(Photo Caption: Dave Sayler with a new display of South Dakota Popcorn just added at the store.)
What is the biggest challenge for a small town grocery store right now? Dave Sayler, manager of Dakotamart in Fort Pierre, said, “Normally, it is finding the help. We have been very fortunate here and have a lot of long term employees. The lack of turnover is nice to see.”
When asked why he added the hardware line in 2018, he answered, “We saw there was a need to have items handy so people didn’t have to run to the other side of Pierre. It has worked out quite well.” When asked what the biggest seller was in the hardware section, he responded that it changed with the seasons. “Right now, it’s rodent control. In the summertime, it is hose attachments and like items.” Sayler said, “We can get a hold of pretty much anything at a good savings: a lot of lawn care items, grills, lawn mowers, lawn tractors – you name it.”
When asked if he planned to add any other sections to the store like pharmacy or fuel pumps, Sayler smiled and said “Not right now but things could change any time.”
When asked about fundraisers, Sayler said the Fort Pierre Fire Department fundraiser had “gone really well and they already have plans for next year and to make it bigger and better.” He said, “We might even do a spring and fall fundraiser; we will see.” For the rest of the year, the store will concentrate on the holidays. That includes supporting, the Fort Pierre Christmas Tree Lighting chili/soup cook-off.
Dakotamart had a storewide drawing the entire month of September as a grand opening event. Sayler said, they will probably do something similar again for the anniversary but maybe not as extended. The store did two bag sales in 2023, (October and February) and will do at least one next year. He said, “They are another good event.”
When asked what the best-selling items in the store were, Sayler responded, “Again I would go seasonal on that; right now it is your holiday baking and soup needs; summertime it is liquids and steak and grilling items.”
When asked what his secret was to keeping employees, he said, “We try to work as one, one team, one mission and do it all as one big family.”