2024 Governor's Conference on Economic Development
For many, their four-legged friends are part of the family. From what they eat to where they sleep, pets take a front seat when it comes to being cared for.
One local business is working hard to make sure those loved ones are taken special care of when it comes to their safety and so much more. Ruff Land Kennels, located just off the Tea exit, is part of the Roto-Mold LLC. business, that designs and manufactures one-piece animal kennels.
What started as a very small business has quickly become a multi-million-dollar company. In 2008, after being on the road for weeks, going from business to business to try to sell their unique kennels, owners Doug Sangl and Lyle VanKalsbeek were afraid that after having no luck, due in part to the recession, they were going to have to call it quits.
However, it was one final stop, to a dog show, that changed everything. There, in an instant all 52 kennels the duo had on hand, were sold and the rest, as they say, is history.
As quickly as orders for the kennels began to grow, so did the company’s need for more space. With the help of the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), Ruff Land purchased a 20,000 square foot building. Three years later, again with the help of GOED, they purchased another building, expanding their space by 10,000 square feet.
Alisa Turner, General Manager, explained that GOED’s low interest loan, and the ability to work with the state, has been great for their company.
“South Dakota has been a good place to have a business,” she said.
Turner stated that South Dakota is situated in a prime location for hunting and their product is great for hunters.
“What a great place to have a kennel that can stand up,” she noted.
Turner said that working with GOED was a smooth, easy process, especially when it came to paying off the loans.
“We had two REDI loans with GOED. The bank we worked with was a go between and they were a good go between,” she said.
Besides the help Ruff Land received through GOED, Turner said that South Dakota has been great for so many other reasons. She noted the original owners, who weren’t from South Dakota, chose this state because of all the things it has to offer.
“I think more recently Governor Noem is extremely supportive of South Dakota businesses and wanting them to achieve and succeed. This is all around a great state to live in and is very family oriented,” said Turner. “I have lived just about everywhere. Even though some of those places have beautiful scenery and things to do, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”
Today, Ruff Land Kennels are sold online through their website and at Cabelas, Ace Hardware, Scheels, Bass Pro Shops, LL Bean, and many other locations.