Women Entrepreneurs Mean Business!


October is Women in Small Business Month and with seventeen female-owned or co-owned businesses at The Bridges, we are ready to celebrate! We feel we are truly “bridging the gap” for women with the amazing success, leadership and inspiration our local female business owners bring to the area.

Many of these women got their start at The Bridges and have since grown their businesses to include additional locations, expanded product lines, more square footage, unique community events or all of the above. While they all took different paths to entrepreneurship, they share similar stories about “taking the big leap” into starting a business. 

Want some examples?

Ellyn Suga, owner of Shop Dog Boutique, grew up in Sioux Falls and attended the University of Montana, where she worked at local pet supply shop and fell in love with the industry. Upon returning to Sioux Falls, she worked in retail in the downtown area and began research and planning for Shop Dog. After traveling to other cities and visiting popular pet destinations, attending trade shows, and doing research on the industry’s best pet products, she opened the doors to Shop Dog Boutique at The Bridges in December 2012. Her popular store has a huge following of dog lovers and was recently named one of America’s Coolest Stores by Pets+ magazine!

Jael Thorpe, owner of J.Ella Boutiques, launched her business in the tiny front room of her portrait studio (she’s a photographer as well as a designer) in 2010. She had 300 square feet of space in a building located in an alley in Brookings and decided to try her hand at fashion. Since then, she has opened two thriving retail locations—one in Brookings and one at The Bridges in Sioux Falls.

Melissa Johnson, owner of Oh My Cupcakes, refers to herself as an “accidental business owner,” who started a small cupcake business with a little money and a lot of love. Today, her shop is one of Sioux Falls’ most popular food destinations and she has a Facebook following of nearly 20,000 people. She will be opening a second location on the east side of Sioux Falls early next year.

Jody Kusek, owner of Forget Me Not and Eddy Joy Baby Boutique, launched one of the first stores at The Bridges in 2008 and just recently expanded into a newly renovated 7,000 square foot space that houses both of her locations across the lower level of one of the Bridges buildings.

Sheryl Nelson was a stay-at-home mom and substitute teacher who started working at Kidtopia Toy Store at The Bridges. She bought the stores six months later.  Sheryl recently renovated her Bridges location, which has a strong following of loyal customers. She also opened a second location at Dawley Farms.

Tamara Dettler began her entrepreneurial path as a custom framer, but her store, You’ve Been Framed, has morphed and expanded over the years into a unique collection of clothing, jewelry, home décor and baby apparel—in addition to custom framing. Today, You’ve Been Framed carries Alex and Ani as well as Pandora, among other popular product lines. Tamara and her husband Dave recently took a leap in a new direction by opening the first Moe’s Home Collection franchise in the United States, which is located at Lake Lorraine.

The stories of growth and success go on and on at The Bridges at 57th Street, thanks to the passionate and determined local owners who pour their hearts into their businesses. Along the way, many of them have also poured their hearts into the community.

If you’d like to support a female entrepreneur who either owns or co-owns a Sioux Falls business, consider the following locations at The Bridges at 57th Street:


For more information about The Bridges at 57th Street, contact tammy@vbclink.com or call 605.361.8211.