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Heritage Business of the Year Award

A Sioux Falls home-building company is being honored for its legacy of longevity.  The Prairie Family Business Association is presenting its Heritage Business of the Year Award to Schoeneman Building Centers. Schoeneman's business success is no family secret.

Schoeneman's business legacy has come full circle in Sioux Falls.  The company is receiving the prestigious Heritage Business of the Year Award at the Hilton Garden Inn, located on the same site as Schoeneman's original downtown location.

"Not too often do you get an award, not at your business, but at another enterprise where your business was," owner Al Schoeneman said.

Schoeneman's is a fourth-generation company that started in Iowa way back in 1888, a year before South Dakota even became a state.  It opened a Sioux Falls store in 1902 and a decade later, located downtown at a time when automobiles were still a novelty.

"We had a building shed that was the horse barn back in this location here and that's where the horses were because they delivered the lumber by horse and dray," Schoeneman said.

Schoeneman's lumber company flourished through decades despite the Great Depression of the 1930's and the housing slowdown that accompanied the 2008 recession. Competition from big box stores hasn't hurt the Schoeneman  family brand, either.

"As Sioux Falls has grown, that is our major market that we're in, and so we've been very fortunate to grow along with the way the city has," Schoeneman said.

Repeat customers are drawn to this longtime pillar in the building industry .

"Being from Sioux Falls my whole life, I appreciate local businesses and family-owned operations that strive to bring quality products to the table," customer Robby Wolfgang said.

Schoeneman doesn't have any children of his own to take over the company. But he's confident the business will keep thriving for generations to come.

"Our employees are all very good employees and they are like one of the family," Schoeneman said.

While many children often don't have any interest in carrying on a family business, Schoeneman says South Dakota has a strong tradition of businesses remaining within families for generations.  He says a key to that success is providing a strong financial foundation to future business heirs.

As reported by  Perry Groten  for Keloland News.

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