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Success Stories

2017 Small Business Person of the Year

Beth Hanna
Building Blocks Childcare & Learning Center, LLC, Brandon
Nominated by Katie DeBoer, First District Development Company

Seeing a need, fulfilling a need and achieving a longtime goal is what makes Beth Hanna, owner and director of Building Blocks Childcare and Learning Center, LLC (Building Blocks), a successful woman business owner.  Beth received a degree in Elementary Education from the University of South Dakota in 1998, but her vocation has always been geared toward childcare.  She thrived as an in-home daycare provider and had worked in all capacities in various childcare centers before she was given the opportunity to start Building Blocks in June of 2011.  Building Blocks has become a one-stop childcare service center to children four weeks to twelve years.

With assistance from two (2) SBA 7(a) program loans, Beth leased a space and Building Blocks opened with 50 children. By the end of 2011, the Center was at... Read More

The Elliott Family, A-OX Welding Supply Co., Inc., Sioux Falls
Nominated by Lynne Keller Forbes, Dakota BUSINESS Finance 


A-OX Welding Supply Co., Inc. is a South Dakota family owned company that began 72 years ago as Dakota Welding Supply in Watertown.  A year later, Sioux Welding Supply Company was founded in Sioux Falls, SD as an associated business handling the same lines of product as Dakota Welding Supply.  In 1954, the businesses merged under the Dakota Welding Supply Company name and  continued to serve eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota.  By 1956, Dakota Welding Supply had three warehouses in Sioux Falls, Watertown, and Huron, SD, as well as a fleet of 11 trucks and numerous dealers throughout the region.
The Elliott Family patriarch, Harold Elliott, founded A & B Welding Supply in 1959 in Rapid City, SD, when he decided to leverage his experience working in a welding garage to... Read More

Doug Hansen
Hansen Wheel & Wagon Shop, Letcher
Nominated by Wes Kelly, SD Manufacturing & Technology Solutions

Nestled between the small town of Letcher and the city of Mitchell is a South Dakota business gem that is giving the world a taste of years gone by.  Motivated by a love of history and a desire to preserve our heritage, Doug Hansen, a Master Craftsmen & Historian, founded Hansen Wheel & Wagon Shop in 1978.  Hansen and his team take pride in resurrecting, preserving and passing on America’s transportation legacy for future generations to enjoy.  Everything is custom built at Hansen’s with fifty percent of their work done as restoration and the other fifty percent replication.  Each project can take from six months to a year and the company generally produces approximately one hundred products a year.  Chances are you have seen Hansen wagons and coaches if you’ve visited a Disney theme park... Read More