DEADWOOD — A heavy dose of entrepreneurship is what built Deadwood up from its Gold Rush roots and also what continues to help line the city’s coffers today. Nearly 10 small business ventures have been established in the city over the past few months, adding to the town’s novelty and augmenting the charm of an historic landmark visited each year by more than 1.5 million people from across the world.
The Deadwood Business Club, which represents a wide variety of small locally owned and operated retail and service businesses, was one of the first organizations welcoming these operations to town with open arms.
“We’re encouraged to see all these different types of businesses open in Deadwood,” said Rhonda Van Den Eykel, who serves on the Deadwood Business Club’s membership committee. “It’s a good sign that the business climate is changing and moving forward in Deadwood. When you increase the number of businesses in the area, you increase the number of shoppers, which increases the sales tax revenue. So, the more businesses the better. It’s good for all businesses in Deadwood.”
The Deadwood Dog House
A completely new concept for locals and visitors alike, the Deadwood Dog House is a home away from home for doggie daycare, extended stays, grooming and boarding. Located on Cliff Street, near Gulches of Fun, the Deadwood Dog House is housed in a home.
“Our business is nestled into 18 acres. It’s a single family home that we’ve converted into a fun house for dogs,” Vecchi said. “Little dogs on the first floor, big dogs on the second floor. We’ve also got web cams.”
Owner Greg Vecchi said that the Deadwood Dog House has been open less than two months and can accommodate between 20 and 25 dogs comfortably.
“We’ve been 60 percent full. That’s our average capacity,” Vecchi said. “It’s gone very well. I’m really surprised. We serve two different markets — the local market and people who come in over the season. The strongest market is the local market, which really surprised me.”
Vecchi said that he and his wife recently relocated to Deadwood, after falling in love with the town several years ago on an unplanned visit. They have purchased a historic home in Deadwood, which they refurbished for themselves to reside in.
Deadwood Jake’s Guns & Ammo/Second Chance Pawn
Vecchi has also opened up one other business with two different missions in Deadwood that are currently located on Sherman Street and will soon move to The Gallows at 12 Lee St. in Deadwood.
Deadwood Jake’s Guns & Ammo is named after Vecchi’s dog Jake. Second Chance Pawn is named after his white pointer Chance, whom he gave a second chance.
“The plan here was to have a gun shop with guns, ammo, gear, accessories, knives and a pawn license,” Vecchi said.
He is planning an indoor shooting range at The Gallows, as well as offering training in NRA certification, specifically Utah-certification. An outdoor shooting range in Deadwood is also in the works, as well as survival courses.
Owners Peggy Hall and Tracy Island have opened a haven for those enjoying vintage art, wine and gifts. Located at 732 Main St. in Deadwood, the Angel’s Attic, owned by the neighboring Catholic Church, is actually a former residence of the church’s nuns, hence the new business’s name, and opened in mid-June.
Island said that she has lived in Deadwood her entire life, hence, her desire to invest in Deadwood.
“I love Deadwood,” Island said. “I wouldn’t think of investing anywhere else.”
As described by Island, Angel’s Attic features “upcycled” items and fun, unique, shabby chic furniture. The shop also carries scarves, purses, jewelry, wine accessories, vintage and art items.
“Peggy already had an incredible inventory of items,” Island said. “She makes shabby chic and upcycled items. She had them in consignment shops, but the opportunity came up for us to rent the building and we were able to combine my new stuff, which is unique, as well, with her vintage and shabby chic. We also have a wine license, so people can just grab a glass of wine, shop around, sit on the deck.”
The Real Estate Group of Lead Deadwood
Located in the same building as Angel’s Attic, The Real Estate Group of Lead Deadwood has also set up shop at 732 Main St. Owner Kristi Villafuerte formerly operated the business out of her home and now occupies the right hand side of the building.
“We figured if we all went in together, we could make it more affordable,” Island said. “This was a way for Kristi to have a brick and mortar location.”
Dakota Sky Stone
Located at 671 Main St. in Deadwood in the former Bourbon Street location, the owners of Dakota Sky Stone are no strangers to the streets of Deadwood.
A family owned business, owner Annie Tice, whose parents Jim and Jeannette Tice, have owned the building since 1984 and ran it as a jewelry store until 2001 until the opportunity to lease to Bourbon Street came along, leased the space as a casino business for 12 years, reopening as a jewelry business on July 6.
Dakota Sky Stone features American Indian turquoise, as well as hand-made and locally made jewelry items. The Tices also own a similar shop in Wall. Annie explained that the family has carried on the business, begun by her grandmother 45 years ago.
“We work with Native American artists, carry various types of turquoise stones and other stones and sell locally made jewelry, as well,” Annie said. “My parents are artists, as well, so some of their work is featured in the shop too.”
Deadwood Old West Trading Post
Located at 618 Main St. in Deadwood in the Wild West Winner’s Club complex, the Deadwood Old West Trading Post, owned by Rick and Margi Oleson, is a haven for antique and authentic Wild West collectible, specializing in antiques and Old West décor.
The Olesons decided to invest in Deadwood, mainly because the town’s rich history and Old West atmosphere is highly complimentary to their business.
“Deadwood has a culture, a feel for the Old West that envelops you when you arrive,” Rick explained. “It is highly complimentary to the type of business we’re in and goes along with our Dakota Plains Auction location in Lead and the Old West Auction we do once a year in Deadwood.”
Rick explained that the business specializes in two things.
“One, antiques from the Old West. Two, antique firearms from the Old West,” Rick said.
Unique and one-of-a-kind items lie in wait in the menagerie of antiques that fill the space.
Animal mounts, guns, bits, spurs, chaps, furniture, the original antler chair from Henry Frawley’s Law Office, antique gambling apparatuses, including a roulette wheel, faro table, even Casey Tibbs’ black Stetson hat and Colt single action Bisley can be found within these doors.
Pump House at Mind Blown Studio
Located near the post office on Sherman Street in Deadwood, the Pump House at Mind Blown Studio was reopened June 15 as a family business owned by Nick Spano, his wife Susan D’Aniello and their daughter Toni Gerlach.
“We decided to invest in Deadwood because of a long history and love for the town,” Spano said. “My wife, Susan, grew up in Deadwood and has a long family history here, as her parents Harry and Mary Daniel owned KDSJ Radio Station. Because of the history and tradition, we have always loved Deadwood.”
The Pump House carries on the tradition of offering specialty coffee in several flavors, as well as lattees and carmel cafes.
“Because we’re located in a restored Texaco gas station, our theme is automotive,” Spano said.
They also feature a unique breakfast and lunch menu, as well as beer and extended hours on Friday and Saturday evenings.
“The reason we’re at Mind Blown Studio is that we’re adding a glass blown studio in September or October, where my daughter, Toni Gerlach, will be the featured artist, demonstrating glass blowing, offering classes on glass blowing and selling unique glass and art items.”
Campfire Coffee and Miner’s Saloon
at the Deadwood Station Bunkhouse & Gambling Hall
The Campfire Coffee & Miner’s Saloon, housed in a newly refurbished building is a new addition to the former 76 Motel and Bullock Express, located at 68 Main in Deadwood, which opened earlier this summer.
Co-owner Lonnie Strong said that his group decided to invest in Deadwood because of the potential the properties they purchased brought to the table.
“We thought we had a couple really good opportunities with the properties that were available,” Strong said.
With two buildings, the 38-room motel has been completely renovated with new carpet, new paint and flat screen television sets. The main building, which houses the motel office, was renovated as well.
“We resided both buildings and inside the main building, we gutted it and opened it up,” Strong explained. “We kept the tongue and groove ceiling and the rustic feel with the roughcut lumber, added the coffee shop and bar, maintained the casino and motel office.”
“It is amazing sometimes, that in spite of parking meters and/or no customer parking in this town that entrepreneurs are always willing to take a gamble and try a new business venture here in the old wild west,” said Deadwood Business Club membership chair Wayne Morris.
The purpose of the Deadwood Business Club is to mentor new businesses, improve local business conditions, network and exchange information among members, promote retail business events, support community, cultural, and heritage tourism events, and support the expansion of small business opportunities within the historical city.