Despite long-held rumors of its closure, official confirmation stunned residents earlier this month. Until its closure, the store remained a popular neighborhood grocer reflective of its retro roots. Many favored the store as a quick, simple shopping destination and considered it essential to a neighborhood popular with senior citizens. It was a perfect compliment for Arrowhead Plaza, which arguably boasts about every essential need and has seen steady occupancy through-out its existence. It was the mall’s sole anchor.
While the company itself was founded in 1949 as Bismarck Supervalu, the store at Arrowhead was the first “Dan’s” when it opened in November 1953 at the newly christened Arrowhead Plaza.
The name remained exclusive to the Arrowhead store for years until being formally adopted across all of its locations. Interestingly enough, Dan’s is not named for a real person, but rather a marketing character named “Super Dan the Valu Man.”
Its original location was in the space most known as housing Ben Franklin until 2007 – first as a variety store, later as a craft store. Dan’s relocated in 1960 into its final home when Arrowhead Plaza expanded north.
The store underwent a $500,000 renovation in 1987; a look that remained largely unchanged to this day.
From its 1949 inception, Dan’s and its siblings – locally owned until 2015 – experience exceptional growth and success, even outside of Bismarck-Mandan. Below is a timeline highlighting some of the company’s history.
See Also: Image Gallery: Arrowhead Dan’s
1949 – Roy Rockstad & Eugene “Bus” Leary convert the former Piggly Wiggly to Bismarck Supervalu
1953 – Arrowhead Plaza location opens
1960 – Larger Arrowhead Plaza location opens
1970 – Kirkwood location opens
1971 – Original Broadway location shutters
1975 – Century location opens at Kmart; “Bus” Leary Retires
1980 – Dan’s purchases and converts existing Dickinson grocery store
1981 – Gateway location replaces Century location
1982 – Second Dickinson location opens
1985 – Roy Rockstad retires; son Terrance takes reigns
1986 – Cheyenne, WY location opens
1987 – Dan’s purchases land along South Washington Street, temporarily preempts construction. Dan’s also completes a $500,000 renovation of its Arrowhead location.
1991 – Cheyenne location expands
1993 – Rapid City location opens
1995 – Washington Street location replaces Kirkwood location; Gillette location opens
1996 – Cheyenne location sold to Buttrey’s
1999 – Mandan location opens
1997 – Capital Credit Union opens inside Dan’s Gateway location; Three additional Wyoming locations purchased (in Wright, Gillette, and Sheridan)
2003 – State Street location replaces Gateway location
2011 – Dan’s remodels south store
2013 – Dan’s purchases and converts Bismarck’s Central Market
2015 – Sunrise Town Centre location opens; SpartanNash acquires company
2016 – Dan’s remodels north store
2018 – Dan’s Arrowhead closes February 21, 2018 after nearly 65 years
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