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Timeline: 2000s

By | Last Modified: August 16, 2020


  • A string of tornadoes touch down on November 2, the latest recorded tornadoes ever in North Dakota
  • Papa John’s buys and converts local Little Caesars franchises, which numbered three locations at the time: Northbrook Mall, a strip mall west of Walmart, and a Mandan location next to Barlow’s. As of 2020, the sole surviving Papa John’s is at Northbrook Mall. Little Caesars would return to Bismarck in 2008.
  • Menards relocates from Gateway Mall
  • Taco Bell relocates to the new Menards outlot. It was previously located further south on State Street, on the site now occupied by Starbucks.
  • Mini Mart closes locations at 1910 E Capitol and 1035 S Washington – the first in a string that spans until 2002.
  • The historic building that formerly housed Sioux Sporting Goods, and originally served as an Annex to the Patterson Hotel, was torn down to become parking. The former Covered Wagon Bar was also demolished.


  • Horizon Middle School opens for classes, replacing Hughes (January)
  • Bismarck is hit with a major hail storm on June 9, causing millions of dollars in damage – the most insurance claims ever filed in the state of North Dakota
  • Kirkwood’s movie theater, Plaza 3, closes.
  • Big Lots occupies the eastern half of the former Best Products showroom, which closed in 1997.
  • Raging Rivers Waterpark opens.
  • Chip’s Casino opens at 1014 S 12th Street.
  • Front Street Lighting opens.
  • Grand Theater completes a major remodel and  16,000-square-foot addition, doubling in size and increasing capacity to 10 screens – surpassing Gateway’s theater to be the largest in Bismarck. The main entrance is relocated, opening into a new, larger lobby and adjoining concession area. An Egyptian-theme decor debuts.
  • Hodge Podge relocates into the former UBC Thunderbird Home Improvement, necessitated for Grand Theater’s expansion.
  • Houlihan’s closes. The restaurant opened in February 1996. It is soon replaced by Green Mill, which also later shutters. Today, the site is home to Bremer Bank.
  • Mandan’s Furniture First becomes Furniture Plaza. The retailer, founded in 1981, had grown to encompass four buildings, positioned into a furniture mall housing four distinct sub-stores: Classic Oak, Sleep Center, Leather Collection, and Rooms For You.
  • Planet Video (formerly Hollywood Nights Video) is destroyed by an electrical fire caused by its sign. The building originally housed The Pepper Mill, then David’s Fine Foods. Planet Video re-opened in a new building for a short time before getting replaced by America’s Mattress. Today it’s home to Plains Commerce Bank.


  • I. Keating Furniture fills former Montgomery Ward anchor at Kirkwood Mall, left empty since 1998
  • South Central High School and district administration occupy former Hughes Middle School.
  • Mandan’s Furniture Plaza closes.
  • Ressler Subaru opens (now Kupper).
  • Fortune Cookie opens inside a former record store at Kirkwood Mall.
  • The Drumstick Cafe closes
  • Friendly True Value store closes a second time at 805 S 7th. The store previously closed in 1998 for 25 days. It re-opens as Mustang Hardware (affiliating with Do it Best Hardware) until October of that year, when it changes back to True Value under new ownership. It closes a final time in 2006.
  • Mustang Hardware opens a store at Arrowhead Plaza, complimenting the former True Value store.
  • Mini Mart closes at 1320 E Boulevard Ave and at East Interstate Avenue
  • Premiere Video closes and is replaced by Cold Stone Creamery.
  • StrideRite closes at Northbrook Mall after 15 years when its owners decide to retire. Bismarck was the smallest market to house a StrideRite at the time. In fact, the company was initially reluctant to grant a local franchise due to Bismarck’s market size.
  • New York Bagels opens at 505 E Bismarck Expressway
  • Schultz Creamery closes after nearly 70 years. The dairy producer opened in 1934. The company temporarily re-opens in 2005.
  • Green Mill opens inside the former Houlihan’s at 710 S Washington (October). It closes in 2007. Today, the site is home to Bremer Bank.
  • Grand Theater remodels its former lobby into another theater.
  • Radisson Inn becomes Ramkota, and Holiday Inn becomes Radisson
  • PrimeCare Medical Mall opens in the former Menard’s space at Gateway Mall.
  • International House of Pancakes announces intentions to open next to the north Applebee’s, but these plans never come to fruition.


  • Furniture Plaza closed January 1. The retailer, founded as Furniture First in 1981, had grown to encompass four buildings, positioned into a furniture mall housing four distinct sub-stores: Classic Oak, Sleep Center, Leather Collection, and Rooms For You.
  • Dan’s Supervalu relocates is north/Gateway store (March)
  • Bismarck’s largest public graduating class to date consists of 826 students
  • Aakers College (later Rasmussen College) opens satellite campus in Bismarck (closed in 2015)
  • Bismarck approves a public busing system, known as Capital Area Transit, with service beginning in May 2004.
  • Play It Again Sports relocates into a two-story freestanding building at 100 W Front Avenue, adjacent to Up Front Plaza – the retailer’s previous home.
  • A&W/Long John Silver’s opens a second Bismarck location, at 3120 N 14th Street (on State Street). It closes in May 2006, citing staffing difficulties. It became Wendy’s in 2007.
  • Shiloh Christian School adds new building to its south.
  • Two former Mini Marts re-open as Best Stop at 1101 E Interstate Avenue and 1320 E Boulevard. The first closes again in 2008, the other in 2013.
  • Front Street Lighting expands.
  • Richholt Elementary closes and becomes home to BECEP.
  • Corwin Churchill Motor’s former downtown location destroyed by fire (November). It was originally believed to have been arson, along with an apartment fire on Bowen Avenue that occurred at about the same time. While ruled as suspicious, the fire is never proven to be arson (although the apartment fire was).
  • A $17.6 million reconstruction project finishes on State Street. It was the street’s most significant project since expanding to 6 lanes in 1979.
  • South 3rd Street between Arbor Avenue and Front Avenue, and University Drive is upgraded between 12th Street and 48th Avenue South, are both reconfigured into a 5-lane road with a shared center turn lane.
  • The Century Center, largely housing the state’s Workforce Safety and Insurance, opens.
  • Boneshaker Coffee opens on East Rosser
  • Stringbean Music and Coffee opens on Main Avenue.
  • A second A&W/Long John Silvers is built on State Street, but never opens. It is replaced by Wendy’s soon after.
  • Two former Mini Marts, on Boulevard Avenue and State Street, re-open under new ownership as Best Stop C Store.
  • Urban Girl opens in Mandan. It later relocates into the Mason Building in downtown Bismarck, then again next to Century High School before closing.
  • NASCAR-themed McDonald’s opens near Stamart Oasis Truck Stop.
  • Highway 83 Diner closes at 1307 Interchange Avenue in December. It is consumed by fire in November 2005. The restaurant originated as a Country Kitchen in about 1973 and also housed Cary’s Kitchen during the 1980s-1990s. Today, the site is home to O’Reilly Auto Parts.

Kirkwood Mall

  • Fanny Farmer closes at Kirkwood as part of the parent company’s nationwide discontinuation.
  • McDonald’s closes and is replaced by a Scheels bike shop.
  • Journeys, Limited Too, Wet Seal, Aeropostale, Fortunate Cookie, and Kay Jewelers all open.


  • North Dakota approves a state lottery, with ticket sales beginning March 25
  • DiDonna’s Restaurant opens (December)
  • Conlin’s Furniture relocates to Gateway Mall
  • Capitol Lanes closes after 23 years.
  • MDU relocates its corporate headquarters
  • IHOP purchases land off State Street between A&W/Long John Silver’s and Applebee’s, but fails to secure a franchisee to open a restaurant. The site later houses Hooter’s and, as of 2018, Sickie’s Garage.
  • K-B Toys closes 377 stores, including the one at Kirkwood.
  • Pinehurst Square is announced in April with Kohl’s and Lowe’s already attached to the project. Ground is broken shortly after.


  • Bismarck experiences massive retail growth, with the construction of Pinehurst Square, two Wal-Mart Supercenters, Sam’s Club, Family Dollar, and a relocated Target.
  • Home Depot opens in June (closed in 2008)
  • Marshall Fields (formerly Dayton’s) closes, and the space is immediately torn down to house a new, larger Target store that opens in early 2006
  • Palace Arms Hotel (opened in 1962 as Holiday Inn) is demolished to make way for construction of the new Bank of North Dakota headquarters.
  • Golden Dragon closes at 410 E Main Avenue. The restaurant opened in 1977 and expanded into the adjacent building in 1983. Its original building formerly housed the long-time clothier Dahl, along with Weeda’s. Blarney Stone occupied it in 2009.
  • Arby’s relocates its Kirkwood Mall location from its original space near Herberger’s (Bath & Body Works as of 2018) to the former Maxwell Books space adjacent to J.C. Penney. It closes in 2015.
  • Grand Theater adds four screens to a new capacity of 15.
  • Former Highway 83 Diner at 1307 Interchange Avenue building destroyed by fire (November). It closed in 2003. The restaurant originated as a Country Kitchen in about 1973 and also housed Cary’s Kitchen during the 1980s-1990s. Today, the site is home to O’Reilly Auto Parts.
  • Plato’s Closet opens at Up Front Plaza.
  • Once Upon a Child opens.
  • Los Amigos closes and the building is demolished to make way for a new CVS/pharmacy. The building previously housed Jade Garden and Mr. Steak.


  • Eckroth Music relocates into new building, Eckroth Plaza
  • Johnny Carinos opens (December)
  • Friendly True Value store closes a final time at 805 S 7th in September. The store previously closed in 1998 (for 25 days) and in 2002. In 2002, it re-opens as Mustang Hardware (affiliating with Do it Best Hardware) until October of that year, when it changes back to True Value under new ownership. Soon after, Kirkwood Ace Hardware announced intentions to relocate into the building, opening in 2007.
  • A&W/Long John Silver’s closes its location at 3120 N 14th Street (State Street) in May, citing staffing difficulties. It becomes Wendy’s in 2007.
  • Mac’s Hardware opens at 900 S 26th Street.
  • Miracle Mart (formerly Econofoods) sells to Grand Central, in turn becoming Central Market


  • Furniture Row opens (January)
  • Bismarck breaks world record for most snow angels made in a single place, with 8,962 participants on the grounds of the state capitol.
  • Green Mill closes its Bismarck location. Green Mill replaced Houlihan’s in 2001, breaking company sales records upon opening.
  • Wilhelm Buick-Olds-Cadillac closes
  • Scheels Sporting Goods relocates into the adjacent former Target location at Kirkwood Mall, after Target relocated its store in 2006.
  • Kirkwood Ace Hardware relocates from 421 S 3rd Street to 805 S 7th, replacing True Value. Ace occupies its eastern portion. Party America later leases the western portion.
  • Golden Corral opens (May; closed in 2016)
  • Cash Wise undergoes minor expansion, including the installation of its Little Dukes Convenience Store
  • International “Stir Fry” Restaurant closes at 2240 N 12th on May 28, 2007. The location originated as a Village Inn before becoming International Restaurant in 1986. Today, the site houses La Quinta Inn & Suites.
  • Washington Street construction project is completed, with the widening of the stretch between Rosser Avenue and Avenue D, and the addition of a new traffic signal at the intersection of Avenue C.
  • New bridge over Hay Creek and the railroad tracks is erected on Century Avenue
  • Ruby Tuesday opens
  • Wendy’s replaces the former A&W/Long John Silver’s, which operated at 3120 N 14th Street between 2003-2006.
  • Ben Franklin store closes at Arrowhead Plaza. It is originally a variety store, but later transitions into a craft store. The store opened in 1974.
  • Former Bismarck Grocery Warehouse is renovated and becomes Civic Square


  • Hooters opens (closed in 2014)
  • Home Depot closes its Bismarck location, less than four years after opening
  • The State Street McDonald’s is demolished, to be later replaced with a new, larger McDonald’s
  • The new Bank of North Dakota facility opens on the site of the former Palace Arms Hotel
  • The Hillside Park Waterslide is demolished due to safety concerns
  • Gold’s Gym opens inside former TJMaxx location
  • Scotty’s Drive-in changes ownership and sees several major changes, including the opening of a drive-though, and renovation. The restaurant also temporarily experiments with serving breakfast for the first time.
  • Best Stop at 1101 E Interstate Avenue closes and is soon demolished after a gas leak is discovered to have contaminated the site and a nearby restaurant.
  • Classic Yard closes after eleven years
  • Wilson’s Leather closes at Kirkwood Mall
  • Cedric Theel relocates its showroom
  • Little Caesar’s Pizza returns to Bismarck, 8 years after its former locations were converted into Papa John’s (June)
  • Ground is broken on BSC Aquatic and Wellness Center (June)
  • The first annual Rip-Roaring Rib Fest is held
  • Los Amigos Restaurant & Kirkwood Tesoro close, and are quickly demolished to make room for a new CVS/pharmacy store (August)
  • The New Liberty Memorial Bridge opens (August), and demolition on the original bridge begins immediately thereafter. On October 6, the first section of the old bridge was imploded, followed on October 29 with the remaining section.
  • American Bank Center Headquarters at corner of Rosser Avenue & 5th Street completes extensive remodel
  • Hoskins-Meyer Floral closes, after more than 100 years
  • Olive Garden opens after years of anticipation (November 24)
  • The former Bank of North Dakota facility undergoes demolition (December)
  • Bismarck receives the most snow ever in a single month, with a total of 33.3 inches, beating the former record set in March 1975. Prior to this achievement, Bismarck had already broken the record for the most snow received in December, beating out the former record set in 1916. At the time, Bismarck was also on track to beat the all-time season record. (December)


  • Bismarck hits -44oF, the coldest recorded temperature since January 18, 1950; and only one degree away from tying the lowest temperature ever recorded – the high temperature the following day was 80 degrees warmer. (January 15)
  • CVS/pharmacy opens a new north location upon relocating from Gateway Mall, where it had been an original tenant as Osco Drug (February 22)
  • Ice jams and excessive snow melt cause widespread flooding and the mandatory evacuation of 1700 residents – the worst flooding since April 1952 (March)
  • Bismarck State College unveils new logo, replacing logo in use since 1991 (April)
  • Captain Meriwether’s Landing closes
  • Rex TV & Appliance closes its doors. The company was purchased by Appliance Direct, who chose not to convert the Bismarck location. Rex came to Bismarck in 1995, and once had 3 locations in North Dakota. (April)
  • Gateway Fashion Mall completes renovation
  • Simle Middle School completes #3 million renovation
  • Cedric Theel drops the Dodge line; Corwin Churchill in turn picks it up as part of Chrysler’s reorganization
  • A large section of River Road and the adjacent walking trail temporarily closes upon discovering the ground had become unstable.
  • Construction begins on a Sunrise Elementary in northeast Bismarck, the first grade school built in twenty years.
  • Conlin’s Furniture & Joy’s Hallmark announce that they were vacating Gateway Mall (June)
  • A new ride is added at Superslide Amusement Park called The Runaway Train (June)
  • A half-mile stretch of River Road is temporarily closed upon discovering the road and trail have become unstable and begun to sink (June)
  • Former Wilhelm Buick building is demolished, business closed in 2007 (July)
  • Renovation begins at Hillside/Lions Park – expected to be completed in 2012
  • Little Caesar’s announces intentions to open a north location, expected to open in October. The national chain made a comeback to the region when it opened a restaurant near Cash Wise Foods in 2009 after a near 10-year absence.
  • Subway relocates its South 3rd Street location into the former Sherwin Williams building, also on 3rd street.
  • Meriwether’s Landing Restaurant closes (September 5)
  • Gateway Mall owner, Raymond Arjmand, is accused of fraud by the owner of former tenant, Joy’s Hallmark. (October)
  • Easter Seals Goodwill Store opens inside former Kirkwood Hardware Hank/Ace Hardware building (October) at 421 S 3rd Street.
  • Hansen’s Menswear relocates from Gateway Fashion Mall to Interstate Avenue. (October)
  • Blarney Stone Pub opens inside the former Golden Dragon Restaurant (October 21)
  • Bill Barth announces its Saturn dealership will become a Kia dealership after Saturn’s discontinuation. (November)
  • Doctor Paul Johnson resigns as Bismarck School Superintendent upon accepting a position in Bulgaria, effective at the end of the school term (December)
  • Fowler Photography closes after 30 years (December)
  • Bobcat Manufacturing announced intentions to close its Bismarck plant after 35 years, affecting 475 jobs. Bobcat partially reverses course in 2012.
  • Conlin’s Furniture relocates to the corner of Broadway Avenue & 18th Street (December)

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