SCOUTING YESTERDAY: Computer giant moves out of South Dakota before eventual demise
This week in South Dakota history: April 5-11
April 8, 1998 — Gateway 2000 announced plans to move its administrative operation out of South Dakota to California. The Rapid City Journal reported that the state’s largest employer (at the time) will keep its manufacturing facilities in South Dakota.
“The jobs that are important with Gateway are the ones that put our people to work,” Gov. Bill Janklow said while commenting on the news.
Gateway moved to North Sioux City from Sergeant Bluff, Iowa eight years earlier. The fast growing company had received a $700,000 low-interest loan from the South Dakota Department of Economic Development’s Ready Fund its South Dakota facility. At the grand opening, South Dakota’s assistant director of finance, Mark Schuler, praised the company for making the move and its performance.
“Gateway is the first company we have had which exceeded their employment goal before we closed the loan… they’re also the first one which was adding on to the building while we were cutting the ribbon.”
Owner Ted Waitt and co-founder Mike Hammond started the company in 1985 with a $10,000 loan from Waitt’s grandmother, a rented computer and a three-page business plan, according to the company website. The pair began selling software and peripherals for Texas Instruments’ TI-99/4A computer and by 1986 were selling their own handmade computers.
Gateway’s role in the personal computer market exploded, becoming a Fortune 500 company in 1993. The company became publicly traded that year, joining the NASDAQ exchange in December and later moving to the New York Stock Exchange. This growth would eventually lead to a $7 billion purchase offer by competitor Compaq in 1997, which was turned down.
SCOUTING YESTERDAY: South Dakota war hero released from Vietnamese prison camp
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