n only a few years Alex and Holly Niemann have gone from
Ibeing nervous new entrepreneurs to having the Custer Area Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year for 2020 . The Niemanns started Adventure Rentals to help visitors experience outdoor adventures on the highways and byways of the Hills on their rented side-by-sides and Slingshots .
The couple will tell you that much of that success is due to the support of the Custer business community , being located on one of the busiest tourism intersections in the Black Hills and the introduction of thousands of out-ofstaters to the state because of coronavirus lockdowns across the nation .
The Niemanns say it was scary to sell their house in Sioux Falls and move to Custer to start the business in 2018 , but it has been a resounding success and last year they kept their dozens of side-bysides on the roads and trails every day of the season . In addition to the UTVs for both forest service trails and street riding , they also rent three-wheeled Slingshots for highway use only , all of which were kept on the roads throughout the summer .
A big impetus for their deciding to pull the trigger on the business came when the lot on the corner of 5th Street and
Mt . Rushmore Road came up for sale .
Noting that Adventure Rentals sits at the intersection of the two main scenic tourism highways in the northern U . S . ( 16 and 385 ), Alex said “ This is THE spot to build something for tourists .”
Also , because of its location on the routes leading to Mt . Rushmore and Custer State Park the Niemanns say their business is perfectly situated to catch the eye of visitors looking for a more intimate experience of the Black Hills .
They also provide a valuable service to RVers who want to travel some of the area ’ s scenic backroads such as Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road that are not friendly to larger vehicles . Often their four-wheelers and Slingshots are used for excursions to see the pigtail bridges or the buffalo of Custer State Park .
Alex also pointed out that their positive first impression of the Black Hills caused many visitors to re-do their vacation plans as they were traveling . He said a number of customers decided to cut their Yellowstone experience short in order to stay multiple days in the Hills . Others from eastern states changed their plans to go back home through South Dakota rather than taking a southern route .
“ So we saw people one week and then we ’ d see them two weeks later again coming back through and renting again and then staying for a few days ,” noted Alex . “ I think it ’ s going to be positive for years to come due to how the town reacted to the overwhelming influx and the shutdown of the other states .” “ It was pretty amazing ,” added Holly . The Niemanns say they are pleased to be doing business in Custer , not only because it is Alex ’ s home town but also because of the way the businesses help one another out .
“ When someone comes here and asks where they should eat after a day of riding ... we make sure to send out recommendations ,” said Holly , adding that can happen 50 times a day .
She says she also knows of customers who have been recommended to Adventure Rentals by servers in local restaurants .
“ Together , as a Custer community , we are able to really help each other out and make sure that the businesses together can thrive ,” said Holly .
While they acknowledge they are almost at capacity on their Mt . Rushmore Road lot , they added more Slingshots in Custer and opened a second facility east of Hill City summer as well .
“ We would have never imagined it would have grown the way that it has and we ’ re very very grateful for that ,” said Holly .