Local businesses aim to strengthen ties between community, military members with discounts

HONOR THEIR SERVICE: Visit Rapid City decals help identify military discounts in local businesses

Ellsworth Air Force Base and Camp Rapid bring in over one million dollars a day to the Black Hills. Local organizations say keeping close ties between the community and those connected with the military is key, and part of that is military discounts.

Something folks might start to see around town is window decals.

“We put together some window clings that say ‘military and veterans discounts are here’,” said President and CEO of Visit Rapid City, Julie Schmitz Jensen.

With over 200 businesses in Rapid City that offer discounts to active duty military and veterans, the new clings let military members and their families know they are welcome in the community, even if they’re only here for a few years.

“Come to our restaurant, come to our attraction, come to our hotel, come to our retail business and we will show you our appreciation by giving you a discount,” said Jensen.

The Rapid City Chamber of Commerce has aimed to embrace the base since Ellsworth AFB faced possible closure in 2005.

“We got through our BRAC hearings, our congressman and senators really helped us out but I think sometimes Rapid City sometimes forgets how important it is to the whole economy,” said Jensen.

Erin Childress, general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn in Rapid City says by offering the discounts, the local businesses aim to bring in military as family.

“We want those families to come stay with us, even the workers who come to work on the base. Those guys can come out and stay with us,” said Childress. “We’re going to take care of them from the time they check in to the time they check out, whether it’s a night, a weekend, or that extended stay.”

With more changes coming to Ellsworth AFB in the next decade, keeping the relationship strong is important to a growing economy.

“I think the B-21 and the opportunities in the future are a huge part of what we’re looking forward to, but that alone we should’ve been embracing the base before this,” said Jensen.

The full list of businesses that offer military discounts can be found here.

Categories: Honor Their Service, Local News, South Dakota News