Feb. 2, 2023

This paid piece is sponsored by Sioux Metro Growth Alliance.

It probably shouldn’t be surprising that a couple with a passion for fitness moves fast.

It took Tom and Karly Rychlik about six months after moving to the Sioux Falls metro area from Colorado to become business owners in Tea.

The owners of CrossFit 605 opened at 27065 Katie Road at the beginning of the year.

“We wanted to come out here to slow down and to just reset, restart life,” Tom Rychlik said. “We were looking for a house in Tea, didn’t find one and found our home in Sioux Falls, but Tea has always stuck out to us.”

They “liked the small-town feel” of the community, Karly Rychlik agreed. “There are no CrossFit gyms here, and it just felt right.”

Weeks after opening their fitness center, that opinion has only strengthened.

“The community is amazing,” Tom Rychlik said. “Midwest kindness is missing a lot of places outside of here, and that’s what drew us in. We heard Tea was growing so fast, and when we went to Tea and looked around, we said this is the place to put the gym.”

The Rychliks already have plenty of company as investors in the Tea community – and they’re about to get more.

Following a record-breaking 2022 that “blew everything out of the water … it’s carrying into this year as well,” said Kevin Nissen, planning and zoning administrator for the city.

Tea totaled more than $69 million in building permit valuation, up from $50 million in 2021, $37 million in 2020 and $24 million in 2019.

“Those numbers really start to tell the story,” said Jesse Fonkert, president and CEO of Sioux Metro Growth Alliance. “Tea is benefiting from well-planned growth, business community support and civic engagement. And there are even bigger things ahead as the 85th Street interchange moves forward and provides game-changing access to the city.”

The year also brought 98 new single-family home permits, on par with 100 in 2021 and up from about 70 in each of the previous two years.

“We saw a tremendous amount of residential and commercial, and 2023 looks good too, at least for commercial,” Nissen said. “I don’t know how the housing market is going to handle things, but I know we have a lot of builders that own lots, and I’m sure they’ll want to try and get something going.”

Kelan Bludorn already is. The Brookings-based multifamily developer and real estate agent has started construction on a four-story, mixed-use building, which will be the tallest building in town.

“We try to have a super-cool, modern design but still at an affordable price,” said Bludorn, whose SoDak Construction includes himself and his nephew.

“We do so much of the work ourselves we’re able to have more control over our costs. We do a lot of our own work, concrete framing and siding, and we build apartments all over eastern South Dakota,” he said. “Our next jump was to do more near Sioux Falls.”

The community of Tea was appealing for its available land, infrastructure, schools and demand, he said.

“It’s a nice small-town atmosphere, and the growth is good,” he said. “We talked a lot with the city about housing studies and what their needs are.”

The development ultimately is planned for two multistory, mixed-use buildings plus a small park to support pets. There will be 84 total studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments with a modern farmhouse, Scandinavian-inspired design. The first 30 apartments are scheduled to be available later this summer. On the main floor, Bludorn said the building is a fit for services like a barber or tanning salon.

“We’ve already had a number of brokers reach out with potential clients,” he said.

In city planning, Nissen is enthusiastic about the new addition.

“It’ll be a beautiful building, and it’s going to have to great views,” he said.

Other building activity also is starting or coming soon.

Embrace Church has a site plan being reviewed for a new church, while Thornton Flooring has a large new building in the Bakker Landing development.

National retailers are starting to put Tea on the radar too, with a Dairy Queen under construction and a Starbucks planned in a new retail center.

“There’s a lot of interest lately,” Nissen said. “Much of it in the Bakker Landing development, a lot of calls on the new strip mall with Starbucks.”

The Tea Chamber for Development is feeling the momentum too.

“There are so many new businesses – our chamber has grown quite a bit,” said Ruby Zuraff, who has served as president the past two years.

“They want to network and get to know each other and get the word out about their business.

It’s been boutiques, different restaurants, gyms, a little bit of everything.”

Her own business, Roos Sanitation, has experienced the effects of growth too, going from three customers when it began six years ago to about 3,000 accounts and eight drivers.

“I’ve lived in the community over 10 years now, and we’ve definitely grown,” she said. “It was a small town when I moved here, and it’s not that anymore.”

As for the Rychliks at CrossFit 605, becoming business owners here has been “very positive,” Tom Rychlik said. “We want to build a foundation and get them healthier and happier and fitter and better versions of themselves.”

They offer CrossFit classes for all ages, shapes and sizes, with a free trial before committing to membership. The Rychliks teach all classes themselves and can adapt for members’ unique needs. Classes are offered Monday through Saturday. A grand opening is planned for the spring. For information, click here. 

“We’ve wanted to open a gym since we’ve been together – so 13 years,” Karly Rychlik said. “It’s been a dream. Everyone has been so excited about our location.”

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