FEATURE STORY: As Floodwaters Ebb, Dakota Dunes Business Flows
Thursday, April 30, 2015
As the four year anniversary of the Missouri River flood approaches, one Dakota Dunes healthcare provider is living proof of this community’s resiliency.
Dr. Steve Ferguson, founder of Dunes Eye Consultants, wasn’t sure what the high waters would do to his plans to grow his business. “We actually had plans for a new building in the works for several years prior,” said Dr. Ferguson. “But being the first commercial project in our community post-flood was exciting. With support from the state of South Dakota, our project helped reassure people throughout the area that their community was stable.”
As the flood waters receded, Ferguson went to work to secure funding for his new building. Working with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, what he found was a loan program offered through the South Dakota Development Corporation. “Using the SBA 504 program allowed us to lock in a low, long-term financing rate. That was a significant part of the loan, and pretty critical to the project,” Dr. Ferguson said.
With that loan, Dunes Eye Consultants, which was established by Dr. Ferguson in 2003, built a new, 12,000 square-foot office facility that opened in 2014.
And business is booming. Dunes Eye Consultants sees more than 10,000 patients annually and currently has 14 employees. The staff includes Dr.Ferguson, optometrist, founder and clinic director; Dr. Larry Womack, LASIK surgeon associate; and Kim Blaeser, practice administrator.
“Our growth has been pretty significant,” said Dr. Ferguson.
Prior to opening his own practice, Dr. Ferguson worked for firms elsewhere in South Dakota and owned multiple practices in Minnesota and Iowa. He speaks highly of South Dakota’s business climate. “South Dakota is an extremely good place to do business. It is straightforward and easy, and there is little red tape relative to other states,” Dr. Ferguson said.
So while Dr. Ferguson is pleased to see his business numbers rise, he is equally as pleased to see the waters of the Missouri stay just where they are.