Alliance Communications can add land development to its list of successful accomplishments.
The Garretson-based cooperative recently opened a new customer service center in Brandon, which is the biggest community the company serves. The Jan. 15 opening was a milestone for Alliance because it virtually completes Alliance’s share of the development of 5.5 acres near a prominent entrance to Brandon.
As a telecommunications company, Alliance’s primary specialty is in providing high-speed internet, digital TV and telephone services to customers in parts of South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa.
Alliance purchased land in Brandon several years ago with the intention of developing it, and it has done so with help from Van Buskirk Cos. in Sioux Falls. You can find the new, 6,900-square-foot office complex at 1400 E. Aspen Blvd. in northeastern Brandon.
A new post office recently opened on part of Alliance’s property, just east of the co-op’s new building. Avera Health has purchased the remaining 3.4 acres just west of the Alliance building for future space needs. Avera’s land is near the intersection of Aspen and Splitrock boulevards.
Avera already operates a clinic and therapy center in Brandon, but the health care organization is likely to need more room in the growing community, said Tom Bosch, vice president of hospitality at Avera McKennan in Sioux Falls. Avera has no immediate plans to build on the property, but the acquisition of land from Alliance positions the organization well for future building needs, Bosch said.
Alliance’s new customer service center replaces a smaller, rented office that Alliance previously maintained in Brandon. The company has additional offices in Garretson and Baltic with customer service, technicians and office staff working out of all three towns.
The new building in Brandon gives Alliance more room and two good neighbors, said Ross Petrick, CEO and general manager of Alliance. Developing the property also has been a revenue generator for Alliance and provides a place for three long-term, community-oriented businesses to grow, he said.
“We’ve been in Brandon for a long time. It was time to set our roots down and not pay rent anymore. We can call this home,” Petrick said of the building. He spends time at all of the companies’ office locations.
Petrick has been with Alliance since October 2015. He succeeded longtime general manager Don Snyders, who retired. Petrick came to Alliance after having worked in telecommunications management positions at Golden West Telecommunications and at Vantage Point Solutions.
He’s leading a company with an elite broadband network that’s looking for new opportunities. For the past two years, it focused largely on improving operations and services within its existing structure. The company doubled and tripled customer broadband speeds last year for no additional cost.
During that time, Alliance also expanded fiber into areas of Rock County in Minnesota and southern Moody County in South Dakota by utilizing state grant and loan programs. Petrick recognizes there’s still more work to be done.
“We continue to look at providing new services to our existing customers and offer broadband in areas that are either unserved or underserved,” he said.
Alliance Communications was formed in 2003 with the merger of Baltic Telecom and Splitrock Telecom. In 2005, the company launched an aggressive, multimillion-dollar project to bring fiber-optic connectivity to all its customers. It completed the conversion from copper to high-speed fiber internet in 2013.
Alliance has 46 employees scattered around its service area and more than 12,000 customers. The company prides itself on being big enough to provide customers with high-quality fiber connectivity and services but small enough to offer personal service, marketing supervisor Amy Ahlers said.
Alliance is also one of 17 independent broadband internet companies in South Dakota that are member-owners of SDN Communications. SDN also has a business partnership with eight telecoms in Minnesota and one in Iowa.
SDN is a leader in providing business internet, private networking and cloud connectivity to businesses and organizations in communities such as Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Worthington, Minn., and the surrounding areas.