SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — After years sitting vacant, the former Badlands Pawn building is now open with a new, unique purpose.
The South Dakota Military Heritage Alliance was supposed to celebrate its grand opening in March, right when the coronavirus came to South Dakota. The building had a slow opening over the past few months, but word of all it has to offer is spreading fast.
“We have about 15 different business models here happening at one time,” The Alliance nonprofit Executive Director Brian Phelps said. “We have a gun range, we have a full restaurant, we have a full bar, we will have a coffee shop, gift shop, barbershop, movie theater, family bar, real estate services, finance services, a full event concert venue.”
All of these businesses and organizations coming together with one central theme.
“They’re really trying to make this building a one-stop-shop for veterans for all of their needs,” local Veteran Danielle Konechne said.
Konechne set up her real estate office inside The Alliance after her first visit to the facility.
“Trying to explain this building to people is hard,” Konechne said. “You really have to come out here and see what they have going on. They’ve got so many cool things for veterans, but it’s not just for veterans, it’s for the community.
“It’s a place for a military theme, all of our pictures, our music, everything is military-themed, it’s absolutely open to the entire state of South Dakota,” Phelps said.
Phelps says The Alliance is family friendly, with opportunities for kids eight and older to learn how to use a firearm in the range along with a family game area upstairs.
“This is definitely our new hang out, my son he loves it, he’s three,” Konechne said.
By getting the entire community involved, The Alliance non-profit hopes to further support local veterans.
“Think of the alliance as a place, the building the property that houses all kinds of Veterans services and activities. Those activities are geared to raise money for Veteran organizations, so at the end of the year we basically give all the profits, all the proceeds we make throughout the year out to the service organizations and to help the Veterans in need,” Phelps said.
The businesses set up shot inside the non-profit are also working to help Veterans by giving them a place to work. Right now Phelps says they’re in need of many additional workers.
“Anyone looking for a job please contact us, we are in the hiring mode right now, we need to probably double or triple our staff over the next month,” Phelps said.
The Alliance is also the future home of the American Legion and VFW in Sioux Falls. Both organizations are in the process of selling their current facility so they can eventually also set up shop inside the new Veteran’s hub.