Each year The Dickinson Press sets out to highlight the very best of southwest North Dakota in our annual Best of the Western Edge contest. The purpose of this contest is to showcase the people and businesses that make our corner of the world a remarkable place to
live, do business and flourish.
The “Legendary State” is made all the more so by the Western Edge and her serene prairie paradise, kindhearted people and economic mobility.
We seek in this publication to recognize the countless individuals, professionals, organizations and businesses who comprise the soul of our community and were voted on as the very
best by YOU, our readers and digital members.
The final numbers are in and we want to thank the 5,259 people who voted, casting 67,135 nominations between Nov. 23 and Dec. 4, 2022. Of the nominated businesses and individuals, the top 3 (or more if there was a tie) moved onto voting held from Dec. 7 through 18, 2022, where 93,458 votes were BEST OF: Page 3
cast and 245 were determined winners.
Today we announce the winners of categories that run the gamut of life on the Western Edge, from the best burger and pizza, to the best healthcare professional services and Realtors, to the best retail specialties and gas stations. The winners are a selection of some of the best personal services that keep our homes in order, children educated, spirits high and communities strong.
The winners have many reasons to be proud, but not everyone can finish first. Know that it does not diminish the commitment or the effort of the countless unnamed individuals, businesses and
groups who share the same passion and desire to be the best they can be every day.
Each and every one who gets up each morning and pulls on their boots and goes to work and tries to be the best that they can be to make a difference in our communities are the real winners.
We at The Press want to congratulate the winners and encourage everyone to take notice of the awards displayed in their place of business or employment. Our goal since the beginning has been to recognize and celebrate what was this year’s Best of the Western Edge, as voted by you. Join us today in this celebration.
1. What is the history of Dean Kluver Painting?
My dad, Dean Kluver, started the business in April of 1983 with an initial $1,500 investment from my grandpa. If you know my dad, you know he is highly motivated and driven to succeed in anything that he decides to pursue. Dad paid my grandpa back in less than a week and became a leading multi seasonal service provider in Spokane, WA.
Our company originally began as roofing specialists for shops and mobile home parks. As technology developed, my dad was a pioneer in implementing it to expand the business with telemarketing. At his peak of success in Spokane, he had 36 employees. Ultimately, the company pivoted completely to coatings in 1996 when we moved to California.
In 2013, the business was relocated to North Dakota where we have continued to grow. I joined the crew in 2016. In 2019, I took ownership of the company while my dad begins to enjoy early retirement and to focus on his health. It’s been challenging at times to balance work and life especially while I’m growing my own family but it has also been very rewarding.
2. What services do you provide?
If the surface can be painted or stained, we can handle it! From head to toe we have been tasked to paint metal roofs and gutters all the way down to floor epoxy and decorative sealers. We have always offered free estimates and color consultations to our customers. Here in Dickinson, we started off with small residential jobs but have grown into agricultural, commercial and industrial spaces as well.
3. How are you feeling about being named Best of the Western Edge?
It’s such a great feeling, especially with it being the second year in a row. We value our customers and community
so much and it’s rewarding to see some of that appreciation come back to us. The community has also nominated us two times for entrepreneur and small business of the year so all of these experiences add fuel to the fire to continue working hard.
4. Why does your work stand out?
Quality above all else. From prep to clean up, we take pride in our level of customer service and detail. Our customers are inviting us into their home or business that they take pride in, so we feel they deserve the same with our work. We provide lasting results by only using premium products provided by Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore.
5. Tell us about your employees, and how they help to make you the best in your industry.
Our employees are like family. The biggest testament to this is Greg. He started with the company in 1984 and over the years has been my dad’s right hand man. He is like an uncle to me even if he doesn’t want to admit it, now it’s on paper. One of my goals is creating a work atmosphere where our employees feel supported and valued. Work life balance is important, we try to work with our employees in balancing this. We’re always hiring if anyone is interested!
6. You’re celebrating 40 years in business this year. What are the advantages of having a family owned and operated business?
Being family owned keeps things personal. We never want to lose sight of our core values and having your old man remind you every day it’s definitely hard to forget! The knowledge that my dad has gained over the years with his failures and success are invaluable. And with that there’s no greater supporter or someone who is more understanding than him. It’s not everyday you can call the previous owner/ manager for advice or request help and get it the same day!
1. How does it feel to have won multiple categories in the Best of the West reader’s choice competition?
It is an honor and testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff. It is because of the support of our loyal customers, that we are able to prosper. We, in turn, do our best to give back, make an impact and change the lives of our neighbors for the better.
2. Can you tell us a little bit about Bravera and its services?
Bravera is a full-service financial institution with community at the heart of everything we do. We’re comprised of Bravera Bank, Bravera Insurance and Bravera Wealth, all falling under our holding company, Bravera Holdings Corp. We’ve got locations in Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota with roots dating back to 1909.
3. How does Bravera differentiate itself from other banks in the area?
We’re an employee- and director-owned community bank. We pride ourselves in being a company of advisors that our customers can rely on as they forge their paths ahead. The word Bravera combines “Bravery” and “Truth” (vera meaning ‘true’ in Latin) for a name with strong ties to the pioneer spirit and honest values that define the northern plains.
4. How does Bravera prioritize customer service and satisfaction?
As a company of advisors, customer service and satisfaction is a priority. Our promise is to provide you with the financial tools and guidance to help you forge your own path ahead. We are proud to be on the forefront of 24/7 banking technology to meet the needs of our customers. Wherever you’re headed, we promise to always be by your side, guiding you towards a successful financial future.
5. As the best crop insurance on the Western Edge, can you tell us a little bit about what sets Bravera’s Insurance apart from its competition?
Our experienced crop insurance advisors work with each customer to assemble a plan to keep them protected and provide adequate coverage. Bravera Insurance works with a large selection of highly rated farm companies allowing us to build insurance packages as unique as the operation. We understand that farming and ranching is not just a business, it’s a way of life and we are here to help customers protect the tradition and legacy of their operation.
6. Bravera won Best Place to Work. How does Bravera foster a workplace that sets it apart from all other competition? At Bravera we live by 3 values: Give and earn trust; learn, teach and mentor; and collaborate and innovate. We believe these values set us apart from other institutions and creates an environment that sets all employees up for success. Bravera employees are empowered to make decisions, serve as leaders and teach others. In addition to living a Bravera
culture, we offer unique perks to employees such as employee-ownership, a mentorship program, book club, employee recognition, tuition reimbursement, and a healthy work-life balance just to name a few.
7. How does Bravera support and give back to the local community?
While we give to our communities financially, we also recognize the value of service and understand our time can be worth more than any monetary sum. We encourage our employees to volunteer for projects or causes they are passionate about and accommodate for time away from the workplace to do so. Many of our employees are involved on local boards and committees. We do our best to give back to our community while representing Bravera.
8. Can you tell us more about Julie Binstock, her role at Bravera and what sets her apart as the Best Banker on the Western Edge?
Julie Binstock serves as the Digital Success Manager Lead. In her role she uses her vast experience and knowledge about personal products and services to help create trusting relationships with the customers she serves. She leads a team of five Digital Success Managers who help enhance the digital banking experience for customers. Receiving this award is a true testament to the outstanding service she provides to Bravera customers.
9. How does Bravera involve itself in advocacy or education efforts that affect the farming community?
As a team of advisors we strive to empower our customers by giving them the information they need to make decisions that fit their operation. Bravera has teamed up with NDSU Extension to host an educational series called Women in Ag – Leading. Linking. Learning. This program is designed to educate women of all backgrounds on topics such as crop insurance, livestock record keeping and succession planning. Additionally, many of our branches host annual seminars for community farmers and ranchers to attend and continue growing their knowledge.
10. How does Bravera stay competitive in an increasingly digital and rapidly changing banking industry?
Bravera continues to invest in new technology like mobile apps, streamlined account applications, mobile wallets and data protection services to meet the needs of our customers and exceed their expectations. We also understand that sometimes technology is best paired with customer service. Our Digital Success Managers and Digital Ambassadors are available to help customers find the right combination of digital products to help them forge their path ahead.
Bravera Insurance is an equal opportunity provider. Products and services offered through American Insurance Center are: * Not a deposit * Not FDIC insured * Not insured by any federal government agency * Not financial institution guaranteed. Bravera Bank Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender.
VOTEDAS YOUR BEST BANK, INSURANCE COMPANY, PLACE TO WORK, CROP INSURANCE COMPANY, BANKER (JULIE BINSTOCK) ON THE WESTERN EDGE
VOTED AS YOUR BEST AREA MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL, BOOSTER CLUB, ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (TRINITY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL EAST), PRESCHOOL, SCHOOL PRINCIPAL (JOLYN TESSIER), TEACHER (MRS. MAYER), SCHOOL PARAPROFESSIONAL (HALEY MARSH), ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT (DEANNA JILEK) ON THE WESTERN EDGE
1. How does it feel to have won the most categories in all of the Best of the West reader’s choice competition?
We are living in such an exciting time for Trinity Catholic Schools, with our continued growth and exciting addition of a new building, it is great to see that our community is proud of the work that we do! We strive to educate the whole student – mind, body, and soul, by partnering with parents to develop young people who are positive contributors in the world. We are proud of the many Titan alumni who help make our community a better place – and congratulate many of them for winning Best of the Western Edge awards as well!
2. Can you tell us a little bit about Trinity Catholic Schools, its mission and how the school continues to meet and exceed that mission?
Educating the whole student – mind, body, and soul is our mission, and we truly work to live these words inside and outside of the classroom. We literally have these words hanging in our classrooms and hallways, and we teach our students to embody our core values: Faith, Love & J.O.Y, Charity, Gratitude, Respect & Kindness, Honesty & Integrity, Confidence, and Grit. Faith is always first and at the forefront of everything we do, and students take ownership of their learning by taking responsibility for their behavior and actions.
3. What makes Trinity Catholic Schools stand out academically as a top choice for elementary, middle, and high school education in the area?
Our test scores are consistently above state averages, and our graduation percentage is nearly 100%. Our teachers have the freedom to enhance and create their lessons while still following standards set by the state, and we instill in our students that we are a family, putting Jesus first and helping each other be successful in all that we do.
4. Can you describe the role of the booster club and how it supports the school and its students?
Trinity Athletic Boosters support athletic programs for Trinity Junior High and High School. They host a number of special events and fundraisers that promote networking and help offset financial burdens for our athletes and athletic programs. Their events are well-attended, and arguably some of the most engaging and fun experiences for our families. Trinity Athletic Boosters benefit the community as well, through events, their annual sweet corn sales, youth basketball tournaments, and more.
5. What makes the preschool program at Trinity Catholic Schools unique and successful?
At Trinity Catholic Schools we offer a high-quality, Christ-centered early childhood experience in half day or full day increments. Titan Tots preschool focuses on a positive learning experience for the children, offering parents peace of mind, and support of their child(ren)’s growth and development in a safe and nurturing environment.
6. Can you tell us a little bit about the winner of the Best Principal category, JoLyn Tessier, and her approach to education and leadership?
Mrs. Tessier has been in her role since 2014, and has helped develop our early childhood and elementary programs into the successful programs that they are today. She has a servant leadership approach, always
considering the needs of others as well as the school. Her expectations are high, and she promotes a culture of learning in a positive and productive environment. She puts everything into God’s hands, and allows Him to guide her to be the best principal that she can be!
7. Can you describe the work ethic, contributions and impact that Mrs. Mayer, voted as Best Teacher, has on the school and her students?
Mrs. Mayer is an alumnus of Trinity High School, along with her siblings. She brings incredible love and joy to her classroom each day, creating a nurturing environment that promotes confidence, faith, and respect for our kindergarteners. Mrs. Mayer’s flexible style has enabled student success through many challenges over the years, from the pandemic, to snow days, and more. She stays up-to-date on current teaching strategies while balancing her significant experience and love for Trinity Catholic Schools.
8. How does Haley Marsh, the winning Paraprofessional, support students and teachers at Trinity Catholic Schools?
Mrs. Marsh is a certified teacher who loves working with kids, and is an incredibly positive role model for our students and staff. She gets to each student’s level, treating everyone fairly and helping them through situations whether they did something wrong or just need extra help in their learning. She sees what needs to be done, and takes action where she can without being asked. Mrs. Marsh is a true team player, and a very happy person!
9. Can you tell us more about Deanna Jilek, the winning Administrative Assistant, and her role at the school?
Mrs. Jilek is a warm, caring individual who takes pride in helping our students and teachers each day. She provides a welcoming environment, and helps wherever she can to make sure the students and staff are safe and able to teach and learn effectively. Mrs. Jilek has a can-do attitude, and a strong faith that guides her in all that she does. Her example of being a faithful Catholic mother is amazing for our students, and she keeps everyone organized and on task!
10. How does faith play into the school’s faculty, staff and administration creating a positive and supportive learning environment for students?
As a Catholic school, we aim to awaken greatness in each of our students through exceptional academic offerings, extracurricular involvement, and most importantly through daily opportunities for prayer and the sacraments. When we adhere to our Catholic values and promote our Catholic identity, we see our enrollment grow, and it allows us to attract and retain top-talent because they feel inspired and connected to our Titan Family. We have seen our religious vocations grow substantially in recent years, helping to provide clergy to advance the Catholic faith in Southwest North Dakota and beyond. With four strong Catholic parishes in town, and several Catholic parishes in surrounding towns, we understand the need for providing support to parents as they seek to form their children with strong values and faith in God, and we offer many opportunities for engagement in this way.
1. How did you feel when you found out that Blue 42 Sports Grille & Bar had won so many awards in the Best of the West contest, including Best Banquet Facility, Best Bar, Best Sports Bar, Best Burger, Best Salad, Best Sandwiches, Best Wings, and Best Waitress/Waiter in Brittney Schnaidt?
We are extremely proud to be receiving so many awards this year. We strive to be the best we can every day and winning in all these categories makes all that hard work worth it. We appreciate everyone who voted for us and all our great customers who support us every day!
2. What sets Blue 42 Sports Grille & Bar apart from other bars and restaurants in the area?
We believe in hard work and learning from our mistakes. We listen to our customers and try to keep things fresh. Our biggest asset is the community we live in. Dickinson has supported us from day one which keeps us motivated to always look for ways to get better.
3. Can you tell me more about the menu and the types of events that Blue 42 Sports Grille & Bar caters to?
We specialize in burgers, but we really do have something for everyone. We offer a wide selection on appetizers and wings as well as salads, pastas, sandwiches, and entrees.
4. How has the business grown since its founding?
We added 701SOCIAL to the upstairs floor and are now able to offer a private party experience sure to please any crowd. With a 75-person capacity, we can host any type of party, from business gatherings to social outings. Our staff helps build events to whatever specifications are needed to provide our customers with the same top-of-the-line experience they have come to expect from Blue 42.
5. What are some challenges you have faced in the restaurant and bar industry and how have you overcome them?
We have faced plenty of challenges since opening including COVID and having to reimagine how we operated our business day-to-day. When faced with challenges we always try to face them head on and do what’s right. Through it all our customers have been patient and understanding which has allowed us to get to where we are today!
6. How do you choose and train your staff, particularly those waitstaff like Brittney Schnaidt, who won the Best Waitress/Waiter award in the Best of the West contest?
Staff training is an ever-evolving task as menus, pricing, and technology change. We work hard to make sure our staff has the tools they need to succeed. We have also been extremely blessed with great people who work for us, many of them since the day we opened. It’s a family at Blue 42 and that goes a long way.
We couldn’t be more proud of Brittney for winning best Waitress, she is truly a special person and our customers voted to show their appreciation for all of her hard work. She always has a smile on her face and genuinely cares about the service during your dining experience.
7. How do you come up with new menu items and specials at Blue 42 Sports Grille & Bar?
New menu ideas come from many people and places. We always have our eyes open for new trends and ideas. We love to see and hear what our customers want. Some of our menu items were special orders we got so many times we decided to add them to the menu. Other items we workshop in our kitchen until one of our funky ideas becomes a menu staple.
8. How do you handle large events and banquet bookings at the restaurant?
Events and banquet can be booked by going to our website blue42grille.com and filling out our form under 701SOCIAL. We will get back to you in a timely fashion to book your big event!
1. When did Cash Wise Foods open their Dickinson location?
We opened our first Cash Wise store in Fargo, North Dakota in 1988, and have added several stores since. We opened the Cash Wise Dickinson location in 2015.
2. How does it feel to continue being a staple in the community’s preference in shopping?
We pride ourselves in providing the best guest experience possible, treating each customer as if they were the most important one. We are continually adding new products that are promotionally exciting and delivering what our customers want and need. Knowing that we are a community favorite of Dickinson tells us that we are meeting those needs, one guest at a time.
3. What prides your company to servicing Dickinson and surrounding areas with organic options?
Cash Wise knows consumers are particular about their whole food and organic options. Our natural foods department diligently works with vendors to supply the best products at a fair price to our guests. Working with our suppliers to bring innovative and exciting organic options to our shelves will always be a priority.
4. How important is customer service and what do you strive for each customer to experience during their visit to the store?
Guest experience is our number one focus! Every cus tomer who comes into our store is valued and we strive to treat them with dignity and respect. Our employee owners are empowered to take ownership in guest focus; to enrich each visit so our customers will continue their patronage.
5. How important is it to your grocery store to offer customers local produce and variety?
At Cash Wise, we love to provide the freshest, most exciting options to our guests. We know that healthy living is top of mind for consumers and our produce team works hard to ensure the vegetables and fruits we offer to our customers are as locally sourced
from regional vendors as possible. Providing a wide selection is important as we know consumers have different dietary needs. We support local farms, bringing the Farm-to-Fork experience to life, as best as we can.
6. Why should customers choose Cash Wise Foods for their shopping needs?
At Cash Wise, our goal is to give each guest a unique shopping experience, each time they visit our store. We provide expert advice from dietician recommendations to our MORE Rewards loyalty program where you can save with digital couponing and money on gas. Our Celebrate More site offers unique recipes and helpful resources for busy families. You can grab a coffee at our in-store Caribou Coffee, and we offer a floral department and liquor store. We provide in-store shopping, or you can order online and have your groceries brought to your car curbside. We also believe in giving back to our communities where through strategic campaigns, our store will raise money that goes directly back to the Dickinson community. Simply put, Cash
1. How did you feel when you found out that GC Real Estate Partners and The Bakken Lodge had won the Best Property Management and Best Apartment Complex awards in the Best of the West contest?
Laura Roy – Dickinson Portfolio Property Manager: We are honored that we were even nominated. It is absolutely amazing! We are all so ecstatic! Ultimately, it comes down to the amazing team we have built. Having an engaged staff that is passionate about what they do and making sure they come to work each day with a sense of purpose, has driven GC Real Estate Partner’s success in North Dakota.
Vince Suerth The Bakken Lodge Owner: As far as GC Real Estate Partners winning it was no surprise to us. The level of care and detail they have executed in taking a vacant building and filling it up in only 4 months was exceptional! It was GC Real Estate’s idea to convert our lobby area into a game room and we think that has a great deal of influence with the Bakken Lodge winning.
2. What sets GC Real Estate Partners apart from other property management companies in Dickinson?
Laura Roy – Dickinson Portfolio Property Manager: We strive to go above and beyond for our residents and the owners we manage for. We aim to provide high quality customer service and the best experience possible.
Jessica Pedroza – Property Manager: GC Real Estate Partners is a family orientated company, that provides me with the skills and opportunity to excel and succeed In my career. They are flexible, goal orientated and supportive to their staff. I get great satisfaction in being in a role that I can make a small difference in someone’s life on a daily basis. I have enjoyed watching us grow this past year and can’t wait to see us grow more in 2023.
Henry Pedroza – Maintenance Technician: GC Real Estates Partners is a very motivated company in a challenging industry. Here at GC Real Estate Partners, we value each other’s opinion which sets us apart from others.
Vince Suerth – The Bakken Lodge Owner: The professionalism they have demonstrated Is beyond all expectation. As I like to say “A LITTLE BETTER THAN EXCELLENT”
3. How did you come up with the concept of The Bakken Lodge and name it?
Vince Suerth The Bakken Lodge Owner: GC Real Estate Partners did the market research and proposed the name which represents the area and clients we cater to.
4. Can you tell me more about the services that GC Real Estate Partners offers to its clients?
We are a customer-focused company committed to delivering industry
expertise and a full breadth of services in commercial management, multi housing management, facilities management, brokerage and advisory services.
5. How has the company grown since its founding?
GC Real Estate Partners is a Minnesota based company, which has been in business since 2004. We operate over 4,100 apartment units and 3.1 million square feet of commercial space. The owners of GC Real Estate Partners also raise private capital to develop or acquire between $30 - $50 million of new real estate annually. In January of 2020, GC Real Estate Partners opened their first office in Dickinson, ND. It is our goal to continue to expand through Minnesota and North Dakota.
6. What are your plans for expanding your portfolio of properties in Dickinson and southwest North Dakota?
Laura Roy – Dickinson Portfolio Property Manager: We are continuously looking for new investments and property management contracts. Recently this year we added The Bakken Lodge to our Dickinson Portfolio. Owners Vince Suerth and Eric Hermanson bought the vacant building in February 2022 and transformed it into a maintenance-free living complex. All units are fully furnished 2 bedroom apartment homes and the building features; a community game room, gym, BBQ area, and a free laundry facility! A few months after the building opened we were fully occupied and have been on a waitlist ever since. The overwhelming amount of interest we have had for a building like The Bakken Lodge has been exciting! We offer a variety of lease options including month to month. It’s perfect for anyone needing a fully furnished unit, all you need is to bring your clothes and bedding. Owners Vince and Eric have been amazing to work with, they truly care about their tenants, building and us.
When asked if Suerth and Hermanson plan to purchase more buildings in Dickinson or in Western ND they replied, “Yes we hope to, but only if GC Real Estate Partners manages.”
1. How does it feel to have won best Italian cuisine and best takeout in the competition?
It is a huge honor! We feel so blessed to have the opportunity to do what we do. Our goal is to be a place in our community where people know that they can count on us for excellent food and service. Winning these titles validates that we are on the right track!
2. Can you tell us a little bit about Food Riot and its menu?
We are an American/Italian restaurant that serves lunch and dinner. We have a dining room and also offer takeout and delivery. Our pasta dishes, including Alfredo, Spaghetti and Lasagna, have historically been our most popular. We have a wide variety of choices including an assortment of sandwiches, panini’s, appetizers, a soup and salad bar with breadsticks, baked potatoes, chili, and more! We offer Italian sodas and milkshakes (35 flavors!) Our pastry chef makes the most amazing cannoli and tiramisu creamsalways something new to try. We love to develop new recipes!
3. What makes Food Riot’s Italian Cuisine stand out from other restaurants in the area?
Being an owner operated restaurant that is not a franchise we have the freedom to create and tailor our menu however we want. We use that freedom by listening to our guests and continually applying their feedback to our menu as it grows. We offer unique dishes and desserts that are not readily available anywhere else. We have offered a 100% satisfaction guarantee since the day we opened. If our guest is ever unhappy with an item or our service we offer a no questions asked refund or replacement. When you come in and mention it’s your first time eating at Food Riot, you can pick out any flavored small cannoli on us!
4. How does Food Riot source its ingredients and materials? And what considerations go into the making these decisions?
We are always looking for the highest quality product. We use a food service company for most of our products. They have a wide variety of premium products that work really well with our menu. We also make many trips a week to local grocers. We choose local grocery stores for our produce so that
we can hand pick the best. This is how we make sure the salad bar stays fresh and reasonably priced. There is always some of Jill’s famous homemade soups and salads: Potato Salad, Coleslaw, Pasta Salad, Pea Salad, Broccoli Salad, and a few more. When purchasing materials we also have the environment in mind. Most of our packaging is either eco friendly or reusable. We hope to soon be able to say that 100% of our packaging is eco friendly.
5. Can you share any plans or goals for future development and growth at Food Riot?
We have a long list of goals for the future, which mainly consist of developing new and unique menu items and making improvements to our kitchen and dining areas. Our most exciting plan for growth is that we will be teaming up with Heartview Foundation, which is opening up an inpatient substance abuse treatment facility in our building this year. We are so excited to prepare delicious and nutritious meals for their clients while they start their sobriety journey.
6. How does Food Riot prioritize customer satisfaction, and ensure a positive dining experience for its customers?
Customer satisfaction is our number one priority. We offer free samples of pretty much anything on our menu. We also will replace or refund any item if a customer is unhappy with it, even if there is nothing wrong with it but it just doesn’t taste like what they expected. Thankfully this is an extremely rare issue at Food Riot. We want our guests to leave happy and we will do whatever we can to ensure that.
7. How has the location of the restaurant influenced its menu and atmosphere?
Our location is very unique. When we started out as a food truck, we quickly realized that we needed more space to meet the demand. Our kitchen is in the old cafeteria of St. Joe’s Hospital, which is huge. Having all of this space has inspired menu growth, and also having an already working salad bar in the dining room allowed us to easily get our amazing soup and salad bar up and running. Our atmosphere will always be as family friendly as possible. We love our location!
1. How does it feel to win the Best of the West award for best snow removal AND best cleaning company, especially considering that this year has been a difficult year for snow removal?
We are just really proud of our team and all of the work they have put in not only the last few big snowstorms but all year long. They are never afraid to put in the extra hours to take care of our customers, whether it’s on the snow removal or the cleaning side of the business, and this award shows that.
2. Can you tell me more about the snow removal services that RLK Enterprises offers, and what sets your company apart from other snow removal providers?
At RLK we do anything from small residential sidewalks to large industrial facilities. We use anything from snowblowers to plow trucks to skidsteers and loaders and we recently purchased a tractor with a snow blower on it to help get the job done. Our goal is to always try to do what is in the best interest for our clients.
3. How does RLK Enterprises ensure that its snow removal services are reliable and efficient, especially during difficult winter weather conditions?
If the conditions get really bad, we will send equipment home with our guys to ensure that they can make it to some of our clients that have 24/7 needs.
4. How does RLK Enterprises involve and engage with the local community?
RLK always looks to lend a helping had to the community, whether it be assisting the first responders during snow storms or helping out community members by donating to different benefits and fundraisers. We love to volunteer and help with many local events.
5. How will winning the Best of the West award for best snow removal impact the business and its reputation in the community?
Winning the award for snow removal will show our community that although we may be a smaller company we have a great team that does quality work to meet the needs of many customers.
6. How does RLK Enterprises prioritize safety in its snow removal efforts, both for its employees and for the customers and community it serves?
RLK does its best to determine when the conditions are just to sever for anyone to be outside. It does not happen very often but we have seen it a few times this past year.
7. Can you share any innovations or new technologies that RLK Enterprises has implemented in its snow removal operations, and how have they improved efficiency and effectiveness?
Using plow stakes has been essential for our success on a lot of our accounts. They are essentially a bright colored marker that sticks up in the air to help show us where driveways and sidewalks are, especially in the blizzard conditions that we have faced recently.
8. How does RLK Enterprises stay up to date on the latest best practices and techniques in the snow removal industry, and how does the company adapt and respond to changing weather patterns and conditions?
We are always looking for different options when it comes to snow removal whether it be different types of plows, different shovels or blowers. With the bigger snowstorms in the past few months we recently got a tractor with a blower to be more efficient for our customers.
9. Tell us all about the types of cleaning you offer.
Whether large or small, we do it all! We clean large facilities, industrial buildings, shops, restaurants, apartments and more. From top to bottom we clean floors, windows and everything in between. We even offer snow and ice removal from roofs.
10. How long has RLK Enterprises been in business, and how has the company evolved over the years to include other entities?
RLK has been in business since 2012. We started out as a cleaning business, cleaning crew trailers during the oil boom. From there we branched off into some snow removal after we bought our first plow truck. After that we started the maintenance and construction side after one of our clients couldn’t find anyone to do repair work on his trailers. Most recently we started selling appliances when they became hard to find locally. RLK is always looking to expand and better meet our client’s and community’s needs.
NEW CAR DEALERSHIP
Sax Motor Co.
Sax Motor Co.
Sax Motor Co.
East End Towing
USED CAR LOT
Autorama Auto Sales and Rentals
HEALTH & BEAUTY
DePorres House of Barbering & Lounge
FabYOULux with Brittany Binek
Robinson Family Dental
Steffes and Selinger Chiropractic
High Plains Dental
FAMILY PRACTICE CLINIC
West River Community Center
HEARING AID CENTER
Krystal Clear Hearing Center
IN-HOME SENIOR CARE
St John Lutheran Church - ELCA
Elks Lodge #1137
Roughrider Days Fair & Expo
Rocky Butte Park
Artistic Exchange Dance Studio
Trinity Elementary School East
Dickinson City Fire Department
Dickinson Area Public Library
Dickinson Museum Center & Badlands Dinosaur Museum
West Dakota Parent & Family Resource Center
PLACE FOR KIDS TO HAVE FUN
Backyard Play Cafe
PLACE TO VOLUNTEER
PLACE TO WORK
Titan Tots Preschool
KDIX AM 1230/ FM 100.7
Consolidated Channel 18
HOME & GARDEN
WINNERS: Page 30
1. How does it feel to be named the “Best of the West” in the annual reader’s choice poll?
Amazing! We are absolutely honored. Thank you so much for all the support! We couldn’t do it without you and I couldn’t have done it without my absolutely amazing staff. Thank you so much for this honor.
2. What sets Vapes apart from other local businesses in the industry?
We strive to be the best of the best in all regards, and we truly care about the customer. This incudes the quality of our product and service and our knowledge of what it is we are providing. We are not just servicing customers we are building relationships.
3. How long has Vapes been in business and how has the company evolved over time?
Approximately 20 years ago I started making e-juice and disposables in my basement. The smokeless tobacco industry that began with low-voltage cigarette look-alikes has evolved to include customized, high-wattage devices capable of generating enormous clouds of vapor. Keeping up with the continuous improvement can be challenging but it is a challenge we are happy to embrace. We couldn’t have done it without our customers and we are very thankful.
4. What types of products does Vapes offer in addition to vaping products?
Emergency Preparedness Gear and Food (REDYMAXX), CBD, Candles (CANDLE CITY CO), Smoothies, Shakes, Juices, Lattes, Iced Coffee, Supplements (SUPS) & Kratom.
5. How has the company adapted to the changing landscape of the vaping industry?
Vaping is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world right now. Vaping gains and holds the buyers attention with the customization aspect. There are hundreds of devices and thousands of e-juice flavors available. We are committed to bringing the best of the best to the table.
6. What plans does Vapes have for the future?
We are expanding our footprint in a huge way. Look for exciting news to come on this in the near future.
7. How has the local community supported Vapes and contributed to its success?
This community has been extremely loyal to our business. I have great respect for the long-lasting relationships that have been built over the years.
8. How does Vapes ensure that its products are safe and of high quality for its customers?
In an industry full of clones, fakes and knock-offs we go through strenuous effort to ensure all of our products are authentic quality products. Our managers have developed compliance specifications to make sure all products are of the highest quality before putting them on the shelf. There’s a huge amount of misinformation out there around the safety of vaping, with a lot of people seeing vaping as just as, if not more dangerous than smoking, when this is categorically not the case. Vaping is estimated to be 95% better for your health than smoking, and its effectiveness as a quitting aid means you’re more likely to succeed in cutting down or quitting, which is the biggest benefit of all. As a two pack a day smoker I can personally attest to this.
Berger Electric Inc
GRADING & HAULING
Edward H. Schwartz Construction
Newby’s Ace Hardware
HEATING & AC Dickinson Heating and Air, Inc
Pacific Sound and Video
HOME DECOR & FURNISHINGS
Duane Bren Construction
A & D Landscaping, LLC
Greenwood Lawn and Tree
Bosch Lumber Company
WINNERS: Page 31
Dakota Community Bank
Dean Kluver & Son Painting
Mann’s Plumbing & Heating
GC Real Estate Partners
REAL ESTATE COMPANY
the real estate co.
SELF STORAGE FACILITY
Gerber Storage LLC
TITLE COMPANY Title Team
Floor to Ceiling Carpet One
Bosch Lumber Company
CROP INSURANCE COMPANY
CHS Southwest GrainAgronomy & Petroleum
FARM EQUIPMENT REPAIR
WINNERS: Page 36
Fleck’s Furniture and Appliances in Dickinson is a family owned business — and proud of it. The staple of Dick inson’s Villard street, the business has served area customers for more than 80 years.
Their commitment to customer service and personal attention to each customer continues with a staff that includes 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation family members alongside a host of dedicated and experienced service technicians, administrators, warehouse and delivery specialists and knowledgeable sales professionals.
For Kristin Franzen and her husband Charlie, owners and granddaughter of Fleck’s Furniture founder, the commitment remains the same as it has always been.
“We continue to offer the latest in quality appliances and home furnishings with excellent customer care at competitive prices. We offer professional, personalized attention, taking the time to understand your needs, budget and lifestyle,” Charlie Franzen said. “We are dedicated to serving you, our customer, with honesty and fairness in a relationship built on experience you can trust.”
The experience and trust Fleck’s has with southwest North Dakota residents was evident during the 2022 Best of the West Reader’s Choice Awards when the business was recognized as the Best Appliance Store on the Western Edge.
The Franzen’s didn’t always plan on running the Dickinson landmark business, despite the family ties and financial stability and opportunity the family business had. Rather, Kristin and Charlie both sought and obtained their engineering degrees with aspirations to make their own paths in a new industry. After some years and reevaluation, the couple opted to return to their home in Dickinson and take over the family business — for them it was about being home in the community they love.
“Dickinson is home for us and it was more important to be closer to family than to follow that career path,” Kristin Franzen said.
At the helm of the family business, Kristin and Charlie Franzen knew that the key to continued success in a changing economy and market would be to expand the business.
“The old storefront was in the same location it had been for over 60 years and it didn’t have a lot of potential to grow in that small retail space,” Kristin Franzen said.
The couple, with their son Jason Franzen, decided to expand and purchased land in Mandan and built a new facility for warehousing and distribution. With the new facility, the family were able to expand their appliance shops in Bismarck and Dickinson as neither location needed as much storage space as before.
Throughout their two decades of owning the business, including bringing their son Jason Franzen into the fold as part owner in 2021, the Franzen family have continued to make Fleck’s a staple of Bismarck, Dickinson and Mandan business.
Fleck’s mission is to help our customers understand how to use our products to create comfortable home environments. Our goal is to provide our customers with quality products and services now and in the future. We are dedicated to supporting our community by creating a profitable environment for our employees through professional, principle based leadership.
Fleck’s Furniture and Appliances dedication to their customers doesn’t stop at the purchase or delivery and installation of an appliance.
“If service is required in the future, you can rest assured of the same dedication to exceptional assistance. Our professionally trained service technicians are available to provide the support needed to assist our customers with whatever the issue is, whether in or out of warranty,” Charlie Franzen said.
“We pride ourselves in taking care of our customers. We work hand-in-hand with builders, homeowners and cabinet companies to make appliance and flooring selection a hassle-free experience for everyone involved.”
Located at 1214 West Villard Street in Dickinson, they can be reached by phone at (701) 225-3021 or by email at sales@ flecksonline.com.
1. What does it say about Sax Motor Co., and how does it feel, to have doubled the number of categories won in this year’s competition?
It is always an honor to win because the votes are from residents of SW North Dakota. We appreciate our loyal customers who have visited the dealership over the last 100 years. It is especially gratifying to win in some of these categories for the 3rd or fourth time in a row. This means we are taking care of our customers on a consistent basis. We are fortunate to have great long-term employees that take our tagline seriously – Sax Goes The Extra Mile!
2. What do you attribute to the success of the dealership’s service department?
Our Technicians have an average tenure of over 20 years at Sax Motor Co. and we have a few who have been here over 40 years. They are all highly trained through both GM and ASE programs, and spend many hours keeping up on the latest technology. Our service advisors have many years of experience. We have a great shuttle crew who help the customers get back and forth while their repairs are being done, and also offer complimentary loaner service. A new addition for our customers this next year will be our new car wash.
3. How does your diesel truck repair service stand out from area competition?
We have highly trained technicians that specialize in diesel repair. GM has a very extensive training program that includes online and hands-on training at GM Training Centers. Two of our technicians are GM Master Technicians Certified in Diesel Engine Performance. We have made large investments in Diesel equipment including hoists, tools, and technology.
4. What makes your new car dealership a standout in the community?
Our new car department is very experienced. Our sales team prides itself in providing an honest, low-stress, transparent buying process. They know this is probably the second or third largest purchase for the consumer, and they work hard to ensure that buying a new vehicle is a positive, satisfying experience at Sax. Once a customer has agreed on a vehicle, our Finance Department provides our customers with a very professional conclusion to each sale and helps customers secure the best financing options available.
5. How do you ensure that your oil change service remains top-quality?
The technicians in our Lube and Tire Department have a wide variety of expertise ranging from backgrounds in wheel alignments and tires to maintenance and light repairs. We have two great advisors over in Lube
& Tire who truly take care of our customers. We offer online appointment requests and text reminders for our oil change customer.
6. What can customers expect when they visit your parts store?
We carry a very large inventory of GM Parts and have the background to answer a lot of questions that a customer may have regarding their vehicles. We also offer a large variety of vehicle accessories, and have a related business, Sax Customs, that specializes in installing Accessories.We offer the ability to order some accessories and GM Parts online at saxmotor.com.
7. How has Josh Opp contributed to the success of the dealership, and what role does he play in the sales team?
It was great to have one of our employees, Josh Opp, win the Best Auto Salesperson category. Josh has been with Sax for over 20 years and has a large repeat customer base. That means he has taken care of our customers very well, and they are loyal to him and therefore loyal to Sax Motor Co. Josh is a big part of the success of our sales team, and we are proud to have him working with our customers.
8. What can readers expect from Sax Motor Co. in the coming year as you celebrate 100 years of continuous business in our community?
We appreciate the opportunity that this community and region has provided us with over the last 100 years. We are grateful to our long-term customers, often multiple generations of families, that have visited us since 1923. We will be celebrating our employees this year, as we know a business cannot last 100 years without their hard work and determination. We will celebrate the past, but also look forward to the new and exciting products and services that we will be providing in the future. We will have an Open House and Chamber Business After Hours event on Tuesday March 21. We are also hosting a Centennial Car Show that will be held at the dealership on Saturday August 5, 2023. The public is invited to both events!
9. For nearly 100 years, Sax Motor Co. has given back to the community. What initiatives does Sax Motor Co. plan to undertake in 2023?
Sax Motor Co. is proud of our community involvement. We sponsor numerous events, scholarships, benefits, organizations, schools, and teams in SW North Dakota. We focus our contributions on education, community facilities and events, and organizations that improve the quality of life for all of our residents. Some of our larger donations include the Medora Foundation, AMEN Food Pantry, Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce Events, Dickinson State University, Downtown Dickinson Square, and the new Sanford Sports Complex. We will continue to look for opportunities to assist and help our local community!
FARM SUPPLIES Runnings
CHS Southwest Grain
CHS Southwest Grain
CHS Southwest Grain
LIVING & LEISURE
The Bakken Lodge
DePorres House of Barbering & Lounge
Simply Flowers & Gifts
Faith Expressions Christian Store
Heart River Golf Course
GUN STORE Runnings
Roosevelt Grand Dakota, SureStay Collection By Best Western INTERNET PROVIDER
Britton Jewelers Ltd
Deja Vu Tots
Trails End Kennels-Dog Boarding and Grooming
Woofta Pet Shop
PROPANE - BBQ
West Dakota Oil
Camp On the Heart
Badlands Big Sticks
STORE IN PRAIRIE HILLS MALL
Bath & Body Works
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
WOMEN’S CLOTHING STORE
The Saucy Blonde Boutique
Steffan Saw & Bike
Backyard Play Cafe
Altered Ink Tattoo Parlor
VAPE SHOP Vapes
ARCHITECT GT Architecture
Dr. Krystal Mann
1. What does it say about Krystal Clear Hearing Center, and how does it feel, to have won two categories in this year’s competition?
We feel absolutely honored, grateful and blessed. I am a native of Gladstone, ND and serving the Dickinson community and surrounding areas has been my dream since deciding I wanted to be an Audiologist in 2008. I am so grateful that this community voted me the best Audiologist and my practice the best Hearing Aid Center because I would not want to practice anywhere else, and winning this competition means those feelings are reciprocated.
2. How often do you recommend individuals to get their hearing assessed?
Annual hearing evaluations are highly recommended for those over the age of 60, whether or not they perceive hearing difficulties. Additionally, adults working in noisy professions, those who have loud hobbies, those who have a known hearing loss and wear hearing aids should schedule annual hearing tests, and all should schedule a hearing test if they notice changes, especially sudden changes in their hearing or tinnitus. For all other adults, it is a general guideline to have your hearing assessed every 3-5 years.
3. Can you describe the services that your center offers to customers?
Cerumen (ear wax) removal, custom hearing protection (our most popular is for hunting or “shooters protection”), comprehensive hearing and tinnitus evaluations, hearing aid fittings and many other hearing aid related services. In addition, we pride ourselves in providing our patients with an exceptional experience from start to finish
with all services rendered. Our patients are highly valued.
4. How do you help customers overcome hesitancy or skepticism of the use of hearing aids?
I think some people struggle with the idea that hearing aids are big and wearing them will make them look old. But today’s hearing aids are small and discreet—nearly indistinguishable from the Bluetooth headphones and smart devices that are now commonplace, and because of that, it seems that our society has become much more accepting of high-tech solutions, like hearing aids, for staying healthy.
In response to wearing hearing aids making them look old, I lovingly remind my patients, “If anything makes you seem old, it’s the need to continually ask others to repeat themselves because you can’t understand them—not the device in your ear.”
Not only that, but untreated hearing loss has been linked to serious issues like isolation and loneliness, depression and anxiety, cognitive decline and worsening of dementia. Hearing aids can stimulate the degenerating auditory system and provide new sensory information to the brain.
So if you (or a loved one) have been struggling with hearing loss, please schedule a hearing test with us. We will work with you to address any concerns or fears you might have and find the right treatment that fits your needs.
5. Do you have anything else you would like the readers to know?
I just want to say thank you to my current patients for supporting me and if you are not a patient of mine yet, I invite you to become a patient and I look forward to serving you soon!
1. How did it feel to win the annual Best of the West contest for both “Best place for kids to have fun” and “Best event planners”?
We were honored to be nominated - it’s such a boost for a small business to feel the support of the community. We were blown away to win both awards, as they truly represent what we’re passionate about at Backyard Play Cafe - kids, families, and making memories!
2. How do you ensure that the cafe is a safe and welcoming place for kids and families?
We pride ourselves on being a safe, welcoming environment for anyone who comes in. We wanted to create a space in our community that was dedicated to children, and all the grownups who love them. Small communities like ours can be isolating, especially in the cold winter months. It’s hard to meet people, especially in the different stages of parenting. At Backyard Play Cafe, we wanted to create a place for connection - a place for parents and children to meet others and form friendships. We’re committed to cultivating and maintaining that safe, welcoming place for all kids and families in our community.
3. How do you come up with new and exciting ideas for activities and events at the cafe?
Research! We spend time learning about early childhood development, event development and design, then think about the kind of event we would want to attend with our own children. We want to keep providing fun ways for adults to spend special time with the kiddos they love.
4. What has been the most popular activity or event at the cafe so far? Our holiday events are the most popular. Parents know they can count on an incredible experience with their child, the opportunities to make special memories, and great photo opportunities. We’re working to make each event better than the last, and to provide new, unique experiences.
5. Do you have any plans for expanding or improving the cafe in the future?
We have big dreams of expanding the cafe into a new location - we’d love to expand our playground as well as our cafe offerings, with a drive-through and food menu.
6. Can you tell us a bit about the history of Backyard Play Cafe and how it came to be what it is today?
As parents, we were aware of the need for programming for young children and families in our community. Layne had always wanted to own a coffee shop, and we decided to expand on that idea to create a play cafe, much like establishments we had seen in larger cities. In an environment like North Dakota where the weather is so unpredictable and so extreme, an indoor play ground that is safe and clean is a huge addition to our community. Add a comfortable atmosphere for parents and caregivers, PLUS coffee, tea, and Lotus Energy? It’s a slam dunk.
7. How do you involve the local community in the cafe and its activities? Do you have any partnerships or collaborations with local organizations or businesses?
We’re constantly looking for ways to connect with our community, and to support community organizations and other small businesses. We sponsor a parents group in collaboration with Flourish; we’ve partnered with United Way; we support the Make-A-Wish event. We’ve held pop-up events for small, women-owned businesses like Pitter Patter Music Club, Knoxie’s Book Nook, The Sugared Cookie, and more. We were privileged to host Rhinestone Rhonda and the Book Corral. We’re hoping to collaborate with The Imagination Library. We treasure our collaboration with The Cake Life - Erin provides the cafe with fresh baked goods and specialty cookies.
8. How do you prioritize the safety and cleanliness of the cafe for kids and families? What measures do you have in place to ensure a sanitary environment?
Keeping the cafe clean and sanitary is of the utmost priority. We require all playing children to wear our special playground socks and to wash their hands before entering the playground. We’re lucky to have automatic handwashing machines that make it super easy for kids. We also clean our playground, kids kitchen, and cafe area after every playdate. We use kid-safe cleaning products, and train our staff to prioritize the cleanliness of the cafe.
9. What types of birthday party and special event packages do you offer at the cafe, and how can people book them?
Parties and events are one of our favorite things about the cafe. We work to help you create the event you want. We’ve supported families in everything from a 100% DIY party to a fully decked out Deluxe event where we handled all the details from the decor to the goody bags to the food. As parents ourselves, we want to ensure that parents get to actually enjoy the party, make the memories, take the pictures, etc., without the stress of planning and executing the event. It’s easy to book a birthday party on our website - all you have to do is pick a date. We also do special events in other aspects. Special balloon installations for baby showers, birthday parties, graduation celebrations, community galas, parades, and even charity events. We enjoy helping to make events memorable! Anyone interested in event decor should call the cafe or send
10. As a locally owned and operated business, how do you cater to the needs and interests unique to the local community?
It’s so appropriate that you say unique because we feel that with how much we have accomplished in such little time, we have ourselves become unique in our community. Early on, we polled the parents on what they were looking for when searching activities for their children. We took those suggestions to help establish a brand identity that has and always will be children-friendly, with the comfort of the parents in mind. We hope to continue to meet the needs of families in our community for many years to come.
We are excited for the opportunity to share our vision and provide information about our practice. We are a team of 4 veterinarians, 5 licensed veterinary technicians, 6 veterinary assistants, a groomer and 3 management/client care personnel. Our practice philosophy is simple- to deliver the very best care we can in the very best way we can. Our practice vision is to help clients and animals live happier healthy lives together and to distinguish West Dakota Veterinary Clinic as our community’s premier provider of animal health care.
West Dakota Veterinary Clinic is an AAHA accredited small animal hospital. We also have an equine medical and surgical facility and a bovine wing. Our state-of-the-art veterinary hospital offers diagnostic services, x-ray and ultrasound examinations, surgical procedures, vaccinations and routine wellness exams. In addition, we also offer a wide variety of services including lab procedures, a fully stocked pharmacy, prescription diets, pet care supplies, and grooming services. For our horse clients, we have a team of AFA certified farriers who work together with our veterinarians to provide the best possible hoof care. We also offer advanced imaging and treatment therapies such as endoscopy, thermography, laser therapy and shockwave. We provide quality care for your animals and support you as the caretaker.
We are proud of our clinic family and we carefully select and train the highest quality staff to represent us and help us carry out our goals. We love our community and are honored to be here to serve and to offer our very best for our clients and the animals entrusted to our care.
Dr. Tim Janke, some questions for you…
1. How did you feel when you found out that West Dakota Vet had won the Best Vet Clinic and Best Veterinarian awards in the Best of the West contest?
I felt very humbled when I found out I was voted Best Veterinarian. We have some pretty great clients at the clinic and I am also very blessed to have wonderful mentors in Dr. Kim Brummond and Dr. Erika Schumacher.
2. How did you first get involved in the veterinary industry?
I always had an interest and passion to work with animals. I initially thought I wanted to work in the wildlife industry but gained an interest in Veterinary Medicine after working for a local vet during a summer while in undergrad.
3. How do you ensure that your clients and their pets have a positive and stress-free experience at West Dakota Vet?
Taking a few minutes at the beginning of the appointment to introduce yourself to the pet and pet them before the exam can decrease the animals stress level significantly. Also taking time to make sure the owner understands what is going on with their animal along with different treatment options.
4. What are some challenges you have faced in the veterinary industry and how have you overcome them?
Two challenges that almost every veterinarian in the country has experienced at one time or another is being short staffed with support staff like veterinary technicians and assistants and the demanding work load asked of you. Both can be overcome by finding ways to be more efficient with your time and working well together as a team.
5. How do you stay up to date on the latest advances in veterinary medicine and technology?
There are numerous ways to stay up to date on advancements in the veterinary industry. Some include continuing education seminars and webinars, memberships to specific veterinary organizations, subscriptions to educational publications, and medical textbooks.
6. What do you wish more pet owners knew about pet health and wellness?
There is significant value in scheduling an annual exam for your animal.
7. Do you have any specialties or areas of focus within the veterinary field?
I enjoy the variety of working in a mixed practice. I love being able to work with dogs, cats, cattle, and horses. All in the same day sometimes. One area I have really grown to enjoy is orthopedic surgeries though.
1. Can you tell me more about the new services that Smart Computers is offering, and how they will help meet the needs of your customers?
Smart Computers is kicking off two new service offerings for 2023. The biggest offering is our new Education and Office Supply Product Line available to our customers. We are in the process of delivering catalogs to our existing customers and our online shopping cart will be ready by mid to end of January. We are already taking orders and starting to ship items to our customers. The other service we have been working on is upgrading our network security offerings to our business and education clients. We are launching several new security options; including upgrading our NOC (Network Operations Center) and SOC (Security Operations Center) teams so that we can better secure our customers with next generation tools. All these services are available with our managed services contracts.
2. What inspired Smart Computers to start offering office supplies locally with delivery, and how do you envision this new service benefiting your customers?
Smart Computers realized there was a void left when SBM shut its doors after 39 years of business. We are trying to pick up the pieces and move forward with helping the community and re-establish the delivery and services that people were used to having locally. This will take time to rebuild the distribution network. We thank the community for being patient and giving us much needed feedback and great ideas. Smart Computers plans on donating a portion back to the area schools. This money can be used for books, computers, desks, and anything else that will make the schools flourish. The money spent in our community will stay in it rather than provide jobs in other states. It is important that we invest back into our community.
3. Can you describe the new advanced security service that you have rolled out for business clients and schools, and what sets it apart from other security options on the market?
Smart Computers has always provided the best computer and network security and it has been backed into our service offerings from the very beginning. We have just made our overall security package to our managed clients that much better. Over the last year we have upgraded and rolled out several new services to our managed clients to make it even better. Some examples include employee awareness training and cybersecurity insurance offerings. We have also massively upgraded our security stack to adjust for the heightened threat vector with Russia, China, and Iran in todays supercharged landscape.
4. How has the closure of a competitor impacted the computer sales and service industry in your area, and how is Smart Computers positioning itself to meet the resulting demand?
Smart Computers was very saddened and shocked when SBM decided to abruptly close its doors. Smart is trying to re-imagine and build from the ground up the office supply division that SBM had for almost 40 years. Smart has customers all over North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota, and Arizona. Many of them have become great friends over
the years as well. We already travel to these places and perform services there, so it is not that far of a stretch to hire delivery drivers and establish routes if needed. Smart Computers already has most of the infrastructure in place
5. How does Smart Computers stay up to date on the latest technology and trends in the computer sales and service industry, and how does the company adapt to changing customer needs and preferences?
Simple. Smart Computers listens to its customers. If something is not right, we fix it and make necessary changes to prevent further complications or disasters.
6. How does Smart Computers involve and engage with the local community in its business operations, and how do you prioritize customer satisfaction?
Smart Computers and Consulting provides the Security and IT expertise to keep our local businesses going and children safe and learning in the classrooms.
7. Can you describe the process of repairing and servicing computers at Smart Computers, and how do you ensure that the work is done efficiently and effectively?
Smart Computers invests in its employees and training heavily. We want to make sure they are up to any task big or small. Smart Computers has deployed a service that tracks every detail of repairs brought to us. Our system is detailed and time orientated. This system ensures the problem that brought the computer in is addressed, the employee followed the correct procedure to repair, and the customer’s needs or concerns are met in a timely manner.
8. How does Smart Computers differentiate itself from other computer sales and service providers in the area, and what sets your company apart from the competition?
We Care. We Listen. Honesty. We believe in person-to-person customer service, which seems to be going by the wayside these days. There will never be an automated system our customers have to go through to get the product and services they need.
9. Can you highlight your staff, the training and professional development opportunities that are available at Smart Computers, and how they contribute to the company’s success?
All our employees are passionate about doing the best they can, they love technology. Smart Computers values its employees, we encourage training, certifications and conferences and give them opportunities to make them better as a person. All our employees are passionate about doing their very best. They love technology. Each employee has their unique talents. Smart Computers offers training and conferences in the areas of each interest. This brings together happy employees, working in the areas they love to complete our services we offer.
10. What message or advice would you like to share with the community and potential customers about the services and values that Smart Computers offers, and how the company plans to continue delivering top-quality service and support in the future?
Smart Computers would like to thank the community and school districts. We are very humbled and appreciative of all the support and great suggestions you have given us over the years. We will do our best to provide the service you deserve.
Maxsonn Marsh CHEF
CITIZEN OF THE YEAR
Jackie Ewoniuk COACH
COLLEGE PROFESSOR - DSU
Dr. Duffy Meyer
RG Wild Entertainment
ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY
Joe Hanstad (tie)
Mike Parke (tie)
Tibor Music Studio
Dr. Thomas Arnold
Hailey Axtell, OT OPTOMETRIST
WINNERS: Page 47
KDIX Radio 1230AM and 100.7FM have been a cornerstone for News, Entertainment and Sports since signing on air May 16th 1947. In 2022 KDIX Radio celebrated 75 years of service to Dickinson and Southwest North Dakota.
KDIX Radio is still locally owned and operated by Darlene Leiss. A special thank you to all of our listeners and voters in the Dickinson Press Best of The West Contest.
Leiss also thanks the dedicated staff of KDIX Radio for an outstanding job they do every day.
KDIX Radio signed on May 16th 1947 with the first program being ‘The Farm Service Hour” and still features local livestock and grain markets plus regional and national Ag news, Plus became the sports play by play station for the region. Bob Weiler dedicated 50 years of service to working at KDIX Radio and was a cornerstone of Play by Play broadcasting for many years. He then turned the job over to Rod Kleinjan who became synonymous with radio play by play and has done it for close to 50 years. Kleinjan has been named ND Sportscaster of the year 5 times. Jim Dahl has been a fixture of play by play sports with Rod for over 25
years and has done an exceptional job covering the Schools.
The longest running broadcast on KDIX is St John’s Church Sunday Service which has been on air since December 1949 to the present. Other long running broadcasts include: The Stockmen’s Livestock Report and Southwest Grain’s daily markets. KDIX has focused on the area and has been known as Dickinson’s very Own! With all the changes in technology KDIX realizes broadcasting is still a people industry and has a staff that is hometown dedicated to make a difference. Along with Rod Kleinjan you will find another talented play by play broadcaster and on air personality Jim Dahl. Jackie Martin has done sales and on air work and Mike Renner has been in sales and serves as Farm and Ranch Director along with many community and area interviews.
Through the many decades KDIX Radio has maintained it’s focus on Community, News, Agriculture and Sports. KDIX has been part of the community for over 75 years and looks forward to being part of the community in the future for Dickinson and Southwest ND. We pride ourselves on being a Hometown Radio Station.
Taylar Dawn Photography
Dr. Vanessa Hoff, PT
PHYSICIANS ASSISTANT (PA) & NURSE PRACTITIONER (NP)
Rod Kleinjan REALTOR®
SCHOOL TEACHER - ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
SCHOOL TEACHER - HIGH SCHOOL
Dr. Tim Janke
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
SPEECH LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST (SLP)
BLACK JACK DEALER
Advanced Welding Solutions
1. What are the histories of CountryHouse and Evergreen?
CountryHouse and Evergreen are sister properties both owned by Agemark Senior Living. Agemark is family-owned and operated, a characteristic that truly makes us proud. The strongest family attributes are evident in our communities – relationships, laughter, love, compassion and much more. Like any family, we celebrate good times, and are there for each other in times of trouble or sadness. We aim to change lives together – for residents, coworkers and everyone we come into contact with at our communities! Agemark was founded in 1987, subsequently Evergreen was opened in 1990 and CountryHouse in 2003. We’ve served seniors by providing the type of care we’d want for our own families. We’ve helped thousands of individuals by providing a loving, caring and safe community that’s the next best thing (or sometimes even better) than home. We’ve grown our reach from coast to coast, with communities in Maryland, Iowa, North Dakota, Nebraska, California and Washington State. We prioritize the four dimensions of wellness of all in our care – physical, intellectual, social, and spiritual. Our wellness philosophy, LifeCycles, was created in-house and recognizes the higher needs that each individual shares – to feel valued, have a sense of belonging, to make decisions about their own lives and to find meaning and purpose. We believe that seniors should be connected to the communities at-large outside the walls of our buildings and look to encourage ways for those in our care to live their best, most fulfilling lives. At Agemark. communities, we look to Change Lives… Together! Whether it’s creating joy for a resident, a family member, or a fellow coworker, we encourage going above and beyond for others. Our employees are everyday heroes! We work to select the best to work in our communities and look for individuals that embody our values of professionalism, integrity, commitment, and compassion, as these traits are held by the most successful of our team.
2. What services do you provide?
CountryHouse is a Basic Care licensed community with a specialized license from the ND Department of Health for memory care. CountryHouse is a secured community which provided a safe, homelike living environment for those living with different types of dementia and memory loss. CountryHouse also offers short term and long-term respite care, as well as end of life care. Evergreen is Licensed from the ND Department of Health as both Basic Care and Assisted Living. We accept private pay, long term care insurance and ND Medicaid Waiver. Evergreen also offers short term respite stays.
3. How are you feeling about being named Best of the Western Edge?
We are extremely humbled about being voted Best Senior Living of the Western Edge. We know that we have many wonderful senior living communities in Dickinson and are proud to be recognized with this honor. We make it a huge priority to incorporate the community into our Evergreen and CountryHouse family and we believe that is a huge part in our success.
4. Why does the care you provide stand out?
A huge differentiator between us and other senior living communities is our Life Enrichment program we offer to our residents. Seasons is our 52-week curriculum of life enrichment activities. In addition to regularly scheduled exercise and social hours, our communities plan special activities each week that are inspired by the season, a holiday or local events and attractions. These special activities may include trips, educational classes, parties, and volunteer projects. All are designed to maximize wellness, as well as strengthen connections, encourage meaningful engagement, and foster personal growth. Onsite activities include games, music, painting, cooking demonstrations, baking, exercise, and crafts and more. We often bring entertainers on-site for residents’ enjoyment – including singers and musicians, artists, and visits from animals. Many people are surprised that we experience offsite adventures like boating, sporting events, going to concerts, restaurants and on scenic drives, visits to farms, pumpkin patches, zoos, museums, historical sites, water parks and pools and more! We have even traveled for 2-day trip out of state to let our residents enjoy the beautiful Black Hills is South Dakota. Nothing is too far out of reach for our team, and we are always committed to experiences of joy for our seniors.
5. What makes your staff stand out?
At CountryHouse and Evergreen, we are committed to being a family. Our staff feel that when they come through the door. We are more than a job, coming to work is like being at home for our staff. We work together, celebrate together and consistently treat each other like family. Our staff in each community are committed to working together as one large Agemark campus in Dickinson and several are cross trained to work in both CountryHouse and Evergreen. Our staff take the annual Fortune Best Place to Work survey in Senior Living and for several consecutive years we have made the top 20 in medium Workplaces in Aging Services and Senior Housing and Care.
Master License #1282
Customer satisfaction is always a priority. Berger Electric, Inc. appreciates the trust our customers have placed in us over the years and extends our gratitude for voting us #1 for four years.
Thank you and please continue to contact Berger Electric, Inc. for all of your electrical projects.
Remember, if you can’t fix it with a hammer or duct tape, it must be an electrical problem!
1. How does it feel to have won two different categories in the Best of the West reader’s choice competition?
It feels wonderful for both Woofta and Bakken Paws to be recognized simultaneously. Though many of us do both volunteering with Bakken Paws as well as working at Woofta, they are 2 separate entities. We are so thankful to our community for both supporting animal rescue efforts and shopping local! We could not do this without our amazing community. We are also very thankful to have such amazing team members whether employ ees of Woofta, Volunteers of Bakken Paws or both!
2. What does your volunteer program at the shop entail and how can interested individuals get involved?
Volunteering with Bakken Paws may consist of fostering pets within your own home or caring for animals that are host ed at Woofta Pet Shop. Caring for them includes socializing the pets, cleaning cat boxes, sweeping, mopping, washing dishes, ensuring they have food and water. Lots of cleaning, haha. Volunteering may also include attending events and speaking about what we do, animal care, pet meets. Anyone interested in vol unteering can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, subject - volunteer - and we can visit about what aspects of volunteering you are interested in.
3. What has been the most rewarding part of running Woofta Pet Shop and offering a volunteer program?
For Bakken Paws, the most rewarding part is seeing the
pets thrive with their new families. For Woofta, the most rewarding part of our job is helping set families up for success with their pets, whether that is educating about proper enclosure size for a specific fish or reptile, recommending a food that helps their pet thrive or giving enrichment tips or training recommendations.
We have conversations about individual pet care with our customers based on their individual pets and their needs.
5. How does Woofta support area animal shelters and rescue organizations?
Woofta does not sell pets but hosts rescue cats. The woofta team cares for Bakken Paws cats that are hosted in store. Occasionally, we have snakes, birds, small animals that are rescue as well!
6. How do you build relationships with your customers and create a welcoming atmosphere at the
We love to visit with our customers and meet or talk about their pets. As a small pet store, we are able to have more 1 on 1 time with the customers, share in their ups and downs such as birthday celebrations or talking through issues. Occasionally, we host fun events to support Bakken Paws.
Woofta Pet Shop offers walk in or by appointment nail trims, food, treats, toys, clothing, ID tags and more! We have reptile, fish and small animal supplies as well as dog
Record number of Participants (5,259), nominations (67,135), votes (93,458), and winners (245) during the 2023 Best of the Western Edge Readers’ Choice Contest
6TH 75 473 22nd
This is The Dickinson Press’ 6th year of hosting the Best of the Western Edge Readers’ Choice Contest
The most amount of votes cast for any contest participant, The Donut Hole (Best Donuts winner) had the most votes cast this year. This the 3rd consecutive year The Donut Hole has received the most votes of any category
The nomination phase ran from 11/23/2212/4/22. Contest participants had the opportunity to create original nominations for area businesses and individuals. After this initial stage of the contest, the top 3 (or more if there were a tie) nominees in each category moved onto the voting phase from 12/7/22 - 12/18/22.
The increase of winners from year 1 to year 6. 2018, there were 166 winners/categories, 2023 there were 240 winners/categories
2024 Best of the Western Edge Readers’ Choice Contest
Winner’s Announced in the Winner’s Magazine: 1/31/24
Questions or comments about the contest? Want to see something added next time?
Please call Jenn Binstock, Advertising Sales Director, at The Dickinson Press at 701-456-1222.
The date the 2024 Best of the Western Edge Readers’ Choice Contest will start: Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023
To our 2023 Best of the Western Edge Sweepstakes Winner, Katie Fulton, of Dickinson, ND. Katie cast nominations and votes which resulted in her winning a $100 gift card to a winning business of her choice. Congratulations Katie, and thank you to all the contest participants that took the time to nominate and vote this year!
Marketing and Outreach Director, credits the quality of the care that PACE provides to the company’s focus on its participants and their individual needs.
“Our sole focus is meeting the individual needs of our participants,” she said. “We will always do all that we can to keep them well cared for and safe in their homes, for as long as possible. They want to be in their own home, so that is our goal too. We meet weekly to discuss any changes in the needs of our participants and what we can do to meet those needs.”
Northland PACE provides a wide variety of support for people ages 55 and older in the areas of Dickinson, Gladstone, Richardton, South Heart, and Taylor.
“We provide medical management for our participants. Our nurses coordinate all provider visits and doctor appointments and also oversee medications”, Simon said. “We provide a wide variety of services in the home, such as: housekeeping, mealprep, assistance with bathing, and assis tance with dressing. We also provide physical therapy and occupational therapy, either in the home, or at our Day Center. We also have a Social Worker on staff to help with emotional concerns or any behavioral concerns, as well as providing assistance with any necessary paperwork, such as Medicaid applications. PACE has our own dietary staff and we provide activities for participants who attend the Day Center. We have our own nurses, CNAs and medical providers, which helps us to respond to participants needs in a very timely manner.”
Unlike similar programs, Northland PACE isn’t a short-term care service, initiated by a hospital stay, and we provide a much wider variety of services than most programs.
“PACE works closely with each participant and gets to know them, and their needs, very well,” Simon said. “We do regular assessments, to stay current on their needs in every area. We have had a number of participants in our program for several years, increasing the length of time they are able to stay in their home and improving their quality of life.”
“If a participant needs their level of care increased, we respond to that need, by providing the increased care they need. If an increase in level of care is needed, the cost of the program does not increase. If their level of care decreases, which often happens, we decrease care in those areas. Participants remain independent and healthier longer, when they are encouraged to do as much for themselves as they can.”
The approximately 33 participants in the program must meet the minimum nursing home level of care and be able to remain safe in their homes, at the time of enrollment into the program, in order to qualify for PACE services.
“We have medical staff on-call 24 hours per day, so we can be very responsive to our participants, when they are having an emergency need,” stated Simon. “We respond to those needs in the best way possible, to best assist the participant at that time.”
PACE also provides transportation for all participants, for medical appointments, and to allow them to attend our Day Center and take part in the activities available there.”