By Angie McDonnell
This September marks a very special achievement for community member and businessman, Dale McDonnell, as he officially reaches fifty years of being in business.
McDonnell’s business career began in September of 1967, following his graduation, earlier that spring, from Southern State College with a degree in electronics. He opened the doors to his first business at the age of twenty-one, Dale’s TV, providing TV services and sales.
The business, located on Main Street here in Martin, was very successful. Not only were TV sales great, but so was the selling of various types of radios. At one point, business was so good that McDonnell was selling more commercial radios than anyone in the state of South Dakota.
Later, in 1979, McDonnell decided to change his business path, teaming up with Dave Jones. Together, they formed the General Store, Ace Hardware from scratch. The store also was located on Main Street and sold various items from TV’s to animal health products to farm and ranch supplies. In 1985 they purchased a lumber yard and began selling pole barns.
Together they maintained and operated a steady business until 1989.
“I needed a change again, so I sold out to Dave,” said McDonnell.
From there McDonnell designed and built the Crossroads Inn, a motel. McDonnell based his design off of a basic pole barn and was awarded Design of the Year by the York Building Company.
The motel, located at the intersection of Highway 18 and 79, originally consisted of twenty-four rooms, but received a renovation in 1996 when McDonnell added ten more.
“In the meantime I formed McDonnell Contracting and Management and designed, built, and ran four housing projects,” McDonnell said.
First, was the creation of the McDonnell Apartments. Then, a few years later McDonnell purchased the lot from Dave where the lumber yard was located. There is where he constructed the Parkview Apartments. The third apartment complex he ran were the Fourth Avenue Apartments. McDonnell’s next project were the four townhouses on First Avenue.
In 2005, McDonnell had also bought the Spring Creek Inn in Hill City, SD
By 2008 he had sold all of these and continued to buy and sell various rental properties.
He then purchased the Kings Motel, formally known as the Harold’s Motel, located along Highway 18 in 2009. This purchase allowed for the expansion of his motel, calling it the Crossroads Inn Annex. McDonnell remodeled some of the motel rooms and created apartments with others.
Today, McDonnell currently still owns the Crossroads Inn and Annex, a duplex in what was originally known as the Sergeant house, and a couple other rentals.
“I have never had a job,” McDonnell is proud to say. Following his college education, he has always been his own boss.
Throughout McDonnell’s business careers, he has continued to be very active within the community. He has been involved with the Commercial Club, Jay Cees, Senior Citizens, City Council, Library Board, Fairboard, several medical boards, and Bennett County Commissions.
McDonnell also was appointed to the SD Business Recruitment Council by Governor Mickleson and was elected to the board of SD Association of County Commissioners, where he also served as president.
In his spare time, McDonnell can be found admiring, showing, adding, and subtracting to his collection of classic cars, drinking coffee in the mornings and playing cards in the evenings with various friends of his, and traveling all over the world.
“Each of Dale’s businesses has been successful and led to the next. Every decision to change careers and start a new business has been to improve and fill a need for our community, as he is always concerned for the well-being of our town and county and its people,” said Bonnie McDonnell, Dale’s wife.
“A lot of different things. It’s been good,” said McDonnell, reflecting on his various careers and responsibilities. “It seems I have always needed a new challenge about every ten years. Now my main job is to keep Bonnie happy. And, work on my cars. Wouldn’t have made this all happen without Bonnie by my side and all she has done.”