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South Dakota's decor destination: Bonnie's DeKor

Bonnie and Hank of Bonnie’s DeKor pose for a photo inside of the store earlier this week. (Matt Gade / Republic)

There's no place like Bonnie's DeKor.

Bonnie Kor can list cities — such as Chicago, Tucson, Omaha and Washington D.C. — from which customers and visitors have traveled from to tell her, "There's nothing like this from where I'm from."

The "this" refers to Kor's one-of-a-kind business in Mitchell, where she sells home interior decor, kitchen gadgets, holiday decorations and floral arrangements in a large 8,400-square-foot display space.

"I call it my whole God incident, and it's been an incredible journey. Someday I'm going to write a book about it, because the things that have happened and the progress of this store, it's far beyond my imagination," Bonnie said. "I never ever, ever felt that it would become this. It just snowballed."

The massive store has become her home, and more than 15 years in the making.

Bonnie began doing florals in the mid-90s at her home. Taking over her home's basement, her work slowly crept into the dining room. Worried it'd take over the den, Bonnie and her husband, Hank, moved into a space on East Third Avenue in Mitchell 15 years ago. On Oct. 5, 2002, she opened her doors for business.

The old furniture building was just about 1,200-square-feet, and just large enough to do her florals. She then began selling lamps, pictures and wall pieces. She called it "Finishing Touches by Bonnie."

But it didn't last long. Over the next decade, the Kors would go on to purchase two more buildings on Third Avenue, more than quadrupling the square footage of her business that has grown into Bonnie's DeKor. And Bonnie couldn't be happier.

"Last year I asked her if she wanted to go to Hawaii or England," Hank said. "She chose the store."

A love for retail

Raised on a farm near Walnut Grove, Minnesota, Bonnie credits her late mother for her success.

Growing up, Bonnie learned the intricacies of interior design from her mother. As for the floral aspect of her business, she learned from a longtime friend and florist.

And it's their help that's gotten Bonnie to where she is today. Last year, the Kors expanded the entire basement of the business, opening up three rooms that are now filled entirely with Christmas and holiday decorations.

While the basement looks more like a department store with merchandise lined up in aisles, the top two floors of Bonnie's DeKor don't — and that was exactly her plan.

"I've never wanted it to look like a store," She said. " ... We like to present it in a way that you're walking into a home, and this is the way you'd like to see it and the way you'd want it."

But to get it to look that way is difficult, Bonnie said, and she has a good team behind her who's helped her do it.

One of whom is her husband, Hank. Her husband, former pastor at the Mitchell First United Methodist Church, is tasked with setting up the markets, plane tickets and planning.

"Retail is a love affair. Bonnie loves retail and I love her, so I'm here," he said.

Getting a 'Bonnie fix'

In her 15 years of owning a store in Mitchell, Bonnie's favorite part has been the people.

Helping individuals find and add new items to their own spaces, makes them and herself happy, Bonnie said.

But for some, it's even more.

"Some people come down here over their break or lunch to get a 'Bonnie fix' they call it. They just walk through. The music and the whole spirit of the atmosphere gives them life," Bonnie said. "That's the best part. Just to have people come in and feel that spirit, it brings a little joy to them."

A self-described "people person," Bonnie said she enjoys interacting with customers and visitors to her store from across the country.

Her goal was to make Bonnie's DeKor a destination in Mitchell, and she's done just that.

"I've had so many people approach me on moving to other places," Bonnie said. "But I'm here. I'm planted. I'm not going anywhere."

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