesitation. Another favorite is it support for each other, neighbors helping neighbors
    What made you want to become involved in city leadership?  The main driving force for my involvement in city leadership comes from my children and the community's youth. I had some influential people during my youth that showed me how to do better, how to give back, and taught me why it is important to invest in the community. I hope to model to my children that if you see a challenge or suffrage it's up to you to change it. It also works in the sense of seeing someone else doing good, help them, or take that idea and implement it for your self or your group or community. 
    What leaders do you look up to? Oh man, that's a hard question. Martin Luther King Jr., Phyllis Schlafly, Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, George Washington Carver, Theodore Roosevelt, JFK, Wendy Kopp, Marc Edwards, Nelson Mandela, and Rand Paul, my parents, just to name a few. The list really could go on and on.  I have profound gratitude to the leaders that really went into a situation, built others up and changes the world. 
    What advice can you give about leadership? My position on leadership is to give your all. Do everything you can to build up the leaders around you. One of my favorite proverbs is "if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together" I believe in really finding out your leader's attributes and strengths, and using them where they can have the most effect. Lastly,  my three-year-old daughter's philosophy is my favorite that I repeat to myself often: "teamwork makes the dream work!"


  • And the Winners are…
    Release Date: December 6, 2019
    (Brookings, SD) The 24th Annual Parade of Lights traveled through downtown Brookings on Saturday, November 30th at 7 p.m. and delighted the crowd with bright, colorful, and musical floats. This year’s theme, Santa’s Ho Ho Hoedown, was a huge hit with Brookings residents.  Our judges had their work cut out for them when choosing winners for each category, which included Best Use of Music, Best Use of Lighting, Mayor’s Choice, and Best Use of Theme.  Cubby’s Sports Bar and Grill’s rooftop hosted our judges with and special emcees Brad DeBeer and Kari Westlund.
    The Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Business District Committee would like to thank all the parade entries who went above and beyond with their float creations to help kick off the holiday season. The following businesses and organizations were awarded the honors in the 24th Annual Parade of Lights:
    • Best Use of Music - 3M Company
    • Best Use of Theme - Brookings Police Department
    • Best Use of Lighting - Eidness Funeral Home
    • Mayor’s Choice - Farmer’s Implement & Irrigation
    This event wouldn’t be possible without the support of our generous sponsors! Thank you to our award sponsors First Bank & Trust and 3M Company. A big thank you Papa John’s Pizza for donating pizza to all parade entries. Lastly, thank you to everyone who came out despite the snowy, cold weather!


  • 22nd Avenue Open to Traffic Today

    Release Date: November 1, 2019

    Contact: Jackie Lanning, City Engineer, 605-692-6629, jlanning@cityofbrookings.org 

    The City is excited to announce that 22nd Avenue between 6th Street and Eastbrook Drive will be open to traffic at approximately 3:00 PM today, Friday, November 1, 2019.  The contractors will be removing traffic control devices throughout the project and the public should proceed cautiously through the construction area. 

    The public should be aware that the contractors will continue to work on the project after it is open to traffic.  Olwien Street will have a temporary stop sign at 22nd Avenue and the traffic signal is tentatively scheduled to be installed in early December.  The traffic signal equipment shipment has been delayed and the signal will be installed as soon as the equipment arrives.  Contractors will also be working on seeding and clean-up items and they will set up traffic control devices as needed.  

    The City of Brookings would like to thank the public for their patience during the project.  There were many people involved in making this project a success and we sincerely appreciate everyone’s cooperation throughout the project. 

    Questions may be directed to Jeff Cooley at Civil Design Inc. at (605) 696-3200 or jcooley@civildes.com or the City Engineering Department at (605) 692-6629 or jlanning@cityofbrookings.org.


  • Falcon Plastics Announces Acquisition of Poly-Cast, Inc.
    Release Date: November 1, 2019
    Contact: Karissa Kopecky, Marketing Manager, 605-696-2500 
    Falcon Plastics has announced that it has acquired Poly-Cast, Inc., headquartered in Tigard, Oregon. This acquisition will immediately align under the company’s business structure.

    The acquisition enhances the Falcon Plastics custom injection molding business through extended service and product offerings with the addition of wax molding components and further-reaching market share in the industrial, medical, automotive, and recreational markets. This acquisition will enhance Falcon Plastics business model as a full-service solutions provider in the custom molding sector. Following the acquisition, Falcon Plastics will operate facilities in three states — South Dakota, Tennessee, and Oregon, in addition to the Poly-Cast facility in Suzhou, China — allowing Falcon Plastics to further optimize and expand customer services and logistics.

    “While considering the sale of Poly-Cast, Inc. it was important that our decision included three critical criteria,” stated Dan Leedom, Owner, and CEO of Poly-Cast, Inc.
    • A similar family business environment and culture
    • It had to be beneficial to the growth of the organization, the employees, and the clients
    • The third generation in the business, Jeff Leedom, continue participating in building the business
    “I am proud to say that we were able to achieve all of this—I could not be more excited about the future of our clients, our team members, and the new direction of our organization”.
    With the close of the acquisition, Dan Leedom will join Falcon Plastics as Sales Account Manager in the Northwest. Current Poly-Cast Suzhou General Manager, Jeff Leedom, will take reign as General Manager of both the Tigard, Oregon and Suzhou, China facilities. Falcon Plastics also plans to integrate the Poly-Cast team of over 60 employees directly into its core structure. Key suppliers of both companies will continue to play a vital role in the success of our business strategy.

    “I am truly excited about the opportunity this acquisition will bring to everyone we work with” stated Jay Bender, President of Falcon Plastics. “The culture and mutual values of Poly-Cast and Falcon Plastics are closely aligned. This addition will open up a whole new territory for us in the Northwestern US and bring additional capabilities and resources to our entire team.”
    About Falcon Plastics:
    Falcon Plastics is a family-owned and operated business, headquartered in Brookings, SD. Founded in 1975, Falcon Plastics has been molding customer ideas into a wide variety of products in use every day by people all over the world. Falcon Plastics currently operates three manufacturing facilities with over 250,000 sq. ft. of facilities in Brookings and Madison, SD, and Lexington, TN, as well as a partnership in Suzhou, China.
    About Poly-Cast:
    Founded in 1972 in Portland, Oregon, Poly-Cast’s mission is to serve innovation-driven markets with high-quality plastic molded parts. Since its formation, Poly-Cast has repeatedly been recognized by clients as a high quality, responsive supplier for transportation, medical, instrumentation, industrial, and consumer plastic products.

    If you would like more information, please contact Karissa Kopecky, Marketing Manager at marketing@falconplastics.com.


  • 2019-2020 Leadership Brookings Participants Announced
    Release Date: October 11, 2019
    Contact: Ali Teesdale, Administrative Assistant, 605-692-6125, ali@brookingschamber.org
    BROOKINGS - Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce has announced the participants selected for the 2019-2020 Leadership Brookings class. This year’s participants will partake in six full-day sessions from October through March. The sessions’ curriculums are comprised of personal and professional development, exposure to Brookings industries, education on issues facing the Brookings community, and call to action for community leadership involvement.
    Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Kelsey Doom, says “We’re really excited to launch this re-vamped curriculum. Personally, I’m looking forward to the feedback we receive to help us improve with every session we put on for this group. We did a lot of research into what other programs are doing – what’s working well, what’s not working so great. It’s going to be fun to learn alongside this class.”
    Participants from the Brookings area will engage with community leaders while refining their leadership skills and increasing their understanding of the Brookings area. The Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce is also excited to partner with Dr. Shelly Bayer of South Dakota State University to coach the participants through several hours of Clifton Strengths training.
    “Dr. Bayer will add a huge amount of depth to the education these participants are going to receive,” Doom says. “I have heard nothing but great things about Dr. Bayer’s knowledge and techniques; we are beyond grateful that she is able to partake in this year’s program.”
    Leadership Brookings accepted 27 participants for the 2019-2020 year, including:
    • Allie Simons, Banner Associates, Inc.
    • Andrea Wheelhouse, Avera Medical Group
    • Brianna Doran, United Way
    • Brittany Olson, Discovery Benefits
    • Casey Bell, City of Brookings
    • Celso Valencia, Wells Fargo
    • Darcy Peterson, Larson Manufacturing
    • Deidre Beck, Banner Associates, Inc.
    • Elizabeth Lovro, First Bank and Trust
    • Emily Thiex, Dakotaland Federal Credit Union
    • Glendy Thompson, 3M Company
    • Greg Olson, Great Western Bank
    • Heather Kepner, Larson Manufacturing
    • Heidi Anshutz, Mills Property Management
    • Jenn Bender, Falcon Plastics
    • Jesse Davis, Craft Italian-American Fusion
    • Jon Christenson, South Dakota State University
    • Karissa Kopecky, Falcon Plastics
    • Kelsey Beckstrom, DeBoer Construction
    • Kelsie Kroetch, Boys and Girls Club
    • Louise Snodgrass, Brookings Farmers Market
    • Luke Dudley, Malone Engineering
    • Marcus Heemstra, Millborn Seeds
    • Mike Frederiksen, Discovery Benefits
    • Mindy Davis, First Bank and Trust
    • Natalie Page, Swiftel Center
    • Ryannne Davis, Brookings County Salvation Army
    For more information on the Leadership Brookings program please contact Ali at the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce at (605) 692-6125.


  • An Open Letter to Members of the Brookings City Council:

    Brookings, SD (June 21, 2019) - On behalf of our 515 members and their employees, the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors urges the City Council to submit an application to the U.S. Department of Transportation for funds to invest in the I-29/20th Street South interchange via the “Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development” (BUILD) grant.  
    Some of Brookings largest employers are located east of I-29 and these businesses are growing – fast. Falcon Plastics alone has increased sales over 80% in the past ten years. It is our hope that as these businesses invest and grow they see the City of Brookings doing the same to provide the infrastructure necessary to thrive and, in turn, continue to call Brookings home. An additional interchange would provide accessibility to hundreds of other small businesses and amenities, as well as spur economic development along 20th Street South/22nd Avenue South.    
    Brookings boasts wonderful family-friendly amenities, all available in a large community with a small-town feel, but when driving down 6th Street at the wrong time of day that sense of small-town charm vanishes. By building the proposed interchange, traffic will be dispersed, reducing travel times and improving safety.
    In 2000, the City of Brookings’ comprehensive plan specifically cited the need for an interchange at I-29/20th Street South. Since then, the population of Brookings has increased over 24% and is estimated to continue that trajectory. Brookings is growing and needs the proper infrastructure to support that growth.   
    The Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce appreciates all the City of Brookings does to make our home a safe, inclusive, family-friendly place to live and the Chamber is excited for what the future will bring to our amazing community. We support the City Council in a decision to apply to the BUILD grant for an interchange at I-29 and 20th Street South.
    Kelsey Doom, President & CEO
    Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce


  • Brookings Convention & Visitors Bureau Announces New Executive Director

    Brookings, SD (June 4, 2019) – The Brookings Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is pleased to announce Laura Schoen Carbonneau as the new Executive Director, beginning July 1, 2019. Carbonneau joins the CVB team with a strong background in financial management, public relations, and team management. The CVB staff and board are thrilled to welcome Laura to the team and to the Brookings community. “Laura’s experience, professionalism, and creativity will connect well with our current CVB team and help us continue to move forward in ‘Making Tourism Happen’ in our community,” said Seth Koch, CVB Board Chair. 

    Laura earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications from the University of South Dakota in 1991. After graduation, Carbonneau worked for several years as a news anchor and reporter for KEVN-TV in Rapid City and KSFY-TV in Sioux Falls. Between 1998 and 2006, she served as the Director of the Watertown Convention & Visitors Bureau, Executive Director of the South Dakota Republican Party in Pierre, and as the Communications Manager with the South Dakota Department of Transportation, just to name a few. In 2010, she graduated from the Institute for Organization Management in Madison, WI. Laura’s recent role as the CEO of the Pierre Area Chamber of Commerce brings a wealth of knowledge and value to the CVB and its relationship with the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce.

    “Laura’s familiarity and knowledge within tourism and the visitor industry sets her up for success and we’re really excited to have her join our team and hit the ground running to take us to the next level,” said Tom Richter, CVB Board Member.

    The process for hiring the new CVB Executive Director position began in March of 2019 with a total of 24 candidates applying for the job. The CVB Interview Committee narrowed the group to four candidates who interviewed over the phone. At which time, the committee invited their top two candidates to interview in person, while providing stakeholders, industry partners, and community members a chance to meet the two candidates. “The CVB Interview Committee would like to thank everyone for their valuable feedback. Your commitment to our organization and comments helped inform our team during the decision-making process,” said Koch.
    About the Brookings Convention & Visitors Bureau: The Brookings Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) promotes the city and its diverse attractions to visitors and residents alike on all levels, while seeking out opportunities to attract and develop a strong base of conventions and tournaments. For more information contact the CVB office at (605) 692-6125, www.visitbrookingssd.com or at 415 8th Street South.


  • JLG Architects named Design Firm of the Year
    Amanda Kosior, (701) 738.2212 or akosior@jlgarchitects.com
    BROOKINGS, S.D. – May 28, 2019 ENR Mountain States, one of the top publications for the architecture, engineering, and construction industry, has named JLG Architects Design Firm of the Year.  According to ENR, “Design Firms of the Year are chosen by a vote of the regional ENR editors across the country from a carefully selected group of finalists based on regional revenues, new initiatives, current projects, and several other factors.”  JLG was selected for the area encompassing South and North Dakota, Colorado, and Wyoming.
    About JLG Architects
    JLG is a 100-percent employee-owned full-service architecture firm, founded in 1989 by Lonnie Laffen and Gary Johnson. Today, the firm has grown to thirteen offices in Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota with over 120 employees, and has been named one of the 50 Most Admired Companies in America by MSN Money and Best Life, a 50 Best Places to Work in the U.S. by Inc. magazine, and the Design Firm of the Year by ENR Mountain States. For more information about JLG Architects, visit www.jlgarchitects.com.


  • Brookings Health website recognized as top 5% in the nation as a Gold winner in the 2019 Aster Awards competition
    Julia Yoder, Brookings Health System, 605-696-8028, jyoder@brookingshealth.org  
    Ashley Bott, Blend Interactive, 605-334-7077, ashley@blendinteractive.com
    Brookings, SD, May 20, 2019 –Brookings Health System, a non-profit, city-owned health system, has won a Gold Award in the national 2019 Aster Awards competition. The competition — one of the largest, most respected of its kind — is hosted by Marketing Healthcare Today Magazine and Creative Images, Inc.
    Brookings Health System was awarded a Gold award in the Website category, one of only 13 gold awards in the nation. The new brookingshealth.org was designed in partnership with Blend Interactive, a web development company based in Sioux Falls, SD.
    “Research indicates the majority of patients begin their healthcare journey online,” said Julia Yoder, marketing and PR director at Brookings Health System. “We chose to invest in our website with Blend Interactive to create a patient-centric site for our local patients when they start their healthcare journey. The Aster Award affirms our website is built to put patients first.”
    “The Brookings Health System website was kind of a perfect project,” says Corey Vilhauer, director of strategy. “Working with Julia and her team was wonderful, and together we were able to take a full web strategy from ideation to launch — with some pretty great results.” More detail on the work that was completed can be viewed in this case study from Blend Interactive.
    To receive a Gold Award, an entry must receive a score of 95-99 out of 100, which represents the top 5% of nearly 3,000 entries submitted to the competition from organizations in the United States, Canada, and South America. All entries are reviewed by a panel of industry experts and are scored on multiple criteria including creativity, layout and design, functionality, message effectiveness, production quality and overall appeal.
    “The quality and creativity of the entries submitted seems to increase each year. The 2019 Aster Awards program brought together some of the best and most creative advertising in the world,” said Melinda Lucas, Aster Awards Program Coordinator.
    All winners are currently posted on the Aster Awards website (www.AsterAwards.com), as well as published in Marketing Healthcare Today, a national healthcare marketing magazine.


  • Ton Promoted to Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce Membership Director

    Release Date: May 10, 2019

    Contact: info@brookingschamber.org

    Brookings, SD – Kimberly Ton of Brookings, SD was recently promoted from Administrative Assistant and Event Coordinator to the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce Membership Director.

    “Anyone that knows Kimberly knows she is a go-getter. I think we are all excited to see what she will do with this position,” President and CEO Kelsey Doom stated.

    “I’m beyond ecstatic to further my career with the Chamber.  Our team is stronger than ever and ready to promote, connect, enrich, and advocate for our members.  I’m looking forward to meeting as many Brookings businesses as I can so please reach out if we haven’t met or if you just want to chat,” Ton said.

    Ton is starting her new position immediately. The Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce is currently searching for a part time administrative assistant to fill Ton’s previous role. Those interested are invited to email your cover letter and resume to kelsey@brookingschamber.org.

    For more information, please contact the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce at 605-692-6125.


  • President Trump Proclaims National Small Business Week May 5 – 11
    Release Date: Sunday, May 5, 2019
    WASHINGTON – Today, National Small Business Week celebrations commence in the nation’s capital with a two-day award ceremony at the U.S. Institute of Peace where more than 75 national award winners from across the country and U.S. territories are gathered to be recognized for their major accomplishments.  The two-day award ceremony will conclude Monday, May 6 with the announcement of the 2019 National Small Business Person of the Year and two runners-up. 
    Hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the annual event honors the nation’s top small businesses, entrepreneurs, and business advocates. National Small Business Week events will continue through May 11, with SBA Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton hosting additional events taking place in Utah, as well as more than 200 events across the nation. Their courageous innovation makes our cities and towns vibrant places to live, work, and raise families.  Small businesses employ almost 59 million workers, more than one-third of our country’s labor force.” He added, “This week, we celebrate the pioneering spirit, creativity, and determination upon which America has always been built.  This undaunted conviction drives our entrepreneurs and small business owners, whose hard work and perseverance give our Nation economic strength.  Their initiative, combined with the greatest workforce in the world, is enabling us to convert the unlimited potential of America into great wealth and prosperity.”
    The President’s proclamation closes with “by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 5 through May 11, 2019, as National Small Business Week.  I call upon all Americans to recognize the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners as they grow our Nation’s economy.”
    The Washington, D.C. award ceremonies and workshops on digital commerce and social media will be livestreamed at www.facebook.com/sbagov.  In addition, there will be a free Virtual Conference during National Small Business Week, May 7-8 between 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. ET daily. The Virtual Conference offers all the best parts of an in-person conference, but without traveling.  Registration is required, individuals interested in the conference can register here. Virtual Conference viewers will be able to watch educational webinars, get free business advice and network with fellow business owners.


  • Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce Welcomes Doom as President and CEO
    Release Date: April 8, 2019
    Contact: info@brookingschamber.org
    Brookings, SD –  After months of searching, interviewing, and deliberation amongst the board, the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce has announced their new President and Chief Executive Officer as Kelsey Doom from Wagner, South Dakota. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Wagner Area Growth, Inc. as well as the Wagner Chamber of Commerce.
    “I am very excited and honored by this opportunity to work with the Brookings community. The Brookings Chamber of Commerce already has some great systems in place, so I plan to do a lot of listening and learning from the business community in order to understand what other needs they have and how we can help. I’m looking forward to building new relationships and helping to make Brookings an even greater place to be,” Doom stated.
    Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors Staci Perry, said, "We had interest from nearly 60 candidates across the country. Kelsey Doom was the ideal choice for the Brookings Area Chamber. She brings chamber organization, development corporation, and community collaboration experience to the Chamber. With her exceptional background and experience, she is positioned to represent our Chamber members and stakeholders as a participative leader.”  Perry added, “We are pleased to welcome Kelsey to Brookings and feel that her leadership and high performance will complement the Chamber’s exceptional staff and keep the organization on its path of success and ever-increasing achievements.”
    Former President and CEO David Merhib announced his resignation in December 2018. During the transition, former Chair of the Board of Directors Jim Schade has served as Interim President and CEO.
    Doom will be present at the 2019 Annual Meeting hosted by the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce, the Brookings Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Brookings Economic Development Corporation on April 2, 2018. She will officially begin her new position on April 8, 2019.
    For more information, please contact the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce at 605-692-6125.