Lease up on Dickinson mall's Pied Piper: After 30 years of games, arcade told to 'get out'
Dickinson residents can expect more changes in the coming months at Prairie Hills Mall.
Badlands Music Inc. workers on Friday finished cleaning up and removing the sign of Pied Piper, the arcade that has been in the mall for 30 years, they said.
"It was a shock," said Preston Obrigewitsch, who has owned Badlands Music and the arcade for almost three years. "It's a big loss in the community. There's a lot of kids whose parents would give them money while they went and did their shopping."
The Nov. 7 letter Obrigewitsch received from Great Plains Clinic Medical Enterprises LLC, which owns Prairie Hills Mall, was short and concise, stating that the lease was up the last day of the year and "that you remove yourself from the premises and deliver possession of the premises to the undersigned" by that date.
Obrigewitsch, along with Josh Dukart and Donn Greenwood, were taking down the lighted sign letter-by-letter Friday.
Greenwood said he used to bring his children to the arcade every Sunday.
The Pied Piper has been at Prairie Hills Mall for more than 30 years, Obrigewitsch said. It was across the hall from its most recent location, and held a t-shirt shop as well as the arcade games. When the t-shirt shop closed, it moved. That was more than 10 years ago.
"I don't know what the kids are going to do now," said Dukart, who has worked for Badlands Music since Pied Piper started. "The parents would go shopping and the dads would take the kids over there to play games. They're not going to be able to do that anymore."
Obrigewitsch wondered why other options weren't discussed.
"I was kind of surprised that they didn't offer us a different space to move to (or) possibly increase our rent," he said. "They just didn't want an arcade, so we were told to get out."
This is not the first store to leave the mall this year. The Press reported in January that the theater changed hands from Carmike to Odyssey, Foxes Den moved to Medora after owner Deb Lervik was unable to renew her lease due to rising rents and All-American Travel left the mall after its lease was not renewed. It is located at State Avenue and 15th Street.
That strip mall is also where Blue Hawk Audio and Video is relocating when its lease is up in April, two employees confirmed Friday.
Owner Mike Wilkinson did not answer phone calls Friday to discuss the move further.
The games that were in Pied Piper are in storage, Obrigewitsch said. He wasn't sure if they would be sold or placed at other locations where Badlands Music has games, which could be outside of Dickinson.
"It won't just be one large location anymore where you have multiple games to choose from," Obrigewitsch said.
Previous Pied Piper owner Philip Sande didn't have any comment Friday.
Messages left for Great Plains Clinic Medical Enterprise LLC President Mark Grove went unreturned Friday.
A message left for Prairie Hills Mall Manager Peggy O'Brien went unreturned Friday.
Press Reporter Betsy Simon contributed to this story.