Weight Watchers last week moved its meeting space from a spot in the back of Baken Park into a new retail-style shop in Rushmore Crossing, between the Man Salon and Dollar Tree.

Weight Watchers meeting leader Paula Welsch said the store is a new style that Weight Watchers is rolling out around the country. It features a big meeting room, private weigh-in areas, and an information and retail sales desk that is staffed all day, not just at meeting times.

Welsch said she has been a Weight Watchers leader for more than 20 years, and met her personal weight-loss goal in 1984. With the plan, she said, “I learned I could eat more when I was eating healthy foods than before.”

While west-siders will have to drive farther for meetings, the location will be more convenient for those on the east side of town, plus, Welsch said, people from all over the Rapid City area go to Rushmore Crossing to shop.

“We are looking to introduce ourselves to those who haven’t been members before,” she said. “We are looking to be more available to members, and let them feel they have more access to us.”

There are now meetings seven days a week including early mornings and evenings. And, the store is a place people can buy Weight Watchers cookbooks, snacks, workout DVDs and other products. Welsch said anyone is welcome to come for an initial meeting for free to see what the program is about.

Check weightwatchers.com for hours and meeting times.

Quilt Connection relocates downtown

February was supposed to be a fun month for the owners of the Quilt Connection, Joan Kettlewell and Anne Meisner. They were excited about moving their quilting shop back downtown after more than three years on North Haines Avenue.

But two weeks ago, just three days after they moved into their new space at 522 St. Joseph St. in the Duhamel Building, Kettlewell suffered a stroke in the middle of the night.

She has since been moved out of the intensive care unit and is now recovering at Rapid City Regional Hospital, said her husband, former Journal photographer Dick Kettlewell.

“It’s looking up,” he said. Months of rehab are ahead for the avid quilter and all-around “feisty” businesswoman, as Meisner describes her. Dick Kettlewell said his wife comes from a big family and has lots of support right now.

Meisner, meanwhile, is juggling the responsibilities of running the business, and keeping the quilting community up to date on Kettlewell’s progress.

She is optimistic Kettlewell will be back, and said she is looking forward to a successful summer of business in downtown Rapid City.

The shop, formerly the home of Forever Yours Bridal and Formalwear, has a main-floor showroom for fabric, notions and Husqvarna-Viking sewing machines, and a large basement where Meisner plans classes and “soyo” gatherings where people “sew on your own” together. There is also more room for the shop’s sewing machine repair person to work.

Call 355-0178.

Growth ahead for Horizon Machine

Sturgis firearm components manufacturer Horizon Machine plans an 8,000-square-foot expansion thanks to a partnership with Sioux Falls-based South Dakota Silencer.

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Horizon has been making sound suppressors for South Dakota Silencer for about six months, helping the Sioux Falls business to increase its sales, according to a news release from the state Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

“Our sales have jumped 35 percent in North Dakota and South Dakota now that a Dakota-based business is manufacturing for us,” said Brandon Maddox, owner of South Dakota Silencer. “We moved all of our production operations to South Dakota as well as our product that was already produced in Georgia.”

Horizon will break ground this spring on the expansion and also build an underground firing range for research and testing.

“Horizon Machine’s partnership with South Dakota Silencer, in addition to other growth we have been experiencing, really prompted this expansion,” said Horizon Machine president Dale Mack. “We produce .22-caliber, .223-caliber and .308-caliber products, which cover 97 percent of the silencer market, and we are excited to see additional growth.”

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development supported the companies’ expansion, as part of its efforts to grow the firearms sector in the state.

“We have long said that firearm companies just make sense in South Dakota, and this partnership is a great example,” Gov. Dennis Daugaard said. “Sound suppression devices are gaining popularity among hunters and outdoorsmen, making silencers the fastest-growing segment of the firearm industry.”

Sturgis is home to 12 of South Dakota’s 49 firearm companies.

Talking Business appears Sunday in the Business section. To submit an item or ask a question, send an email to rcybusiness@rapidcityjournal.com

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