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Create & Innovate

Since its founding Sioux City has been and still remains a thriving center of businesses and industries. Local resources were plentiful in the area and could be easily exploited. The city’s key location on the rivers stimulated many different types of economic activities. Our diverse population also provided the intellectual heads for many kinds of companies, from corporations to homegrown shops. Over the years the city has been a haven to inventors and entrepreneurs who come to town to create and innovate. Sioux City citizens have been involved in so many different businesses, jobs, and inventions that it would be impossible to describe all of them. Please note that the ones covered here are only the tip of the iceberg.

Listed below are the different steps or spheres of what is called the channel of distribution, or how products go from producers to everyday consumers. Sioux City businesses have belonged to and many still occupy each one of these steps, and businesses often overlap, covering multiple spheres of the channel. (Note: this illustration is of the channel of distribution on a post-producer level. For more information on producers in the Siouxland area, see the Farm and Market collection).


This sphere is probably the simplest to understand. Manufacturers and manufacturing companies take either raw products – iron ore, clay, gemstones, and even edibles like milk or sugar – or products made by other manufacturers – steel, glass, plastic, leather, and the like – and create a new product. There is both edible and non-edible manufacturing, and some manufacturers can sell directly to consumers, though this is generally not common. Some Sioux City manufacturers and products include:

Chesterman Co. – bottles and soft drinks

Sioux City Foundry – steel machine parts and ironworks

Hanford Produce – butter and creamery products

Rocklin Manufacturing – engines and machines

Gateway – computers


Not as well-known as the other spheres, wholesale is often forgotten simply because consumers rarely come into contact with wholesalers or distributors. Wholesale and distributing companies are most basically companies who buy products from manufacturers, other wholesalers, or direct from producers, and then sell them to other companies, usually in large quantities, for retail sale to consumers. They can carry a wide variety of products, from automobiles to foodstuffs to clothing. Businesses in this sphere rely heavily on being able to transport goods and merchandise effectively, thus making Sioux City, with her efficient transportation sectors, a hotspot for wholesalers. Some of the biggest businesses in Sioux City were and are wholesalers, including:

Moore & Shenkberg (grocery)

Tolerton & Warfield (grocery)

Knapp & Spencer (hardware)


Most people are familiar with retail stores. They form some of the biggest names in chain stores today, and many retailers contract with producers, manufacturers, and wholesalers so they have a hand in every sphere of the channel. Retailers are well known because consumers have direct contact with them. Some retail stores, like basic grocery stores, specialize the products they sell, but most divide up their variety of wares into different departments, commonly known as department stores. Sioux City has had its own famous department stores, such as:

Davidson Brothers

T. S. Martin Company


Objects in this Collection

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