When Grant Standard and Kristin Donnan Standard approached the West River Business Service Center about financing for their proposed Black Hills Bronze business, they were impressed how the staff crunched numbers and determined projections.
“But even more than that, I was impressed by how Fran (White) and Donna (Leavens) seemed really curious about our work,” recalled Kristin. “They wanted to know how sculpted art develops from A to Z. When they had enough information and decided this could work, that made us more comfortable about taking the risk.”
Since opening earlier this year, Black Hills Bronze, Inc. of Hill City has worked with a dozen sculptors, most of them local, but some from as far away as Arizona and Wisconsin. Some high profile pieces have emerged from the building: figures for Rapid City’s U.S. Presidents series, and Sherri Treeby and Lee Leuning’s South Dakota Vietnam War Memorial, dedicated in Pierre September 16.
“There’s been a need for a full-service foundry in the Black Hills for some time,” said Grant. “It’s a tough and competitive business that takes a lot of equipment, money, labor and materials.”
The company has created employment for six people. Grant and Kristin looked into possibilities in another community first, but couldn’t find financing. “Hill City Economic Development went to work to make this happen, especially Dennis Krull,” said Grant.
Krull pointed the couple toward the West River Business Service Center where they learned about SBA 504 Loan financing. First Western Bank came on board as the project’s lending partner. Black Hills Bronze makes molds, pours and chases wax, and does metal finishing and patina. Metal pouring will begin after a second building, of steel construction, is developed.