Firefly Builders begins manufacturing tiny homes

The first two small homes of the Firefly Builders, Inc., tiny homes venture are being constructed in the old ShopKo building in Belle Fourche. Pioneer photo by Kimberly Talcott

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BELLE FOURCHE —Tiny homes are taking over the building formerly known as ShopKo in Belle Fourche. Firefly Builders, Inc., began manufacturing tiny homes in the 44,000 square foot building space in March.

The first two tiny homes are nearing completion and will be placed on Ziebach Street in Belle Fourche as rental properties, said Kevin Wilen, Firefly Builders office manager.

“It has been a dream of the Firefly Builders owner, Wayne Koistinen, to build tiny homes, due to the lack of economical housing in the area. We have a physical location now to build them,” said Wilen.

Wilen said Firefly currently has two tiny home options in the works for customers to choose from: A small home of less than 800 square feet which includes two bedrooms and 1 bathroom, and a true tiny home with a footprint of less than 400 square feet including either a single bedroom and single bath, or an open floor plan.

Firefly is creating specific small and tiny home construction plans for customers to choose from. Customers can customize flooring, paint and siding color, along with minor changes in the floor plans of the homes.

“These small and tiny homes can be put on a slab foundation, concrete pier foundation, or other options. We want to make this economical and still meet the codes of the communities,” said Wilen.

As Firefly continues to build its tiny homes business, Wilen said the cost of materials and available workforce are two big considerations. Wilen stated Firefly is trying to control the cost of building through manufacturing processes and procedures. Firefly plans to hire around 10 additional employees and anticipates working with local schools to find workers.

“As a localized manufacturing shop, we can hire those individuals that are not able to travel. We can utilize high school students that are interested in building trades.” said Wilen. “We’re working on establishing those partnerships.”

Firefly plans to take their tiny home venture nationwide. Plans to transport tiny homes manufactured in Belle Fourche to locations across the U.S., are in the works, according to Wilen.

“We know the housing market has gone through the roof here, and across the nation. The tiny home movement is eventually going to come here and be big,” said Wilen. “We are excited to bring this to the communities of western South Dakota and parts beyond.”

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