Regional roundup: Popeyes, candy, Whole Foods

From staff reports

Connecting Keystone sale to Popeyes

One of the partners in the franchise group that owns the Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen restaurants in Sioux Falls is now the owner of a huge chunk of the tourism-related businesses in Keystone in the Black Hills.

Chris Connelly is a principal in Presidential Hospitality, which bought the 46 properties in an “eight-figure deal” from Durst Enterprises in late April.

“As the gateway to Mount Rushmore, we want to help create a Keystone known for premier lodging, dining and shopping in addition to the monument,” said Connelly, who owns the Popeyes with Justin Laird of Sioux Falls.

The sale includes two hotels, three restaurants, gift shops, tourist chalets and cabins, dormitories for seasonal staff and several parcels of undeveloped land in the Keystone area.

Presidential Hospitality will embark on a multimillion-dollar renovation of the hotels. The 91-room White House Resort will be reflagged as the Ramada Mount Rushmore, the 156-room President’s View Resort will be renamed the Baymont Inn & Suites, and a third hotel will be built. The affiliation with national lodging brands is expected to boost reservations.

Presidential Hospitality specializes in the development and operation of tourism- and lifestyle-related businesses, including hotels, restaurants and personal services. It owns three hotels in Rapid City with a fourth in development, one hotel in North Dakota and two chocolate stores in the Black Hills

“I’m proud to have built businesses in Keystone from the ground up for more than 50 years,” Bill Durst said in a news release issued by Presidential Hospitality.  “As I retire, I think it’s important to pass the torch to a new generation of business owners who understand our community and what makes this area unique.”

Even more candy

If you’ve taken Highway 169 to get to the Twin Cities, you’ve seen and probably stopped at the eye-popping yellow buildings that make up Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store.

image of business

Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store

Well, the candy store south of Jordan, Minn., is getting even larger. When it opens for the season May 13, shoppers will find a 60-foot-tall addition that looks like the top of a farm silo but actually has a space planetarium theme going on inside.

Owner Robert Wagner told the Star Tribune that curious customers have been stopping by for weeks trying to get a peek.

He told the newspaper that the addition will be filled with obscure international candies.

“It’s candy that’s a little more of an experience, an adventure,” Wagner said. “The most bizarre candy we’ll have is this one where you mix a liquid and a powder in a (toy) toilet and drink it with a straw.”

Read the full article here.

Still dreaming of Whole Foods?

Hopes for a Whole Foods in Sioux Falls might be growing dimmer. A recent Omaha World-Herald article points out that the national grocery chain is closing stores and cutting costs to meet shareholder demands for bigger profits.

The focus of the article, though, was  the shift of purchasing decisions from regional offices to the national one, which could make it harder for local producers to get their products on the shelves.

One of the small businesses mentioned in the article is based on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Mark Tilsen, president of Native American Natural Foods in Kyle, estimated 10 percent of its $5 million in annual sales comes through Whole Foods. The company makes bars and snacks using bison meat and recently encountered stiff competition when the General Mills-owned Epic snack brand launched similar products also sold at Whole Foods.

“Consolidation in retail does create less opportunity for small emerging brands like us,” Tilsen told the World-Herald. “Will there be space for independent brands that aren’t owned by multinational corporations? Or will we be relegated to going back to farmers markets?”

Read the full newspaper report here.

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Regional roundup: Popeyes, candy, Whole Foods

This regional roundup includes news about a business empire sale in Keystone, an expansion of Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store and news about Whole Foods’ expansion plans.

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