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Historical Perspective: Dan’s Supermarket Closes At Arrowhead Plaza After 65 Years

The original "Dan's" opened in 1953 and relocated in 1960.
Arrowhead Dan's Supermarket interior in 2018
Interior of Dan’s at Arrowhead Plaza (2018)

An icon and fixture for over sixty years, today is the last day for Dan’s Supermarket at Arrowhead Plaza. The store has already been erased from the company’s website and even Google Maps.

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.

Dan's Supermarket at Arrowhead Plaza

Dan’s Supermarket at Arrowhead Plaza

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.

Arrowhead Dan's Supermarket interior in 2018

Arrowhead Dan’s Supermarket interior in 2018

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

Dan’s Timeline

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