Someone You Should Know: South Dakota’s Small Business Man of the Year

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – More than half of all Americans either work for or own a small business.

Small businesses account for 96 percent of all businesses in the state of South Dakota, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Growing up, Kevin Nyberg watched and helped his dad open his small business, the first ACE Hardware in Sioux Falls.

“Oh, I remember vividly. I started out where when I was 9 years old at the original store and I started out cleaning the bathrooms. I started out vacuuming out the bins of nails and nuts and bolts. It hasn’t been done since then, I don’t know why I was told to do it, but I did.”

Sixty years later, he’s now following in his father’s footsteps

“I did not think I would be going into the hardware business, I was looking more maybe towards government, law. I worked in D.C.,” he said. “I enjoyed that environment, but then I realized that South Dakota is a pretty darn nice place to live.

He came back to grow his father’s franchise into five stores throughout Sioux Falls and he says every day is something different.

“Yes, a small business owner does wear a lot of hats, and one day you could be an attorney the next day you’re a banker, the next day after that you’re an accountant or an advertising agent. So, yeah. Small businesses are about throwing balls up in the air every day, and there’s a lot of pressure and there’s a lot of stress. But it we didn’t enjoy it we wouldn’t be doing it.”

He says growing such a successful small business — is something he couldn’t have done alone.

“Small businesses obviously don’t exist without employees who are there, supporting them. It’s the employees that make the company, it really is.”

He makes a point to let every one of his employees know they’re appreciated.

“Every job is important. Every job in an organization is important and it’s the leader’s job to make sure people understand that they contribute to the importance of that organization.”

With nearly a lifetime on the job, he’s learned a thing or two about how to run a small business.

He’s also learned how vital they are.

“Small businesses give back a lot to the community. Just not in Sioux Falls, but in Platte, Faulkton, Viborg, you name it. Its small businesses that make the community what it is. What we want to realize about small business is it is the backbone of the economy, not only in our state, but in America.”

His passion and advocacy for small business recently brought him back to Washington D.C., where he earned an award and the title of “South Dakota Small Business Person of the Year For 2018.”

He says it was an honor to receive the award -not only for the recognition – but also to meet Linda McMahon, the Administrator of the United States Small Business Administration.

“it was fun to meet her, because as she presented the award she pulled me back and she said, ‘Kevin, I have to tell you that I love shopping at ACE hardware stores!’ And I really got a kick out of that.”

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