Living in a small town, Salem

I love Salem. It’s a great small South Dakota town to live in. There’s Zapp’s Hardware, Salem Farmer’s Market, several insurance agencies, 4 gas stations, maybe 5 or 6 hairstylists/barbers, 3 bars with restaurants (The End Zone serves the best big burgers around), several restaurants (Cookie Jar, Heritage Cafe, Cattleman’s Steakhouse, a pastry/breakfast shop, sub/pizza stop in two gas stations, Krispy Kreme box at one gas station). A bank and credit union. Post office. County Courthouse. A funeral home. Ag equipment factory called Feterl’s and they’re expanding — way to go! A vet. Two medical clinics (9 to 5 pm, call for afterhours). Dental office. Chiropractor’s office.

There are several empty storefronts on the Main street. And they do go for fairly cheap rents or sale prices.

My family and I love it here. People are friendly. They seem to know you everywhere you go. I only have to walk 2 blocks from my home to my office. Nice!

There are some serious downsides to living in Salem.

1. Food. There aren’t enough variety of fresh produce sold in the town. No organic foods available. Not enough selection of brands, i.e. no Breyer’s Ice Cream. We have to make our 40 minute trip to Sioux Falls to shop at Hy-Vee to get what we want. You would think living in an agricultural area you would have access to fresh produce year around (especially if we have greenhouses around here — we don’t now.)

2. Restaurants. There are a few good ones in the area, but after a while, you get tired of the limited choices here. Sioux Falls continue to be the only town with wide variety. There are no fast food places here. Only in Sioux Falls and Mitchell. Even fine restaurants (steakhouses) serve great steaks, but they have poor selection of fresh vegetables and cooked ones. Most, if not all, their appetizer selections are fried. (This is probably because these items can be bought frozen then fried, lasting longer). There’s a Subway’s at a truck stop 13 miles away from Salem (10 from Laurent).

3. Our community of friends are still living in Sioux Falls. My kids signing friends are still there. Only M.E. and I are living in Salem. Our employees do work here in Salem, but they commute from Sioux Falls on a daily basis. My kids go to South Dakota School for the Deaf in Sioux Falls so they travel 40 minutes in van each day, each way. They get cranky whenever I suggest we go to Sioux Falls after they get home.

#3 is easy to solve with Laurent because we will have signers moving in so we’ll have a community there. #2 also solvable because Laurent’s location next to highway, we will be able to have a good number of restaurants and fast food places. #1 would require some creative planning on County’s part in providing incentives (or even The Laurent Company) in building greenhouses to grow a wide variety of locally grown, organic produce to be sold to local markets and restaurants year around.

Not too bad at all!


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