A loan from First District’s Revolving Loan Fund and a loan from BankStar Financial in Brookings joined forces to provide an attractive financing package to Brian and Jael Thorpe. The Thorpe’s used the loan proceeds to purchase and remodel an existing condominium unit located in Brookings. In fact, prior to the remodel First Bank & Trust operated out of the building and, upon sale, it was divided up into condominium units. The Thorpe’s purchased the unit on the main floor. It is located in downtown Brookings on 5th Avenue, across the street from the Children’s Museum. Occupying the Thorpe’s condominium unit are several tenants including two existing businesses owned and operated by Jael Thorpe: Jael Photography and J.Ella Couture.
Jael Photography has been in business since 2006. Prior to its new location, this business had been operating out of a rented space in downtown Brookings where visibility and parking spaces were limited. Jael Photography is a high-end portrait and fine-art photography studio that captures all of life’s moments from infants, children, graduating seniors, family, engagements, and weddings. In 2009, Jael Photography was recognized in the top five Senior Portrait Artists in the United States. J.Ella Couture, which also previously operated out of the downtown rented space, has been in business since 2010 as a retailer of women’s clothing, accessories, gifts, etc.
Jael Thorpe’s ties to eastern South Dakota include graduating from Deuel High School and from South Dakota State University. She received the ‘Woman of the Year’ award from Brookings Chamber of Commerce in 2011. Since 2009, Jael has served as a Brookings City Council Member and presently she is the Brookings City Councilor and Deputy Mayor. Jael’s husband, Brian Thorpe, who hails from Canby, Minnesota, has owned and operated his own farming operation since 2005. When not in the field, Brian assists at Jael Photography and J.Ella Couture by building displays and with marketing efforts.
Other tenants who occupy Thorpe’s newly renovated condominium unit are Old Market Eatery, B. Beautiful Salon, and YogaVersity. Old Market Eatery is actually another business venture Jael operates, along with her partner Katie Knutson.