A 1982 Black Hills State University graduate, Leigh worked in banking for several years in California and Colorado before culinary school. That training prepared her for a return to the Black Hills. Leigh opened Spearfish’s Roma’s Ristorante, specializing in Italian dining, in an historic downtown building. In 2010, after nine years in her original location, Leigh needed more space. Utilizing Black Hills Community Economic Development’s Small Business Administration 504 Loan program, she built a new Roma’s with a stunning view of Crow Peak. Just off Interstate 90, Exit 14, the new Roma’s has nearly doubled its previous business. Employment jumped from 11 to 35.
At age 21 Jesse Jurrens started a business in his parents’ basement, intent on bringing about smooth rides for motorcyclists on low-riding bikes. Gates, the automobile hose and suspension company, took Jesse’s work seriously and became a key resource. A successful suspension product was developed and distributed world-wide through Drag Specialties, Customs Chrome, and other avenues. Over the past 14 years Legend Air has expanded into other business segments, including systems for off-road vehicles. Jesse tapped regional revolving loan funding through the West River Business Development Center to move some of his expansion forward. He employs 12 workers full time in design, engineering, CNC, manufacturing, marketing, and business in Sturgis’ growing industrial park.