Nole Curry’s acceptance into a management training program came with a contract: He had to agree to be relocated for his first assignment.
“Once you’re in training, they let you give three preferences where you have an interest in going,” said Curry, now an assistant general manager at Menards.
“They realize if you go somewhere you like, you’re going to be a better employee.”
His top three choices would mean a move from Missouri – but that was the idea. He’d traveled through South Dakota on vacation, and he and his girlfriend, Katie Stricker, are big outdoors people.
Coming through Sioux Falls, “we knew about Falls Park and some of the art downtown, and we had explored the town enough and read enough to know chances are we would love being around here,” he said. “We definitely knew we weren’t going to be miserable.”
But an assignment in Sioux Falls was far from automatic. Both Sioux Falls stores are among the top-performing locations in the company, Curry said.
“This area is hard to get into because people like to stay here,” he said. “But two weeks before my training was done, the west-side store posted for an assistant manager.”
He put in a request to interview immediately and was hired on the spot. He moved to Sioux Falls in October 2022, and Stricker followed less than two months later.
“I love Menards. They’ve been super, super helpful with my move,” Curry said. “We’re the type of people who like to explore, and Menards has given us all that and more.”
Stricker took the first few weeks of her move to help set up their duplex in the Cathedral neighborhood.
“It’s been great. We absolutely love it,” she said.
“We wanted to get the house settled and cozy so we weren’t living in boxes, and then I got a little bored.”
He had such a good experience at Menards he suggested she apply at the east-side store.
“And I’ve now happily been with Menards three months,” she said. “It’s been amazing. I was a teacher for 15 years, so every aspect of retail is new to me, and everyone has been so helpful and kind.”
She also recently was promoted to assistant manager in the paint department.
“It’s starting to feel like a family,” she said. “Everyone says hello and is smiling, so it’s been a really good fit so far.”
Their experience is a good reminder for others in the retail industry that a move to Sioux Falls can be a game-changer, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.
“Retail is huge in Sioux Falls, and as this couple has discovered, our retail industry provides such a positive experience and so many opportunities,” she said. “We encourage anyone looking to grow a career in retail to make a similar move and enjoy both the outstanding work experience as well as the quality of life we offer.”
Outside of work, Curry and Stricker already have gotten to know their neighbors despite moving in the winter.
“People in Missouri are nice. I don’t want this to sound like a dig on Missouri. But people here in Sioux Falls are so incredibly nice,” Stricker said. “The first week, I thought someone was playing a joke on us. Even our neighbors we’re just getting to know are so kind and willing to help. I don’t think I’ve met someone who is unhappy. Even grumbling about winter lasting so long, everyone here is legitimately so kind all the time.”
Curry is amazed that he has “only dealt with one angry customer at work,” he said. “Not digging on Missouri, but I had already dealt with two or three a month while I was training, and here everyone is so laid-back and low-key. The customers love to talk to us at work. It’s been great.”
Their 16-year-old dog “loves the snow and going outside,” he added.
And they’ve embraced winter with their first trip to snowmobile races.
“We enjoyed that and enjoyed some hiking when the weather allowed,” Stricker said.
“And we’ve really enjoyed the food experiences so far. I love burgers, so the Burger Battle was right in my wheelhouse, and it was amazing.”
Now, they even have some company from Missouri because former Menards co-workers also relocated to a home in Tea.
“They have a couple kids, so their lifestyle is different, and they were surprised how easy it was to find a place to live and a day care without even having to come visit,” Curry said.
Looking ahead, the couple already has bought state park passes and is looking forward to a year of hiking, kayaking, hunting and fishing.
“And it was a big draw having a river in the middle of town, plus having live local music options,” Stricker added.
Curry even has gone back to pursuing his private pilot license.
“That’s what Menards and this area has allowed us to do – some things I’m not sure we would have done, but it’s given us more options,” he said. “This town is 10 times the size of where we came from, but it does not feel that way at all.”