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Sioux Falls T-Shirt Vendor Suggests We Can Love South Dakota and Change It

Local salesman Vaney Hariri is selling t-shirts and masks branded “Flyover Country” to make a buck and instill some defiant community pride in Sioux Falls and South Dakota. He’s also collecting stories from fellow businesspeople telling why they are sticking around South Dakota to seek their fortunes.

But he’d better be careful: his messaging seems to be getting off the brand dictated by South Dakota’s Snow Queen of Marketing, Kristi Noem. In a news story last week, Hariri dared suggest that identifying as a South Dakotan means more than killing pheasants:

Hariri, co-owner in Think3D solutions, started the Flyover Country apparel line in June 2020 alongside Joshua Novak, who founded Main St. Media House.

And the business is growing quickly. The two are renting space in downtown to store their products, and Hariri said they might consider a storefront at some point in the journey.

While there are plenty of state pride shirts already, the two didn’t find something that united the entire area.

“I love repping this state, but I’m not going to wear a pheasant,” Hariri said. “This is not an anti-coast thing. This is a pro-us thing. This is loving where you’re from and investing in your community” [Makenzie Huber, “South Dakota Men Turn Flyover Country into Budding Brand,” AP, 2021.05.05].

On top of challenging ornithocidal orthodoxy, Hariri dares suggest that living in and loving South Dakota can involve seeking to change South Dakota:

“Be here on purpose. Be here because you want to help make this community one to be proud of,” Hariri said. “For so long we would lose a lot of our youth because they sought out more diversity, culture and opportunities outside their home. Now we’re starting to witness people coming home and staying home. The better option is always staying here and making it better” [Huber, 2021.05.05].

Be here on purpose. Stay here and make South Dakota better. Hmm… that would sound better on a t-shirt than “You can come be with South Dakota, you just can’t change us.”


  1. Donald Pay 2021-05-11 08:29

    “Be here on purpose. Stay here and make South Dakota better.”

    Great idea. The thing is the people who control the place try to make it worse, and they don’t want to hear anything about making it better. Other than Sioux Falls and the Black Hills, the place is failing, and greedy bastards are fine with that.

    Actually, “flyover country” is a far better vision for the state than what the powers that run the state have of it, which is “sacrifice area.” When you have the Republican Party, the SD Chamber, the SD Municipal League and the Farm Bureau supporting huge mega-dumps for New Jersey garbage or sewage to gold machines, as they did in the 1980’s and 1990’s, you know you have failed leadership. I mean total and utter failure. When they turn up their noses at wind and solar power to stick another huge pig farm under YOUR nose (not theirs), you know your leadership doesn’t care about you, They would rather have New Jersey garbage than New Jersey’s people who might, just might change things a bit.

  2. Jake 2021-05-11 10:04

    Change and the Republican party go together like oil and water. Impossible.

    Witness a recent change by the most inspected winning election won by the millions voting for ‘change’ ( Biden ) being blatantly opposed by the Republican McConnell
    saying on TV “I am 100% focused on obstructing this president’s agenda-PERIOD!”

    In the next breath saying “I don’t understand why he don’t consult with us?!”

  3. Mark Anderson 2021-05-11 13:22

    I could design a wonderful Lying Loser t-shirt for them. All the lying loser trumpies could wear it in defiance. Of course it would really be wonderful to identify them. Discretion is the better part of valor, which they don’t understand.

  4. Porter Lansing 2021-05-11 14:29

    An Ex-Pat Asks Two Questions of SD Residents:
    1. Why is South Dakota the way it is?
    2. Why do you live in South Dakota?

    *(I began researching these two queries in 2007, which led me to Pat Powers’ blog and then to Cory’s)
    **( I could relay my findings/conclusions but truthfully; none of you care.)

  5. Donald Pay 2021-05-11 18:01

    I care, Porter, but I’m also an ex-pat. I had good reasons to get out after my daughter graduated from high school and started college in Minnesota. I found a job that was what I was doing in South Dakota, but paid double. It was a no-brainer.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-05-11 18:22

    We South Dakotans are willing to accept huge government checks and billionaire donations to prop up our quality life, as long as those outside dollars don’t come with expectations of change. Noem keeps hammering that anti-change message even as she cheers a $10M donation to Lake Area vo-tech from Seattle billionaire Mackenzie Scott:

    “Our way of life is special here,” Noem said. “We wanted to share that with more people. I didn’t know that it would come through COVID. But you’ve seen the thousands of people moving to South Dakota. What I love about that story is that they aren’t moving here to change us. They are moving her to be like us. They like our way of life, our values, and our principles. They want to be part of a community that respects them” [Kerry Drager, “Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott Makes $10M Donation to Lake Area Tech,” Watertown Public Opinion via that Sioux Falls paper, 2021.05.10].

    I wonder if billionaire Scott envisions her donation making any change her or simply preserving the South Dakota Kristi Noem envisions.

    Maybe Mr. Hariri could catch a political wave by adapting his Flyover t-shirts to the upcoming campaign. Maybe show the plane from the rear, headed for Texas or Florida, show some cowgirl boots in the window or a nice Snow Queen tiara on the cockpit, and label it “Kristi’s Flyaway Country.”

  7. Mark Anderson 2021-05-11 18:53

    You know Kristi doesn’t know her own state very well. When I married my wife in Hosmer, the town wasn’t very far away from being a German speaking community. She could also look up Joseph and Michael Hofer a little over 100 years ago it ended with the Hutterites moving to Canada to retain their freedoms. Many of the dying towns all over the state like Hosmer are being moved into by Hutterites who have their own way of doing things and don’t care at all what Kristi thinks. It’s so funny to see her press the freedom meme again and again. The state was settled over a hundred years ago entirely by immigrants from other lands and now she says call me when you are American. She should go on Finding your Roots to see where she came from, not that she would be enlightened.

  8. Porter Lansing 2021-05-11 19:28

    Are there really thousands of people moving to SD? When’s the next count? Ten years?
    She might be truthing but she’s known for “lying like a Trump”.

  9. Arlo Blundt 2021-05-11 20:01

    Well…thousands of people moving to good old SoDak??? Moving to Sioux Falls, I’d believe. Retiring to the Black Hills, for sure. Joining the great migration within the state of small town young people to the next biggest town to seek a job. Yes, that happens. The out of state migration of college educated South Dakotans, especially recent college grads continues. Yes, South Dakota is on roller skates but I don’t believe Conservatives from Massachusetts, California, and Ohio are flocking here. Who is flocking here are folks of Hispanic and Asian descent, working mostly in agricultural processing and the dairy industry. And they will change the state eventually, for the better.

  10. grudznick 2021-05-11 20:02

    Indeed, Mr. Lansing. Thousands. grudznick is not in favor of it even if they are right-minded.

  11. grudznick 2021-05-11 20:14

    Mr. Pay and grudznick agree on yet another item. The SD Municipal League is evil. Evil!

  12. Donald Pay 2021-05-11 20:40

    Grudz, I don’t think the Municipal League is evil in all things. They do some good things, but they are part of the Pierre political cesspool that supports the special interests against the state’s grassroots citizens.

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