Why this SD pawn shop is a tourist destination

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Source:   —  April 19, 2016, at 5:10 PM

Imagine a theme park crossed with a pawn shop. What'd it see like?.

Why this SD pawn shop is a tourist destination

Imagine a theme park crossed with a pawn shop. What'd it see like?

The reply lies in S Dakota.

Badlands Pawn is a 70.000-square ft space in Sioux Falls where, yes, you can peruse pawned goods. But there'south also a 14-lane firing range, a foundry, a radio station, a tattoo shop and a casino.

"Every time you walk into it, you'll experience sensory overload," said Chuck Brennan, CEO and founder of Badlands Pawn.

Badlands Pawn'south main floor.

Since it opened in November, Badlands Pawn has averaged between five hundred and 2.000 visitors a day, said Brennan. Most arrive from neighboring states: N Dakota, Minnesota, KS and from Omaha, Nebraska.

"The furthest they've arrive from was Norway," he said. "It was for the KISS concert."

Yes, the pawn shop also doubles as a concert venue that can keep 1.600 people.

"Everything on the floor of the building -- the cabinets, racks -- are on wheels," Brennan said. "This allows us to quickly move things far into our warehouse and convert it into a concert space in forty-fifth minutes."

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It explains Badlands Pawn'south tagline: "Guns, Gold & Rock 'N Roll."

"You can shoot everything from cowboy-era guns to handguns and a .50-caliber machine gun here," said Brennan. And at any given time, there'south million worth of one-ounce gold bars on display.

Badlands Pawn schedules weekly concerts. KISS performed there in February.

Brennan hit on the idea to create what could be the nation'south most unique pawn shop about four years ago.

His own background -- he'd been in the short-term lending business -- gave him a excellent understanding of the industry.

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He liked that the pawn industry tended to be fairly resistant to economic ups and downs. And he well-known how it was making a tag in population culture with the success of shows love "Pawn Stars."

"There'south something fascinating to people about the treasure hunting aspect of it," he said.

Badlands Pawn cost $20 million and took about a year to build.

"We spent a lot of money to create the building see sh***y on the outside," he said, adding that the idea was to give off a post-apocalyptic vibe.

Slater Barr, president of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, credits Brennan for devising such an innovative business concept.

Badlands Pawn has a prop helicopter on the roof.

"Cities tend to see at projects love these and only consider the direct economic impact," said Barr. "But there'south a distant greater impact, which is the skill of a community to attract talent."

Badlands Pawn, he said, could proposal both.

The facility employs one hundred forty people, and Brennan said he'south already heard that area businesses are benefiting from its visitors. "People are buying more food and gas, and filling up hotels here," he said.

$1 million in gold bars on display at Badlands Pawn.

Brennan is thinking ahead about a second location for another pawn shop destination. He'south considering Nashville, Reno or Rapid City, S Dakota.

"We're definitely planning a second one. But first we'll look what'south working or not working with this one," he said.

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