Glamping in the shadow of Mt. Rushmore

RAPID CITY, S.D. — If the idea of pitching a tent and sleeping on the cold, hard ground doesn’t have its appeal, perhaps glamour camping — glamping — is more your style. Glamping offers the “roughing it” aspect of an overnight stay in a tent without the need to give up a bathroom or a king-sized mattress and high-thread-count bed linens.

The Black Hills’ first glamping resort opened last month near Keystone, the Rapid City Journal reported. Under Canvas Mount Rushmore joins four other camps currently operated by Bozeman, Montana, based Under Canvas.

Other camps serve Yellowstone, Glacier and Zion national parks, with another in Moab, Utah, close to Arches and Canyonlands national parks. Two more camps in the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and the Grand Canyon in Arizona are slated to open later this year.

Under Canvas-Mount Rushmore, situated among the stately pines and granite formations about a mile and a half southeast of Keystone, consists of 52 roomy canvas tent cabins with multiple floor plans.

All tents are erected on solid wood frames with a full floor and an exterior deck.

The basic tent setup, called the Safari, is a single, cabin-sized tent with close access to a communal bathhouse. The Deluxe, Stargazer and Suite options include a full bathroom with toilet, sink basin and shower stall included. All tents include small wood-burning stoves.

The Stargazer offers a clear panel over the bed, combining an under-the-stars ambiance and protection from the weather.

Meals are served in the Embers Restaurant and a check-in/lobby area, also under canvas and featuring a large deck with a spectacular view of Mount Rushmore National Memorial just a few miles away. Many tent cabins also have a view of the memorial.

Viewing telescopes set up on the deck allow guests to watch the evening lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore. The view on last Wednesday night came with a bonus, said assistant Mount Rushmore camp manager Alex Browere.

“It was cool with the sunset,” Browere said.

The resort opened softly on May 24, with a grand opening on June 4.

Under Canvas Mount Rushmore will operate on a seasonal basis until Oct. 1. The tents and all interior furnishings will be taken down and stored until the resort reopens for the 2019 season, when the resort will expand to 75 tents.

Starting nightly rates (double occupancy) range from $189 for a Safari, $284 for a Deluxe, $339 for a Stargazer and $409 for a Suite with an adjacent tipi.

Multi-night packages, including guided driving tours of Black Hills attractions and other activities, meals and other amenities, are also available.

South Dakota School of Mines men’s basketball coach Jason Henry started A&Js Screening, a screen printing business, as a sideline in 2002.

Now, Mike Lindsay has incorporated the screening business in a personalized clothing venture called Park Bench Apparel.

Park Bench offers personalized men’s and women’s clothing, hats, stickers, signs and banners and drink accessories.

The shop is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Along with his own products, he is helping others market their creations.

“We showcase local artists and sell their stuff here too,” he said.

Strider featured in Google small business report

Ryan McFarland is billed not only as founder and CEO, but “chief enthusiast” of Rapid City-based Strider Bikes.

The pedal-less bike manufacturer maintains both a bricks-and-mortar retail presence but is also active and successful in marketing its products on the internet.

So much so that search engine Google has recognized Strider for being the top-rated “Best first bike” search option.

“We aim to do everything we can to support physical retail, but as a brand, we also need to be meeting parents and grandparents on their terms, through web searches they are making on digital devices,” McFarland said.

Because of their digital marketing success, Strider was selected by Google to represent South Dakota as an example of making good use of the web to grow a business. Strider is featured in Google’s annual Economic Impact Report, released this month.

McFarland started Strider Bikes in his garage in 2007, after first removing the pedals and chain drive from a bike to teach his then-2-year-old son to balance.

Strider Bikes is now approaching 2 million bikes sold, with distribution in over 75 countries.

“Our growth has been greatly accelerated by the web,” McFarland said in a release.

“The internet really is the prime location to run a business in today’s world. Our use of the web effectively will enable us to realize a world in which all kids possess the ability to ride a bike independently,” he said.