Business owners in Keystone are preparing for summer

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KEYSTONE, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Warmer weather means more visitors to the Black Hills, and businesses in Keystone are opening their doors in preparation for summer.

Walking through Keystone it's becoming more common to see an open sign in windows. Some businesses are taking their time, but others start to open their doors in mid April.

"In my experience a lot of your veteran vacationers will come earlier in the year just to avoid the rushes, get to see more of the scenery and the wildlife and stuff and take advantage of that as opposed to having the crowds messing with them," says Dutch Forgey, assistant manager at the Red Garter Saloon.

The first few weeks are usually slow for business, but that just gives store owners more time to prepare for summer, when the sidewalks are filled with tourists.

"Well we definitely try to get all of our merchandise in in the spring. It's really hard to deal with having UPS deliver 20 boxes when we're open for business and there's a lot of people in the store. So we try to manage inventory that way," says Susan Besancon, owner of Keystone Mercantile.

Nearly all of the businesses close during winter, but The Indian's is open year round. Commuting to work from Rapid means the owners have to take more snow days, but it gives them time to make sure the shop is in tip-top shape for summer.

"To finish a year takes us longer with inventory and everything and to get started for the year takes us longer so it's not super busy people wise in the winter, but we're still busy. We do all of our maintenance, repairs, and cleaning in the winter," says owner Kathy Uhrig.

But regardless of whether or not they're open all owners still look forward to summer.

"I think the Black Hills gets more popular all the time. There's more attractions going in at all times and I think that draws people from more and more states. I think it gets, for the most part it gets better and better each year," says Jason Abelseth, owner of Professor Samuel’s Old Time Photos.