Local businesses and volunteer efforts recognized at annual Mitchell Chamber of Commerce banquet

Five awards were received by local businesses and community members for their efforts in bettering the Mitchell Community, including The Depot and Friends of Firesteel.

John Foster, owner of The Depot Bar & Grill on Main Street, celebrated a successful 30 years of business and was presented with the "Main Street Champion" for his dedication to the community.
Cassie Williams / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — The Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce, Development Corporation, and Mitchell Main Street & Beyond held their Annual Recognition Event on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022, at Dakota Wesleyan University’s School of Business, Innovation, & Leadership Building to celebrate local businesses and individuals for their commitment to the Mitchell community.

Tim Bottum of Morgan Theeler, LLP and Past President of the Mitchell Area Development Corporation was the event’s emcee for the evening. Representatives from each organization highlighted their accomplishments from the past year and honored individuals and organizations from the Mitchell community with their annual recognition awards.

The Mitchell Chamber of Commerce presented the “Community Service Award” which went to Friends of the Firesteel organization for their dedicated service to the improvement of Lake Mitchell and the Firesteel Creek Watershed. The group of volunteers, members, donors, and partners set with the purpose of assisting the city with fundraising, water quality and project improvement educations, and community building around the goal of cleaning up Lake Mitchell and the Firesteel Creek Watershed as well as enhancing the recreational opportunities for generations to come.

During his speech, Joe Kippes, the Friends of Firesteel Board President, noted, "You're going to be hearing a lot from us in the coming future — we need to make sure all the information about Lake Mitchell and the Firesteel project is accurate so we can make a good, solid decision on how we proceed."

The “Volunteer of the Year” award went to Davison County Auditor, Susan Kiepke. Sue serves as a volunteer on not only, Chamber Committees, but several other Mitchell organizations. Kiepke’s valuable contributions to the Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce and the community contributed to her winning the Volunteer of the Year award.


Kiepke was overcome with emotion as the crowd gave her a standing ovation for her active efforts in the community, but did manage to thank the Chamber for the award.

Mitchell Convention and Visitors Bureau presented the “Tourism Excellence Award” to the Palace City Pedalers , an organization that hosted several recreational activities throughout the year for residents and visitors alike. The Pedalers helped build and maintain 18 miles of trails in Mitchell to help support their passion for bike riding and to showcase what beauty Mitchell has to offer. Their commitment to hosting community bike rides and bike race events, such as the Tour de Corn and Beers and Gears Bike Race, contributed to their recognition.

Mitchell Main Street & Beyond presented the “Main Street Champion Award” to John Foster of The Depot Pub & Grille , who celebrated 30 years of business success on Main Street in Mitchell. He has admirably served the Mitchell community with his presence and unquestionable devotion over the years in numerous organizations, quietly leading by example for his community members around him.

However, Foster attributed most of his success to the people who've surrounded and supported him throughout the years, whether it be his wife, staff, friends or family. During his speech, Foster said, "It's been a labor of love. There's a lot of things that go into this sort of business. But the most fun for me — I've always thought of myself as a teacher, and I've worked with nothing but young people all these years so I get to do exactly that. It's incredibly rewarding for kids to come back during the summer and want to work alongside me and I get to watch them grow. I just totally enjoy that kind of work."

The Mitchell Area Development Corporation presented the final award for the evening, the “Mitchell Family Business of the Year Award," to Puetz Design and Build, a fourth generation business and staple to the Mitchell community. Wayne and Mary Puetz incorporated their family values into their business and passed down the same commitment to their son, Mark. Their involvement, leadership and commitment to the Mitchell community has made an immeasurable difference.

The Mitchell Area Chamber, Development Corporation, and Main Street & Beyond was proud to recognize and congratulate these individuals and businesses on their contributions to Mitchell and the surrounding area.

Cassie Williams joined the Mitchell Republic in July of 2022. To get in contact with Cassie about potential stories, feel free to email her at
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