Nemecs honored as South Dakota 2005 Retailers of the Year
The 2005 Retailer of the Year award, presented by the South Dakota Retailers Association to an individual or couple each year in recognition of business and civic achievements, was awarded to Ernie and Laurel Nemec of Midland. They were presented with the distinction during an awards banquet in Pierre on Monday, January 9.
The Nemec’s have owned and operated Ernie’s Building Center of Midland for 47 years.
In December, 1959, they bought the Midland Co-op Lumber Yard and the local hardware store. Over the first years, they purchased hardware from OK Hardware, then Gambles, and since 1977 have been affiliated with the Ace Hardware Corporation.
In 1992, a new facility was built in stages. The completed 15,000 square foot building complex has already been added to.
Starting with building feed bunks and calf shelters, the business now includes constructing farm buildings, grain bins and homes.
Taking risks has paid off. The Nemecs have actually increased their inventory rather than decreased it. Customers within a hundred miles know the materials they need will be on hand and of good quality. Laurel and Ernie frequently get calls in the evenings or on Sunday to meet customers at the store so they can get what they need. Essentially, they provide 24 hour service to their customers by being on call.
The Nemecs have earned several business awards; two being the Sioux Steel Company Livestock Equipment division Outstanding Dealer Award in 2000 and 2001, and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001 from the Tri-State Association for over 40 years of dedicated service to the retail lumber industry.
Laurel and Ernie have raised three sons (Randy, Terry and Rick) and two daughters (Becky and Barb). They have 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Randy runs the construction business and helps run the store. Laurel and Ernie are still involved with the Midland school and its activities. They are civic minded and work with the many community projects in Midland. Many high school students, as well as Nemec family members, have worked for Ernies Building Center over the years. A number of those former students are working in the construction field today.
The business is renowned for honoring its patrons during a “Customer Appreciation Day” with its free roast beef dinner to approximately 300 community members each October.
The many business testimonials provided for their nomination included accolades from the president of Warren Window and Supply, the president of Sioux Steel Company, the owner of South Dakota’s Original 1880 Town, the president of Sprenger Midwest Inc., and the representative of Wheeler Lumber L.L.C.