Hickory Street Kitchen & Cocktails Celebrates Five Years
July 7, 2021
As the COVID-19 pandemic winds down around the country, many restaurants are picking up the pieces and struggling to re-start operations. However, in the town of Sisseton, South Dakota, Hickory Street Kitchen & Cocktails, is celebrating five years of thriving business. Owner, Tracey Sing, attributes their success, despite the pandemic, to lots of hard work, strong community support, employees who are like family, and an unwavering relationship with a dedicated lender.
Although Tracey and Nik (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate), her husband and business partner, both had years of experience in the service industry and were familiar with what it took to run a business, there were still challenges they had to overcome. Finding and keeping employees in an industry notorious for high turnover has been their biggest hurdle, but Tracey says they now have a cohesive team. They were able to retain 75% of their employees throughout the pandemic, and the other 25% has returned as they have felt safe to do so.
“We have some real great people and actually employ some family members. But even for the people that are not biologically family, they’ve become family to us,” expresses Tracey.
From the start, Hickory Street Kitchen & Cocktails has had strong community support, but during the pandemic Tracey and Nik were overwhelmed by acts of goodwill.
“The pandemic was tough, but the community really banded together and supported us. People were ordering just to order – just to keep us going. People would order $30 or $40 worth of food and leave $100,” explains Tracey.
From a finance perspective, Tracey says their lender, Four Bands Community Fund, a nonprofit loan fund based out of Eagle Butte, South Dakota, helped a lot during the pandemic by making sure they knew about relief programs available, assisting with applications, and even providing flexible terms on their loan.
“They’ve been amazing! Nick and I both talk about how we were so lucky to find them and do business with them – through the whole five years, not just the pandemic. They are just really dedicated personable people taking the time to give us what we need,” says Tracey.
In addition to all of this, the fuel that has really ignited the business growth at Hickory Street has been Tracey and Nik’s dedication to creating a place for community. Over the years, the couple has continuously updated equipment, remodeled facilities, and added new specials to their menu.
“We’ve put everything we had into it,” says Tracey. As a result, they enjoy the satisfaction of “having a place where people can come in and get together and be around friends and family.”
Tracey reflects on the most rewarding part of owning and operating a restaurant, “For me, it’s been when things go well, and customers come see you and say their meal was amazing. It fills me with such pride that we’ve done a good job.”
For the next five years, Hickory Street Kitchen & Cocktails plans to keep doing what they’ve been doing. Tracey says, “Our main goal is just to keep people happy and having a good time, surprising them with new things and new ideas.”