A business couple who are described as having a passion for excellence and
community service have received the 2014 South Dakota Retailer of the Year
Carol and Randy Hallock of Rockingtree Floral and Garden Center in Sturgis were honored at the South Dakota Retailers Association's annual Awards Banquet in Pierre on January 13. The event was attended by state legislators, constitutional officers, and retailers from throughout the state.
They were chosen for the award by a committee of retailers in recognition of outstanding community service and going the extra mile in customer service.
Randy started a landscaping business in Sturgis in 1976. In 1993, he and Carol purchased a lot on Lazelle Street, which became their permanent location. Since then, the business has grown tremendously, now serving customers in a five-state area. They operate a flower and gift shop and garden center. Their services include landscaping projects ranging from small residential projects to large commercial projects, installation of sprinkler systems, snow removal, and sales of Christmas trees.
In addition, Carol is the only female licensed plumbing contractor in the state of South Dakota, and owns Town-N-Country Plumbing in Sturgis. During the Rally, she converts the plumbing shop into a restaurant, where she and her staff make Indian tacos and roast beef sandwiches, using beef from Carol and Randy's ranch. During last year's Rally, the Travel Channel's Food Paradise show produced a feature on the restaurant which can currently be viewed both on the Travel Channel and online.
Presenting the award, outgoing SDRA Board President James Siemens of Hy-Vee in Sioux Falls noted that the list of ways in which the Hallocks serve their community is lengthy.
"They started a program which provides a way for people to donate and purchase used Christmas decorations, with the money going to local programs including the women's shelter, the library, and the Senior Center," said Siemens. "They volunteer for Meals on Wheels, and provide a Christmas package to Meals on Wheels recipients. Working with a local bank and radio station, every year on Good Neighbor Day they give away thousands of flowers to people who in turn share them with other people. They provide educational seminars, host tours, and help groups such as 4-H raise money by doing demonstrations. Carol works with the Northern Hills Drug Court, helping with their graduation ceremonies, and has hired some of the graduates. She also serves on the Board of the Serenity Building in Sturgis. When they heard that a shelter and food distribution center was being constructed on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Carol sent their plumbing crew to do the plumbing at no charge. And those are just a few examples of the many ways they serve their community."
Carol Hallock was also named one of the "Ten Most Fabulous Women of 2013" by Black Hills Woman Magazine.
In addition, Siemens said, the Hallocks are known for excellent service.
"As an example: many of the customers who order flowers to be placed at the Black Hills National Cemetery live outside this area. So when they place the flowers at a marker, they take pictures which are then given to the customer."
Siemens said even small things they do have helped to develop and promote their business.
"When they opened the business, they started a custom of giving balloons to little kids," he remarked. "At the time, they jokingly said they were marketing to their future customers. But guess what. Twenty years later, the little kids who first started receiving those balloons are all grown up and they ARE customers."
The Hallocks employ nearly three dozen people during their peak season, and keep most of them employed throughout the year.
"They regard their employees as family and encourage them to be active in the community," Siemens stated. "They also make a point of being flexible on scheduling to allow employees time to devote to their own families. As a result, employees tend to stick around for a long time."
In closing, Siemens said, "Carol and Randy say that customers use their business to make their lives more beautiful. What a great way to view your life's work. As one person told us, they are a real community treasure."
The Retailer of the Year Award has been presented annually since 1982 by the South Dakota Retailers Association.