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Businesses and residents unite to revive downtown building

techsm5

January 5, 2023

Arctic temperatures last month slowed traffic at shops and restaurants in the Jones421 building in downtown Sioux Falls, cooling business in what is usually a busy month.

Then, a burst pipe on Christmas Day caused damage to businesses and condos on two floors. However, the aftermath has brought together both those who chose to make the historic building their home and those who placed their business dreams inside its doors.

Businesses today are looking to the future and devising ways to attract new customers and keep them coming back. For Inkka Beaudoin, owner of Swamp Daddy’s Cajun Kitchen, that means burgers and music. Down the hall at ‘Brosia Bowl, that will mean new offerings like meal prep services and cooking classes.

As Jones421’s cleanup continues, “Brosia Bowl owner Darcy Green has a message for diners and shoppers.

“It’s a mess here, but we’re open, we’re here for them,” she said.

The Christmas Day flood affected five condos on the second floor and a sixth suffered wet carpet, said Zach Dickson, chairman of the condo board. The Jones421 building has four floors and a basement. The top three floors have been transformed into residences.

Water that has sat on the wood floors will cause warping and will need to be replaced, Dickson said. Floodwaters have also washed down the stairwells, but the outdoor carpet will not need replacing. The electronic chips that operate the elevators were also damaged.

The unit that Dickson and his wife owned had about an inch of water in a quarter of its space. They were having Christmas dinner at his parents’ house when he received a call that water was leaking on the second floor.

“Six residents were already helping clean up when I arrived,” Dickson said. “It was amazing how quickly everyone in our Jones community got together and started taking care of the water. water from Intoxibakes and Swamp Daddy’s and Henna Harvest.It was an amazing sight to see.

When Inkka Beaudion and her husband, Julian, arrived at their restaurant around 6:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, it looked like cleaning would be a losing battle.

“It was still dripping from the ceiling,” Julian Beaudion said. “Eventually the water started to stop at 9 or 9:30.”

In the days that followed, Swamp Daddy received a deep cleanse with three straight days of 12-hour efforts. During this time, new prep cooks were also trained. Swamp Daddy’s reopened on the Thursday after Christmas, in time for a regularly scheduled event he calls Guest List.

Most rebuilding at Swamp Daddy will wait until after January, so the restaurant can compete in the annual Downtown Burger Battle. The event attracts thousands of people to taste the hamburgers prepared by the participating restaurants. This year, 32 companies are participating.

Swamp Daddy’s offers a Magnolia Burger featuring beef, short ribs and andouille sausage with a secret sauce. The Beaudoins are hoping their burger will mark a change of fortune after two disappointing months. Even before the prolonged cold snap in December, they had seen a surprising drop in business.

On December 21, Swamp Daddy’s posted a photo of an empty restaurant during what should have been a lunchtime rush. Replies to the post praised the food with several comments about difficulty finding parking. Other customers contradicted this and the next day 40-50 diners came out to eat.

“Honestly, November wasn’t as cold as it normally is, and it was even tough,” said Beaudoin. “I spoke with several other people, and coming out of COVID and the inflation that was already happening, it seemed like the food industry was being hit hard. There are several businesses that are stressed downtown and in danger. »

The Burger Battle means that January is Swamp Daddy’s busiest month by far, and this month’s event will be the first for the restaurant in its new, larger location in the Jones421 building. The owners hope to double sales. With a bigger kitchen and new equipment, cooks can whip up more burgers faster, Beaudoin said.

But they don’t rely on that alone. They plan to bring more live music with genres other than jazz. A karaoke evening is also planned. As they make plans, however, the weather continues to battle local businesses with this week’s storm that forced many to close on Tuesday and Wednesday.

At ‘Brosia Bowl, plans for 2023 include the new meal prep service and a push to educate people about developing the habit of healthy eating. The vegan/vegetarian restaurant will offer meal prep, Green said. She is also looking to expand her meals to other locations. Pomegranate Market offers bowls and salads.

“We offer pick-up meal prep twice a week from the store, and if there are any dietary restrictions, I’ll work with them,” Green said. “We will also have cooking classes, the basics of cooking with plants and techniques and flavor combinations.”

Andell Wuebben, owner of a nearby green business, Henna Harvest is considering offering wine and linen classes and possibly anti-Valentine’s Day festivities.

Like retail stores, restaurants depend on pre-Christmas sales, Green said. Gift cards help familiarize new diners with other places to eat. This year’s pre-Christmas sales got off to a good start, but then cold weather and storms brought traffic to a standstill, she said.

The Burger Battle is definitely making a difference by bringing people to downtown restaurants, Green said. While ‘Brosia Bowl can’t officially participate, since it doesn’t serve meat, it has placed a vegan burger on its menu.

The owners of Intoxibakes planned to close from December 24 to January 2 to “rest, recharge and spend time with family”. It didn’t go as planned, co-owner Holly Jorgenson said. The flood damaged the bakery’s ovens and they had to order new ones. If the ovens arrive as scheduled on Friday, the shop will reopen on Tuesday.

The Jones421 building is essentially complete, with condominium available and open commercial space on the first floor. It was a temporary location for REACH Literacy’s bookstore, and is now used as a space selling items for Interiors Etc. in January.


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