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Working her way up: Players Sports Bar and Grill names Courtney Newton general manager

Courtney Newton is the newest general manager at Players Sports Bar and Grill. (Sydney Mook / The Dickinson Press)

Courtney Newton has been a part of Players Sports Bar and Grill since the beginning, and after working her way up the chain over the past five years, she has now reached the very top.

Newton was recently named the new general manager of the restaurant and is ready to make an impact in a whole new way.

Newton is a Belfield native and the daughter of a local beekeeper, so she grew up understanding that hard work always produces something sweet. After graduating high school in Belfield, Newton headed to Dickinson to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a minor in Entrepreneurship at Dickinson State University.

Newton has been a part of Players since the restaurant opened in 2013. Before being a part of Players, Newton worked at the Dairy Queen in Belfield for seven years and had some serving experience at the Country Kitchen in Dickinson.

"I liked the idea of going into business," she said. "I was working very hard and I liked what I was learning when I was in college taking business classes. So, it worked out when (Players) very first opened I was actually going to college for business and I was hired on as they were building the building actually. So I have been here since day one."

Newton was hired as a server initially and has spent her time working nearly every position possible.

"I've kind of worked every position on my way up to this position," she said. "... It's been fun. I've learned a lot. I really feel as though I have an advantage because I was able to start kind of from the bottom and then worked my way up, so I learned something new in every position I've had here."

Before becoming the full-time general manager, Newton also served as assistant general manager and then interim general manager as the restaurant transitioned. The title became official at the beginning of March.

"I learned a lot of hands-on experience on the job (for general manager) which I feel gave me very big advantage because now accepting this position, my team and I can kind of hit the ground running," she said.

As a general manager, Newton said she wants every person who walks through the door to have a great experience, and in order for that to be possible her team has to be successful as well.

"My job is to make sure my team has the tools that they need to be successful," she said. "When they have the tools that they need then that leads to a great customer experience and that's how I become successful as well."

Ron Johnston, director of strategy for The Fisher Group, which provides management services to Players, believes Newton will succeed in her new position. Newton said she receives a lot of support and training from the Fisher Group.

"Courtney has been a positive influence on Players since we've opened and really matured in her previous role as Assistant General Manager," Johnston said in a statement. "This well- deserved promotion to General Manager will let her put her personal stamp of enthusiasm and top-level customer service on the entire organization. And as the first female General Manager of Players, she will bring a new perspective to the organization."

Newton was recently selected for The Dickinson Press' 30 under 30 publication as well, which recognized 30 individuals that were ages 30 and under for their leadership in the Dickinson community.

Newton stays involved in the community, attending business after hours and Chamber of Commerce functions. She works with the United Way and helped develop a program called Cookies for a Cause which raises money for children around Christmas.

When she's not working, Newton enjoys reading, including the Harry Potter books. She said her favorite author is Wally Lamb.

Ultimately, Newton said Players' atmosphere and customers keep her going every day.

"I love Players. I love the dynamic atmosphere, I love all of the people that come in here," she said. "We have great customers. We have regulars that come in all the time that I love. I love seeing new customers who are coming in for the first time and it's even better when they come in for a second time."

Sydney Mook

Sydney Mook started working as the multimedia editor for The Press in January 2016.  She graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science in three and half years in December 2015. While at the USD, she worked for the campus newspaper, The Volante, as well as the television news show, Coyote News. She also interned at South Dakota Public Broadcasting and spent the summer before her senior year interning in Fort Knox for the ROTC Cadet Summer Training program. In her spare time, Sydney enjoys cheering on the New York Yankees and the Kentucky Wildcats, as well as playing golf. If you've got an idea for a video be sure to give her a call!

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