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Dakota Granite Differentiates Itself From the Competition

Milbank, South Dakota
"In today's conservative economy we became apprehensive about spending money in areas that three years ago would have been a ‘no-brainer’. Distancing ourselves from our customers is the last thing we want right now. The Trade Adjustment Assistance program has allowed us to focus on our marketing and be aggressive in our efforts to reach out to our customers." Rick Dilts, Dakota Granite, VP of Sales & Marketing

Dakota Granite is a small family-owned business in an industry teeming with foreign products. With state-of-the-art quarries and a high-tech production facility for cutting, polishing, and finishing stone products, this Milbank, South Dakota business produces finished monuments and memorials, as well as provides stone for commercial use.


Stone production overseas has grown astronomically over the past two decades and by 2005 foreign companies had captured a full 88% of the total U.S market for stone. Dakota Granite was founded in 1925 and has succeeded for 80+ years by adapting to a constantly changing industry and market, in addition to providing quality stone products. Understanding the industry shift to a truly global market, Dakota Granite utilized the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms program to differentiate itself from its competition.


Approximately 40% of Dakota Granite’s business is rough blocks of stone used mostly for commercial building projects. One project partially funded through Trade Assistance funds was testing the hardness of its stone from its quarries. By measuring the hardness of its stone, Dakota Granite can demonstrate the true benefit of its stone-- structural strength that will endure stress for multiple decades.


Another project enabled Dakota Granite to articulate the benefits of its products through focused marketing efforts. As a small business, Dakota Granite has limited marketing resources and with assistance from the Rocky Mountain Trade Adjustment Assistance Center, Dakota Granite was able to tap into the expertise of a local marketing agency. A new multi-page brochure on Dakota’s mausoleum line marked a shift from marketing to the monument dealer to targeting the end-consumer. Professional graphic design, layout and copywriting made this marketing piece extremely effective, increasing mausoleum business by approximately 25 to 35%.

To learn more about Dakota Granite, visit the company Web site.